Ireland has become known amongst the surf elite as a destination of choice to catch big waves, however amongst the rest of us, Ireland has largely gone unnoticed as a surf destination – and is one of the most underrated surfing nations on the planet. With 3,172 kilometres of coastline, the island has surf peaks for all levels of experience. So where should you go to catch the best waves? Discover 8 surf breaks that will make you fall in love surfing Ireland. Ride them, and finish the day enjoying a trad music session at the nearest pub filled with conversations on the day’s best waves and the next big swell.
Surfing has become synonymous with Bundoran in the past number of years. Located in Co. Donegal, its growing popularity and generous beach & reef breaks, has attracted surfers from all the world.
Bundoran is also home to one of the toughest waves, the Peak, a reef break, several dozen metres out from where groms and beginner surfers hone their skills. If you happen to be in the area in June, Bundoran is also home to Sea Sessions, a yearly surf and music festival.
Rossnowlagh is one of Ireland’s best Blue Flag beaches. Not too far from Bundoran, it is quieter than some of the other surf spots and has great water quality.
The surf here is mostly consistent, with some particularly large swells in winter months. It’s a great beach for longboarders, with extended straight rides. The town also hosts the Irish Inter Counties Surfing Championships, Ireland’s longest-running surf competition, for over forty years.
Lahinch is consistently voted one of the top surf spots in Ireland thanks to the diverse range of breaks in the area. There are excellent beaches with consistent waves for beginners and plenty of good reef breaks for more advanced surfers looking to up their game.
Lahinch is also one of the only places in Ireland where you can get coaching from a former Irish surf champion. Lahinch Surf School is owned by former pro-surfer John McCarthy who runs the surf school and a crew of stoked surfers who will ensure you become addicted to surfing in cold water in no time.
Inchydoney is a small island, attached to the mainland by way of two causeways, and the gorgeous Blue Flag beach here is the perfect spot for surfing beginners to find their feet.
This beach also took the number one place in TripAdvisor’s list of its users’ favourite beaches, proving it to be a particularly must-see location. Longboard-friendly and versatile, this gorgeous beach is expansive with spectacular views.
Surfers flock to Strandhill, and for good reason – this beach break has an easy paddle-out and delivers a reliable stream of waves all year long. Southern, offshore winds, give clean conditions, but the beach is usually surfable even when the wind isn’t playing ball.
In addition to its surfing conditions, the beach offers unrivalled views of Knocknarea and Benbulben, which tower above it. A quiet, fun beach break with an easy paddle-out and tasty waves all year round. Both right and left barrel action is clean and good when it gets firing.
Enniscrone is a true gem. Another beginner friendly beach and popular family holiday spot, Enniscrone boasts a five-kilometer stretch of beach and more of Ireland’s stunning views. The waves are usually moderate here, making it an ideal introduction to the sport.
Due to its impressive size, Enniscrone never seems to get crowded, ensuring you have plenty of space in the water to hone those surf skills of yours. The relatively shallow waters make it perfect for beginners, especially those who might not be the most comfortable in the water.
This is Ireland’s most raved-about surf spot. There are two breaks here; a left and a right, but the left is a consistent reef peeler, which peaks standardly at about 10-15 feet, and really pumps when good swells roll in.
This is a spot you can surf all year long, and with two reef breaks to ride, even the more experienced surfer can find this one a fun challenge. The Irish Surfing Association is also based here.
Not to be confused with Inchydoney, Inch is a great surf spot on the Dingle Peninsula located on the unbelievably scenic Wild Atlantic Way.
Inch has both a beautiful strand with well-paced, good-sized waves which handle all types of swells really well, especially suited to longboards, and a long, much-lusted after right hand break off the reef that many surfers are still waiting for their chance to ride.
Surfing Ireland in the spring and summer are the best times of year, with August/September water temperatures averaging around 16°C. This dips, at the coldest time of year in January/February, to around 8°C.