a person surfing in the ocean surfing in Ireland
Surfing at Strandhill, Co. Sligo. Photo: Brian Morrison, Tourism Ireland.

Surfing in Ireland: 5 Tips to Keep in Mind

Surfing in Ireland has become quite the popular activity for many tourists visiting the Emerald Isle.

A surfer at the Garrettstown Beach in County Cork in November. Photo: David Creedon/ Anzenberger for Tourism Ireland.

This is a sponsored post. As always, the ideas and opinions are my own. 

There are several beaches around Ireland that are suitable for the surfer, whether you're adept at the sport or just starting out.

They include Tullan Strand near Bundoran in County Donegal; Strandhill , Mullaghmore and Easkey in County Sligo; Lahinch Beach in County Clare; Inch Beach in County Kerry, and Inchydoney Beach in West Cork, all located along the Wild Atlantic Way.

A surfer gets ready to hit the waves at Lahinch Beach in County Clare. Photo: Brian Morrison, Tourism Ireland.

Of course, these are just a few of the beaches that you could surf on in Ireland.

Surfing isn’t just a fun and challenging activity, though.

There is plenty of information online that points to the health benefits of surfing, but if you want to get the most out of the sport, you may want to learn a little more about surfing. Here are 5 tips that will help.

1. Visit A Surf Shop

Unless you’re traveling around Ireland in your own car, something that is most convenient for tourists visiting Ireland from the U.K., you’ll want to visit a surf shop in Ireland.

Choosing a surf board at the Narosa Surf Shop in Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal. Photo: Nomos Productions for Failte Ireland.

You’ll get advice about the local conditions and the best time to surf and even get recommendations on the right gear for beginners.

2. Take Lessons

The next step is to take lessons, because the best way to learn more is to simply do. However, don’t expect to become an expert immediately. It’s worth knowing how to prepare for your first surfing lesson so you don’t expect too much and have a few of the basics down before you even get on the board.

Children take surf lessons from instructors at the Narosa Surf School in Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal. Photo: Failte Ireland.

Your instinct might be to stand up and ride that wave, but your instructor will help you master the fundamentals before anything else, so you feel confident when you’re finally capable enough to surf properly.

The newly National Surf Centre in Strandhill, Co. Sligo. Photo: Arken Construction.

There are plenty of surf schools in Ireland for the visitor to take. They include the Lahinch Surf School, the Strandhill Surf  School, the National Surf Centre, also in Strandhill, Co. Sligo, the Kingdomwaves Surf School, and the Inchydoney Surf School, among others.

3. Watch A Surfing Documentary Before You Leave

Besides lessons, it’s also worth learning more about the sport and its history. One way to do this is to read articles and interviews about pro surfers, but you can also find surfing documentaries online.

Many streaming services have engaging content about surfing, but they may not always be accessible in your country. If this is the case, learning how to get BBC iPlayer in USA or other countries across North America can help you find out as much as possible.

If you really want to learn about the history of surfing in Ireland, however, you should watch Keep It A Secret, which is available on Vimeo.

Keep It A Secret: The Story of The Dawn of Surfing In Ireland from Sean Duggan on Vimeo.

4. Hang Out with Other Surfers

Surfing is as much of a social activity as it is a solo one. Once you find a suitable place to surf in Ireland, it’s worth hanging out with other surfers so that you can learn the tricks and feel more confident when you finally get to surf solo, allowing you to get the most out of it.

5. Pick the Best Beaches

The perfect waves and conditions make the experience, so pick a beach in Ireland where you’re guaranteed to get the most enjoyment.

people surfing in the ocean surfing in Ireland
Surfing at the Ballybunion Beach in County Kerry. Photo: Gráinne Toomey, Tourism Ireland.

The beaches mentioned above are a good start or if you want to view special surfing events like the Sea Sessions Bundoran Open in County Donegal, head to the Irish Surfing Association website.

When Is the Best Time to Surf in Ireland?

The months of September, October and November are considered the best times of the year to surf in Ireland, although you would need to be quite hardy to brave the North Atlantic in November, when the weather in Ireland can be cold and damp.

a surfer on the beach with his dog surfing in Ireland
Surfing on the Dingle Peninsula. Photo: Jane Murphy, Failte Ireland.

Seasoned surfers will have no problem riding the waves, however. The reason why this is the ideal time of year for surfing is due to the low-pressure systems that emerge regularly. The water temperature in the autumn months varies from about 60 degrees Fahrenheit to a low of about 54.

Summer is the more popular time, especially for people who are just learning to surf. While the waves will be much flatter at this time of year, the water temperature is more bearable at around 61 degrees.

A wet suit, however, is recommended if you’re not used to the ocean temperatures around Ireland at any time of year.

Are you planning to surf when you get to Ireland? Let me know in the comments below.


Colette is a County Sligo native who created Ireland on a Budget to provide her readers with money-saving tips on how to get to Ireland and then save even more when they're there. She's a professional copywriter who lives in the New York area with her husband and two children.

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