With the pace and pressures of everyday life increasing by the day, a new concept in tourism that encourages people to slow down and immerse themselves in their experience is growing across Europe. Slow Adventure Tourism is all about replacing those adrenalin-pumping, quick fix adventure hits with a slower more immersive experience in which visitors can engage more fully and learn about the local environment, food and wildlife while taking part in an activity.
One area leading the way in Slow Adventure in Ireland is County Leitrim, which is rich in rural locations and unspoiled landscapes – and is yet to be over-run by mass tourism.
Over the past two years, Leitrim Tourism has been working with local providers, as part of a European-wide research programme, to develop an array of packages and experiences to meet the criteria and principles of the Slow Adventure Trademark and appeal to visitors who prefer life in the slow lane.
“Leitrim is the perfect fit for Slow Adventure Tourism, which is all about creating inspiring connections with the outdoors and gives people a chance to explore and engage with our county’s wild, open and naturally beautiful places,” said Sinead McDermott, Leitrim Tourism. “Visitors can journey through breathtaking landscapes at a slower pace and surrender to the natural forces of the environment as they reflect, reconnect and become closer to nature.
“From sleeping under the stars in a stunning and unspoilt location, to foraging for wild mushrooms and garlic on a landscape walk, or relaxing with a yoga class ahead of a guided canoe trip, there are lots of amazing Slow Adventure activities and experiences in County Leitrim.
“We have been working in partnership with tourism providers throughout the county who have embraced the concept and put together a wide range of slow adventure experiences that are in line with Slow Adventure international guidelines and allow visitors to experience nature, its seasons, its weathers and its variations – all in its own timeframe.”
Slow Adventure Tourism Experiences in Co Leitrim
Leitrim Tourism and its partners have put together a wide variety of Slow Adventure overnight breaks and day trips. Experiences include guided tours where visitors get local information on the flora and fauna, stories, folklore myths and legends.
Overnight packages include accommodation close to nature such as glamping, shepherd’s huts, eco and log cabins, while slow food is also an important part of the experience, using local ingredients from local producers.
A choice of Slow Adventure experiences in Leitrim can be found at http://slowadventure.ie/
but here are some of the highlights:
Paddle the Waterways and Forage as You Go
Take to the water with a stand-up paddling along with your guide Lee from Leitrim Surf Company, who will help you to forage as you paddle along the water. On arrival at Ireland’s only floating boardwalk your bicycles will be waiting to take you on a cycle around the hills of Sliabh an Iarainn, with lunch en route, before returning to the Shed Distillery in Drumshanbo to sample some Gunpowder Gin.
Learn About Bushcraft in the Wilds of Lough Allen
Enjoy an early morning cycle from Leitrim Village to the Lough Allen Adventure Centre. You will be greeted with a coffee and mid-morning treat en route to your destination. On arrival, you will forage and forest bathe in places people would not find by themselves and then learn some bushcraft skills around the fire in the wild landscapes around Lough Allen. Maybe you can try wild swimming and then, following a slow food lunch, you will make a return cycle to Drumshanbo.
Relaxed Slow Adventure
Stay two nights, midweek, in one of Ard Nahoo’s award winning eco-cabins with a continental breakfast using locally produced organic food. Dinner provided on both nights by Edergole Kitchen using ingredients grown in their own organic garden. Experience an Uisce Hour and complete relaxation in tranquil surroundings. Guided walks will take you to local sites. Graham from Adventure Gently will guide you, by canoe, on the River Bonet where you will learn some bushcraft skills along the way. Take some time out for yoga led by a top-class yoga teacher – suitable for all fitness levels.
Down by the River
Cycle from the Fenagh Heritage Centre to Ballyduff taking in the scenic surroundings of the area. From there pick up your canoe from Way To Go Adventures and glide along the water towards Castlefore to hear about local nature, heritage and history. Stop off along the lakeshore for a picnic lunch provided by Edergole Kitchen. Walk to Castlefore Lake and pick up your bicycles to cycle back to Fenagh Heritage Centre. Following this, you will experience a ‘meet the maker’ session where you will practice local crafts. As a keepsake you can take away a memento from the session. Finish off your day with a fresh scone and some tea or coffee at the Fenagh Heritage Centre.