Today is International Day of Forests and the theme this year is “Forests and Energy“. Along with being sources of renewable energy, the forests of Ireland have a unique atmosphere about them. Without going full-hippy they have a character about them that is different to the open trails or the mountains. It may be because of the history of woodlands in Ireland. It may be something more intangible such as the benefit they have on us. Whatever it is, we will focus on the hostels near forests in Ireland to explore how the woodlands have contributed to our experiences.
History of Forests
We have a long relationship with trees in this country. Up until medieval times Ireland was covered in woods and forests. Ogham, which was the first written system in Ireland was actually based on a tree alphabet. Our ancient Brehon laws were the first in the world to protect trees. Half the placenames in the country are based on the fact that we set down roots beside particular trees. The first churches were wooden and leafy cathedrals which the pagans loved to burn down. Like a lot of things we like to blame the English for the loss of the woodland but agriculture and industrialisation was more to blame.
Benefits of Forests
Forests and woods are unusual in that they are places of high physical energy while also being relaxing. Children tend to hop about like rabbits in woods, running between trunks and swinging on branches. For them it is a place of play. They cannot seem to help themselves. For the rest of us, woods are outdoor exercise machines. Woods also are noticeable in that the sounds and smells create an immersive environment which takes us out of ourselves. There is nothing like the smell of pine needles on the forest floor or the sight of the sunlight dappling through the overhead canopy to get a good nature buzz going. From a mental health point of view, most people will feel better about themselves after being surrounded by woods.
Hostels near Forests
Distance from hostel : 10m
Perfect for : Nature walks and photography
Energy Type : Divine Vibrations
Favourite Tree : The sitting tree by the lake with the banana shaped branch
River valley woodland
Distance from hostel : 10m
Perfect for : Listening to the sounds of nature
Energy Type : Ancient and wild woodland. Like Yoda
Favourite Tree : The fallen trees that provide homes for birds and animals
Distance from hostel : 3km
Perfect for : Mountain Biking
Energy Type : Heart thumping adrenaline
Favourite tree : Any that we don’t crash into. Trees are tough.
Perfect for : High Ropes Course
Energy Type : Air
Favourite tree : The 10m tree with the zipline.
Distance from hostel : 3m
Perfect for : Hiking
Energy Type : Earth
Favourite tree : The tree overhanging the Avonbeg river outside the hostel.
Glenveagh Castle and Gardens on the edge of Lough Veagh beneath the mountains
Distance from hostel : 15km
Perfect for : Sublime Beauty
Energy Type : Cultivated Sophistication
Favourite tree : The Black Bush, a sessile oak growing out of a rock
1200 acre mixture of green forest, white sand and aquamarine sea at Ards Forest Park
Distance from hostel : 20km
Perfect for : Variety of vistas from deep woodland to sandy dunes
Energy Type : Water
Favourite tree : The wooden wigwam for picnics and bird watching
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