If you think you need to travel to somewhere like New Zealand or South Africa for an adrenaline-fuelled activity holiday, it's time to look closer to home. Just an hour's flight from the UK, the west coast of Ireland has everything from surfing and paragliding to easier beginner options like water-skiing, riding, kayaking and mountain biking.
Throw in some stunning scenery in the Killarney National Park, fabulous food and the bars of Cork city, and it's enough to get anyone's heart racing.
Starter for 10: Ireland adrenaline
Or The Malton in Killarney mixes old-fashioned country house charm with some seriously quirky touches – silken lamps which look like mushrooms, velvet chairs, and splashes of colour brightening the chandeliers and marble. There's also two restaurants and a spa. Rooms start from £74.45.
With a specially adapted pole hanging off the side of the boat, the endlessly patient and supportive Barry talks you through getting from the water to a standing position, graduating onto a rope behind the boat. Chances are you'll have at least one unplanned nose-dive at some point, but the feeling when you find your balance the first time as you whizz across the lake is almost unbeatable.
The water might not be the warmest, except during the summer, but with the adrenaline flowing and a wet suit, you won't notice until you're back on the dock. And, thankfully, there's a small sauna in the changing rooms, so you can defrost with a huge grin on your face. A beginner session, including gear and equipment, costs from around £55. The centre is open between April and October.
If you're a novice, don't try this without a safety briefing, unless you like the idea of broken limbs! Joe Costello at Ballyhoura Bike Hire will fit you for a bike, provide a helmet and talk you through how to stay in one piece before you hit the trails. Then start off gently on the Green Wood loop trail, one of five loops around the mountains. Around 6km long, there's a steep hill to navigate before you hit the single track trail, where you'll skid and slither through puddles before zooming over bumps at speeds that partly make you want to slam on the brakes and partly make you want to scream with sheer exhilaration.
Bike hire costs from around £26 and charges for guides are available on request. You need a valid photo ID to hire the bikes. For more information on the trails, visit www.ballyhouramtb.com.
There's maps available from the visitor centre – start with the trail to Torc Waterfall, around 4.5 miles from Killarney town. After reaching the 20m high falls, you can climb up to get a view out over Middle Lake, and it's a starting point for several other circular walking routes, as well as part of the Kerry Way route.
You can also book walking tours with www.govisitireland.com
Start with the Iced jumbo shrimp cocktail, around £12 but worth every penny. Arriving in a martini glass of sweet chilli sauce and ice, the prawns are draped over the side, so it looks almost too good to eat, while the Confit of Pork and black pudding, £6.50, is mouth-watering. But it's the Angus steaks that are the high point. From the 11oz ribeye, at around £22, up to a 20oz whopper, £31, as well as fillet and T-bone, the meat is cooked to perfection in a charbroiler to sear the outside while keeping the inside juicy.
If you're looking for something more traditional, Washington Street is a great place to start, and locals recommend Rearden's for the 'craic' – it's heavy on the sport but there's live music at weekends.
The trails takes you along the shores of the lake as far as Ross Castle, past herds of black Kerry cows and even red deer. For novices, an instructor will talk you through the basics (although the horses seem to know what to do regardless) as well as trying your hand at rising trot. There's one, two and three hour trails, plus longer trips of up to five day for more experienced riders. Prices start from around £30.