paddle boarding ireland

Paddle Boarding In Ireland [11 Scenic Spots]

Have you been keen to try paddle boarding in Ireland but don’t know where to start?

Famous for paddleboarding, Ireland provides some of the most beautiful landscapes perfect for adventures or even some ‘zen’ time in the open waters. 

To help you start planning your trip, we’ve curated this guide to give you all the information you need about paddle boarding in Ireland as well as where to go and what to look out for. 

Never tried paddle boarding? We got you covered too! 

If you’re heading to Ireland and would like to learn paddle boarding, we’ve got you covered. 

As you read on, you’ll find where you can get paddleboards for hire, where to go for lessons, and some beginner tips to start.

Are you ready? Let’s go.

All Best Places To Go Paddle Boarding In Ireland. 

  1. Caragh Lake, Kerry
  2. Killary Harbor, Galway
  3. Royal Canal, Kildare
  4. Old Head, Cork
  5. Lough Leane, Kerry 
  6. Inishbofin, Galway
  7. Clew Bay, Mayo
  8. Clifden, Connemara
  9. Lough Derg, Clare
  10. Dollymount Beach, Dublin 
  11. Portrush Harbour (Northern Ireland) 

DISCLOSURE

Some of the links on here are affiliate links, and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. I hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

Related Posts:

The Supreme Guide To Paddle Boarding In Ireland 

paddle boarding ireland

What is Paddle Boarding? 

This up-and-coming watersport is often performed in open waters, and if you prefer to stand up paddleboarding, you can practice this sport in rivers and lakes too. 

With paddleboarding, you will need to use your arms while kneeling, lying, or standing on a surfboard or a paddleboard to move forward and swim; whereas stand-up paddleboarding is described as a combination of kayaking and surfing but not necessarily with the waves. 

It requires standing on a big surf-like board and propelling yourself forward using a single-blade paddle and can be practiced in any area with open waters.

 It is also great for people who enjoy a good full-body workout as it is also known to improve fitness, enhance flexibility as well as improve stress relief. 

Where Can I Go Paddle Boarding In Ireland? 

Ireland promises no less than the picturesque landscapes and beautiful open waters it possesses, which makes it perfect for paddle boarding for every level, young and old. 

While the biggest paddleboarding community can be found in Dublin, you can also explore other areas such as the North Coast, Donegal as well as down south in the Co Cork and Kerry area.

Paddle boarding in Belfast can also be fun!

It is said in Ireland that you cannot throw a stone without it landing by a river or a lake. 

There are many places with bodies of water that stretch for miles; perfect for paddle boarding but be sure to keep an eye out and paddle around rocks and reeds to avoid any hazards. 

When venturing out in the seas in Ireland, be aware of the strong currents and ensure that you don’t paddle too far unless you’re sure you’re safe and comfortable in the water. 

You should also be wary of deep parts at the lakes and seas in addition to the underwater and rip currents that can be dangerous.

 And remember to always, always wear a buoyancy aid or a life vest when exploring the open waters, for your safety!

11 Best Places To Go Paddle Boarding In Ireland.

.

1. Caragh Lake, Kerry

paddleboarding in Ireland

Located in the Reeks District in County Kerry, Ireland, this freshwater lake was formed by the damming of the Caragh River. 

Here you will find yourself surrounded by the breathtaking landscape surrounding the lake and the highest mountain in Ireland, the Carrauntoohil in view.  

Best for: Beginners

Address: Oolagh West, Kerry, Ireland. 

For directions: Google Maps

Other activities you can try while you’re at Caragh Lake

  • Caragh Lake Trail  (1.7 km/ 30 minutes hike)
  • Mountain Spur Trail (410 m/ 10 mins hike
  • Fishing for freshwater fish at the lake 
  • The view featuring Carrauntoohil Mountain, Ireland’s highest mountain 

2. Killary Harbour, Galway

paddle boarding in Ireland

Killary Harbour is one of the three glacial fjords in Ireland, which is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs formed by glaciers. 

This stunning formation is located in the northern Connemara, in the west of Ireland, and features the incredible Mweelrea Mountain in the north and the Connemara National Park on the south, which you’ll notice in the background when you’re chilling on your paddleboard. 

Best for: Beginner and Intermediate Paddlers

Address: Leenane Village, Letterbrickaun, Co. Galway, Ireland (start here as a base) 

For directions: Google Maps

Other activities you can try while you’re at Killary Harbour: 

3. Royal Canal, Kildare

paddle boarding in Ireland

Connecting Dublin to the River Shannon in the West, the 132 km long canal offers many spots perfect for paddleboarding along the way. 

