The van was packed, in its constant state of readiness, work was booked off for a week and the ferry was leaving at just gone 2am. After an evening Paddleboard session I tied SUP Bristol’s Blend onto the roof, a board that was lovingly lent to me, said a quick goodbye at the Cottage Inn and headed to Pembroke docks.
How to get there?
From Bristol, you get on the M4 head west and keep going until the motorway runs out, then just follow signs for the ferry. As I booked to leave from Pembroke it was best to head to that port, however always check your ticket and go to which ever ferry you booked on, just to avoid confusion.
The ferry was awesome, enough WiFi to watch a bit of Netflix and comfy enough sofas to catch some Z’s by the time I made it to Rosslare I was ready for the next 5ish hours to get to Kenmare.
Once in Ireland the journey continues to be simple, head west, get to cork and head west again. Then a sneaky left turn and you should find yourself in the Irish town of Kenmare.
Where is Kenmare?
Kenmare is a town in Co Kerry in the South West of Ireland.
The history rich town is currently home to two friends, Jamie S-H and Colin Wong, who I met in Uganda and have started up a company called Emerald Outdoors, I’ve helped them out with some graphic design work and after they sent over some drone pictures I knew I had to go check out what they were doing.
I arrived about midday on Thursday there had been some rain but we made plans to chill out for the afternoon then head to a nearby lake for a spot of wake boarding. We had a walk down to the waterfront and had a look at where these boys take clients on tours. It was stunning the Atlantic inlet is spotted with grassy islands and I could not wait to go and paddle around and discover hidden water passages.
We made it back to good news. The Flesk a great bit of Grade 4 river was in play, and so about 8 hours after I arrived in Ireland we had the van packed and were on the way to one of Jamie and Colin's local runs. A cracking good run with only a minimum amount of introducing my face to rocks.
To top off the day the boys ended up running a night time bioluminescent trip and very kindly let me tag along, it was incredible. We started off at dusk and while the light faded away, we paddled around the collection of small islands we saw earlier, only briefly disturbing a family of seals as they rested on some very comfortable looking rocks, but it wasn't until the last of daylight had completely disappeared that the night show really started. As if to mirror the stars of the milky way the curious phenomena that is bioluminescence came out to play, it was mesmerising, with each paddle stroke a plume of light would trail giving the effect of watery lanterns following each of our kayaks.
From here on out all the days morphed into one. Colin was flown off to Germany for the premier of a Kayak 4 Kuwait film at this years paddle Expo, while Jamie and I made the most of a calm Sunday by paddling out to the Skelligs an island 15km off the coast, home to puffins, a 6th century monastery and famed as the hide away of one Luke Skywalker. I was also introduced to a nearby chocolate factory and a small bay with some amazing surf. I returned to that bay a couple of times, firstly to get some epic drone shots and to reintroduce myself to surfing a paddle board then secondly to surf my lovely eclipse on some excellent pealing waves, providing hours of fun.
I suppose there should be a lesson to be learnt or some great epiphany somewhere in here to make this trip worth writing about, truth is there isn't, it was an epic week with so much paddling even my paddles were sore. Ireland is an amazing place and somewhere I need to spend a lot more time exploring.