The Wild Atlantic Wave – Surf’s Up….
My last blog suggested what could be construed as a sport where not a huge amount of fitness is required (golf!). So for this Blog I am going to promote/suggest something a little more adventurous – in fact a lot more adventurous and not for the faint hearted.
The west coast of Ireland, known as The Wild Atlantic Way, is now regarded throughout the world as a surfing paradise. Our waves in certain locations are regarded as spectacular, massive and awesome. Obviously when talking about waves and surfing it is very dependent on certain weather conditions, i.e. winds, tides, etc.
For some peculiar reason Co. Kerry doesn’t have the same reputation for its waves (sorry!) as some of the other counties along our western seaboard. Dingle, Inch Beach and the Ballycurrane peninsula are probably the best known places for surfing in Co. Kerry. My other half tried it near Derrynane which is a well exposed coastal area and nearly ended up on the Skelligs!
Co. Clare (the Banner County) is better known amongst the surfing fraternity with several hot spots such as Kilkee, Lahinch and Spanish Point being popular places to surf. Surfers have even named some of the waves. Aileen’s Wave is an example; which according to some experts is regarded as the nearest thing to the ‘perfect wave’ and reaches heights of over 9 metres. Aileen occurs off the Aill na Searrach (the Cliff of Foals) which is not a million miles away from the famous Cliffs of Moher. These giant waves are so spectacular that photos of them have featured in all kinds of magazines from National Geographic to the Red Bull magazine, which specialises in articles on extreme sports. The waves attract lots of locals as well as many international surfers. The perfect weather condition for Aileen to appear is stormy weather with strong easterly winds and big swells.
Further up the coast in Co. Mayo Louisburgh is a really beautiful place to surf with its long sandy beach. Moving on there is Belmullet where the coast juts out into the ocean and creates breathtaking surfing conditions, which can only be described as mother nature at its purest.
There are several superb surfing locations in Co. Sligo. Strandhill, Enniscrone are very popular and picturesque locations. However, Mullaghmore probably has a bit of an edge for surfers. Apparently in 2014 there were the perfect conditions with heavy swells and surfers came from all around the globe to meet an awesome challenge as shown in this video. This kind of surfing is only for the very experienced surfers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvwNaXmz5u8.
My surfing suggestions finish with a swagger up in Co. Donegal where the best surf to be had is at Rossnowlagh, Magheroarty and Falcarragh. Donegal is probably one of the most scenic and unspoilt places in the world and perfect for the less experienced surfers as well as the hardy ones.
I am not so sure I like the nickname for surfing in Ireland which is ‘cold Hawaii’. One of the reasons for this name is that apparently the best surfing conditions are during the winter. However, being a bit of a wimp I have chosen our Irish summer for my surfing blog. Maybe it was listening to all those Beach Boys records such as ‘Surfin USA’ which makes summer the perfect time for surfing. Anyway it is a sport which can only be described as exhilarating. So come on everybody Surfs Up………along The Wild Atlantic Wave.
Recommended places to stay:
Co. Kerry: Ard na Sidhe, Caragh Lake, Co. Kerry.
Co. Clare: Gregans Castle Hotel, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare.
Co. Mayo: Mount Falcon Castle, Ballina, Co. Mayo.
Co. Sligo: Coopershill House, Riverstown, Co. Sligo.
Co. Donegal: Harvey’s Point Hotel, Donegal, Co. Donegal.