It is suggested that you explore the nearby areas, particularly around the village of Kilcock where you will get to enjoy the serene countryside without a lot of traffic on the waterways. 

You should also check out the Roman bath, aqueducts, and waterfalls that you will find on the way. 

Best for: Intermediate paddlers 

Address: Kilcock, Commons East, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

For directions: Google Maps 

Other activities you may enjoy while you’re at the Royal Canal

4. Old Head Of Kinsale, Cork

Paddleboarding in Cork

This remarkable piece of land that protrudes more than 3 km into the Atlantic Ocean is known as the Old Head of Kinsale. It used to be known for its lighthouse built in the 17th century, but is now a golfers’ and paddlers’ paradise for many enthusiasts. 

Paddleboarding in Cork can be quite a thrill as you will paddle out to the magical caves under the golf course and explore the surrounding area to the other side of the peninsula. 

They also provide lessons for beginners that will be part of the tour. 

Best for: Intermediate and advanced paddlers

Address: Downmacpatrick, Co. Cork, Ireland

For directions: Google Maps 

Nearby attractions you may be interested in near Old Head of Kinsale: 

5. Lough Leane Kerry 

paddle boarding in Ireland

Lough Leane is the largest of the three lakes of Killarney, flowing from the River Laune into Dingle Bay in the northwest. It comprises most of the national park there and you’ll have plenty to explore when paddling in the open waters. 

The easiest location to access is at Mahony’s Point where you can paddle across to Innisfallen, which is assumed to have contributed to the lake’s name that translates to “the lake of learning”. 

Best for: Beginners and Children 

Address: Lough Leane, Co. Kerry, Ireland

For directions: Google Maps 

Nearby attractions you may be interested in near Lough Leane: 

6. Inishbofin, Galway

paddle boarding in Ireland

Inishbofin meaning “Island of the White Cow” is a small island located off the coast of Connemara in Galway, Ireland. 

A special conservation area, two of Inishbofin’s beaches have been awarded the “Green Coast Award ” for their great water quality, crystal clear water, and their untouched natural environment. 

Best for: Beginners and Children 

Address: Inis Bó Finne, Knock, Co. Galway, Ireland

For directions: Google Maps 

Nearby attractions you may be interested in near Inishbofin

7. Clew Bay, Mayo

paddleboarding in Ireland

One of the best sunken drumlins in Ireland, Clew Bay is surrounded by Croagh Patrick to the south and the Nephin Range mountains to the North Mayo

John Lennon of the Beatles famously owned a home in the stunning island, which has 365 islands, one for every day in a year. For paddleboarding, this beautiful bay boasts an array of flatwater harbors, beaches, and inlets for you to explore. 

Best for: Beginners and Intermediate Paddlers

Address: Clew Bay, Co. Mayo, Ireland

For directions: Google Maps 

Nearby attractions you may be interested in near Clew Bay

8. Clifden, Connemara

paddleboarding in Ireland

Located on the Owenglin River, Clifden is the largest coastal town in the region of Connemara which flows into Clifden Bay. This location is deemed to be on every Irish’s list of places to check out, especially for paddleboarding

The calm flat waters that you find in Clifden are amazing for beginners and professionals alike. The crystal clear waters also make for an interesting adventure as you explore and take in all the beauty it has to offer in and out of the waters while you paddleboard in any of Clifden’s bays. 

Best for: Beginners and Intermediate Paddlers 

Address: Clifden, Co. Galway, Ireland

For directions: Google Maps 

Nearby attractions you may be interested in near Clifden

9. Lough Derg, Clare

paddle boarding in Ireland

Situated between the counties Clare, Galway, and Tippetary, Lough Derg boasts a picturesque stretch of 179km of shoreline. With a spectacular view of the Lakelands at every turn, this freshwater lake guarantees a little something for everyone. 

Paddleboarding is a popular sport among locals and tourists alike at Lough Derg, mainly for its great views and calm waters. You can also explore the nearby natural woodlands as you go. 

