April 18, 2023

Ultimate Guide to Water Sports in Ireland

When the sun shines, water sports in Ireland are an unbelievably fun past time!

And with our wide variety of beaches, coastlines and beautiful lakes, there is no shortage of options.

So if you’re a pro or a beginner, there is something for everyone.

In this definitive guide to water sports in Ireland, we’ll look at the many activities available, the best places to attempt them, and everything else you need to know to get started.

Let’s dive in and experience the thrilling world of water sports in Ireland, from surfing the waves in County Clare to kayaking on the peaceful lakes of County Kerry.

water sports Ireland

Types of Water Sports in Ireland

Water sports fans will find a variety of interesting activities around Ireland’s magnificent shores and rivers.

Here are a few of the most popular sorts of water sports in Ireland:


Ireland’s west coast is known for its world-class surf breaks, with some of the best waves found in counties such as Clare, Sligo, and Donegal.

There are plenty of places to catch a wave and ride the surge, whether you’re a novice or an expert surfer.


With its quiet lakes and rivers, Ireland is a perfect kayaking vacation.

There are many areas to explore by kayak in Ireland, from the breath-taking beauty of the Lakes of Killarney in County Kerry to the crystal-clear waters of Lough Corrib in County Galway.

We’ve done a full review on our Inflatable Kayaks here. 

Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP Boarding)

For good cause, SUP has grown in popularity in recent years.

This low-impact activity is a terrific way to get in shape while also seeing Ireland’s waterways.

water sports Ireland

There are numerous ways to enjoy this enjoyable pastime, ranging from SUP yoga in Dublin to picturesque paddles along the Wild Atlantic Way.

For more information, check out our Ultimate Guide to SUP Boarding.


Ireland is a popular location for windsurfers due to its strong winds and large waves.

County Cork, County Kerry, and County Waterford have some of the best windsurfing sites.


Bodyboarding is a fun and easy water activity in which you ride waves on a small, buoyant board.

This activity is popular among people of all ages and abilities, and it can be done on many of Ireland’s beaches.

County Clare has some of the best bodyboarding areas, where Atlantic swells provide excellent waves for riders to carve and ride.


Wakeboarding is an exciting water activity in which you are pushed along by a boat while riding a board.

This activity is popular on Ireland’s various lakes and waterways, with some of the greatest sites in County Cavan and County Monaghan.


This adrenaline-pumping sport combines aspects of surfing, windsurfing, and paragliding.

The windy coastline and shallow waters of Ireland make it an ideal site for kitesurfing, with some of the best spots being in County Wexford and County Sligo.

Diving/Snorkelling/Open Water Swimming

Divers will find a diverse assortment of marine life in Ireland’s seas, including colourful fish, seals, and even basking sharks.

Divers can explore a magnificent underwater terrain comprising rocky reefs, sea caves, and kelp forests at the Skellig Islands off the southwest coast.

Malin Head, Donegal Bay, and the Blasket Islands are other famous diving spots.

With a variety of diving schools and operators across the country, it’s simple to select a diving experience that matches your level of expertise.

water sports Ireland

Snorkelling is an excellent method to discover Ireland’s underwater life without requiring any training or equipment.

The Dingle Peninsula, where you can swim with playful dolphins and seals, and Inisheer Island, where you can snorkel around the famed ‘Wreck of the MV Plassey’ – a sunken cargo ship that has become a popular diving and snorkelling site – are two popular snorkelling destinations.

Open water swimming is a terrific way to experience Ireland’s waters for people who prefer to stay closer to the surface.

The country is home to a number of attractive and demanding swimming spots, such as the famous ‘Forty Foot’ swimming place in Dublin Bay and the iconic ‘Lough Hyne’ lake in West Cork.

The annual ‘Liffey Swim’ in Dublin is another prominent open water swimming event that draws swimmers from all over the world.

There are also huge Benefits to Sea Swimming too!

See what we mean about having something for everyone?

Thrill seekers, explorers or relaxers, there is a water sport for you all.

Top Locations for Water Sports in Ireland

We’re lucky in Ireland to have some of the most beautiful and amazing waterways and coastlines for all your water sports.

And there’s no shortage of them too, no matter where in Ireland you live.

These locations are just a handful of places for you to check out.

Lahinch, Co Clare

Lahinch is one of Ireland’s premier surfing or bodyboarding venues, offering year-round decent waves.

This picturesque seaside town is a water sports mecca, with several chances for surfing, bodyboarding, and kitesurfing.

water sports Ireland

Killary Harbour, Co Galway

Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord, is a stunning location for kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.

The calm seas and breath-taking surroundings make it a must-see destination for nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts.

water sports Ireland


Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry

The Dingle Peninsula is a popular windsurfing location, with high winds and gorgeous beaches making it ideal for this thrilling activity.

Brandon Bay is a very popular destination for windsurfers.

Lough Derg, Co Tipperary

Lough Derg, Ireland’s third-largest lake, is ideal for wakeboarding, waterskiing, and other towed water sports.

The lake’s clean waters and sheltered bays make it ideal for both novice and experienced riders.

Check them out HERE.

The River Shannon

The Shannon River is Ireland’s longest river, and its tranquil waters are ideal for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and fishing.

The River Shannon is a must-see spot for water sports aficionados, with many access locations and magnificent scenery along the route.

Check the guys at River Shannon Adventure Centre out.

Westport, Co Mayo

Westport is the ‘adventure capital of Ireland’ and there is no shortage of water sports to do.

