Work and Play: Your Ancient East Adventure Guide

2 August 2023 Leah Fairman By Leah Fairman

Have you used up your annual leave allowance, but still want to have an adventure? We hear you! Ireland’s Ancient East offers a host of atmospheric evening activities, perfect for exploring during your next staycation. And with Hubs dotted all around this region, you can get a day’s work done before embarking on your ‘after dark’ fun. 

With that in mind, we’ve put together 5 of the best atmospheric evening events (as well as their closest hubs), all of which give visitors a glimpse into our rich and often tumultuous history. Start planning your trip today using our simple booking system. 

Spike Island, Cork

(Image courtesy of Tourism Ireland)

Up first, it’s haunting Spike Island, located off the coast of Co Cork. Initially home to a monastery, it later became a defensive British Army garrison. In 1847, it was transformed again, this time into a prison that became ominously known as ‘Ireland’s Alcatraz’. As the Great Famine ravaged Ireland, Spike Island quickly filled up, at one point holding 2,300 unfortunate souls behind its foreboding walls. Today, you can book an ‘after dark’ tour of the prison, where you’ll be able to explore abandoned cells and soak up the tangible atmosphere of this historic site.  

Nearby Hubs? Acorn Business Centre and Regus City Gate or any of over 10 hubs in Cork City. 

Wicklow Gaol 

(Image courtesy of Tourism Ireland)

You’ll discover a similar tale of poverty and punishment at Wicklow Gaol. During a thrilling night tour of the original prison building (located just outside Wicklow town), the Gaol will truly come alive as actors in period costume wander its halls! If you dare, you can step inside the building’s tiny cells and discover the fates of those who were once imprisoned there.  

Nearby Hubs? We love Jacksmill - Hub 13 close to Newtownmountkennedy, just 20 mins drive from Wicklow Town.

Kilkenny Ghost Tour 

(Kilkenny Castle, Image courtesy  of Tourism Ireland)

The bustling medieval city of Kilkenny is also steeped in haunting history, as you’ll discover on this terrifying walking tour! Winding your way along the city’s cobbled streets, you'll learn about ancient curses, an infamous witch trial and of course, Kilkenny Castle’s resident ghost, the mysterious White Lady... 

Nearby Hubs? New Work Junction and WeDo Work Spaces  

Irish National Heritage Park, Wexford 

(Image courtesy of Tourism Ireland)

Want to step back in time and experience what life was like in Ireland for our ancient ancestors? Located on the banks of the River Slaney in Wexford, the Irish National Heritage Park offers (among many other fascinating activities) offer overnight experiences in a Viking House or Ringfort. The Park closes at 6.30pm, so those availing of this magical experience are free to explore the woods, taking in stunning views across the Slaney estuary.  

Nearby Hubs? New Work Junction and 61 North 

Storytelling Houses of Wexford 

(Image courtesty of Visit Wexford)

Also in the 'sunny south-east', you’ll find a truly charming evening event to take part in. Dotted all around the county are the ‘Storytelling Houses of Wexford’. Held on various nights during the week, you’ll be invited in by the Bean or Fear an Tí (woman or man of the house) to enjoy a communal fireside chat, sing-song and cup of tea! Find out more here 

Nearby Hubs? The Hatch Lab, Gorey 


Inspired to begin your ‘after dark’ Ancient East adventure? Don’t forget, there are hundreds of hubs to choose from, no matter where in Ireland you end up. Find the one that’s right for you here