LAST UPDATED 12/09/2008
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Situated in the center of Bundoran & offers all ensuite rooms at affordable prices
Lahinch surf shop-- Ireland's first surf shop. Daily surf report with still photo and webcam
Catholic Encyclopedia

Level of surfing


Quality of surf

Very Good

Call code


Net code





1,448 km


Temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current


Extreme Cold, Severe Storms, Coup / Civil Unrest

Best Months

October - December




Euro (EUR)

Time Zone


Special Requirements



Bjarki S: Position map of the island of Ireland; 8 November 2004

Ireland is the third largest island in Europe, and the twentieth largest island in the world. It lies in the Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain, from which it is separated in the northeast by the North Channel, in the east by the Irish Sea, and in the southeast by St. George's Channel.
Ireland is divided into four provinces, these being subdivided into thirty-two counties. In the centre the country is a level plain; towards the coast there are several detached mountain chains. Its rivers and bays are numerous, also its bogs; its climate is mild, though unduly moist.


Sverdrup: Carrowmore tomb, Ireland; 26 September 2004

Ireland was first settled in about 6000 BC by a race of Middle Stone Age hunter-gatherers who lived there and hunted such creatures as the mega ceros, a giant variety of deer. Around 3000 BC significant technological improvements moved them into the classification of Bronze Age people.

In around 900 BC, a race known as the Celts appeared, who were the result of crossbreeding between European Bronze Age people and wanderers from central Asia. In the early 5th century AD, St. Patrick came to Ireland to convert the Irish, who were all Druidic, to Christianity.

The years that were the Dark Ages for the rest of Europe, between 410 and 800 AD, were a golden age for Ireland. The country flourished while the Roman Empire fell, fragmented and was plagued by attacks from Vikings, Muslims and Magyars. It was not to last however; Ireland's Dark Age was yet to come.

In 795, Vikings from Scandinavia landed on the Gaelic island of Iona and plundered a monastery there. By the early 800s, they had begun raids on Ireland itself, plundering it on a regular basis. By 841, they had established several well-fortified settlements in Louth and expanded aggressively thereafter, eventually conquering all of Ireland. In 1014, led by Brian Boru, the Celts almost completely eliminated the Viking presence in Ireland with the Battle of Clontarf.

Next came the Normans, who were of originally Viking origin. While some Vikings were raiding Ireland in the previous centuries, the Normans had settled in northern France and were intermarrying with the natives.  Within a few years they had captured Dublin and most other major cities, and so Ireland belonged to them.

Then the fate of Ireland was changed by a feud, which began between two powerful families: Tiernan O'Rourke and Dermot MacMurrough. Two other families joined in as well; Rory O'Connor sided with O'Rourke and Murtogh MacLochlain protected MacMurrough. In 1166, O'Rourke and O'Connor triumphed and chased MacMurrough out of Ireland.

MacMurrough returned shortly thereafter with an army provided by Henry II and the assistance of the legendary Richard FitzGilbert de Clare, also known as Strongbow, who later became King of Ireland, but surrendered Ireland to King Henry without a drop of blood being shed.

For a long time thereafter, Ireland was divided between the Normans and the Gaels.

Though still affiliated with England, Ireland was essentially independent. The Tudor Dynasty (1485-1607) put an end to this, engaging in another conquest of Ireland and instating laws which, among other things, decreed that the King of England was automatically the King of Ireland, essentially making the two a single country. They also ousted the Catholic Church, making Protestantism the religion of Ireland and also imposed laws, which created a huge class distinction, setting the stage for the bloody conflicts that rage to this day.


Steve FE: Cliffs of Moher at Evening; 2005

The west coast of Ireland has long maintained a strong underground surfing community. With near constant exposure to the exploding swell systems that descend from the north Atlantic there is little wonder many surfers have settled into what they deem to be a prime surfing coastline. You just need to think a little differently when you surf here.

Black rock and shale beaches harbour magnificent and uncrowded reef and point breaks. 5mm wetsuits are the minimum with 1000-year-old castle ruins adorning every third headland. After your drenching surf, haul your frozen bag of bones to the nearest village pub for a pint of the local finest - to be sure, to be sure.


Arpingstone; Aerlingus A321; 12.08.2007

Citizens of most western countries, Japan, Israel, Australia and New Zealand do not need a visa to get into Ireland. But it's always worth checking before departure as circumstances can and do change.

The Republic of Ireland has four international airports at Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Knock. They all have flights serviced from the UK, US, Canada and all over Europe.

Alternatively you can arrive by boat from the UK on one of the following routes: Swansea - Cork, Hollyhead - Dublin, Pembroke - Rosslare. Or from France on via Roscoff - Rosslare.

