Join Jim Kennedy in a unique experience that combines Irish culture and local foods and genuine adventure on and off the water. More than just an expert kayaking guide to West Cork's coastline, Jim also shares an intimate knowledge of the region's history, wildlife and mythology, tells fascinating stories and introduces you to his many friends from all walks of life. Paddling with Atlantic Sea Kayaking is to float through a portal and enter a mystical and secret Ireland.
Here is what just a few people have said about their experiences with Atlantic Sea Kayaking:
‘When I lay dying and I'm playing my "final slide-show", my night kayak on Lough Hyne with Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea kayaking will definitely play...outstanding and magical experience! Mother Nature puts on the best show, and the fine people of Atlantic Sea Kayaking make great guides!’
LucKas75 Glendale, California (11 September 2012)
“This was the highlight of our Ireland trip.
Jim, Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! We were so happy to have gone on the kayaking trip. It was absolutely amazing.
The night was gorgeous. The trip was well coordinated. It's amazing. I still can't believe the beautiful scenery we saw. It was like a dream!”
Coleen from Minnesota
( Trip Advisor,1 October 2012)
IRELAND: WEST CORK'S SECRET PLACES
Your arrival, and over dinner we introduce ourselves, outline the itinerary for the coming days and brief you on the kayaking and experiences to com
After a leisurely breakfast we visit the quaint fishing village of Union Hall, (check it out at www.unionhall.ie). Here you will be introduced to sea kayaking in a relaxed manner by our expert guides, who'll teach you the simple paddle strokes and techniques needed to easily and safely manoeuvre your craft. Then we'll spend the morning on the water exploring sheltered bays, delving into caves and paddling through sea arches. As we kayak there will be opportunities to forage for tasty seaweeds, and the chance to get close to some of West Cork's marine wildlife, with otters, seals, dolphins, many species of sea-bird and even whales all possible sightings. We spend around three relaxed hours kayaking.
After lunch we take a break from paddling and go on a hike to find the holy wells, and famine walls that are symbols of ancient Ireland. As we walk along the Atlantic Coastline and enjoy its scenery, the Ireland of long ago will be brought alive through the stories told about these secret places by our guides.
For dinner we will visit one of the small villages nestled into the coast. Here you'll feast on West Cork's famed locally produced and harvested foods whether fresh caught fish, vegetarian specialties, artisanal cheeses or organic steaks. Once well fed we head to a local pub for a traditional Irish music session where we'll meet the musicians over - maybe - a pint of Guinness and get a chance to join in with a song or two or play the bodhran (the Irish hand drum). Afterwards it's back to our comfortable accommodation for a good night's sleep in preparation for our next adventure.
A leisurely breakfast will prepare us for a day discovering the real West Cork. As we thread our way through a maze of small lanes to visit some of the regions most inspiring traditional food artisans, including fish smokers and cheese makers you'll learn that 'there are no strangers in West Cork, only new friends waiting to be met.' And amongst so much good food lunch is bound to be a culinary adventure.
In the afternoon we visit Drombeg stone circle, a miniature Stonehenge, and one of Ireland's best preserved prehistoric sites, with a timeless atmosphere that encourages the imagination to roam through time and space. Back in the modern world, West Cork still has a relaxed air that has passing locals, whether a farmer off to bring in his cows or a fishermen on the quay, greeting you as if you've known each other for years and 'hellos' easily turn into stories about local landmarks or the fish that got away.
We head back to our accommodation and an early dinner before embarking on what has become one of Ireland’s special experiences. Just as dusk is falling we embark in state-of-the-art double kayaks to experience Atlantic Sea Kayaking's starlight/moonlight adventure. There is always something to make you gasp in sheer amazement as you paddle from the sunset into the hours of darkness, whether it's the whirling silhouettes of birds settling for the night on the shore line, the sound of a surfacing seal, the whole panoply of stars spread out overhead or moonlight reflected on the sea's surface. Often our night paddles are lit by startling bio-luminescence where microscopic marine life react to the movement of the water under your gliding kayak or around your paddle blade by erupting into ghostly phosphorescence that seems to turn the sea into liquid fire. In 2012 Trip Advisor voted this as one of the top 10 kayak trips in the world and National Geographic has also praised this magical adventure.
We return to our accommodation with unforgettable memories and ready for well-earned sleep.
Another relaxed breakfast and then time for a farewell stroll on the beach or a final shopping trip perhaps for some of the foods tasted over the past days or for local handicrafts. As the time comes to depart you won't be saying 'goodbye' to new friends and special places but as we say in Irish 'slan go foill' meaning “see you again some time soon.”
Available any time Minimum of 4 people required .
Experience the Irish Coast, Culture and Food.
All of our trips take an eco friendly and sustainable approach to the environment and its people.
All of our tours are designed with you our client in mind and we aim to make it a truly memorable experience for you .
Below we have 3 different tours on offer to suit all tastes and indeed abilities.
Ireland's West Cork Kayaking Trail (7 day Coastal Experience)
Discover the Hidden Ireland (6 day Experience)
Five day Irish Luxury Experience
Ireland’s West Cork Sea Kayaking trail 7 day coastal experience.
