The Cliffs of Moher are world famous and attract about one million visitors a year but only a hand full of people get the opportunity to kayak under these 700ft goliaths. This is a trip that ranks high on most sea kayaker's to do list and its one I was fortunate enough to bag on a spectacular Monday afternoon in June.
I have decided this year to take every opportunity the weather and work gives me to tick off some of Ireland's best sea trips. So a quick text or two on Sunday evening and a clear diary for Monday saw myself and Michael hit the road for Clare.
The forecast was for a 0.9m swell in the morning dropping in the afternoon to 0.8 and a light NE breeze. The temperature was forecast 22c-24c. I think it was more like 30c. The plan was to drive to Doolin and do an out and back trip to Hags Head in the afternoon sunshine. So that's exactly what we did.
We left Doolin Pier just after 2:30pm with a light breeze on our backs. I had to ditch my short cag within about 10 minutes I was sweating so much in the heat. We got some nice runners to carry us along to the cliffs which kept our minds occupied and the anticipation at bay for a little while longer. Neither of us had been to the Cliffs of Moher before so we were a bit excited.
As we neared O'Brian's Look Out the scale of the cliffs starts to hit you. The next thing that stuck me was the bird colonies and the strong smell. I have never seen so many birds in one place. It felt like we were in a David Attenborough documentary!
We managed to get inside Branaunmore the sea stack at the base of O Brian's Look out. Just a few small breaking waves to cool us off and on we went.
There were lots of ferries packed with tourists spinning under the cliffs as well. They actually helped give some perspective.
We stopped at the next small stack for a short break.
When we reached Hag's Head I was surprised to find 3 passages through the headland. The first is very narrow and only possible in flat conditions but looks fantastic. The second is much larger and we skipped through without much hassle. We did get some exciting clapatus at the exit but it was fine. We looped back through the third passage which is a fantastic sea arch that can be seen from the start of the trip.
We made our way back to Doolin Pier keeping a few hundred metres off the cliffs. Total distance was about 18km and 4 hours on the water.
A highly enjoyable trip that ranks with the best I have done. Check out the video below.
David Horkan from Paddle & Pedal. Posting info on various outdoor adventures in Mayo and around Ireland.