A Guide to Surfing Ireland

Surfing in IrelandIre­land may be known for its pubs, draught, and emer­ald green coun­try­side, but beer and pota­toes aren’t all this tiny island nation has to offer. In recent years, Ire­land has become increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar as a surf­ing des­ti­na­tion. “Gulf Stream storm activ­i­ty gen­er­ates large swells all year round, but the best times for surf­ing are in ear­ly sum­mer or through­out the autumn months,” accord­ing to MAPS.ie.

Look­ing for some­where unique to catch some waves? Here are five great loca­tions in one of the world’s most under­rat­ed surf­ing spots.

Tul­lan Strand, Bun­do­ran, Coun­ty Done­gal

Tullan Strand , Bundoran

Tul­lan Strand is a great spot for begin­ners just learn­ing to surf, though it has some­thing to offer for more expe­ri­enced surfers as well. “At low tide, the cliffs at the end of the beach can pro­duce fast hol­low waves which def­i­nite­ly draw the major­i­ty of the crowd,” accord­ing to Red Bull, “how­ev­er the waves mel­low out as you head fur­ther down the beach.” Tul­lan Strand is awash in qual­i­ty surf schools as well, some of which offer sin­gle class­es for begin­ners — a great option if you are just want­i­ng to get your toes wet in the sport of surf­ing.

While you’re there, check out the Tul­lan Strand horse­back rid­ing trail, which runs along the beach, and stop at Waves Cafe for a bite to eat.

Ross­nowl­agh, Coun­ty Done­gal

Rossnowlagh beach

Home to Ireland’s longest run­ning surf com­pe­ti­tion, the Irish Inter Coun­ties Surf­ing Cham­pi­onship, Ross­nowl­agh is a qui­et beach with fair­ly con­sis­tent surf. Accord­ing to Dis­cov­er Ire­land, “The surf here is per­fect for begin­ners and the local surf school offers tuition and equip­ment rental.” Ross­nowl­agh is a Blue Flag beach.

When you’ve fin­ished surf­ing, warm up at The Thatch Tea­house and sam­ple their hand­made baked goods or deli­cious cook­ing.

Easkey, Coun­ty Sli­go

Rec­og­nized world­wide as a top surf spot, Easkey is a reef break that is sur­fa­ble year-round. “Easkey has two reef breaks — one to the left, just by the riv­er mouth and anoth­er to the right, east of the cas­tle,” accord­ing to Easkey’s web­site.

After you’ve pulled your­self from the water, check out Easkey Abbey or the town’s unusu­al Split Rock. You can also view O’Dowd cas­tle and Rathee Tow­er near­by.

Bally­bunion, Coun­ty Ter­ry

ballybunion, Ireland

Named back in the day when men and women vis­it­ed the beach sep­a­rate­ly, Bally­bunion has two main beach­es: Men’s Beach and Women’s Beach. Men’s Beach is a great spot for surfers and has both beach and reef breaks.  “While begin­ners can stick to the small­er and easy to maneu­ver waves close to the shore,” accord­ing to Sky­scan­ner, “more advanced surfers can head out to the Atlantic Cliff breaks for more chal­leng­ing waves.

When you are done for the day, head over to Women’s Beach to check out the shal­low caves or take a walk by the Bro­more Cliffs.

Mul­lagh­more, Coun­ty Sli­go

Known for its giant waves, Mul­lagh­more is a spot for pros only. “The waves here have been known to break bones and boards in, par­tic­u­lar­ly intense weath­er,” accord­ing to an arti­cle on Surfer Today. The waves at Mul­lagh­more are a left-han­der reef break and the bot­tom is extreme­ly rocky. Still, the waves are surf-able, and a great chal­lenge for those look­ing to test their skills.

When you’ve fin­ished catch­ing the waves, take some time to relax at Voya Sea­weed Baths, or check out the near­by Classiebawn Cas­tle.

Con­clu­sion

When surf­ing on the Emer­ald Isle, don’t for­get to pack a coat, and keep in mind that you may need to pack or rent a wet­suit for surf­ing. Ireland’s surf­ing scene isn’t known as a “cold Hawaii” for no rea­son. Even in the sum­mer months, you can expect cloudy days with rain. At its warmest, the water in Ire­land is about 17 degrees Cel­sius or 62 degrees Fahren­heit. As long as you are prop­er­ly pre­pared and know what to expect, Ireland’s waves shouldn’t dis­ap­point. Whether hit­ting the surf or soak­ing in the island’s breath­tak­ing scenery, a trip to Ire­land isn’t one you are sure to for­get.