This is a unique opportunity to explore the jewel of Irelands coastline by sea kayak. This area is known as West Cork. It stretches from The Old Head Of Kinsale right up to Dursey island on the North side of the Mizen Head (1,000km), often credited with being the most South Westerly point in Europe, certainly in Ireland. The West Cork coastline including its many peninsulas has over 1000km of coast.
Join us at Atlantic Sea Kayaking and let us guide you in exploring this magnificent area. Glide along on the Atlantic currents and become one with nature and the marine life. We also get a chance to sample great local produce, meet some of the artisan producers. Explore the Celtic historic sites and stone circles. We head west from the village of Baltimore past some of the most spectacular landscapes Ireland has to offer. Using a mix of double and single kayaks & under the watchful care of our experienced guides we will share stories of historical interest, as well as pointing out the very varied marine life in this pristine unspoilt part of the Atlantic. Our guides who will also advise you on your kayaking technique when needed. Our distance and traveling rate are all geared towards all our guests’ comfort. An average level of fitness is required. We use double sea kayaks unless singles are requested.
Day 1 -
We will meet you at your accommodation for a briefing and to sort out equipment and any special wishes you may have. . Dinner is provided by us this evening. We stay in Casey’s Hotel . http://www.caseysofbaltimore.com/
Day 2 & 3 -
We will spend the next two days exploring by kayak, and on foot, the area known as Carbery’s Hundred Isles. It stretches from the Mizen Head (which is reputed to be Europe’s most south westerly point ) to the West all the way to the town of Baltimore, which in the 1700 was sacked by Algerian Pirates. They made off with close to 150 residents and brought them to Africa where they were sold into slavery. We will also visit the local seal nursery hidden in behind Spanish Island. During this trip we will explore the sheltered waters , the sea stacks and caves. In the distance we will see the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse which was erected in 19th century and stands 150 feet high far out on the Atlantic. We will take the opportunity to hike around one of the islands where you can let your imagination ponder on what it must have been like to live there in olden times without all the luxuries we have to day. In the afternoon we will return to Baltimore in the evening and some music and local banter.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbery%27s_Hundred_Isles We stay in Casey’s Hotel . http://www.caseysofbaltimore.com/
We leave Baltimore (51,28,010N. 22,010W 9,10,019W ) to day and head east along the coast towards the famous Lough Hyne Nature reserve (51,30.096N 9,18,023W, ). This is Europe’s only sea lake and a very special area for marine life. The Lough itself is about 1Km across and has an average depth of 35 M.
It has a narrow entrance, which allows the sea to replenish the water of the Lough twice a day. This spectacular marine environment has over 1,000 different species represented beneath its waters. We will explore the history of the Lough and enter some of the many caves at its entrance. Tonight we stay in the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen, which is an interesting and historical town. Michael Collins and Irish patriot immortalised by Hollywood stayed here the night before he was ambushed and shot. Here a visit to the Famine Heritage centre is well worth doing, or take a stroll and check out the various pubs and shops.
Tonight we stay in the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen. Dinner is on us, http://www.westcorkhotel.com/
From Lough Hyne east to Castlehaven Bay.
Our Launch site today is Reen Pier in Castlehaven Bay. This bay was an English Naval base for many years and the navy influences can be clearly seen in some of the structures near the pier. This was also a favourite haunt of Jonathon Swift who wrote Gullivers Travels . Here we can look at the vast variety of seaweeds or sea vegetables the Atlantic has to offer. We paddle on towards Horse Island in through the archways and caves in the area. Maybe do a little angling from the kayaks. Off shore we see the spectacular Stags Rocks, A little rocky island standing proud above the surface, here the Kowloon Bridge, a 350m long cargo ship sank about 20 years ago. The Stags rocks are also the breeding ground for the Grey Seals and a popular spot for basking sharks and dolphins. Tonight we stay in the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen. http://www.westcorkhotel.com/
Day 6. Today we have the morning to shop and explore the town of Skibbereen . Our kayak trip begins at after lunch and will go right into darkness. Today’s trip is again about 10k and it is very special indeed. We go from Castlehaven Bay to Squince Beach via Horse island and Hi and Lo Islands, which is the nursery for the grey seals and has nesting sea birds screeching at our arrival. These Islands were once home to some monks and their beehive huts. There are still remnants of old stonewalls and Celtic crosses in the area. We take a break for dinner before we begin the next and incredibly atmospheric part of our trip. Our Atlantic Sea kayaking starlight / moon light kayaking tour is truly iconic and has a world wide reputation and you will see why after dinner as we again take to the kayaks as dusk falls and we float on the bioluminescence with fish breaking the surface around us and the stars twinkling along our path. Just before midnight we arrive back in Skibbereen wondering was that just a dream?
Tonight we stay in the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen. http://www.westcorkhotel.com/
Day 7 - Breakfast and Departure
Price: € 1395 p/p sharing
Includes: Kayaks and equipment Guides. Accommodation, Breakfast & Lunches .Welcoming, mid tour and farewell dinner. Transport while kayaking with us.
