Perfect wave highlights Ireland’s surfing destinations
The world’s surfing radar was honing in on the west of Ireland this week with the discovery of one of Europe’s biggest waves dubbed ‘Prowlers’ by the hardy surfers who ventured out on it. While they are refusing to disclose its exact location (they have been waiting for five years for the perfect conditions to surf the wave), it breaks on an undersea reef about 2km off the west coast. Aileen’s, the perfect wave at the base of the Cliffs of Moher that exploded on to the world’s surfing radar screen in recent years, now has a new rival as Ireland’s most spectacular surf spot.
The news just confirms that Ireland is the hottest place to surf right now, regardless of the temperatures. With a stunningly beautiful and rugged coastline that offers a fantastic variety of beach, reef, and point breaks, there is a winter surfing break to suit every level.
Some have even termed the country a ‘cold Hawaii’ comparing the wave quality and swell frequency to the Pacific archipelago. While it is true that our waters are a bit chillier than tropical locations, the benefit of this is that is keeps the crowds at bay, and the water is not actually that cold. Thanks to the modern wetsuit and more importantly, the Atlantic’s warming Gulf Stream, you can comfortably take to the ocean even in the depths of winter. Plus the prime surfing season is now well and truly upon us (September – May), so whether you are a veteran of the board, or a wave breaking novice, check out some of the seaside spots that embrace the surfer’s laid back approach to life, and combine great value accommodation with excellent restaurants, lively pubs, and sublime coastal scenery.
Surf spots for all
From the internationally renowned perfect wave that breaks at the base of the Cliffs of Moher to the more beginner friendly waves on safe and friendly beaches like Tramore in Co Waterford, Lahinch in Co Clare, or Rossnowlagh in Co Donegal, there is a surfing spot in Ireland to suit all levels of expertise. Many of the big wave surfers are also fully qualified teachers at surf schools and are more than willing to pass on their impressive wave knowledge to novices.
Dive into Donegal
Breathe deep and experience the exhilaration of riding the waves in Donegal, a county rich in scenery, culture and, more importantly, waves. Surfing locations include Inishowen and Fanad Head in the north of the county. Travel even further northwest for amazing waves around Dunfanaghy, Bloody Foreland, and Dungloe. Bundoran is often referred to as Ireland’s surfing capital. The town’s coastal area is blessed with a wide range and variety of beach, reef, and point breaks. From the world class reef break of the Peak to the ever consistent Tullan Strand, Bundoran has a suitable wave for all styles and levels of surfer.
Surf’s up in Sligo
Sligo is the perfect spot for a fun and exhilarating surf holiday, with beaches like Enniscrone and Strand Hill, which are now internationally recognised. West Sligo is also a haven for surfers with beaches like Aughris, Easkey and Enniscrone, and there are several surf schools dotted around the area if you feel you would like to brush up on your board skills. All levels of experience are catered for, so it is the perfect place for the whole family or a group of friends to experience a fun and challenging winter surf break.
The west of the country beckons surfers with fantastic beaches. The main locations for surfing in Mayo include Belmullet and Keel Strand on Achill Island, as well as the beaches around Westport like Bertra Beach. Or have an ultra clean surf in Co Galway, the surf spot that keeps surfers coming back for more with great restaurants, a lively nightlife, and more importantly great surfing, particularly in the Clifden area.