Mayo is blessed with the longest coastline on the Wild Atlantic Way, and with loads of great rivers, lakes and waterways to explore. Here are just six water activities you can try out in North Mayo!
1. Surf the Mayo and Sligo Waves
Mayo is one of several surfing meccas along the Wild Atlantic Way with waves that welcome the amateur surfer as well as the experts. The Salmon Capital of Ireland, Ballina acts as a fantastic gateway to several of the area’s most popular surfing locations.
Only a 10 minute drive away, Enniscrone is a town that has in recent years built up a strong reputation as a surfing destination for beginners and enthusiasts alike. Kilcummin Pier is a popular point for experienced surfers, and also within reach is the beautiful surfing village of Easkey, Co. Sligo which has a worldwide reputation.
Easkey has two fantastic reef breaks and in 1979 hosted the Pro/Am Surfing World Championships. The location was also listed as “one of the places a travelling surfer has to visit” in Surfer Magazine, the biggest surfing publication in the world.
Other major surfing spots in Co. Mayo include Keel Beach, located adjacent to the village of Keel on Achill Island, and Carrownisky Strand in Louisburgh, which is a very popular surfing beach as it provides one of the only consistent breaks in the area.
2. Explore the Waterways by Paddleboard
Stand-up paddle boarding is a fast-growing sport which combines a surfboard and a long one-handed paddle. It’s a traditional Hawaiian sport which promotes balance, strength and general fitness. It’s excellent for surfers and non-surfers alike and a fantastic way to explore the stunning natural landscapes of Mayo from a different angle.
North Mayo has a number of dedicated stand-up paddle boarding groups and companies such as Harbour Sup n’ Sail located in Ballina, that are equipped with everything you need to dive into this unique water activity.
3. Surreal Scuba and Snorkel Diving
Scuba diving and snorkeling allows you to experience the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean and unlock a myriad of treasures that lay below. Dún Briste sea stack in Ballycastle, Benaderren Head, Horse Island, Lacken Pier, Benwee Head, Kilcummin Pier and The Stags of Broadhaven all host a number of superb diving locations with vast geological features such as splits, gullies, ridges and caves that have been carved into the rugged cliffs.
Also on offer is a diverse array of sea and plant life including Devon cup coral at Benwee Head and the most spectacular display of jewel anemones at the Stags of Broadhaven. The area hosts a number of diving classes for all ages.
Make sure to check out the Gráinne Úaile Sub Aqua Club for more information.
4. Get your Kayaking Kicks
One of our favourite water activities in North Mayo is kayaking, and we have a flood of outstanding kayaking spots to explore. Kayak along the world-renowned river Moy in Ballina with the town’s iconic cathedral as your backdrop. Witness the serene beauty at Killala Bay and look out for the exceptional marine life on the way. There are also a number of fantastic lakes with breath taking vistas, including Lough Conn and Lough Cullin. Take to the seas on specialist tours and explore the rugged coastline at Ballycastle in a sea kayaking experience to remember. Visit www.paddleandpedal.ie/ to book your kayaking tour.
5. Open Water Swimming
North Mayo and West Sligo are blessed with some incredible and safe sea swimming spots. Try the following – but make sure to take the necessary precautions:
- Belmullet Tidal Pool
- Ross Strand near Killala
- Portacloy Beach
- Kilcummin Pier (experienced swimmers)
- The beach, or the pier at Enniscrone, Co. Sligo
- Poll Gorm at Easkey, Co. Sligo
- Elly Bay, the Mullet Peninsula
6. Take a Boat Trip
The Mullet Peninsula boasts some incredible seascapes and landscapes. Get yourself on the sea and explore the stunning, uninhabited Inishkea Islands or see the highest sea cliffs in Europe at magnificent Croaghan, Achill Island. Or try your hand at Atlantic Angling!