Galway Kayak Club is fortunate to be based in Galway, which offers a host of paddling opportunities to suit all tastes and skill levels. The following are just some examples of the paddling opportunities available within a close range of the City of the Tribes.
The canals in Galway offer gentle paddling for those learning to paddle and are perfect for practising the all-important paddling in a straight line!
During the summer months, 2 polo pitches are set up in the Claddagh Basin where regular sessions are run for beginners, juniors and experienced players. During the winter polo moves indoors to the Kilcornan pool and the Galway Canoe Polo League is also organised. Skills sessions are regularly held in the pool as well for both junior and adult club members.
From the canals, it is possible to also venture up the river Corrib in the direction of Lough Corrib, past Menlo Castle and the Dangan sports fields. This is also used as the course for the “City of the Tribes” long distance kayak race in summer time.
The Upper Corrib is also perfect for racers. Long distance paddles are organised year-round by the club and there is a wide range of boats available from K1s to Wavehoppers.
In the opposite direction, it is possible to venture down the Lower Corrib, which offers some exciting whitewater possibilities in the heart of Galway city, depending on the amount of rain. It is a fantastic training spot to have so close.
The Dunkellin on the way out of Galway to the south is a nice and gentle river, one used by GKC for initial beginner trips. Just outside of Galway to the west is the Boluisce a step up again from the Lower Corrib and Dunkellin. Galway Kayak Club is part of the Boluisce Trustees grouping of local paddlers that look to protect such a great whitewater resource and ensure continued access to same.
A bit further away from Galway is the Bundarragha … more whitewater fun, but limited access for some winter months only due to an agreement with the local fishery. A more recent addition to the club trips is the Inny in Longford or the Shannon at Castleconnell in Limerick, which are a good day out for a beginner trip or honing skills for more advanced paddlers.
In terms of surf, there is also plenty to offer not far from Galway – GKC have used both Fanore and Lahinch for surf trips in the past.
For the freestyle folks, Clifden hole is considered by many to be one of the best play spots in the country – depends on tide conditions. Closer to home there is also Tuam (depends on rain) or another tidal play spot in Oranmore (or more accurately, Maree) – down near the sailing club as well as Rusheen Bay close to Salthill. A little way out from Galway in Connemara’s Leitir Móir there is a great tidal surf spot that is fun for both experienced and newer paddlers alike. For Clifden and Oranmore normal recommendation is that the high tide should be 15 feet or more and be getting on the water two hours or so before high tide. GKC uses Oranmore and Rusheen for Level 3 training and such over summer when not much else may be running.
It goes without saying that Galway Bay and the west coast in general offer fantastic opportunities for sea kayaking. Many club members focus on this aspect of paddling, and others have taken the opportunity of “come and try it” sessions for sea kayaking in the past. The club has sea kayaks for members to use as well as the river runners, playboats, K1s, K2s, Wild Water boats and polo boats.