Once here you can easily hire a car to get to the many excellent surf breaks. There are many car hire companies in Ireland and you can pick up in the cities or at the airports, though it may cost more to pick up at an airport. Note that most Irish car hire agencies will not accept third party collision damage insurance coverage (for example with credit card) when you rent a car. Oh, and they drive on the left.


NOAA Satellite and Information Service: Pseudo-color visible image from October 19, 2005 at 1315Z

The climate of Ireland is classified as temperate maritime with warm summers and mild winters, though conditions are extremely variable. The main influences of the weather in Ireland are the semi-permanent Azores anticyclone, a large subtropical semi-permanent centre of high atmospheric pressure found near the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean, and the Icelandic low, a semi-permanent centre of low atmospheric pressure found between Iceland and southern Greenland. The strength and position of these systems determine the climate in Ireland year round. The Gulf Stream warms the surrounding Atlantic waters and provides a moderating influence on the weather, though that wont stop you reaching for the 5mm wetsuit in winter. In general, the weather can be notoriously changeable where many types of weather can be experienced in a single day, which may see surf conditions go from good to bad to good again quite quickly and inexplicably. The prevailing winds are from the southwest, which means the wettest weather always occurs on the west coast, though also sets up the famed breaks of Bundoora and Easy. When the winds come from the north, it brings ice, snow and frost, and weather worth staying inside for. Hang out for infrequent easterlies that bring dry weather and offshore winds for many other the west coast breaks. The Ireland climate is divided into four northern hemisphere seasons: Winter (December-February), Spring (March-May), Summer (June-August) and Autumn (September-November).

Winter (December-February)

The Icelandic low, and associated low-pressure systems traveling from North of Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland, are at their strongest, while the Azores high is at its weakest and is shrunken southward to its smallest.  As a result, the storm systems sweep over Ireland repeatedly all winter, often four or five in a row, each following a similar track. Extensive cloud cover and precipitation accompany these storms, and means only the extremely keen or those who are part polar bear, hit the water. Rainfall is plentiful throughout the season, though snow is relatively rare. Towards the later part of the season the weather usually stabilises near the coasts mainly due to the fact that the Atlantic ocean is often at its coldest during this time after being cooled throughout the autumn and the winter. Winds mostly from the west and can be brutal and blow onshore for what seems like forever, making you look for somewhere to hide. Mean high temperatures hover about an icy 5°C. Precipitation is a common feature, with number of rain days averaging 17-19 per month.

Spring (March-May)

The Icelandic low weakens while the Azores high intensifies and moves north and east.  As a result, storm systems out of the Icelandic low are shifted farther north and weaken.  However, storms still cross Ireland fairly regularly and continue to pump swell in. Compared to winter though, Spring is can be calmer, particularly because the Atlantic has lost much of its heat throughout the autumn and winter. However, generally winter-like storms can still pound the coats through April, with only May giving a hint of summer coming. It is possible to luck into top notch conditions during this season, but more often than not the favorable winds and weather, will desert the plentiful swell. Average high temperatures warm from 6 °C to 11 °C through the season.  The Irish rain is never too far away with average rain days per month staying at about 13.

Summer (June-August)

The Icelandic low is weakest while the Azores high is strongest and largest Storm systems out of the Icelandic low are relatively weak and short lived, and often the high pressure systems from the Azores dominate. As a result Irish surf towns around Donegal Bay and Clare County get packed, and wetsuits can almost be shed.  As well this is the time of year tourists pile in to experience Ireland and a pint of Guiness or two.  Summer can often be a dry season, but rainfall is still common, and to keeps everything green. The pressure gradient at this time of year is much weaker than in winter and southwest winds prevail.  Fewer, less intense storms come out of the Icelandic low and cross the area, so long flat spells are common.  Fickle may be used aptly for this time of year. Ireland can be surprisingly warm in summer with mean highs up to 15 °C and may see a 30 °C day.  Though rain particularly in late season, hangs around 12 days per month, keeping everything green.


The Icelandic low intensifies and the Azores high weakens and moves southwest. North Atlantic storms intensify and sweep through the region more and more often as the season progresses, and by November, the winter pattern returns full force.  Autumn can bring unsettled weather as cool polar air moves southwards with the sun. However the combination of warmest ocean temperatures due to heating throughout the spring and summer, and lows to the north deepening and sending plenty of swell, makes this an ideal time to explore all coasts. The prevailing winds return from the southwest with more regularity, and can see long periods of perfect conditions. Mean highs sit at about of 11°C to 12 °C early on but drop to 6 or 7°C by November. Though warmer, average rain days per month increase to 17 or 18, so you’ll be getting wet in and out of the water.

where to stay

LHOON; Tunnel Tent; 23.11.2006

There are hotels of all standards including some very luxurious. Bed and Breakfast is widely available.

