Travel 30th March 2023 by Jade Hayden
Wander Wild: Killarney’s Great Outdoors Festival Is Pretty Great, Alright
Once again, obsessed with Kerry.
I love Killarney. I love the nature, I love the locals, I love the food.
It’s a great place to spend any weekend, and it’s even better when Ireland’s great outdoors festival, Wander Wild, is occurring too.
Now in its second year,Wander Wild took over Killarney town and its surrounding areas from March 24 – 26 offering travellers and locals the opportunity to get involved in a rake of activities from intense hikes to chilled yoga.
We were booked in for three events over the weekend – a walking tour with local legend Tom O’Sullivan (in my eyes, anyway), a chance to experience Killarney’s enchanted Blue Pool at night, and a Friday night bout of yoga and light therapy.
Elsewhere, Wander Wild played host to an abundance of events; so many that you’d struggle to even attend a quarter of the lineup if you were so inclined. There were hikes (of varying difficulties), pilates classes, kids courses, forrest walks, sunrise swims, tasting tours… The list goes on.
Contrary to the usual festival experience, rather than purchasing a one-size-fits-all ticket, visitors of Wander Wild could pick and choose whichever event they’d like to attend and book directly. If you fancied dipping in for the day and going to one experience, you could do that. If you wanted to jam pack your entire weekend with fun and furore, you could do that too.
My event choices were less on the extreme side. Once eager to run up a mountain at 7am, when Saturday morning rolled around I was eternally grateful that my mam, who accompanied me, vetoed that plan and booked us in for a walking tour instead.
The tour was pleasant, and the Blue Pool Experience got us into the forrest (though some of the enchantment may have been lost by the lingering daylight), but the true highlight of the festival had to be the yoga and light therapy.
A self-professed lockdown Yoga With Adriene stan, it had been a while since I’d hit the mat in any meaningful way, but one class with instructor Kelly McSweeney in Killarney made me remember why I loved the practice in the first place.
The lights, the quiet, the general vibe – it was one of the most relaxing and rewarding yoga classes I’d ever taken. I went in feeling wound up from a week of work and emerged ready to take on the weekend… and ready for a sleep.
While in town, we stayed in the beautiful The Ross, Killarney’s only boutique hotel that boasts not one, but two restaurants. It takes a lot for this gal to be content dining in when on holiday, but the food at The Ross was just that good. Try the chowder in The Lane next time you’re there – trust me.
At the recommendation of my good friend Google, we also tried local Italian Salvadors & Robertinos, The Laurels pub, and Hannigan’s Bar. I had some more chowder and a pint of Guinness in the latter. Once I started I couldn’t stop.
Wander Wild’s opening ceremony celebrated the beginning of spring, an apt announcement considering it rained for a lot of weekend, much needed sunlight eventually breaking through the clouds as Sunday reared its head.
But, as they say, the rain did little to dampen revellers’ spirits and the weekend remained one of exploration, relaxation, and probably the best chowder in Ireland.
You can find out more about Wander Wild here, and get pumped for next year’s festival.
The writer was invited to the Wander Wild festival in exchange for a fair and honest review. Event prices start from €10. 2024’s festival runs from March 22-24.
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