You don’t always think about Ireland as a surf destination, but you should. The Surf Coast has waves, festivals and a rich culture to explore.
Grab your board and head to the Wild Atlantic Way, a section of Irish coast whose waves are big as the area’s reputation. This is the coast that poet WB Yeats wrote poems about, the coast that contains artefacts dating back to the Neolithic period at Ceide Fields, the coast whose beauty will take your breath away.
Here are some great reasons to visit the Surf Coast:
The other West Coast
Why should LA have all the fun? Ireland’s west coast has incredible surf spots like Mullaghmore Head that is the capital of surf culture here. Mullaghmore Head juts right out into the Atlantic with epic waves crashing along the jagged coastline. This is not surfing for beginners, this is where international greats like Kelly Slater come to challenge themselves, or where locals come to blow off some steam.
Just a short boat trip away is Inishmurray Island that is home to the monastic ruins of Classiebawn Castle, a Gothic beauty.
Time for a quick prayer
When you see the waves at Downpatrick Head in Country Mayo you might be glad that there is an ancient church and stone cross nearby – you might want someone watching out for you when you tackle the huge waves here.
For another type of water sport try kayaking between the Dun Briste sea stack, a huge monolith not unlike the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. This piece of land was ripped from the mainland by high seas in 1393 and those left on the stack had to be rescued by rope.
Surfing reality check
You come to this area for the waves, not a tan. This is a chilly, rough, often dangerous, coastline so it is for hardcore surfers only, no posers allowed. At Bundoran the waves are said to rival Hawaii and Tahiti, huge big wave breaks that will challenge the best surfers in the world.
Get your festival on
It’s not all serious surfing though, in June the coast puts on Sea Sessions, Ireland’s premier music and surf festival which sells out every year. Past lineups have included the Modfather, Paul Weller, grime maestro Dizzee Rascal and quirky rockers Everything Everthing.
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Have been to the Surf Coast?
Written by Paul Chai, KarryOn contributor
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