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Kayaking Trips along the Wild Atlantic Way

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Full of wild scenery and clear blue waters, the west coast of Ireland is regarded as a haven for fun and exhilarating offshore action. Whether you’re new to the paddle or a seasoned expert, kayaking trips and canoe excursions offer a thrilling chance to explore the Wild Atlantic Way…


The heart of kayaking Ireland is without a doubt the Wild Atlantic Way. From the Northern Headlands all the way down to the Haven Coast in the south, its crystal blue waters are your gateway to relaxing, refreshing and truly invigorating experiences. Canoeing and kayaking have become extremely popular ways of exploring the majesty of the Wild Atlantic Way. But what’s the difference? Kayaking refers to any enclosed boat with a double paddle, while canoeing is an open boat with a single paddle. 

Found in the heart of Galway City, the Corrib Canoe Courses team provide a great opportunity to get to grips with the fun sport of canoeing in a safe and controlled environment that caters for every level of paddler, while Clare Water Sports in County Clare offer an environmentally-friendly experience that takes in Dromore Wood Nature Reserve and Inchiquin Lake

As for the increasingly popular activity of kayaking, the waters of the Wild Atlantic Way are often dotted with people paddling in search of adventure and unforgettable sights. “Carbery’s One Hundred Isles in Roaring Water Bay in Baltimore is particularly spectacular,” says Jim Kennedy of 
Atlantic Sea Kayaking who operates out of Skibbereen in west Cork. “It really has everything! It’s a great combination of safe and sheltered areas, you have excellent access to the water, the
infrastructure is superb and it’s very scenic. Urban kayaking is also very popular and it’s a really interesting way to take in the sights of a town by day and at night.” 

Kayaking and canoeing in Kilkee, County Clare
Taking in the sights on the waters of Kilkee, County Clare 

A seasoned veteran of the Wild Atlantic Way’s unique environs, Jim has been putting the likes of Lough Hyne on the canoeing and kayaking map for the past 24 years, while his native Cork has been hailed as one of the world’s best cities for kayaking. If it’s your first time, he highly recommends checking out the Blueways; an ever-expanding and inviting network of water trails on the west coast of Ireland that incorporate paddling, walking and cycling.

Elsewhere on the west coast of Ireland, the charming fishing village of Doolin is a notably popular place for taking a kayaking trip. “It’s a smaller version of Dingle in its way, but unique in its own right,” says Patrick O’Regan, who, alongside his wife Kelly, runs North Clare Sea Kayaking in County Clare. 

“It’s part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark which has UNESCO status. Paddling in the Burren National Park along the Burren coastline, we take in the shale and sandstone cliffs of Liscannor Bay. It’s quite a contrast to the limestone cliffs of the Burren region. There are beautiful sheltered bays in the area and we take in wildlife sanctuaries and marine life. Mutton Island off the Spanish Point coast about 12 miles outside Doolin is another great spot to check out. Embarking on kayaking trips enables you to explore these vast areas that you may otherwise miss.” 

For more great water-based activities on the Wild Atlantic Way, check out our guide of the best places to learn how to surf.


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