I recently made a very rookie error. José’s birthday was coming up so I was on the lookout for something he would really enjoy. I’m a big fan of gifting experiences over things and given that my husband has an ever so slight obsession with Land Rovers, I had what I though was a bright idea and did an online search for 4×4 off road driving experiences. I had no idea if it was something you could do in Ireland but thankfully it is! I found an off road driving centre near Naas. The location was great. He’d get to drive a Land Rover Discovery. The price was reasonable. It seemed perfect.
But. There’s always a but! José has since been glued to Done Deal checking out any Land Rovers for sale and I’m not so sure that it was a good idea after all. Please send help. I’ve created a monster!
Thumbs up from Hubby!
On the bright side, he thoroughly enjoyed it and I clocked up some serious brownie points! I had kept it a surprise right up until pretty much the last minute. When we were just a few minutes away from the off road driving centre at Palmerstown House Estate and he wondered if he was going to Mondello, I thought I’d better come clean. His first reaction was definitely not what I had expected. He really didn’t seem very excited at all and I thought I’d got it all wrong. Then I remembered it was just after 8.30am and he probably hadn’t had enough coffee! There was still hope.
Fast forward two hours later and it was a different story altogether. When I returned at the end of the session, he was totally buzzing! Filling me in on how amazing it was and trying to show me photos and videos at the same time, it was pretty clear he’d had a ball. So if you’re looking for a review of OffRoadDriving.ie, it a firm thumbs up from this corner.
What to expect on your off road driving experience
What’s involved? Off road driving in 4×4 vehicles over rough terrain with rivers, drops and lots of mud…when you think about it, how could it be anything but fun!
Each jeep can take up to three participants and you’ll have with an experienced instructor along for the ride too of course. All participants need to sign a waiver and then after a short safety briefing, it’s straight into the fun stuff. Just before we get into that, it’s worth noting that if you’re more interested in speed, this might not be the experience for you. You won’t go above 2nd gear while completing the circuit. This is all about control and testing your nerves!
Man-made obstacles to put you to the test!
There is still plenty of fun and adrenaline involved as there are a number of obstacles and challenges along the way to keep things interesting. The off road circuit includes concrete stairs, an off road see saw, steep drops, camel bumps and even driving at a 30 degree angle. Definitely not things you’re going to be trying out in your own car let’s just say. These jeeps can take a lot of punishment!
Sessions last for 90 mins, so each person gets to drive for approximately 30 minutes. I had been worried that it might be a bit boring just being a passenger for the majority of the time but for José that was all part of the fun too. Though he did say that it was definitely more comfortable being behind the wheel when the jeep was on a 30 degree tilt. Being in the back seat for that, particularly on the lower side is probably not the most relaxing experience you’ll ever have!
As you can see in the video there’s a lot of bumping and shaking along the way. One of the first things José said to me was that he didn’t think I would enjoy it because I’m prone to a bit of motion sickness! I don’t know if it would have been that bad but maybe something to consider if you are very sensitive in that regard! I might just have to try it out for myself one day and see.
Do I need off road driving experience?
No experience is needed and you don’t need a full licence to take part. Anyone over 17 with a provisional licence and ability to drive a manual can participate. Just book and turn up. Easy! So whether you’re looking for a great gift idea, a fun and adventurous day out when visiting Ireland or just fancy having a go at off road driving yourself, check out OffRoadDriving.ie.
It’s apparently very popular for stag and hen parties and for corporate events so it can often be booked out well in advance. If you have a particular date in mind it would be best to give them a call and see if it works.
Location of Off Road Driving
OffRoadDriving.ie is located within the beautiful Palmerston House estate in Kildare, which is really handy as it’s just a few minutes from the N7. It’s also very close to the Johnstown Garden Centre which has a large cafe. Handy if you’re going to be waiting around like me or fancy a bite to eat afterwards. We’d also been on the lookout for a new shed for a while and I happened to find the perfect one while I was there. A successful day all round!