Best Extreme Sports in Ireland: Top 20 Irish Adventure Activities

Sep 05, 2023 BY AWE365 Team

With rugged coastlines, rolling hills, and pristine waters, the best extreme sports in Ireland are as good as anywhere. The Emerald Isle is a haven for thrill-seekers, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. So check out the top 20 Irish adventure activities below to find out what you could do.

Ballinastoe some of the best MTB in Ireland Flickr CC image by Etrino

From surfing the Atlantic to exploring underground caves and hiking in the hills to climbing sea cliffs the range of adventure sports in Ireland is as diverse as its landscapes. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or looking to try something new, Ireland delivers adventure holidays like no other.

20 Best Extreme Sports in Ireland

Why Visit Ireland for Adventure Sports

Referred to as the Emerald Isle due to its lush green landscapes, Ireland seamlessly blends ancient traditions with modern vibrancy. It’s known for Guinness, Dublin city breaks and pretty countryside, but so much more awaits adventurous travellers.

From the moment you set foot in Ireland, you’re greeted with the legendary Irish warmth. The locals are known for their friendliness, always ready with a smile, a story, or a recommendation.

Kitesurfing one of the best adventure sports in Ireland beginner kitesurfing course in Wexford

Irish hospitality extends across the cities, quaint villages and even the remote countryside. While you may get a look from locals when you first arrive there is a good chance you’ll be dancing with them a few drinks later!

Food and Drink in Ireland

Irish cuisine, once known for its simplicity, has undergone a renaissance in recent years. But you can still enjoy traditional dishes like Irish stew, soda bread and the hearty full Irish breakfast.

However there’s also a burgeoning food scene that emphasizes local produce with modern interpretations. Seafood, in particular, is a must, especially in coastal towns.

The drink, of course, is an integral part of the Irish experience. Whether you’re sipping on a pint of Guinness, tasting craft beers from local microbreweries, or warming up with a glass of Irish whiskey, there’s a drink (or three!) for every palate and occasion.

Ireland walking holidays Famine Walk one of the 15 best Irish hikes treks and walks Flickr CC Image by VicunaR

Irish Entertainment and Nightlife

Ireland’s entertainment scene is as diverse as its landscapes. For those inclined towards a bit of gamble, Ireland has several casinos, mainly in Dublin. While they won’t rival Las Vegas there’s everything from slot machines to poker tables.

Sports enthusiasts can catch a thrilling game of Gaelic football or hurling, two of the country’s traditional sports. Rugby and football matches also draw large crowds, especially international fixtures. Betting on sports is very popular, you’ll find tips and expertise at Match Center Ireland to give you a helping hand.

Nightlife in Ireland is varies from local pubs to clubs with the cities of Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick offering the most variety. Local pubs are the heart and soul of Irish social life country wide. You can enjoy live traditional and contemporary music with locals and tourists mingling, dancing and singing along.

Irish Cultural Immersion

Beyond the revelry, Ireland is a treasure trove of cultural experiences. From ancient castles and monastic sites to modern museums and theatres, there’s a slice of history, culture and art in most destinations.

There are plenty of festivals to enjoy with many little villages having celebrations throughout the year. The lively St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are of course worldwide. And events like the Galway International Arts Festival, offer an artistic view of Ireland.

Ireland walking holidays Burren Way one of the 15 best Irish hikes treks and walks Flickr CC Image by dorameulman

Top 20 Irish Adventure Activities

Now onto the best extreme sports in Ireland! The below is an overview, there are plenty of other activities to do, and plenty of different places to do the below sports. Although we believe this list is the top Irish adventure activities and the best places to do them.


One of the top Irish extreme sports, surfing draws enthusiasts from all over the world to Ireland’s rugged west coast. There are numerous surf beaches and breaks, suited to beginners and experts alike.

But spots like Bundoran in County Donegal and Lahinch in County Clare are internationally renowned for their powerful waves and consistent swells. While Enniscrone and Strandhill in county Sligo are considered among the best surf destinations in Europe.

Rock Climbing

Among the best Irish adventure activities, rock climbing in offers a blend of scenic beauty with excitement. The rock climbing in Donegal is among the best trad-climbing in the world with sea stacks, ocean cliffs and inland crags to tackle.

The Burren in County Clare, with its vast limestone plateaus, provides climbers with a unique and challenging terrain. Meanwhile, the Mourne Mountains in County Down offer a mix of traditional and sport climbing routes, catering to various skill levels.

Rock Climbing Donegal courtesy of Unique Best Extreme Sports in Ireland Rock Climbing Donegal courtesy of Unique Ascent

Mountain Biking

Taking your bike off-road is one of the top adventure activities in Ireland. Check out this article about the 10 best mountain biking trails in Ireland for a comprehensive look at the riding available.