There are numerous beaches that stretch out to Murrisk and Louisburgh on the foot of Croagh Patrick to do surfing, SUP Boarding or body boarding.

The scenery around the cliffs at Old Head are stunning for kayaking too.

Check out Destination Westport for more information.

There are so much more. Feel free to let us know.

Weather and Ideal Conditions

It’s critical to consider the weather and water conditions while planning your water sports excursion in Ireland.

The weather in the country can be unpredictable, so be prepared for fluctuations in temperature, wind, and rain.

When planning your water sports activities, keep the following points in mind:

Water Temp

Don’t forget, Ireland can be cold!

That means the water is most likely to be cold too! And in particularly varies in terms of season and location.

During the summer, water temperatures can range from 14 to 18°C, while in the winter, temperatures can dip to as low as 8°C.

Wearing adequate wetsuits and other gear is essential for staying warm and comfortable while enjoying the water.

Waves and Wind

When planning your water sports activities, wind and waves are important aspects to consider in Ireland.

Strong winds can make certain water sports more difficult or even dangerous, such as kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.

Waves can also vary based on location and season, so check surf reports and local conditions before heading out.

The Tide

Another important aspect to consider and check!

Tides and currents can have a substantial impact on water sports, especially those near the shore.

Strong tides and currents can make swimming, surfing, and other activities more difficult, so it’s critical to be aware of the local conditions as well as any warnings or advisories that may be in effect.


Another key thing to consider is visibility, especially when diving or snorkelling or going on long kayak trips.

Water visibility in Ireland can be influenced by a variety of factors, including weather and water pollution.

Before you go diving or snorkelling, or kayaking, always verify the local circumstances and water quality reports.

You can assure a safe and pleasurable water sports trip in Ireland by keeping an eye on the weather and water conditions.

Don’t be hesitant to seek advice from locals or water sports professionals on the finest places to enjoy your preferred activities.

With the proper planning and care, you may enjoy Ireland’s lovely waterways and stunning coastline.

Water Sports Ireland: Equipment

The proper equipment and gear are required for a safe and pleasurable water sports activity in Ireland.

Thankfully, Intersport Elverys will make sure you’re kitted out with the very best.

Before you go doing any water sports, it’s handy to have the right apparel, so why not check out our Swimming range HERE?

Here are some of the needed items for various forms of water sports:

Kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding

Stand up Paddle boarding requires a kayak or paddleboard, a paddle, and a personal flotation device (PFD) for kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.

Check out our full range of SUP Boards and Kayaks right HERE.

To keep comfortable and safe in the water, it’s also vital to wear appropriate clothes and footwear, such as a wetsuit or dry suit. Check them out HERE.

Read our Inflatable Paddle/SUP Board review guide here. 

Surfing & Bodyboarding

A surfboard, a wetsuit, and a leash are required for surfing and bodyboarding.

The sort of board and wetsuit you choose will be determined by your level of experience and the conditions you will be surfing in. Check out our bodyboards HERE.

Wearing suitable surf wax and sunscreen will also protect your skin from the sun and surfboard.

Towed Water Sports

A boat, tow rope, and the proper gear for your chosen activity, such as a wakeboard or set of skis, are required for towed water sports such as wakeboarding or water-skiing.

Wear a PFD and make sure the boat driver and spotters are experienced and aware about water safety.

Diving and Snorkelling

A wetsuit or dry suit, fins, a mask, and a snorkel are required for diving and snorkelling or open water swimming too.

It’s also a good idea to have a dive computer or timer, as well as make sure your tank and regulator are in good working order.

It’s best to rent or buy equipment from a reliable dive shop and get certified through a trustworthy diving organization.

Aside from these precise goods, you should bring proper clothing, footwear, and other necessities for your water sports expedition.

Sunscreen, a hat, a waterproof phone case, and a dry bag to safeguard your valuables are all good ideas.

Before heading out on the lake, make sure to verify local legislation and guidelines for equipment and gear requirements, and that all gear is in good functioning order.

Safety Tips for Water Sports

While water activities in Ireland can be tremendously exciting and fun, it is critical to prioritize safety to avoid accidents or injuries.

Here are some important safety tips to remember:

Check the weather forecast and tidal times

Before going out on the water, always check the weather forecast and tide times.

Strong winds, big waves, and changing tides can make water activities dangerous, so it’s critical to keep informed and avoid going out in bad conditions.

Wear adequate safety equipment

In the event of an accident or emergency, wearing suitable safety equipment can make a significant difference.

Always use a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket that is appropriate for your chosen water sport.

A helmet, wetsuit or dry suit, and protective boots are examples of additional safety equipment.

Know your ability!

When participating in water sports, it is critical to be realistic about your skill level and physical attributes.

To avoid accidents or injuries, never undertake a water sport in which you are not experienced or comfortable, and always keep within your boundaries.

Check equipment and gear

Before venturing out on the lake, make sure all of your equipment and gear is in good working order.

Check that your equipment is the correct size and kind for your chosen water sport, and replace any worn or damaged items.

Stay hydrated

It is critical to stay hydrated when participating in water activities, especially in hot or sunny conditions.

Bring plenty of water and electrolyte drinks to prevent dehydration.

Follow local laws and regulations

Familiarize oneself with local water sports legislation and procedures in your area.

Speed limits, equipment requirements, and designated areas for specific activities are all examples of this.


We hope you found this guide helpful.

As the weather begins to improve, why not get out and enjoy some water sports in the beautiful country we call Ireland?

Keep safe and have fun.

And why not check out our full range of water sports gear to help you choose which one you want to do?





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