Sea Kayaking Around Ireland (Fig 1.)
Sea kayaking around Ireland is regarded as one the classic circumnavigations that can be attempted. The allure of Irelands Wild Atlantic coastline, breathtaking scenery, Islands, wildlife and indeed, it's renowned hospitality makes it an attractive adventure.
Those who have completed this adventure are part of a small and select club of like minded adventurers. This trip / expedition is not to be taken on lightly. The dangers are numerous with changeable weather being probably the greatest threat coupled with exposed coastline that requires a high degree of kayaking skill and knowledge to complete safely.
It's hard to put a figure on exactly how many people have completed the trip but it's certainly no more than 60 people at this stage. In fact there have been some people who have successfully completed "Around Great Britain & Ireland" all in one go.
For 20 years, Irish paddlers Mick O'Meara, Dermot Blount, Karl Heery & Brian Fanning held the record at 33 days which they set in summer 1990 using Valley Nordkapps. Many were to challenge this feat and get close but in 2011, the duo of Harry Whelan & Jeff Allen smashed the record and dropped it to 25 days in a kayak that has reshaped speed / distance on the water, the Rockpool Taran 18.
However a new chapter was written in Summer 2015 when Mick O'Meara set out to regain his title as fastest man around Ireland in a kayak. From the start it looked he was on a mission and on a daily basis he pushed himself to the absolute limit, often battling strong winds and cold. The weather was a constant battle and nothing came easy on his quest. Now he has rtocked the sea kayaking world with his superb and inspirational achievement of just 23 days. This will take some beating. Mick is true legend of Irish Sea
Mick O'Meara smashed the record in 2015 and 23 days is now the time to beat! Well done Mick!
For many other paddlers, completing a round Ireland by Sea Kayak is not about speed. It's a chance to immerse oneself in a journey of self discovery.
Many books have been written on the subject (see Fig 1.) and these area great way to inspire yourself if you feel like giving it a go.
According to the Ordnance Survey, the entire coastline of Ireland measures 3,171 kilometres. That includes every little bay & inlet. To Kayak around Ireland, one must commit to many open crossings, the longest being Donegal Bay at 50 plus kilometres. It's thought that most paddlers who complete the journey cover a distance of about 1500 kilometres. So, when you think of it this way, an average speed for a general purpose sea kayak at a committed pace is about 6 kilometres per hour. So you're looking at 250 to 300 hours kayaking to get around. And thats not counting bad weather and other challenges.
The History of Sea Kayaking Around Ireland
Scroll of Honour for those
who have completed
This list is by no means, complete. If you know of others who have completed a "Round Ireland by Sea Kayak".
Please do send us the details. Ideally we need it in this format please: Name (s) / Year / Kayak used / amount of days on the water.
1978 / Franco Ferrero, Derek Hairon, & John Bouteloup / Nordkapps & they were the first to paddle around Ireland.
1979 / Tom Daly / 1979 / First Irish man to kayak around Ireland!
1984 / Andy Fleck / Valley Nordkapp / 40 Days.
1989 / Donal Dowd & Timmy Flavin / Valley Nordkapp's / 30? Days.
1990 / Mick O'Meara, Dermot Blount, Brian Fanning & Karl Heery / Valley Nordkapps / 33 Days.
1990 / Mick Murphy & Eugene Burns
1991 / Karen Weekes & Suzanne Kennedy / Sea Kings / 40 days.
1991 / Tom O'Neill
1996 / Chris Duff / Valley Nordkapp / 90 Days.
1997 / Pat Rodgers / Roughstuff “Nordelph” / 38 Days
1999 / Sean Pierce /
2005 / Eileen Murphy / 2005 / SKUK Explorer / 54 days
Unknown Year ? / Brian Wilson / /
Unknown Year? / Cathal McCosker & Leon Harris / Valley Nordkapps ? / 67 Days..
2006 / Gadi Goldfab, Misha Hoichman & Alon Ohad / 2006 / SKUK Explorers / 37 Days
2007 / Sam Crowley / SKUK Explorer / 83 Days.
2007 / Jasper Winn / Necky Plastic? / 97 Days.
2007 / Tony O Mahony, Derek Lyons, Brian Fahy / 37 days / Kirton C treks.
2009 / Paul de Haas and Marian Makelaar / 43 days / Romany & Explorer.
2010 / Eila Wilkinson / SKUK Pilgrim / 37 Days.
2011 / Elaine "Shooter" Alexander / Valley Etain / 71 Days.
2011 / Harry Whelan & Jeff Allen / Rockpool Taran 18's / 25 Days.
2011 / Danny Egan & Paddy McGovern / North Shore Polar HV & Point 65 XO 17 / 36 Days.
2012 / Mike Jones / Sipre / 40 Days.
2013 / Roger Chandler, Justine Curgenven & Barry Shaw / 43 Days
2014 / John Bolton & Diane Cooper / Valley Aleut 2 Double / 42 Days.
2014 / Hamish Wilkinson /Homemade Greenland design / 70 Days.
2014 / Rob Coffey / P&H Scorpio / 36 Days
2015 / Geoff Cater & Andy Mullins / 2015 / 40 Days / Kirton Inuks
2015 / Sue Honan & Sonya Ewen
2015 / Joe Leach / 34 days / Rockpool Taran.
2015 / Mirko Christensen & Christian Dingenotto / NDK Explorers.
2015 / Mick O'Meara / 23 Days / Rockpool Taran - New Record holder!
2015 / Jon Hynes & Sean Cahill / 39 days / Rockpool Taran's.
2015 / Ruairi Leddy & Pearse O'Toole / ? Days / Rockpool Alaw Bach & Sipre.
This site is dedicated to the memory of Timmy Flavin. A true gentleman, an intrepid adventurer and most of all, a man who saw the beauty in nature. In 1989 Timmy Sea Kayaked around Ireland with Donal Dowd and they really paved the way for many more paddlers in the future to take on the challenge. Timmy is pictured here in a Nordkapp in 2014 when he had a wonderful day on the Skellig with some local Kerry kayakers. Timmy sadly lost his 5 year battle with cancer in May 2015. We all miss him but he will be happy in the knowledge that we carry the torch of Irish adventure forwards in his memory.
“May the mystical memory inscribed in Skellig,
Bless his soul forever”.