Active Ireland - Page 3
Since its Celtic origins, Ireland has long enjoyed a strong seafaring tradition. Today, you'll find that maritime heritage very much alive in the harbors and marinas of modern-day Eire. While Dublin boasts an active sailing community and many fine yachts, the center of Irish yacht racing is Cork. This harbor city has produced many champion sailors, competing under the burgee of the famed Royal Cork Yacht Club. To the West, in Galway, old sailing traditions live on; classic gaff-rigged, red-sailed "hookers" (from the Gaelic hÃºiceÃrÃ) are still sailed for sport and pleasure. Each August, Kinvarra, Galway hosts the "CrinniÃº na mBÃ¡d" (Meeting of the Boats) festival. Yacht chartering is popular throughout coastal Ireland, with both crewed and bareboat charters offered from Dublin to Dingle.
With countless coves and inlets along its serpentine coastline, Ireland boasts every imaginable kind of sea condition, from gentle to extreme. Start with Connemara's Killary Harbor, a sheltered fjord, perfect for novices, that extends more than a dozen miles inward from the Atlantic. Each year Ireland invites paddlers from around the world to its Sea Kayaking Symposium (the 2000 gathering convened at Roaringwater Bay, West Cork in late October), featuring workshops on boating skills and navigation, and a gathering of like-minded travelers in a beautiful harbor setting, ideal for paddling.
No one will ever mistake Limerick for Lahaina, but yes, people do surf in Ireland. The West Coast, particularly County Mayo, boasts some of the most formidable surf in Europe. The strong winds and storms of the North Atlantic generate powerful swells that hit Ireland's West Coast with all the force of Hawaii's legendary breakers. But because Ireland enjoys a diverse coastal geography (beaches face north, west, and south), you can always find a rideable wave, no matter where the swell is coming from. And despite Ireland's northern latitude, the Gulf Stream keeps water temperatures tolerableÂ—conditions are similar to Northern California. Mayo's western beaches are pollution-free, earning the coveted blue flag for their clean waters.
For more information on adventure in Ireland visit www.adventuresports.ie Here you'll find a list of outdoor training centers and guide services approved by Ireland's Association for Adventure Sports.
For more information on rock climbing and hill-walking in Ireland, contact the Mountaineering Council of Ireland (MCI).
To review a listing of Ireland sailing schools, visit www.sailingireland.com.
For more information on sea kayaking, contact the Irish Sea Kayaking Association ; OileÃ¡in, their kayak cruising guidebook, covers seven mainland counties and 226 islands. Affiliated Killary Tours (011-353-95-42276) can assist in Connemara Harbor.
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