Best for: Beginners and Intermediate Paddlers 

Address: Kilgarvan Quay, Brockagh, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

For directions: Google Maps 

Nearby attractions you may be interested in near Lough Derg

10. Dollymount Strand, Dublin 

stand up paddle boarding in Dublin

This coastal suburban area known as “Dollyer” to the locals is home to the Dollymount Strand, a 5 km stretch of sandy beach. This beach is now a crucial nature reserve for birds and of the most protected areas of the island – favorite for stand up paddle boarding in Dublin. 

Famous for kitesurfing, paddleboarding is also popular here except, it may be a little choppier.

 Here, it will be more of a surf SUP session as you will encounter waves when exploring the waters. If you are unfamiliar with wave sessions, be sure to take a class first before! 

Best for: Intermediate and Advanced Paddlers 

Address: Clontarf East, Dollymount, Co. Dublin, Ireland

For directions: Google Maps 

Nearby attractions you may be interested in near Dollymount Strand

11. Portrush Harbour (Northern Ireland)

paddle boarding in Portrush

Located on the north coast of Ireland, Portrush Harbour is a seaside town providing excellent views over the ocean and a classic old town vibe for those who love a classic spin on their travel locations. 

This spot is also famous for paddle boarding in Northern Ireland, especially for those who seek to explore their crystal clear waters. It also has a variety of locations in protected harbors and flat sheltered waters in the East Strand ocean perfect for paddle boarding in Portrush.  

Best for: Beginners and Intermediate Paddlers 

Address: Harbour Road, Portrush BT56 8DF, United Kingdom 

For directions: Google Maps 

Nearby attractions you may be interested in near Portrush Harbour

What Is The Best Kind Of Tide For Paddleboarding? 

paddle boarding ireland

Depending on the kind of paddle boarding you aim to do, we highly recommend that you try paddleboarding during slack tides where the water movements are a lot less. 

Slack tides are especially recommended for beginners to ensure better control of the board and safety. 

The current of the water is usually weakest during slack tides because it is almost done switching from low to high tides or vice versa. 

Slack tides usually happen approximately 2 hours before and after low and high tides. 

However, some advanced paddlers may prefer a low tide compared to slack tides. Low tides have bigger waves because as tides constantly change, at that point they are most likely transforming from low to high tides. 

While the big waves can be fun to ride back to the shore, they can be quite dangerous if precautions are not taken accordingly. If you experience high tide when coming back to the shore, it can potentially drift you further into the water so be sure to keep yourself safe! 

How To Differentiate The Tides 

paddleboarding in Ireland

1. Observe The Surrounding Structures That Border The Water 

Structures like rocks and sand can be helpful to identify tides; if they are wet beyond the farthest point, the water is coming ashore. 

This means it is going from high tide to low, also known as an ebbing tide. A flood tide, on the other hand, is when the tides go from low to high and the natural structures appear visibly drier.

2. Teach Yourself How To Read A Tide Chart

A tide chart can be very handy to help you plan your paddleboarding trip in Ireland. Various apps can also be helpful, like this Irish app called High Tides, which provides information on high tide times for over 50 spots across the country.

3. Keep An Eye Out For Any Anchored Buoys Floating In The Water

Buoys usually float in the direction of the current and catch dead plants like seaweed or kelp; it is advised to look out for what side the buoys are on to better gauge the tidal conditions. 

What Should A Beginner Do When Paddleboarding?

If you are a beginner but are keen to try paddleboarding in Ireland, rest assured that by the end of this article, you will learn everything you need. 

As a beginner, it is important to have all the necessary equipment before you head on to your first paddle boarding experience and learn the basic skills needed for this fun sport. 

Here’s a rundown of everything a beginner should know. 

What You Will Need: 

1. Stand Up Paddle Boards 

Stand-up paddleboards have various sizes and types. 

Beginners are advised to use a thicker paddleboard with the appropriate length and width for your size as it will provide better stability to learn paddleboarding on the water. 

The most recommended type of paddleboard for beginners is an all-around paddleboard but several other types are also suitable for beginners such as inflatable SUPs, fishing SUPs, and yoga SUPs that can be used as a recreational paddleboard for beginners. 

paddleboarding in Ireland

2. Stand Up Paddles 

paddleboarding in Ireland

The best stand up paddles are constructed using different kinds of materials such as plastic, carbon fiber, and aluminum and come in different types of shaft shapes and handles. 

The basic rule is to ensure the paddle is always 6 to 10 inches above the height of the paddler. For flatwater use, size the paddle on the longer side whereas for surf use, use the shorter side. 

In addition to this, the blades are usually built with a slight bend at an angle to allow increased forward reach when taking a stroke . 

