Frequently Asked Questions

 

Will I be safe?
Yes…. All our instructor guides are highly trained in kayak rescue, first aid, use of VHF radios which are carried with them as well as other safety equipment. All our trips are designed based on weather and sea conditions. We have an intimate knowledge of our local coastal area and regularly listen to weather forecasts. We keep instructor / client ratios low to ensure safety and personal attention.
Our motto is " Prevention is better than a cure"

How do I book?
Please go to our contact us section and follow directions.
By phone or email with credit card no. (or cheque with 50% deposit) for confirmation.

How do I get there?
From Cork - N71 to Skibbereen.  Car Hire available at the airport and in Cork City. Airport shuttle can be arranged at an extra cost. 
To get to Reen Pier.
Go to the village of Union Hall and find the church. Follow the Signs for Reen Pier and just before the Pier we are on the spit of land stretching out into the sea. 
To find Baltimore: 
From Skibbereen follow the signs to Baltimore and we meet up at the Lifeboat station. 
To find Lough Hyne
Again head towards Baltimore and about 3 miles outside Skibbereen there is a sign on the Left Saying Lough Hine follow this until you come to the water and then take a left to the car park and we will meet you there.
 
Do I have to be able to swim?
No, but we generally encourage you to learn as it opens up a great world of enjoyment. Most of the world is covered in water so go explore!

Am I too old?
Our oldest paddler is 98! What do you think?

Am I too young?
We take kids from 9 yrs upwards.

What do I need to wear/bring?
Winter (October - April usually) Wear: Thermals, fleeces, no cottons. Wolly hat, old runners or bootees.
Summer - shorts and t-shirts, sun block, hat, sandals.
We supply splash suits which go on over your clothing and keep you dry, windproof and warm. Wetsuits supplied if needed. All safety gear supplied.
Bring: a change of clothes, a towel, food and drink (if you signed up for more than a two-hour trip), and a smile!

Are You Open All Year?
Yes, unless we are in Baja…..or Spain…… or Croatia ...............or Patagonia. or somewhere else - in which case maybe you should be there as well (contact us!)

What is there to do in the area?

It is best if you contact the tourist office in Skibbereen or Cork Kerry tourism for a list of to dos and what's on . But 
The shopping town of Skibbereen is a town of old shops new shops and the Saturday morning market is a great place to buy your fresh organic food. 

Skibbereen and surroundings

Skibbereen is a lively, cosmopolitan town and is regarded as the hub of the tourism area that spreads out in many directions from it. It is noted for its shops, pubs and restaurants, as well as being home of the West Cork Arts Centre, where the many artists who inhabit the area show their work and where top touring exhibitions are featured.

The town of Skibbereen nestles in the heartland of West Cork, an area of panoramic beauty washed by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream current. This Southwest corner of Ireland with its scattered mountain ranges, natural harbours and shelter ed valleys, its ancient castles and abbeys will always continue to fascinate the inquiring visitor be it their first or one of many return visits to the district.

From Skibbereen, there are many options for touring, as the town is gateway to the Mizen Peninsula and so much more spectacular scenery as you travel further into Ireland's magical mystical West . . .

Nearly hidden in its own harbour, port village of Union Hall has always had a strong seafaring tradition and now provides a safe shelter for its own active fishing fleet as well as anchorage to pleasure boats, and calm water for skiing, diving and Sea Kayaking

The new causeway leading into the village creates a natural lagoon and the sweep of homes and shops surrounding it lend a vision of brightly colored ribbons on the water's surface.

A left turn off the causeway leads to Keelbeg Pier. Depending on the season, angling and deep-sea fishing are popular and many return year after year to enjoy the bounty of the sport. Boat hire for visiting some of the off shore Islands is available locally, and the entire village and surrounds offer choice for a leisurely stroll or a serious hike.

Union Hall is a remarkably Irish village with its roots steeped in history. Archeological remains dot the area. Castle ruins and forts can be searched out, and a Holy Well dedicated to St. Brigid remains a yearly pilgrimage made by many devotees on the first day of February.

In latter times the village had its share of admirers, and in the 1700's was lauded by the great patriot dean of Ireland, Jonathan Swift. More recently it was chosen by the director / producer David Putnam as the venue for one of his latest films "War of The Buttons", and the Schoolhouse (former base of ASK) was their home from home!

