Living in South Wales means it is easy to get to Ireland, so it was good to finally get round to checking out what the country has to offer kayakers. We took the Stena Line ferry crossing from Fishguard to Rosslare and drove through Waterford to the small coastal town of Tramore, where we found a small camp site close to the sea. Launching meant manhandling the kayaks down a steep footpath but once on the shingle beach we soon got in the water – our first launch in the Irish Sea from the ‘Irish’ side.
It was a beautiful morning so we headed along the coast, which had towering cliffs and lots of interesting inlets to explore, until we reached the small walled harbour. A fisherman looked surprised to see us, so it seems kayakers are not a common sight in the area. He asked where we had come from and I said Cardiff. (He looked suitably impressed but it was only afterwards that I realised he thought we’d paddled all the way!)
Just round the corner from the harbour we could see a long sandy beach on the horizon, so headed for it before we realised it was a surf beach with huge Atlantic breakers crashing dangerously on the shore. We also realised that the wind was getting up and the gentle swell that had made the paddle out so effortless was now turning into a strong current against us. In no time at all the weather closed in and the Irish Sea turned from a tranquil haven into really challenging conditions.
After half an hour of hard paddling we finally reached the shelter of the headland, having learned a few lessons about the coast of Southern Ireland. The isolation makes it a perfect place to get away from it all - but if anything went wrong it would be a long time before help arrived!