West Coast of Ireland recommendations

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West Coast of Ireland recommendations

Post by AlisonP »

We're looking to do a trip to the West coast of Ireland next year. Probably the first of many, but where should we start? Somewhere with some classic day trips but sheltered options too.

Mark Graham
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Re: West Coast of Ireland recommendations

Post by Mark Graham »

Alison - I was over there a few times before I started paddling but haven't been since, although its on my agenda to go back at some stage. Going purely from what it looked, without any local knowledge of tides etc like I'd love to paddle Malin Head, but the place we returned to time and time again was Achill Island, in Co Mayo. Theres a small bay at the end of the road (Keem Bay) with room to park a camper van and a short carry down to a sand beach - we watched basking sharks from our van windows here - going off to the right around the headland under the sea cliffs would be a brilliant trip. Further south all of the big peninsulas, Dingle, Kerry etc seemed to have lots of opportunity. It seems like a great destination, like the west of Scotland only less developed and quieter. Its the only time I've wanted Dolphins to go away, because we had been watching them playing just in the surf outside our van for hours, it was past bedtime and we were tired!

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Re: West Coast of Ireland recommendations

Post by MartinG »

Hi Alison, for inspiration and planning there is the fantastic resource that is Oileain - http://www.oileain.org/index.php/viewdownload-oileain/

I've paddled in and around Roaringwater Bay a few times and there are plenty of options, both sheltered and very much not sheltered. Lots of good camping too. The Dingle peninsular should be a great place to paddle. The coastline is magnificent at the western end.

The weather can be interesting. The things said about the west of Scotland also apply here, four seasons in a day, if you don't like the weather now wait five minutes, that sort of thing.

Although not west, The Old Head of Kinsale is a fantastic day paddle. Plenty of caves and tunnels to explore if the conditions allow.

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Re: West Coast of Ireland recommendations

Post by CharlieS »

Hi Alison,

I stayed near Portmagee last year (I could dig out the exact cottages if you're interested, they backed straight into the sea.) That puts you behind the shelter of Valentia island, but within reach of some very challenging trips, possibly even a trip out to see Luke Skywalker on Skellig Michael. I was there just after a big storm and either end of Valentia island was quite exciting but the channel behind was so mill-pond flat that my wife could see my wake before she could see me.

The ring of Kerry has a range of beaches as you go round and we didn't struggle to find either exciting waves,or flat warm and sandy for the kids.

Dingle and the Blaskets aren't too far away as well.

Have a great time.


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Re: West Coast of Ireland recommendations

Post by dhkayaking »

As mentioned above Achill Island is a good location. Its in county Mayo which probably has the widest and best selection of paddling in Ireland. I might be biased as I live here . To its south is Clew bay with 365 islands(John Lennon had a hippy commune briefly on one!) and lots of shelter should the weather be poor. Achill and Achill Beg are both fantastic. Moving northwards you have the Mullet Peninsula and the incredible Inishkea Islands just off shore.

Should the weather allow the real magic can be found in North Mayo between Belmullet and Ballina. Miles and miles of huge cliffs, arches, beaches and hundreds of caves to explore. Freya Hoffmiester described it last year "as the best day of rock hopping" she ever had!

If you don't fancy driving over it is possible to fly into Knock Ireland west airport and be on the coast in 40 minutes.

Happy planning. Let me know if you would like more help or require and guide and boats.


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Re: West Coast of Ireland recommendations

Post by AlisonP »

Thanks everyone for your advice - I'm so excited about this trip now! Mayo sounds pretty cool......!

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Re: West Coast of Ireland recommendations

Post by Rainshine »

I'm currently in County Mayo giving Ireland's West Coast a good try-out for sea kayaking! I'm staying very near to Ballina but due to sea and weather conditions on the days we have been free to get out, its been difficult to do much paddling around the North Mayo coast during this stay so I've paddled other coastal areas and some inland water (which can prove much more challenging here than my home territory of the West Coast of Scotland).

The sea kayaking and scenery is amazing here and the local paddlers are fabulous - helpful, welcoming and very knowledgable. That local knowledge is invaluable because the West Coast of Ireland is very exposed and demands a lot of respect, however competent you are. I know that you have already been offered advice and contacts but I also highly recommend that you make contact with another poster on this site, Chris McDaid - send him a PM. He lives in Mayo and is the current chair of the Irish Sea Kayaking Association. He also runs a group called North Mayo Sea Kayakers on Facebook which is basically for organising peer paddles and sharing information. He will be able to help you with local knowledge and advice and can point you in the direction of other really good folk to speak to in different parts of the country if you want other contacts. There will be local paddling groups you could contact and perhaps join for a paddle or two when you are here - its very sociable and a great way to obtain some of that all important local paddling knowledge. WISKA have a website and are worth contacting while you are here.

I'm loving my time here and can't wait to come back over to paddle again soon.

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