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Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Change generation

Bored and broke? Here are some free things to do this weekend

Bored and out of money? We’ve got some suggestions for free things to do.

This article is part of our Change Generation project, supported by KBC. To read more click here.

WE’VE ALL BEEN there – bored but without a bit of cash to spare. How do you pass the time productively when you don’t have any money?

We’ve got you covered – whether you want to head out or stay in, whether it’s sunny or raining, or you’re alone or with people, there are suggestions for every situation.

1. The outdoor gym

Gyms are expensive, but you don’t have to pay anything to get a little exercise. Go for a long walk, or jog somewhere scenic nearby. Go cycling if you have a path near you, or try the City Bikes in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway (they’re free for the first half an hour). Wake yourself up with some morning stretches. Anything that gets your heart rate going.

2. Time travel

shutterstock_388648504 Shutterstock / Rolf G Wackenberg Dublinia museum in Dublin Shutterstock / Rolf G Wackenberg / Rolf G Wackenberg

Wherever you live, there’s a good chance there an historical landmark to visit. Many of these – and national museums – are free to visit and run events at weekends and lunchtimes to keep you engaged. Check here for those and also take a look back at our extensive Hidden Heritage series which gives directions to loads of hidden gems all over the country that you can visit for free.

3. By the seashore

Given we’re an island nation, chances are this applies to a lot of the people reading this. Why not head to your local beach or strand and, depending on the weather, go exploring or swim in the sea (for the hardy).

To tap into the renewed interest in our natural coastal resources, think about learning how to identify edible sea plants along our shores. They will cost you a fortune in a health store, but they are in huge abundance if you just know where to look, and how to prep and cook them.

4. Park life

shutterstock_459125773 Shutterstock / Giancarlo Liguori St Stephen's Green in Dublin Shutterstock / Giancarlo Liguori / Giancarlo Liguori

Covered in greenery, surrounded by the sound of bird song and a central meeting place, the local park is a great spot to be in, if you are living the urban life.

You could chill out on the grass, have a little picnic or kick a ball around with your mates.

What’s the nicest green space near you? Let us know in the comments.

5. Get back into reading

There’s probably a book you’ve always planned on reading but never got around to. Even if you don’t own a physical copy, many classics are now in the public domain and can be downloaded for free online.

Grab your read and settle into a comfy chair at home, or head to your local library for some peace and quiet.

Need some extra motivation? Book clubs – ‘book/wine/singsong club’ as ours in could be dubbed – can be as informal as you like, but can give you the impetus to get your teeth into the latest bestseller. The Bord Gáis Energy Book Club has lots of online resources to get you started – all you need is to gather a few like-minded souls and book a sitting room for the night.

6) Whip up some homemade food

Shutterstock / Julia Metkalova Shutterstock / Julia Metkalova / Julia Metkalova

Depending on what you have in the fridge and the cupboard, you can experiment wildly with cooking and baking. Necessity is the mother of invention. Some of the best dishes ever made came from the five ingredients left in the fridge – and this piece of ours is a good place to start.

And for efficient shopping? Check this out: / YouTube

7) Get creative

Maybe you want to brighten up your room or revisit the nostalgic days of art class in school. Either way, break out any arts and crafts materials you have and get cracking. Pinterest is full of ideas about how to spruce up your living space, such as making mosaics from broken DVDs, or homemade bath bombs from baking soda, lemon juice, salt, water, oil and food colouring.

8) Break out the board games

shutterstock_244118350 Shutterstock / txking Monopoly Shutterstock / txking / txking

How long has it been since you last played Monopoly, or Trivial Pursuit or Cluedo? Revisit your childhood, get family and friends together and ditch the TV and laptop.

And if you don’t have any in the attic to dig out, take note that public libraries often have a stock of classic board games to rent for free. Kerplunk, anyone?

9) Learn something new

With the internet, it has become incredibly easy to pick up a skill online for free. Always wanted to play the drums? Grab some drumsticks or equivalents and look up tutorials on Youtube.

Want to parler Français? Duolingo and lots of other websites will teach you another language. You could also boost your CV and learn how to code at Code Academy or another website.

10) Appreciate the beauty around you

shutterstock_431240323 Shutterstock / M.V. Photography Sunset over the Liffey, Dublin Shutterstock / M.V. Photography / M.V. Photography

Grab a camera and try to see the world through a different set of eyes. Sit out and watch the sunset. Admire the nice things you have, rather than the things you haven’t. (You might consider downloading a mindfulness app if you are having trouble concentrating on the little things. This is a good list from TheGuardian to get you started.)

Watch: Here’s a sneak peek of Culture Night 2016

Read: Someone has just worked out what the Irish ate for breakfast over 2,000 years ago

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