3. Leash

Above all, your safety should be your main priority when participating in any kind of water sport. Hence, it is essential to make sure your leash is attached to you at all times when cruising on the water. 

A high-quality board leash keeps you anchored to your board in case you fall, get lost, tired, or stray too far from the shore. 

paddle boarding ireland

It is also important that it doesn’t break off easily but is still detachable in case you need to free yourself from underwater plants or if your board gets pulled under by a strong current.  

You may also want to get a paddle leash to make it easier for you to pull them to you every time they slip from your hands. 

4. Personal Floatation Devices

Ireland has made it compulsory for anyone on a personal watercraft to wear a lifejacket at all times while onboard effective beginning 2004. 

This means you must carry a floatation device at all times to keep you safe from any mishaps when exploring the open waters. If you’re looking to find a suitable one, check out this article to find the best life jacket for paddle boarding. 

paddle boarding ireland

You can learn more from the World Paddle Association (WPA). 

Golden Rules Of Paddle Boarding: 

SUP for sale in Ireland

1. Learn How To Stand Up On A SUP Properly

Start on a flat and calm water surface with a sturdy wide board that should feel comfortable and stable when you stand up. Be sure to move calmly and engage the center of your body as you stand. 

  • Begin in a kneeling position and take a few strokes on each side of the board as you move forward slightly in the water. 
  • Stand up slowly with one foot at a time while trying to maintain balance in the middle of the board keeping each foot parallel to the stringer. 
  • Keep your core centered in the middle of the board and slightly relax your knees to keep a slight bend. 
  • If you fall, don’t give up! Hop back on and give it another shot. Remember to breathe and engage your core as you maintain balance on the board. 

2. Learn How To Paddle Properly  

You should never attempt to scoop yourself forward with the paddles as that can cause unwanted water splashes and you losing your balance. It is one of the most common mistakes beginners make. 

Ideally, the best way to use your paddle is to make sure your paddle is flipped over and the bent part faces away from you.

 It can also be dangerous to have your hands close together as it can tire you out faster and result in reduced power in your strokes. 

Here’s how to position your hand more effectively:

  • Standing, keep your body straight and grip the non-blade end of your paddle.
  • Raise and grip the paddle over your head horizontally with both hands, and rest the shaft at the top of your head. 
  • Ensure the shaft is parallel to your shoulders and the arm holding the grip is positioned at a 90-degree angle
  • Glide the other hand (the one not holding the grip) along the paddle shaft until a 90-degree angle is also achieved with that arm. 

3. Make Sure You Engage Your Core And Keep Your Head Up

One of the most important things you need to remember about paddleboarding is that instead of your arms, your paddling should be done by your core. 

Keeping your core engaged can help hold your balance on the board and to ensure you paddle effectively. 

Standing straight is also essential during paddleboarding as it helps you maximum stability and maintains balance when you’re in the water. 

Try and maintain good posture by looking straight up, pulling your shoulders back, keeping your back straight with your knees slightly bent, and keeping the weight of your body anchored to the balls of your feet comfortably.  

4. Remember To Fall “Away” From The Board

Almost every paddler has fallen off their SUPs – which is quite inevitable, no? 

However, not many beginners know how to fall properly, which can be a key lesson to avoid future injuries.

You must make sure you always fall away from your board, as it is heavy and big and may hit you in the face. This is particularly important when you’re riding waves or in strong currents. 

What Is The Appropriate Age For Paddle Boarding?

paddleboarding in Ireland

Paddleboarding is suitable for anyone, young and old. 

However, it is highly advised to ensure children are properly monitored and accompanied by an adult at all times, especially around the deeper and moving parts of the water. 

It is recommended that a child should be at least the age of 5 to 8 years old when they begin to learn to paddleboard. 

If your child is small and your longboard is more than 12 feet (13.5 meters) long, it may be a good idea to keep them on the board with you while you paddle. 

This way, your child can familiarise themselves with the water, and how it feels to glide on the water before they can attempt to stand on the board by your side. 

What Do You Need For Paddle Boarding? 

Now that you’ve got your basics covered, it’s time to look for your gear for that paddleboarding trip in Ireland. 

You will need a stand-up board, a paddle, a leash, a personal floatation device, a whistle, and light as well as comfortable clothing. These may seem like a lot, but they are important components of your gear. 

You can find SUP for sale in Ireland in sport shops, paddle boarding centers and paddle schools all around the country. 