These are usually very friendly, quite often family-run and good value. There is an official youth hostel association - An Oige (Irish for The Youth). These hostels are often in remote and beautiful places, designed mainly for the outdoors. There are also independent hostels, which are marketed as such.

These are nearly always found in towns. There are official campsites although fewer than many countries (given the climate). Wild camping is tolerated, although you should seek permission.

what to pack

Jorge Barrios: Sweaters; 19 November 2007

It shouldn’t be a question for anybody – of course something against rain and cold even if you go in summer. If you’re taking a tent, check whether its waterproof first and same applies to almost all the gear you’re taking with you (eg. water-resistant bag pack and boots). Nothing special required as pretty much everything you can by there.

A wheeled bag is usually the best unless you're backpacking, the distances you have to carry your luggage at some of the train stations and airports can be quite far.

Remember to take a voltage adapter that has the different plugs with it.

…Nearly forgot! Waterproof camera bag! You don’t want to lose all your pictures, do you?..

dangers and warnings

Itub; Garda Car; 2004

The police force in Ireland is known as the An Garda Síochána but it is often abbreviated to just garda, the same word is also used for a police officer. Crime rate in Ireland is relatively low compared to the rest of Europe; just take care on the city streets late at night especially during closing time around popular drinking areas. Common sense prevails here, keep your head down and you'll be just fine. The emergency number for police, fire, ambulance, coastguard or mountain rescue is 999.

Ireland has no threat of wild or disease carrying animals, no malaria or degue fever, etc. The present and tap water is clean and safe to drink!

restaurants, shopping and nightlife

Gobbler; Irish Pub; 02.01.2007


Traditional Irish food is generally heavy and tasty, a good Irish breakfast will set you up for a day on the water consisting of the usual fried suspects such as bacon, eggs mushrooms and tomatoes but also added will be black and white puddings, made from different animal products that I won't go into, with added herbs and spices and really are delicious, try it, you might like it. Many pubs offer a carvery lunch consisting of roasted meat, vegetables and potatoes, which is usually good value. Selection for vegetarians is limited outside the main cities. Modern Irish cuisine emphasizes fresh local ingredients, simply prepared and presented (sometimes with some Mediterranean-style twists). Meat (especially lamb), seafood and dairy produce can be of a very high quality. Try some soda bread, made with buttermilk and leavened with bicarbonate of soda rather than yeast. It is heavy, tasty and almost a meal in itself!


Ireland is part of Europe now so the currency has changed from the original Irish Punt to the Euro, except for Northern Ireland, being part of the UK is still the Great British Pound (GBP). If you won't serious shopping them stick to the larger cities such as Dublin for all your fashion and accessory outlets. Outside of that there are many gift and souvenir shops aimed at the tourist, what trip to Ireland would be complete without a Leprichorn toy or a pair of green shamrock boxer shorts?


Who wouldn't visit Ireland without a trip to the pub for a pint of the dark stuff? Stout is one of Irelands most famous exports in the form of brand names like Guinness or Murphy's. Irish pub culture is a treat not to be missed. What better way to celebrate your daily tubes at Bundoran than a few pints of Guinness and a bit of foot tapping to an Irish folk band?

what to do when it's flat

Christophe Meneboeuf: Lough Leane, County Kerry, Ireland; 2007

There are many things ways to entertain yourself during the flat days in Ireland, the first and obvious is the Guinness consuming - nut not only that, why not visit the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, here you can learn all about the black stuff, see how it's made and buy all manner of novelty, Guinness branded items. Fact: Did you know Guinness isn't actually black but a dark rich ruby red, hold a pint to the light and you'll see.

Landscapes in Ireland are a wonder of the world and a joy to explore, pull on you hiking boots and take a walk into the wilderness for breathtaking views and awesome photo opportunities. Visit Giants Causeway in County Antrim or the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare to be truly blown away.

useful phrase guide

Dónall Dubh: Gaelic Poet; 25 March 2008

Holliers - Holidays, vacation time

Gas - Fun, enjoyment

Jacks - Toilet, restroom

Messages - Groceries

Slagging - Making fun of someone, generally good-naturedly

Mot - Girlfriend

Gur - Staying away from home, usually a child

One - Female person

Horse's hoof - Spoof, exaggerated story

Mary Hick - Unfashionable, drab

Pictures - Movies, Cinema

Scratcher - Bed

Stocious - Drunk

Hump off - Go away, leave me alone

Jaded - Tired, exhausted

Fella - Male person, also used for boyfriend

Cute hoor - Untrustworthy male person, often a politician

Culchies - Rural people, usually used disparagingly by city people

Crack, craic - Hard to translate, roughly meaning fun (We had great craic that night)

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