01 Jul 2019
Ireland’s extensive inland waterways and Atlantic-washed coast make it a superb destination for lovers of water-based activities.
Whether canoeing on a peaceful lake, battling Atlantic surf or kayaking on moody seas there is a water adventure waiting for everyone on the island of Ireland.
Thousands of miles of coastline, lakes and rivers provide opportunities to paddle or power your way through the water in the knowledge that you’ll have plenty of wide open space to yourself.
How about some sea kayaking along the Wild Atlantic Way? Head for the Blueway, a network of water trails stretching from stunning north Mayo to south Galway.
Pick up a kayak at beautiful Keem Beach on Achill Island, one of five Blueway sites, and take to the crystal-clear waters for an Atlantic adventure that will leave you feeling liberated and revitalised.
Alternatively, slip into the water and enjoy a glide by canoe around the peaceful lakelands of County Fermanagh.
Regarded as a ‘paddler’s paradise’, Upper and Lower Lough Erne are studded with many islands creating opportunities to stop off and step into another world. The famous monastic site on Devenish Island has centuries-old churches and towers to explore, while White Island is the site of enigmatic ancient stone figures.
Those who want a bit more of a challenge can follow the 50km Lough Erne Canoe Trail and enjoy a spot of wild camping on the islands along the way. Or for a night under the stars in more comfortable surrounds head for Finn Lough in Lower Lough Erne and stay in a luxurious bubble dome which is furnished with a four-poster bed and ensuite bathroom.
For high adrenalin water kicks swap your paddle for a surfboard and take to the waves. Bundoran in County Donegal is one of the island’s surfing hotspots, with swells that power across the North Atlantic onto beaches and reefs.
Ireland’s most famous reef break, The Peak, is here and has become one of the world’s must-surfs. But there are waves to suit all abilities and numerous surf schools that will take you from your first wobbly wave to a heart-stopping ride.
And after the thrills and spills of the surf, Bundoran has plenty of lively bars and restaurants where you can hang out with other surfers and locals sharing a bit of craic.
A more unique way to explore the water is with stand-up paddle boarding. With no special skills required, City Paddle Boards in Derry~Londonderry can provide all the gear and take you on a relaxing exploration of the River Foyle to see the Walled City from a whole new angle.
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