1. A Paddle Board 

For beginners, it is recommended to use a wider paddleboard to maximize stability. The Serene Life Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board helps with just that. It also has a non-slip top that is soft to help cushion your falls and keep you comfortable when you need to sit or kneel. 

paddle boarding ireland

Some other incredible options include: 

2. Stand Up Paddles 

When paddling through the waters, you’ll need a sturdy and reliable paddle that floats. The Attwood Emergency Telescoping Paddle comes highly recommended by avid paddlers. It is durable, has floating properties, and the best part? It’s also adjustable! 

paddle boarding in Ireland

Some other great stand up paddles we found include: 

3. A Leash 

A leash is crucial to keep you anchored to your board in case you fall off your board or get swept by a strong current. 

Your paddleboard is a large floatation so being attached to it is quite important and the Unigear Premium Coiled SUP Leash is the perfect choice as it comes with a waterproof phone case. 

paddle boarding in Ireland

Some of our favorite leashes for SUPs include: 

4. A Personal Floatation Device 

A personal floatation device helps keep you afloat in the water especially if you fall into the water. One of the most recommended floatation devices is the Stearns Youth Boating Vest. It also comes with 3 adjustable 1-inch buckled straps for a secure fit.  

SUP for sale in Ireland

Other floatation devices that are fans favorites include: 

5. A Whistle And Light

In case you fall off your board or get lost in the open waters, it’s essential to carry a whistle and lighting device with you at all times to indicate your location or ask for help. 

Some of our favorites are the UST See-Me Waterproof LED Light that comes in bright orange and the Michael Josh 2 Pcs Outdoor Emergency Whistle which can be clipped to your vest for additional safety. 

SUP for sale in Ireland
UST See-Me Waterproof LED Light
SUP for sale in Ireland
Michael Josh 2 Pcs Outdoor Emergency Whistle

You can also check out the following options: 

Whistles 

Flashlights 

How To Choose The Best Paddleboard For You? 

SUP for sale in Ireland

There are types of paddle boards that are primarily used for paddle boarding, a hard type and an inflatable one. When choosing the best paddleboard for you, make sure it has enough volume (buoyancy) to properly keep you afloat based on your weight. 

If the paddler is too heavy for the board, the board will sink into the water and can create more drag that makes it harder to pick up speed on the water. 

When compared to a hardboard, an inflatable paddleboard will be a lot easier to handle. 

They’re relatively more lightweight, easy to carry around, and would be more suitable for beginners who’re just looking out to try different locations famous for paddle boarding in Ireland. 

Remember to take the weight of your gear and anything else that you will be carrying with you into account when considering if the weight capacity of the paddleboard is sufficient.  

If you’re looking for stand up paddle boards for sale in Ireland, check out Paddleboards Ireland for some good picks!

Where Can I Hire Paddle Boards In Ireland?

If you find yourself excited to learn paddle boarding in Ireland but you’re not quite sure if you want to buy one just yet, you could always rent one first! 

You can find paddleboards for hire at almost any locations that are known for SUP or at SUP schools or centers in Ireland.

 If you have trouble finding them, check out Get My Boat for a quick directory and the prices of some of the best paddleboard rentals in Ireland. 

How Much Should I Pay For Paddle Boards?

The prices for paddle boards vary depending on the different types of paddleboards there are in the market. 

For a good all-around performing inflatable paddleboard, they usually range between EUR 758 (USD 900) and EUR 1010 (USD 1200) for boards that are on the higher end of the spectrum with additional features. 

Some of these features include special fin setups and materials used. 

However, there are plenty of inflatable boards that are just as good that you can find for EUR 673 (USD 800) or less. Some even range from EUR 168 (USD 200) to EUR 421 (USD 500) on Amazon. 

Other types of paddle boards also vary in price: 

  • Epoxy SUP Board: approximately between EUR 589 (USD 700) and EUR 1683 (USD 2000)
  • Soft Top Paddle Boards: approximately EUR 336 (USD 400)
  • Molded Plastic SUP Board: approximately EUR 336 (USD 400)

Conclusion

So there you go – everything you need to know to plan for your next paddle boarding trip to Ireland. 

We hope this article helps you plan your trip accordingly and find the perfect paddle boarding spot in Ireland, discover the magic of the Ireland seas and lakes and just for some good, fun time in the sun on your paddle board. 

The Supreme Guide To Paddle Boarding In Ireland

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