There are two provision shops, a craft shop, a knitwear shop, a bureau de change / post office, numerous B & B's and an excellent hostel built in the old stone schoolhouse which also plays host to Sunday evening Traditional music session s featuring some of Ireland's top talents, tapas and wine. Good craic and entertainment are the norm at the local pubs and the Union Hall Festival is held yearly in June, featuring games and water sports of all kinds, from serious racing to outrageous tom-foolery.

Going back on to the N71, Leap is a village noted for hosting rock bands and racehorses. The central track is used for trotting and sulkey racing, two horse racing disciplines which are fairly unique to the West Cork area.

Leim Ui Dhonnabhain (Gaelic) derives from an ancient story of a local chieftain, O'Donovan, who while being pursued by British soldiers jumped the ravine and escaped his enemy, thus O'Donovan's Leap. This steep gorge over which the road pass es at the western end of the village divides East Carbery from West Carbery. The western half was always considered a wild and fugitive country . . . "beyond the Leap, beyond the law".

  Clonakilty is widely renowned as one of Ireland's most beautiful and colourful towns. Taking the N71 coastal route from Cork City, you'll pass straight through its town centre. Its quaint narrow streets boast a magnificent array of traditional, hand painted shop fronts -- small wonder that this charming seaside town, surrounded by undulating hills is West Cork's only Heritage Town!

Clonakilty also has a thriving musical and artistic community -- it's the home of the noted street theatre group Craic na Caoillte and the impressive Model Railway Village Project. Clonakilty is close to many fine sandy beaches and is also noted for its festival and theme weekends.

Rosscarbery is a place with an old sacred history, which you can sense when you view the village's skyline -- dominated by St. Fachtna's Cathedral. Rosscarbery has an attractively laid out square, which is busy in summer when crowds flock to nearby beaches such as Owenahincha and The Warren. There are also water-based activities in the lagoon below the village. For the historian there are many places to visit such as Castlefreke, Rathbarry, and Coppingers Court. Proceeding west towards Glandore you'll find a sign post which will lead you to Drombeg Stone Circle. This dates from the Druid era, approximately 1200 B.C. and is a particularly fine example, with an ancient cooking pit beside it.

It is a nice drive to Glandore, which is a popular centre for yachting, with some pleasant pubs and a hotel overlooking the waterfront, making it an ideal haven for sailors and landlubbers alike to unwind. Across the water from Glandore, and linked to it by a fascinating bridge, is the prettily-painted village of Union Hall.

Guide To Attractions

CASTLE SALEM, Benduff Castle, Rosscarbery: Guided historic tours of the 15th century castle, one of the best preserved castles in Ireland. Open all year. Tel: (023)-48381.

DROMBEG STONE CIRCLE, Glandore: Drombeg stone circle is one of the finest, with an orientation towards the Winter Solstice Sunset. Open all year.

LIOS-NA-gCON (Ring Fort of the Hound), Darrara Agricultural College, Clonakilty: Step back in time at the only Ring Fort in Ireland reconstructed on its original site. Venture underground in the original Souterrain, sit by the camp fires, rest in the thatched central round house. Open March-September. Tel: (023)-33302. Fax: (023)-34449.

WEST CORK MODEL RAILWAY VILLAGE, The Station, Inchydoney Road, Clonakilty: A miniature representation of West Cork Towns during the 30's to 50's. Numerous animated scenes and a fully automated model of the West Cork Railway. Open we ekends Feb. - March, daily April - Oct. Tel: (023)-33224. Fax: (023)-34843.

CREAGH GARDENS, Skibbereen: Over 20 acres of informal gardens. A garden for the romantic, quiet and peaceful, of woodlands sloping down to the sea estuary with interesting and varied wildlife. Open March - October. Other times by a rrangement. Tel / Fax: (028)-22121.

WEST CORK ART CENTRE, North Street, Skibbereen: Consists of the main gallery showing exhibition lasting 3 weeks each, and the mini gallery highlighting local crafts, as well as talks and workshops in the gallery. Tel: (028)-22090. Fax: (028)-22084.

CEIM HILL MUSEUM, Union Hall: Ceim Hill Museum will reward its visitors with displays of unusual artifacts and archeological pieces found on site by the curator who also shares her knowledge of the early history of the area, as well as information on herbal medicines and treatments. Tel: (028)-36280.

To Tel / Fax from outside Ireland, dial the international prefix, followed by 353, followed by the number (omit the 0 in the 3 digit area code).