Last updated on February 15, 2024
Climbing in Ireland? Does that make sense? Admittedly, the Alps are much higher than the mountains in Ireland and I probably won’t be able to entice a die-hard Alpine mountaineer and hardcore free climber to Ireland with this article.
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But Ireland also has something that the Alps don’t have: Cliffs!
In Ireland, you can not only climb in the mountains, but also on cliffs – climbing with a sea view, so to speak!
And if you just like climbing for fun and fitness, then you’ll find plenty of opportunities to pursue your hobby on holiday on the Emerald Isle.
You can go climbing in Ireland, or simply add a few climbing sessions to your round trip – whatever your priorities, the island is well worth a visit.
Although I’m originally from Germany, I’ve been living and working in Ireland for several years and have my second home here with my family. In the summer months, we run our motorbike rental business here south of Dublin (https://www.easycruiser.tours) and also offer guest rooms (https://www.the-view-accommodation.ie).
In my younger years I did a few climbing courses and did some climbing in my spare time, so I know a bit about it.
So let’s move on to your climbing opportunities in Ireland. I assume that you mainly want to experience the beautiful island outdoors. So in the first part, we’ll concentrate on climbing outdoors in the mountains and by the sea.
But bouldering has also become a trend sport in Ireland and if you’re not in the mood for museums or exhibitions on a rainy day in Dublin, you can of course also go climbing indoors. I’ve also researched a few recommendations for you.
Let’s get started:
Outdoor climbing on the island of Ireland
Below I will introduce you to some providers who offer various climbing opportunities in Ireland and Northern Ireland: From mountaineering, climbing on mountain walls or cliffs to abseiling and coasteering.
With some providers, you can also combine different activities, for example climbing, coasteering and sea kayaking, or climbing, archery and a guided mountain hike.
There are half-day events, day events, weekend events and other formats – just see what suits your needs best.
Some providers specialise in groups, but as an individual traveller or couple you can always ask if you can join a group – this is often possible.
Real Adventures Connemara
Connemara, to the west of Galway, is a beautiful mountain region that lends itself to hiking, hillwalking and climbing. But the coast also has its charms and Real Adventures in Clifton offers a colourful mix of activities in the water and on land. Climbing is carried out on cliffs by the sea – a typically Irish experience! See: https://realadventures.ie/connemara/activity/rock-climbing/.
Irish Mountaineering Academy
South of Galway you will find a unique karst landscape right on the coast – the Burren. The Irish Mountaineering Academy climbs on its rock faces. Various climbing course formats are offered, from half-day courses to 6-week courses. Bouldering and individual training are also offered. See: https://www.irishmountaineering.ie/.
The beautiful Killarney National Park in Kerry is located in the south-west of the island. Here you will find, among other things, the McGillicuddy Reeks, the highest mountain range on the island. The landscape is breathtaking and a dream for hikers and mountain walkers – and also for climbers. Kerry Climbing offers climbing courses from beginner to higher grades, as well as guided mountain walks, winter mountaineering and various courses for hillwalkers, such as navigation and planning. See: https://www.kerryclimbing.ie/.
Hike & Climb
One of the oldest climbing spots near Dublin is Dalkey Quarry. The beautiful Wicklow Mountains to the south of Dublin offer numerous opportunities for hiking and climbing. Hike & Climb is based here and offers various climbing and mountaineering programmes. For example, the Rock Skills Course for two or more people. See: https://hikeandclimb.ie/.
Donegal is the most north-westerly county in Ireland and borders directly on Northern Ireland. It is a mountainous county with beautiful coastlines and offers many opportunities for climbing and hiking. You can experience some of these on guided tours with Donegal Climbing, or join one of their climbing or mountaineering courses. Donegal Climbing also trains instructors. See: https://donegalclimbing.ie/.
This provider can also be found in Donegal. Rock climbing on mountains and cliffs are its specialities, but you can also do abseiling, mountain hiking and various mountaineering courses here. See: https://uniqueascent.ie/adventure-activities.
Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre
In the very south of the island lies the pretty harbour town of Kinsale, right on the coast. The Outdoor Education Centre there offers lots of courses and summer camps for kids. There are also activities for adults, such as rock climbing, and as a couple or small group you can always request an individual programme such as climbing, kayaking and coasteering. See: https://www.kinsaleoec.com/landandseaactivities.
Sea to Summit Adventures
Let’s return to the south-west, to Killarney: there, Sea to Summit offers rock climbing, coasteering and hillwalking – and much more besides. See: https://seatosummitadventures.ie/.
Indoor climbing on the Irish island:
Rainy day in the city but still fancy climbing? No problem, here you will find indoor climbing gyms and bouldering halls on the island of Ireland:
Gravity Climbing, see: https://www.gravityclimbing.ie/.
Awesome Walls, see: https://awesomewalls.ie/.
The Wall, see: https://thewall.ie/startclimbing/.
Dublin Climbing Centre, see: https://www.dublinclimbingcentre.ie/.
University of Limerick Sports, see: https://www.ulsport.ie/climbing-wall/.
SUAS Climbing centre, see: https://suasclimbing.ie/.
Boulder World, see: https://boulderworldbelfast.com/.
If you like climbing, there’s no reason to miss out on your holiday in Ireland.
And if you’re a climber and Ireland isn’t on your bucket list yet, imagine vertical cliffs right by the sea: You probably haven’t climbed like this before! But the mountains are also beautiful for the most part and offer marvellous ascents and climbing routes.
Ireland offers many climbing opportunities and from beginners to experts, you will find something to excite and inspire you.
You can also combine climbing with other outdoor activities. For example with mountain hiking, a mountaineering course, abseiling, coasteering or kayaking among sea lions. There are also indoor bouldering and climbing centres in Ireland.
In this article, I have listed some of these options and also named the organisers. Hopefully I have been able to enrich your holiday planning and wish you –
have fun on the Emerald Isle!
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