But for example, the Ballyhoura Mountains, straddling County Limerick and County Cork, boast extensive trails that wind through dense forests and open landscapes. With varying degrees of difficulty, these routes cater to riders of all levels.

SUP, Kayaking and Canoeing

As an island paddle sports are undoubtedly among the best adventure activities in Ireland. The River Shannon, with its vast network of lakes, offers serene conditions for canoeing and kayaking. You can also SUP, canoe or kayak in Dublin for a calm marine experience.

For those seeking a more thrilling Irish adventure, sea kayaking along the Wild Atlantic Way is more of a challenge. Take to the water in West Cork for encounters with marine life and breathtaking coastal views and head north all the way to the Giant’s Causeway.

Dublin Kayaking Best Extreme Sports in Ireland


Delve into the subterranean world beneath the Emerald Isle for one of the best Irish extreme sports – caving. The Burren’s limestone landscape is riddled with caves, each waiting to be explored. From tight squeezes to vast chambers, exploring the tunnels is an adventure of discovery.


Harnessing the power of the wind, kitesurfing is one of the top 120 Irish adventure activities. Popular spots include Achill Island in County Mayo and Dollymount Strand in Dublin while Wexford is great to learn. With strong winds and expansive beaches, any of these top 10 kite spots in Ireland will deliver.


Combining rock climbing, cliff jumping and swimming, coasteering is one of the top extreme sports in Ireland. The rugged coastlines of Donegal and the Causeway Coast are prime locations, offering a mix of challenges for every level from first timer to dedicated adrenaline junky.


For many the ultimate adrenaline rush is jumping from a plane. The Irish Parachute Club in County Offaly offers tandem jumps, allowing novices to experience the thrill of freefall with an instructor. Without doubt one of the top adventure sports in Ireland.


Brandon Bay in County Kerry is a windsurfing paradise and considered one of the best high wind windsurf destinations worldwide. With consistent winds, vast open waters and great swells for wave riding it’s no wonder that Ireland attracts top windsurfers from around the world.

Windsurfing one of the Top 20 Irish Adventure Activities Image of Peter Volwater by PWA World Tour in Brandon Bay Ireland

Horse Riding

Riding on the beach is undoubtedly one of the top adventure activities in Ireland. Imagine galloping along the shores, with the waves crashing beside you and the wind in your hair.

Sligo, Donegal, and Galway are among the best spots to horse ride. You’ll find riding schools offering guided beach rides for all skill levels and many other stables around the country offering experiences.


Wakeboarding is rapidly emerging as one of the top Irish extreme sports. This is especially true in urban settings like the Grand Canal Dock in Dublin. With a cable tow on flat water, with jumps and rails, both beginners and pros can enjoy wakeboarding in the heart of the city.

Walking, Hiking and Trekking

Among the best Irish adventure activities, are hill walking, hiking and long distance trekking. There are many trails that immerse you in Ireland’s natural beauty such as the Wild Atlantic Way, Wicklow Way and the Kerry Way.

Hikes, treks and walks in Ireland offer varied options for all levels of experience ad fitness. So you can pick a short amble, take on a mountain or walk for weeks on end.

Ireland walking holidays Carrauntoohil one of the 15 best Irish hikes treks and walks Flickr CC Image by maszopmz


For those who love heights and speed, ziplining is one of the best adventure activities in Ireland for all the family. Castlecomer Discovery Park in County Kilkenny has ziplining through through trees from one platform to another for a thrilling scenic experience.


Want to fly? Then paragliding is one of the best adventure activities in Ireland for you. The cliffs and hills along the west coast, particularly in regions of Moher and the Dingle Peninsula, provide the perfect launch points.

Imagine the vast Atlantic Ocean on one side and the picturesque Irish landscape on the other. Paragliding in Ireland is as picturesque as it is exciting.


Whitewater rafting in Ireland does not boast the world’s fiercest rapids. But it does provide a delightful experience for beginners and intermediates. The River Liffey in Dublin has guided rafting experiences suitable for anyone who can swim.

Scuba Diving

Delving into the underwater wonders, scuba diving is one of the best Irish adventure activities. The country’s west coast, especially around Kilkee, the Skellig Islands and Dingle Peninsula, offers a plethora of dive sites in Ireland.

Top 20 Irish Adventure Activities scuba diving in Ireland one of the best dive spots in europe Flickr CC image of by 88rabbit

From ancient shipwrecks to vibrant marine ecosystems, every dive promises a new discovery. Dive schools offer lessons to novices and experienced divers can get a guide to best explore Ireland’s underwater.

The Best Irish Extreme Activities?

Whether you’re seeking heart-pounding thrills or serene adventures, Ireland’s diverse landscape offers something for every adventurer. But are these the top adventure sports in Ireland? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

We hope you found this guide to the best extreme sports in Ireland inspiring. Check out our Ireland adventure travel page for more ideas.


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