Ireland probably doesn’t get the credit it deserves as a surfer’s paradise. However, that seems to be changing somewhat as more and more adventure seekers make the trip to explore Ireland’s sometimes hidden treasures. Indeed, beyond surfing, other extreme sports like cliff-diving have seen a bit of a bump recently.
Yet, one advantage Ireland holds over other countries is its size. A trip from its very most northern point, Malin Head, to its most southern, Brow Head, would take around eight hours if you were driving without stopping. It would take twice that time to drive from the northern part to the southern part of, say, a US state like California.
But why would you rush it? The coastal route from Malin Head in County Donegal to Brow Head in County Cork is called the Wild Atlantic Way. It offers some of the most stunning scenery, cracking pubs and, of course, opportunities to surf.
A good place to start is at Bundoran Beach in Donegal. It was in a CNN Travel list of the best surf spots in the world, and surfers will be faced with, as CNN put it, “shimmering green waters” and “rolling waves shaped by the headlands and flat rock reefs”.
Mullaghmore for the Skilled Only
Next up is County Sligo and arguably Ireland’s best two surf beaches, Mullaghmore and Easkey. The former is off the charts when it comes to difficult. Indeed, if you live sports betting for surfing, be careful of Mullaghmore because the 15-foot waves and choppy surfaces can scupper the chances of success for even the world’s best professional surfers.
Easkey is perhaps not as tough as Mullaghmore, but it is still only really suitable for experienced surfers. It has two reef breaks, which makes for some faster and hollower waves. The Irish surfing headquarters are located here, and it’s become a tourist hot-spot, so you can explain plenty of company in the water.
Mayo is the next county on your travels, and you can find plenty of great spots to surf. Achill Island, Doogh Strand, Carrowniskey, Elly Bay West, and Roonagh Pier are just a few of the names that spring to mind. Mayo has lots in the way of ‘hidden’ coves and beaches, so if you are on a romantic trip or just looking a bit of peace, you’ll find Mayo a great option.
Galway Famous for its Hospitality
Co Galway comes after Mayo, and while it probably trails Mayo, Sligo and Clare in terms of expert surf beaches, you can still find some decent waves in the north-west of the county. The hospitality in the county is legendary, however, so make sure you stop off at a few bars for a Guinness or two once you have put your board away for the day.
Lahinch Beach in County Clare should certainly be your next stop. Again, it does not have the difficulty of Easkey or Mullaghmore but the currents can be treacherous for inexperienced surfers. The surrounding area is beautiful too.
Kerry is the penultimate county on our list, and you’ll be able to choose from great surf spots like Inch Beach and Ballybunion. The latter especially is a nice option for beginners. You’ll also find some of Ireland’s most scenic views and the chance to see some breathtaking sunsets.
To finish up, Cork – Ireland’s largest county. The drive around the coast is quite long (by Ireland’s standards) and you’ll have to take some winding roads to make it all the way Castlefreke. It’s a brilliant spot to finish up on after your odyssey down the Wild Atlantic Way.