“There are a million ways to surf, and as long as you’re smiling you’re doing it right.” – Unknown Author
There are many exceptional things that Ireland is famous, one in particular, is the world-renowned surfing facilities on offer on the Emerald Island. Surfers from all around the globe have long been heading to Ireland to experience the magnificent surfing conditions provided by the Irish sea.
Surfing in Ireland is unlike anywhere else, maybe because of Ireland’s unique location on the Northwest coast of Europe, meaning you’ll find the most turbulent of oceans in the world here.
From the north of Ireland to the south, there are endless beaches that provide great surfing environments for you to immerse yourself in. If you’re coming to Ireland simply to surf some of the best waves, you’ll definitely not be disappointed in the surfing capital of the world
You’ll also come to love the surfing culture in Ireland and surfing towns that have a lot to offer those visiting, you may be coming for the waves but you’ll surely fall in love with the atmosphere of the Irish seaside towns.
Keep reading to find out more about surfing in Ireland, the best place in Ireland to surf and more.
The Culture of Surfing in Ireland
Ireland has quickly built up an exciting surfing culture with surfing schools located all around the country. But surfing first arrived in Ireland back in the 1940s, when a young teenage boy who went by the name of ‘Joe Roddy’ headed out to the Irish sea with his homemade paddle board.
Two decades later, ‘Kevin Cavey’, who would later become known as the ‘Godfather of Irish surfing’ discovered the sport in an article by Reader Digest. From that moment onwards he wanted to learn more about the sport and bought himself his first surfboard.
Kevin Cavey made surfing trips to California and Hawaii where he grew his surfing skills. When he returned to his home country in 1966, Ireland’s first surfing club “Bray Island Surf Club”.was created after Kevin organised surfing trips around the coast of Ireland. This was the beginning of the popularity of surfing in Ireland. Kevin then further represented Ireland at the World Surfing Championships in San Diego.
This inspired the first Irish National Surfing Championships that took place in Tramore, County Wexford in 1967. As the love for the sport grew in Ireland, surfing clubs started popping up all around the country by the late sixties. Ireland began hosting international surfing events as people soon realised the phenomenal and testing surfing conditions the country offered.
Along with tricky waves, you have the amazing Irish scenery on display and the friendly nature of the Irish people that have helped turn Ireland into the surfing paradise is known for.
Best Places to experience Surfing in Ireland
There are plenty of places around Ireland to surf, you’ll never be short of a great Irish beach but here is ConnollyCove’s guide to best places to surf:
One of the most famous places you can surf in Ireland is in the seaside town of Bundoran, County Donegal. For many years, Bundoran has been known as the ‘surf capital of Ireland’ and there’s no surprise why with its incredible variety of beaches, where waves come in all shapes and sizes to test the best of surfers.
Bundoran lives and breath surfing with a great atmosphere that’s unmated by anywhere else in Ireland. One of the favourite beaches for surfing is at Tullan Strand, where you’ll find surfers visiting all year long, even in the midst of winter.
This is also a great spot to do some surf watching from the top of the hills that overlook the water below giving you the perfect viewing point. Bundoran is also home to great surfing schools for both adults and children, where you can master this much loved Irish sport.
Every summer in June, Bundoran welcomes its annual ‘Sea Sessions Festival’ which is Ireland’s first music and surfing festival, where you’ll get to see some famous surfers competing against each other.
People coming to Bundoran will not only fall in love with the surfing conditions but the lovely town that has a wealth of attractions and things to do.
Another fantastic surfing spot located in Donegal is Rossnowlagh beach: a perfect beach for both those wishing to learn surfing and those who have lots of experience. Rossnowlagh is a true beauty that you’ll be captivated by with its miles long of gorgeous sandy beach. There are many surfing schools located here such as Finn McCool’s Surf School that provides the ultimate surfing experience in Ireland to introduce you to the sport. You’ll also enjoy the great atmosphere of the seaside town in between surfing.
Head to the east coast of Ireland, where you’ll find the original home of surfing at Tramore, County Waterford. In the seaside town of Tramore, you can soak up all the surfing culture and history of the place. You’ll find surfing shops all around the town that also offer surfing lessons for those wishing to learn.
It is also home to Ireland’s oldest surfer club which is still active today. There is a lot of history when comes to Tramore and surfing thats why its a must stop on your surfing adventure around Ireland.
Tramore also offers a great place to stay while in Ireland with a variety of accommodation and leisure activities to enjoy.
In County Sligo, you’ll find one of Ireland’s most raved about surfing spots in the lovely village of Easkey. A very popular surfing destination that brings in people all around the world. Easkey is famous for its ‘reef breaks’; waves that break over rocks, making it more exciting and challenging for only experienced surfers.
In 1979, Easkey put itself on the international map, as a brilliant surfing place when it hosted the Pro/Am Surfing World Championships. Since then Easky has often found itself featured in surfing magazines.
Easkey is home to remote beaches and dramatic Irish cliffs that face the North Atlantic waves meaning you’ll always get good waves here. Easkey, Sligo is one of Ireland’s best kept secrets that a lot of people pass by not known the true gem of the place. So make sure you put Easkey on your Irish bucket list as it will surely be worth it.
Ireland is the real gem when it comes to surfing that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Surfing in Ireland is more than rewarding as you fall in love with waves, the beaches, people, the towns and that charming Irish atmosphere.
Where is your favourite place to surf in Ireland? Or have we inspired you to start planning an Irish surfing trip? Let us know in the comments below.