Are you worried your recently bought kayak has taken up permanent residence in your backyard? Have you run out of excuses like ‘I just haven’t had the time?’ Why not seize the day and be gloriously spontaneous! Picture yourself gliding through rippled water, the only sound being the whisper of the breeze in a tree or the squawk of an overhead passer-by, intrigued by your orange floating vessel. If you’ve brought along your significant other, one kayak each will mean hours of fun. Go full speed ahead and embark on a heart-pumping adventure or glide comfortably alongside new duck friends, admiring the natural beauty of the Lake’s surrounding landscapes at water level. There are few better ways to satisfy a craving for outdoor thrills than breaking out that orange companion and getting on the water. Come to Lough Derg and feed your adventurous soul!
For many of you, it will suit to get an understanding of the aquatic lay-of-the-land before going wild and heading off the beaten track. Lough Derg has you more than covered with an abundance of providers offering guided tours, kayaking lessons and workshops. Many of the centres dotted around the lake offer a diverse range of water sports to choose from, so while you’re at it why not try your hand at something you’ve been meaning to since…forever?!
Located in Killaloe and Mountshannon, My Next Adventure believes in cultivating that adventurous spirit that exists within us all. They offer activities that are accessible to everybody, running from mild to wild and everything in between! The guides are true adventure experts and well-versed in safety on the water, ensuring you’re comfortable during every paddle along the way. The company offers a range of tours to suit individuals, couples, small groups and families. And wow, what amazing tours they are!
The Brian Boru Experience is a bucket-list activity must-do. Journey through 1,000 years of history as you paddle up the ancient canal in Killaloe and your guide shares age-old tales of the area. Glide underneath the 18th century stone bridge, manoeuvre your way through the lock gates, breathe in panoramic views of the twin towns of Killaloe and Ballina and you are sure to return to base a confident kayaker eager for more.
Another sensational experience offered by My Next Adventure is their Full Moon Kayaking option. As day turns to night, depart from the shores of Lough Derg and paddle to the centre of the magical moonlit late. Float along the calm and enchanting waters gazing at the vast expanse of night sky dotted with stars. Paddle back towards the bright lights of Killaloe truly touched by a magnificent visual memory that will stay with you forever.
Next up is UL Adventure Centre located right on the shores of the glorious Lough Derg, a few minutes outside Killaloe. Whether it’s a school tour, a family adventure, a kids camp or a stag/hen night outing, all participants are guaranteed exhilarating adrenaline and a serious feel-good factor. Activities include sailing, power boating, windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, high ropes, low ropes, climbing tower and archery, to name a few. The kids camps are a brilliant way to introduce children to sporting activities in a safe and friendly environment.
The staff are excellent and extremely attentive, encouraging personal development through team building as well as skill acquisition. They are all well-qualified and more than equipped to handle large groups of people. Book in for a great adventure at the UL Adventure Centre. And when you meet the challenge of climbing that daunting high wall or surfing Lough Derg’s waves, you might just learn there is no obstacle you cannot overcome if you believe in yourself and go for it!
Another option is Aqua Splash in Dromineer. This place has so much to offer it’s sure to get you excited – excitement that will be magnified tenfold for younger members of the family! There is so much on offer for those who enjoy fun and frolics on the water. This includes a thrilling water park, kayaking, SUP boards and pedal boats, all for affordable prices. Open – June to September.
The waterpark provides a great day out for all members of the family. You’re guaranteed to work up a sweat as you try to navigate this floating playground. Watch as the members of your team are totally wiped out and laugh along with the fun of it all. The equipment is state-of-the-art, making it one of the longest water parks in Ireland. And it’s ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, company picnics or just for an unforgettable day out with friends.
There is also the option of taking a gentle kayak to immerse yourself in the peaceful surroundings, local wildlife, flora and fauna. You’ll witness some of the most beautiful of Lough Derg’s secluded shoreline, all from the comfort of your personal floating seat. You’ll be permitted front row access to a backdrop of lush green forests, clear blue skies and view of the lake’s islands from your kayak cockpit. This is an experience you can’t afford to miss.
Let’s head next to Lough Derg Water Sports in Kilgarvan Quay. Take a guided kayaking tour of the lake and relish the ample wildlife that flourishes on the lough. You will certainly encounter leaping trout, splashing pike, elegant swans and, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you might see the rare white-tailed sea eagles. Lough Derg Water Sports operates with a ‘leave no trace ethos’, so you can feel reassured that your escapades can be enjoyed while the natural beauty of the lake is preserved above all else. If you’re a novice and would prefer to build up your confidence in the comfort of an indoor pool, Lough Derg Water Sports offers training in nearby Birr Leisure Centre.
Have an important event or milestone fast approaching? Why not mark it in a special way by booking a group session on the lake? With bush-craft, boating and boisterous banter guaranteed, the centre aims to give groups of young people varied experiences on spectacular Lough Derg, with paddling exploration being the core focus. Sessions can also be tailored to include camping, bivvy sheltering and a range of other outdoor activities.
After gaining confidence and learning all the kayaking tricks in the book, you can set sail on the self-guided experience of a lifetime. Taking things at your own pace, why not go island hopping! You could paddle to Holy Island, lay out a picnic and take your ease.
A few spots to have a look at on your travels…
The Thatched Cottage Bar & Restaurant offers a homely ambience, fine dining and beverages as well as friendly staff catering for your every need.
Larkins Bar & Restaurant This unique traditional family run Bar & Restaurant is situated in Garrykennedy. Beside Ireland’s pleasure lake with breathtaking views, Larkins offers high standards of service with a personal touch.
The Snug Cafe Wine Bar located in the heart of beautiful lakeside Mountshannon, The Snug Café offers relaxing surroundings with homemade pizza, salads, tapas and more. Great wine, craft beer, organic and fair trade Ponaire coffee. Dine-in or takeaway. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free welcome.
Lough Derg House and Lake Cafe in the village of Dromineer provides great accommodation at reasonable prices and exceptional food for all at their cafe where everything is freshly baked every morning.
The Wooden Spoon in Killaloe is a cute cosy spot with a vibrant atmosphere. Their menu is diverse, their ingredients are fresh and you’re guaranteed to leave with a warm and fuzzy feeling after a hearty wholesome meal or a delicious coffee.
The Garden Cafe in Scarriff is a truly special experience – they grow the majority of their food in the community garden with everything else being sourced locally. They have a wide selection of herbal teas, fair trade and organic coffee and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.
Cloughjordan House An 800 year old French style manor house set in the lush countryside of North Tipperary. Cloughjordan House is at heart a place of wholesome home-grown food, warm, welcoming rooms, gardens to explore and wide lawns to play on.
Marie’s Paradise B&B for Kids are dedicated to making their guests feel special, little ones and grown-ups. They are able to offer a total break in the beautiful surroundings and an extra service of babysitting by a professional child minder.
Fuchsia Lane Farm offers award winning Holiday Rental Cottages situated close to Terryglass, they are the perfect base for touring the Lough Derg region.