Bundoran, Co. Donegal, Ireland
When you think of the West of Ireland, you're probably not thinking top surf spot -- small villages, pubs and fields of sheep are probably more likely to enter your imagination. However, in recent years, Bundoran and the western coast of Ireland has become a mecca for adventure-seeking surfers. In fact, Surfing Magazine recently named Ireland as an undiscovered "must surf" spot.
The geographical location of Ireland makes this area well-suited for huge waves. It's the first point of contact for storms in the ocean, and the rocky coast full of reefs and point breaks makes it perfect for big-wave surfers. In fact, low-pressure systems occurring in the winter cause waves as big as those found in Australia, Indonesia, or Hawaii. And, with Ireland's recent economic boom in the last 20 years, it's much easier for you to purchase surfing equipment there.
Bundoran is three hours from Dublin and is the surf capital of Ireland. While the huge, tow-in waves here attract experienced surfers, there also are plenty of beach breaks for beginners. Although waves swells can grow to enormous heights, the average waves are between 6 and 10 feet (1.8 and 3 meters). Tullan Strand consistently brings good waves for beginners, while at Streedagh, Rossnowlagh and Mullaghmore, waves suited for big-wave surfers crash onto the shore. Waves as big as 45 to 55 feet (13.7 to 16.7 meters) tall have been recorded in Mullaghmore Head. Along with the locals who are very familiar with the surf, Bundoran has attracted lots of international surfers looking to catch the perfect wave.
While surf culture hasn't taken over here--- you're not likely to hear "dude" or "man" spoken in an Irish brogue -- you will definitely find hard-core surf enthusiasts who are not intimidated by the freezing water (sometimes dipping to the 40s Fahrenheit, 4.4 degrees Celsius), rainy weather and rocky terrain found in this part of the Ireland.