Blueways are multi-activity recreational trails, based on or alongside lakes, canals and rivers of significance in Ireland. This page includes information for kayaking on established and proposed Blueways around the country.
Route: The Suir River Blueway has 53 km of waterways from Carrick-on-Suir to Cahir, which can be paddled depending on your level of ability. There is also 21 km of walking and cycling paths along the water.
Sights: This Blueway allows you to paddle past the many of the historic sites Tipperary has to offer. Beautiful castles, bridges and churches dot the countryside bordering the river. Examples include the Swiss Cottage, Cahir Castle and Ormond Castle.
Sections: Kilsheelan to Carrick-on-Suir is a flat section of the river suitable for beginners. The route is mostly flat and slow running.
There is a slalom course on the Clonmel section for more experienced paddlers looking for an adrenaline rush.
Cahir to Carrick-on-Suir is possibly the most scenic section of the route for those looking to take in the historic Suir Valley views.
Ardmore - Kayak around the cliffs and take in the views. There are plenty of seal caves scattered along the way so you might see some wildlife if you're lucky! The wrecked crane ship "Samson" can be kayaked to at Ram Head. This wreck has been here since 1987!
Blackwater River - The Blackwater River passes through Ballyduff, Lismore, Cappoquin, Villierstown and enters the sea at Youghal Harbour. Pass by Lismore Castle, Dromana House and Ballinatray House. There are many guided tours along the river including tours run by us, head to our bookings page to book a slot & take in the unique views of this Special Area of Conservation!
Dingle Harbour Sea Caves, Dingle - There are guided tours of the Dingle sea caves, including a blowhole! There is plenty of wildlife to be spotted along this unique experience.
Innisfallen Island, Lough Leane, Killarney - Guided tours are available from Ross Castle to Innisfallen Island. This 21 acre island is the largest island on lake and is home to the ruins of Innisfallen Abbey, constructed in 640 AD. The tours include stories of the myths and legends of the island.
River Suir - There is plenty of kayaking to be done along the Suir Blueway path. This is a great paddle for beginners and offers plenty of breath taking sights along the way! Book in for an exciting guided tour in Golden. Large groups are welcome with Golden Kayaking, look them up in Facebook for more. See our Blueways section for more details.
Lough Derg - The Tipperary section of Lough Derg has a variety of trialheads including Castlelough, Garrykennedy, Dromineer, Kilgarvan and Terryglass. For more information on kayaking Lough Derg see our Blueway section.
Lough Hyne, Skibbereen - This lake is a fully marine sea lough and is the only one of its kind in Europe. This unique habitat is home to over 1,850 species, but its largest attraction is the occurance of bioluminescence caused by algae inhabiting the lake. There are guided tours of Lough Hyne available.
River Lee, Cork City - This river rises in the Sheehy Mountains and runs through the heart of Cork City where it reaches the sea at Cork Harbour. The best spot for a beginners paddle on this river is a flat stretch along the Lee fields. Pass by the imposing former Eglington and St. Kevin's asylums.
Inchiquin Lough, Corofin - This 260 acres lake is a popular fishing spot as it is home to wild brown trout. You can kayak past the ruins of Inchiquin Castle which stand near the banks of the lake. There are two small islands to kayak around and maybe catch sight of some local wildlife.
Sea Kayaking - There are many areas along the coast suitable for kayaking. Nevsail Watersports in Kilkee offer kayaking lessons and tours along the cliffs. There are other tours offered in Doolin, Lahinch and Ennistymon.
River Shannon, Limerick City - Guided kayak and paddleboard tours along the River Shannon are available both during the day and at night time with Nevsail Watersports. Experience Limerick City from a completely different perspective!
Blessington Lakes, Blessington - This reservoir was created in the 1940s & 50s in order to power the Poulaphouca Reservoir. The lakes cover more than 5000 acres of water and has formed beaches around its shores. It is the largest manmade lake in Ireland and is a great spot for a kayak or a walk.
Boyne Blueway, Trim - Kayak through the historic Boyne Valley passing Trim Castle, Newtown Abbey, Rathnally Mill and the Priory of St. John the Baptist. There are guided tours and activities available with Boyne Valley Activities, or read up about the sections which suit your groups ability on the Discover Boyne Valley website.
Sea Caves, Fethard-on-Sea - Guided tours are available from Fethard-on-Sea which bring you through the maze of sea caves located around Hook Head. This is a completely unique and unforgettable experience. It is also located close to the famous Hook Head Lighthouse and Loftus Hall!
Dalkey Island, Dalkey - Bullock Harbour is regarded as one of the best spots to launch a kayak from in Ireland. Guided tours to the island are available to bring you safely to the island and guide you around its historic 25 acre area. There is evidence of human occupation of the island as far back as the Neolithic period.
Ireland's Eye, Howth - This island is a Special Area of Conservation boasting a rocky coastline with a free standing rock formation called "The Stack". There is an abundance of wildlife which call the island home, including puffins and cormorants. There are guided tours available around the island from Howth.
Carlingford Lough, Carlingford - Carlingford Lough is a glacial sea inlet that is home to a range of wildlife, such as geese and terns. The lough is surrounded on either side by mountains, creating a very unique landscape. There are guided tours and excursions offered here along with spots to launch on your own.
River Barrow - The Barrow is a mostly flat, slow moving river but does have sections of fast moving rapids. Kayak under the oldest functioning bridge in Europe at Leighlinbridge and take in the scenic surroundings of the midlands countryside. The Barrow runs along the border of Carlow and Kilkenny near to half of Carlows length, so there is plenty of mileage here!
The Royal Canal - Kayak the Royal Canal from Abbeyschrule or Ballymahon with Alan's Yippee Kayaking. They offer kayak tours both during the day and at night time. This waterway is calm and suitable for beginners. The Royal Canal is mentioned in further detail in our Blueways section.
River Nore - The River Nore is in its early stages for most of the section which runs through County Laois. It can therefore be fast running and shallow in places. We would recommend asking locally about the section you wish to kayak before starting off!
Lough Ennell - This lake is well known for its large swan population but is also home to brown trout and pike. There is an adventure centre here which offers excursions and summer camps.
Lough Owel - This lake is home to a small island
River Barrow - See our Blueways section for more detail on the River Barrow.
Grand Canal - The Grand Canal runs the full east to west length of County Offaly until joining the River Shannon at Shannon Harbour. This manmade canal has many Victorian locks, therefore some stretches for kayaking are relatively short before interruption. Longer stretches are however slow moving and great for leisurely trips! Kayak passed Clonony castle
Royal Canal - The Royal Canal Greenway begins in Maynooth, so this is a brilliant spot to begin a kayak. The canal is slow moving and mostly straight, so is suitable for beginners. This canal has 46 locks along its length so be sure to plan your route!