Pick up your SUP and head for the door to paddle your worries away in a few of our favourite spots to go stand up paddle boarding in Ireland!
Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) is a rapidly growing sport in Ireland. And we can see the appeal, it’s a fantastic way to stay fit and explore Ireland’s waterways. The Irish coastline is littered with great spots to hone your skills and work towards that six pack you were promised by your SUP instructor. This list of our favourite places includes spots that are both inland and open water and will be sure to whet your appetite.
1. Caragh Lake, Kerry
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Caragh Lake is ideal when the conditions are favourable. Still and serene, an SUP session here will have you relaxing and escaping your woes the moment you set foot on the water. If you look east, you’ll be able to see the peaks of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range, including Carrauntoohil. The lake is huge meaning there’s plenty to explore and loads of entry points into the water. One of the main bases is by the Lake House on the north east banks of the lake.
2. Killary Harbour, Galway
Hit the water in Ireland’s only fjord and you’ll be rewarded with intimate views of the rugged beauty of Connemara. The peak of Mweelrea dominates the northern skyline and the hills of the Connemara National Park dominate the south. With the fjord far inland, the water is calm making it perfect for cruising around. Use the village of Leenane as a base and explore away.
3. Royal Canal, Kildare
The Royal Canal is 132km long and connects Dublin with the River Shannon in the west. There’s plenty of spots along the waterway that are great for paddle boarding. Our favourite section is around the small village of Kilcox. You’ll encounter very little traffic on the waterways and will be at liberty to enjoy the calm Irish countryside. Along the way, you’ll pass waterfalls, aqueducts and an ancient Roman bath at Leixlip.
4. Old Head, Cork
Old Head is the name of the peninsula that juts out into the ocean west of Kinsale. Starting from Old Head on the eastern side you’ll have to paddle about 5km along the coastline until you reach where the land narrows ahead of the golf course. Keep your eyes peeled and you should be able to find the entrance to a tunnel that runs completely through the rock to the western side. Exploring these mysterious sea caves is really magical. However, because you’re quite far out at sea and at the base of cliffs this is one spot best suited to more experienced SUP boarders.
5. Lough Leane, Kerry
Leane is one of the three lakes of Killarney and makes up much of the north of the national park there. There’s plenty to explore and you’ll be able to paddle right up to Ross Castle which sits on the banks near the town of Killarney. You can also paddle across to Innisfallen and explore the ruins of the abbey there. The easiest place to access the water is Mahony’s Point.
6. Inisbofin, Galway
Inisbofin is the perfect place to step back in time and escape the trappings of modern society. And what better way to see it than from a paddle board on the water. Paddle along the coast, stopping to park up for a picnic on Port beach, take in some history at the Barracks and the Cromwellian fort, go for a wander around the Light Tower. If bringing your own SUP is too much effort, don’t worry there’s a great school here called SUPBoffin that will take you out on the water.
7. Clew Bay, Mayo
Clew Bay consists of 365 islands and drumlins formed when glaciers reshaped the landscape in the last ice age. Therefore it is the perfect spot to get the stand-up paddle board out and explore. Make sure to stop off at one of the many blue flag beaches around. Or if you are up for a real challenge, why not paddle the whole Greenway all the way to Achill Island!
8. Clifden, Connemara
Clifden is on every Irish list of places to see for a reason. What better way to experience its rugged beauty than from the water. We would definitely recommend a sunrise paddle to experience it in all its glory.
9. Lough Derg, Donegal
Paddle down the canal at Killaloe and out onto the open lake, you’ll discover a hive of activity, people fishing, kayaking, and sailing. The lake is big enough that you can get a spot to yourself to relax and explore. Why not try some SUP yoga while out on the water?
10. Dollymount Beach, Dublin
Kitesurfers tend to claim Dollymount beach as their own but there is plenty of room for you and your stand up paddle board. As this is a beach it will be a surf SUP session. So, if you have only paddled on flat water before then we suggest you take a wave class first. SurfDock is one of the places that offer wave sessions. If you want to see it before you try it, then head along to Puremagic’s Battle for the Bay. It is held on Dollymount Beach every year and there’s always a great buzz around and a chance to watch or compete in the SUP competition.
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