Zipit Lough Key Roscommon Review
Now Open in Tibradden Woods in Dublin! Check Zipit web site for more details!
With some USA visitors over with us, DayOut.ie were looking for a fun day out to entertain our guests last weekend. We headed out of town to check out the Zipit Forest Adventures at Lough Key Forest in Roscommon.
Gary(L) and James from Zipit with Conrad, Cormac and Ciaran from DayOut.ie
Located off the main N4 Sligo road, it’s an easy find, about 10 minutes outside Carrick On Shannon. We know Carrick is a popular spot for stag parties and hen parties so if you’re in the area on a weekend away, be sure and pop along to Zipit for what is guaranteed to be an adventure packed day out!
Turn off the main road into Lough Key Forest park and take the short drive up to the Lough side.
(Just to mention, they have also opened a new complex in the Dublin mountains at Tirbradden Wood, Dublin 16)
At Lough Key, the Zipit area is set a little way back from the main Lough key reception area. A short walk, literally 5 minutes, takes you to the registration log cabin area where the very helpful Gary was there to check us in and kit us out. You’ll need a harness and a pair of gloves, all supplied of course and fitted for you by Gary and Emma, who were both really helpful and provided a bubbly welcome. You can buy new gloves (tight fitting membranes like rock climbing gloves) for 3 euro, or alternatively you can pick up a used pair from the second hand bucket.
So what exactly is Zipit? This is from their own web site – Zipit is Ireland’s first high-wire aerial forest adventure. We built platforms on trees at various heights (ranging from 1 metre to 20 metres off the ground) and then connected them with a range of activities to allow the participant move from one tree to another.
The harness is a snug fitting necessity for your Zipit adventure and includes the main Bornock Karabiners clips you need to stay attached to the system and also a small pully which you’ll definitely need when you’re up in the canopy.
Next it’s off to the initiation area which is a small collection of wires, about 3 feet off the ground, that you need to attend to familiarise yourself with how the system works. Our instructor Ryan provided a friendly introduction to the obstacles, harness system and overall safety checks. (We wanted to mention that Ryan has a lovely bleached blonde haircut but we’re told this is not his normal look and is sporting it for a good cause – well done Ryan!).
This little training area is essential and must be completed before you’re let loose in the tress. Once you’re finished this area, you are free to take any route you like and you can choose from White, Blue, Orange and Red, all of which are different lengths and have different obstacles and levels of proficiency.
The DayOut.ie gang Cormac O Brien (L), Ciaran Walsh (R – team USA) with Fergal Walsh of DayOut.ie (centre)
So do you need a head for heights? Yes and no is the answer. The White ‘beginners’ course is not high and includes some easy obstacles to get you familiar with clipping in and out of the circuit. Courses are 1 metre off the ground and go up to 20metres on the Red. We started out on the white course but being who we are of course, we had to take on the Red course which is the highest, most difficult and most demanding. And so the floodgates were opened for what became an afternoon of laughter, fun, adventure, comradery and just great craic. For this writer, it was honest to God the most fun I’ve had in years!
The system is easily managed and is designed so that you will always have at least one clamp attached to the zip wire system when you leave the ground. You will never be, ‘not attached’ to the system, so don’t be concerned that you’ll be up a tree or standing on a platform without something holding you in.
It is an outdoor setting however and as they say on their own website, the possibility of a couple of bumps and bruises are not impossible. Similarly, does it ever rain? Yes, this is Ireland! but if that stops you getting out and having fun then maybe you should go for a nice fluffy massage instead?!
This is about outdoor fun, the wind through your hair, climbing trees and general mucking around. Only high winds or extreme weather conditions will close the circuit.
Do you need to be fit? It probably helps if you have a general fitness but nothing Olympic is needed. Some upper body strength is great but honestly on the Saturday we were there, we saw all different sizes and ages of people having super fun. It’s such a great activity for kids (age 7yrs up) and of course groups. We bumped into a nice bunch of girls on a hen from Castlebar and their day out was proving to be a huge hit.
What do I need to wear? It’s outdoors in a forest so dress accordingly. Jeans and fleece are perfect. You need a bit of mobility so big jackets are no good and don’t wear a scarf in case of entanglement. Sandals and open toe shoes are no good as you’ll be climbing and swinging. You’ll have a harness around your upper legs and waist so if you’re showing your midrift there could be some chaffing! The harness and gloves are provided, harness is free and you can either buy the gloves or take a used pair.
So what do you get to do? Zip lines, cargo nets, pully systems, climbing walls, it’s all great fun and a complete body work out to boot! Think of some of the challenges in Ant & Dec I’m a celebrity and you’re getting close!
As their name suggests – Climb it, Swing it, Surf it, Zip it
In a nutshell, you’ve got a series of rope obstacles suspended over the forest and you have to navigate your way thru these to complete the circuit. They are all ‘do able’, some are tougher than others but that’s the fun! There are lots of different obstacles, props and platforms but of course the Zip wires are the best. There’s nothing better than pushing off and letting gravity do the rest!
Thanks to instructor Saoirse for this great tip – when you’re on the zip lines, lean back (get the head back) feet out in front of you and you’ll get to the end of the line! You are perfectly safe in the harness so put your back into it!
If you need to take a break, you can chill out on one of the many platforms up in the trees. It’s entertainment alone just to take a break and watch the proceedings of your fellow Zippers. You can if you need to, be released from the system by shouting ‘instructor’ and one of the helpful guys will come and winch you down if you feel like being on terra firma for a while. The instructors are roaming about underneath offering encouragement as you go. (Thanks to instructor Niall for his pointers on the climbing wall 🙂 )
Many people visit for a couple of hours, then come down to take a break, get some lunch and then go back up. There are no toilets up in the tress and no smoking either. Make the most of your day and spread it out over a full afternoon or morning. We actually spent about 4 hours at it and the time went by in flash!
Some of our group had to be, ahem, helped along the course. We won’t mention any names but let’s just say some of the DayOut team had to be ‘rescued’ and winched back to the ground. There’s enough ammunition in that to last us a lifetime and when I say there were roars of laughter, I mean there were roars of laughter!! I would like to confirm however that DayOut.ie did in fact complete the toughest course! (Gold star for you sir in the office on Monday!!)
When we got back to the hotel, the evening’s refreshments went down very well and helped ease a few stiff limbs. Sore bodies the next day but immensely enjoyable, tears of laughter and altogether great craic had by all.
Conrad Larkin (L) with DayOut.ie’s Fergal Walsh (centre) and Ciaran Walsh (R – team USA)
Our thanks to Denise at Zipit and also to the instructors:
Gary – for super efficiency checking us in and out
James – for the pictures on facebook
Ryan – for the initiation training (love the hair)
Niall – for encouragement on the climbing wall (Niall takes no prisoners!)
Ollie – for help getting the DayOut sign up in the trees.
Saoirse & Emma – a key part of the beautiful forest scenery!. Knowing you’d be rescued by these ladies had guys throwing themselves out of the trees!! 🙂
A special shout out to the 3 boys who kindly volunteered their services for the day…Conrad Larkin, Ciaran Walsh and Cormac O’Brien. Thanks guys for the laughs!
Lough Key Forest Park, Roscommon
Tirbradden Wood, Dublin 16
7-8 years – €15
9-11 years – €20
12-14 years – €22
15+ years – €28
Well worth the money!
VERDICT: Highly recommended, immensely enjoyable. Go ahead and make your day!
Read more about Zipit here >>
Read more about Lough Key Forest Park here >>