As any parent will tell you, the minute there is a sniff of summer in the air, WhatsApp groups start hopping, announcing the release of tickets for GAA, rugby, tennis, and art camps.
Cúl camps run by the GAA and tennis programmes all over the country experience their websites being continuously refreshed by parents anxious to get a place in oversubscribed camps; these events are hot tickets that make Garth Brooks and Electric Picnic mania seem very calm!
While sports and art-based camps have been around for years, a fresh style of summer camp offering programmes for more eclectic tastes and different skill sets is building in popularity. Here we look at five mixed choices around Ireland.
Eclectic Mix of Summer Camps for 2022
The City Farm Camp in St. Anne’s Park, Raheny, D.5
For five days city kids can don a pair of wellies and help take part in running the urban community farm. Mucking out stables, shampooing chickens and grooming donkeys is all part of the three-hour day. At the end of the week, the children get to suggest a name for a newborn chicken. We have it on good authority that the baby chicken born during the recent July camp was christened Pepper after Twix and Donnie were pipped at the post.
Location: City Farm, St. Annes Park, Raheny, D.5
Ages: 10-14 years
Website: Visit the St. Annes City Farm Facebook page.
‘Anyone For Science,’ – Various Locations in Ireland
Science camps are really rising in popularity with ‘Anyone For Science’ leading the charge. This year the popular camp is offering two sets of activities for primary school children. The first includes a range of fun experiments about botany, bioplastics, pulleys and levers, and entomology (the study of insects). The second programme is a series of experiments inspired by the David Walliams books – ‘Slime’, ‘Grandpa’s Great Escape’, ‘The Demon Dentist’ and everybody’s favourite ‘Gangsta Granny’. Each day children do a range of experiments based on a theme from the books.
Locations: Cork, Dublin, Galway, Sligo, Wicklow.
Ages: All primary school age (5-13 years). They also have teen camps suitable for students who have completed their first-third year in secondary school.
Artmaker Comic Book Creation, Rathmines, Dublin 6
This camp is the creation of Heather Gray, a talented artist who has given dozens of art workshops as part of the Chinese New Year Festival, the International Literature Festival Dublin, The Chester Beatty Library, and Heritage Week.
Over the course of the weeklong camp, participants will learn everything there is to know about comics, from drawing and character creation to writing and storyboarding. They will even bind their own book. They will also take their characters off the page and make costumes and masks from their own stories!
Location: Blackberry Lane, 43 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6
Ages: 8-14 years
Website: Visit ‘Comic Book Making Workshop with Heather Gray’ on Facebook
Urchin Adventures (formerly Ardmore Adventures), Ardmore, Co. Waterford
Founded in 2009 by Ronan O’Connor, the pandemic put this company under pressure but happily they are back this year. Located next to the beach in the stunning Ardmore Bay in Waterford. Ardmore Adventures offer real adventure activities in unspoilt natural locations in Waterford and Cork. Activities include rock climbing, sea kayaking, surfing, snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding and archery.
There are two camps divided by age group. The first one, ‘Young Explorer Summer Camp’ is designed for 8–12-year-olds and the second one named ‘Adventure Challenge’ does a stellar job of entertaining the less easily defined age group of 13-16 years. For the older group, a pizza party in the Urchin Bar is included at the end of the day’s activities.
Location: Ardmore Bay, Ardmore, Co. Waterford
Ages: 8-12 and 13-16
Leinster Rugby Inclusion Club
Leinster Rugby is running four inclusion camps over the summer to provide children and teenagers with learning and physical disabilities the opportunity to gain experience and play tag rugby in a safe, enjoyable, and exciting environment, to build social skills and boost their confidence.
Tag rugby is a game people of all ages, sexes, and abilities can play in a competitive and friendly way.
Spirit Officer for Leinster Rugby, Stephen Gore is very enthusiastic about this set of camps saying how thrilled he is to be working across the province with volunteers helping to make the sport inclusive for everyone.
Location: Rathmines Dublin, Carlow, Clontarf Dublin, North Kildare
Ages: 5-12 years and 13–17 years