Ultimate Guide to the Best Adventure Races in Ireland 2023
Ireland boasts some of the most exciting and best adventure races you can do.
They will challenge you mentally and physically, but you will have some great fun, meet some great people and take in some of the most amazing sights Ireland has to offer as well.
So it’s a win-win.
And because of their rise in popularity in recent years, most adventure races in Ireland cater for people of all levels and abilities.
This guide is going to list some of our favourite Adventure Races in Ireland for you to try.
What is an Adventure Race?
A multi-discipline race, adventure racing (also known as multi-sport racing) typically comprises trail running/hiking, cycling, and kayaking.
However, any outdoor sport can be a part of an adventure race!
Most, but not all, of the races in Ireland have predetermined courses, so you may enter knowing what to expect.
List of the Best Adventure Races in Ireland
So, in no particular order.
1 Westport Sea2Summit
Date: November 2023
Westport in County Mayo is known as the Adventure capital of the West of Ireland and there is no better way to sign off the Adventure Race season than the Sea2Summit.
You can take the name by face value too, as you literally start the race at sea level and climb to the very top of Croagh Patrick if you choose the Supreme category.
There is also the ‘Spirit’ race, which is a shorter and easier run aimed for runners who may never have done an adventure race before, but also challenging enough for those seeking that.
While the staggered run, split into Beginner, Intermediate and Advance, means you won’t get caught up in the wrong bunch!
Find more information here: https://www.westportsea2summit.ie/
Format: Spirit – 4k run, 8k cycle, 3k Mountain run up Croagh Patrick at half distance (1.5k) and at bottom (3k), 11k cycle, 4k run = total distance 30km
Supreme – 4k run, 8k cycle, 5k Mountain run up Croagh Patrick at half distance(2.5k) and at bottom (5k), 35k cycle hilly cycle at (14K) and end of cycle, 4k run – total distance 56km
2 Gaelforce West
Date: June 2023 (provisionally)
One of the most iconic adventure races in Ireland, this will take you through the wildly beautiful rural landscape of Galway and Mayo.
This 60km race will see you traverse through the rugged Wild Atlantic Way, Killary Fjord and the Connemara mountains and give you a serious challenge. They are also hoping to be back on Croagh Patrick for 2023!
There are 6 stages to the 60km route, where you will run, cycle and even kayak for the ultimate experience.
There are specific routes for Expert, Intermediate and Introductory adventure racers, but be warned that all are quite challenging.
Get the full breakdown here: https://gaelforceevents.com/en/gaelforce-west-the-course
Format: Run 24km, cycle 35km and kayak 1km along sealed roads, beach, bog, grassland tracks, open mountain and open water – total distance 60km.
3 Quest Killarney
Date: October 7, 2023
This year the organisers are planning Quest Killarney to be ‘bigger, better and more awesome than ever’.
This epic adventure involves racers running and cycling through the Gap of Dunloe, Molls Gap, Black Valley, Ring of Kerry, Torc Waterfall, Devil’s Punchbowl, Mangerton Mountain and Muckross House as well as kayaking across the Muckross Lake in Killarney National Park.
The real beauty of Quest Killarney is more than just the amazing scenery the Kingdom offers, it’s the range of difficulty levels it offers.
You can choose from 5 distances, starting from the basic 25km challenging up to the 83km Expert.
You can choose routes that will road run, trail run, cycle and kayak (optional) and test you at all levels.
Check it out here: https://www.questadventureseries.com/races/quest-killarney/race-info/
Format: 27km Challenge – 3 stage with 9.2km run, 16.8km cycle and 1km kayak
55km Sport – 5 stages with 9.8km run, 44.5km cycle, 1km kayak
65km Dual – 2 stages with 9km run and 56km cycle.
73km Pro – 7 stages with 16.km run, 56km cycle and 1km kayak
83km Expert – 3 stages with 26.1km run, 56km bike and 1km kayak.
4 Coast to Coast
Date: May 14-15 2023
This is as tough and extreme as Adventure Races come in Ireland.
You start in the seaside town of Enniscrone in Sligo and finish in Newcastle, Down, covering a total of 315.km on foot, nike and kayak.
Described as ‘Ireland’s toughest multisport race’, the Coast to Coast adventure race requires a support crew for entries and can be difficult to do, so this isn’t designed for your everyday racer.
Check it our here: https://www.26extreme.com/take-part/coast-2-coast-multisport-challenge-2022/
Format: Stage 1 Bike Enniscrone to Ballinamore – 108km Stage 2 Kayak Ballinamore to Ballyconnell – 26.5km Stage 4 Run Rostrevor to Newcastle – 40km Stage 3 Bike Ballyconnell to Rostrevor – 141km
5 Quest Glendalough
Date: April 1 2023
You will run, cycle and kayak around the beautiful Wicklow Mountains while taking in the amazing Glendalough Valley and monastic Round Tower.
It’s ideally suited for beginner runners, as well as those higher-level racers seeking a tough challenge.
Three stages that will challenge and entertain in equal measure: https://www.questadventureseries.com/races/quest-glendalough/
Format: 21km Challenge – consists of 4 stages with a total of 12km of cycling, 8km of running, and 1km of kayaking.
43km Sports – consists of 6 stages with a total of 26km of cycling, 16km of running, and 1km of kayaking.
59km Expert – consists of 8 stages with a total of 37km of cycling, 21km of running, and 1km of kayaking.
6 Quest Kenmare
Date: March 11 2023
The breath-taking Beara Peninsula mountains and the quaint boutiques of Kenmare Town are both included in Quest Kenmare.
Moreover, you can test yourself by cycling and kayaking across the breath-taking mountains and valleys.
Suitable for all levels of adventurers, Quest Kenmare is generally the first race of the year and we can’t think of a better one to start off on.
Check it out here: https://www.questadventureseries.com/races/quest-kenmare/
Format: 28km Challenge – this distance includes 6 unique stages with a total of 6km running, 21km cycling, and 1km kayaking.
43km Sport – includes 6 unique stages with a total of 10km running, 32km cycling, and 1km kayaking.
78km Expert – includes 8 unique stages with a total of 18km running, 59km cycling, and 1km kayaking.
7 The Wall Adventure Duathlon
Date: Mayo 20 2023
The Wall Adventure Race might be for you if you’re looking for an adventure race without kayaking.
Competitors will run and cycle their way across this challenging, difficult, and stunning 63km course in the heart of the Mourne Mountains.
Additionally, every path is completely waymarked, so no navigational expertise is needed to finish this course!
This race consists of three distinct stages: https://www.26extreme.com/take-part/wall-duathlon/
Format: A 15km mixed terrain run brings the race to a close after a 3km trail run, a 45km road cycling that passes the Meelmore, Spelga, and Attical mountains!
8 Wild Atlantic Adventure Race
Date: May 13 2023
Go to WAAR!
For both seasoned and experienced competitors to compete and challenge their own times and goals, there is the WAAR (Wild Atlantic Adventure Race).
The purpose of the event is to encourage everyone to engage in physical activity that promotes better mental health as well as to enhance the local economy by drawing visitors to the area throughout the weekend.
Check it out here: https://www.waar.ie/home
Format: There are four main categories offered by WAAR: Individual WAAR Route, Team (4 people or 2 people), and Sprint.
We know we’ve left out some really popular Adventure Races in this list, so feel free to let us know your favourites.
If you’re not up for an Adventure Race just yet, why not try trail running?
We’ve a blog on some of the best trails in Ireland right here?
Otherwise, check out our running category for some great deals.
Enjoy the adventure!