Single supplement for accommodation will apply .
The 6 Day Hidden Ireland Experience.
This 6-day tour is designed to give the responsible adventure traveler a complete active, historical, cultural and culinary Irish experience,
During our time together we bring you sea kayaking on the sheltered inlets, hiking along the majestic cliffs and coastline shores and exploring castles and villages. You get to taste the local produce and meet the artisan producers. We sit and listen to the music that celebrates Ireland. These are just a few of the local treats in store for you.
We are fortunate to be situated in an area that is steeped in beauty, mystery and magic. It has a varied and unique history. The South West coast line is just about as far west as you can go in Europe, after this the next parish is the USA or Canada.
Our experience begins on the East of City of Cork city in a town called Cobh. In song and verse it is known as the Holy Ground it is situated on Cork harbour, which next to Sydney Harbour in Australia is reputed to be the world’s second largest natural harbour. This spectacular terraced colorful town was the last sight that many of the Irish emigrants saw as they sailed bravely towards the unknown on to where they believed the pavements were lined with gold, usually the USA or Canada, and some even got to Australia.
This spectacular portal to the Atlantic was also the last stopping port of the ill-fated Titanic where it took on provisions and hundreds unsuspecting passengers. It was also one of the most important provisioning ports during the Great War of 1914.
Without doubt the best way to see this spectacular town is from the water, we begin our kayaking here and as part of our trip we get to visit Spike Island, this is Ireland’s Alcatraz and which only closed as a prison recently. It’s history dates back to seventh century. In Cobh we get an opportunity to visit the Titanic Museum, the famine heritage centre and the Irish craft shop where we can arrange a crystal cutting display.
Our tour moves on to Cork City where we take a half-day kayak tour around the city and under some it its 24 bridges. Cork was known as the Venice of the North in earlier times and at one stage was the butter capital of the world, due mainly to its climate and accessibility by water. Corkonians regard Cork as the capital of Ireland. It is a colorful compact city full of character and history.
After our kayak trip we take time to browse around Cork city have a look at the English Market where the English Queen Elizabeth had so much fun on her recent historic visit. We then drive the short distance to the West Cork coastline and famiiliarise our selves with our accommodation where we will be based for the rest of our visit and will meet up for dinner in one of the areas many great restaurants. Later that night we can visit a local bar and hear some Irish music.
West Cork is an unique area steeped in history, many islands, protected bays and sheltered estuaries. Famous for its history, wild life and indeed its gastronomy. Many artisan food producers live here and this of course is reflected in the amazing food the area has to offer. We will be exploring this magical area over the rest of our tour and will become familiar with the people, the flora, fauna. We will be doing some seaweed foraging and fishing from the kayaks and immersing in the incredible hidden beauty this area has to offer.
We will meet you at your accommodation for a briefing and to sort out equipment and any special wishes you may have. . Dinner is provided by us this evening http://www.bellavistahotel.ie/
Day 2. Monday
Following breakfast we spend the morning exploring this historical harbour by kayak and get an opportunity to land on and explore Spike Island. In the afternoon it is possible to do an historical tour of Cobh. (Angling is also available on request) One can also visit the Titanic Centre and craft shop. You are welcome to ramble and explore this incredibly historic town.
We again stay in Cobh tonight http://www.bellavistahotel.ie/
Day 3. Tuesday
After breakfast it is time to move on and head for West Cork via Cork City. We stop in the City where we spend half a day kayaking around it and under some of the 24 bridges that it boasts. The proximity of the streets to the River Lee makes this a really atmospheric tour. After kayaking we head to the English market for lunch. Later our visitors get an opportunity to ramble and explore Cork City. In the evening we take a one and a half hour drive to West Cork and settle into our new accommodation. Later that evening we go on a star light / moonlight kayak trip which last year was voted by Trip Advisor for its members as one of the top ten kayak trips in the world. http://www.caseysofbaltimore.com/
Day 4 Wednesday
Today after a great breakfast of locally produced delights we will set off on our day of adventure and exploration.
Here are some of the delights and adventures we will be experiencing.
We will kayak in an area know as Carberys Hundred Isles where we will spy on the common seal nursery at the back of Spanish Island. We will see where the Barbary Pirates moored when the sacked Baltimore in the 16th century.
We will be hiking to the cliff tops over looking the Atlantic and viewing the incredible and varied birds that live locally. http://www.caseysofbaltimore.com/
Day 5 Thursday
We launch today at Reen Pier near the colorful fishing village of Union Hall. After sampling some of the local produce in restaurants we will visit some of the artisan food producers for which the area is so well known. We will relax over a pint in some quaint bar in the evening listening to the music that is Ireland is famous for and share stories with some locals before bed.
We will stay for the next two nights in the West Cork Hotel http://www.westcorkhotel.com/
Day 6. Friday
Breakfast and departure.
Price : €1295 p/p sharing
Kayaks and equipment Guides. Accommodation, Breakfast & Lunches .
Welcoming, mid tour and farewell dinner. Transport while kayaking with us.
Single supplement for accommodation will apply .
The 5 Day Irish Luxury Experience
This special adventure tour allows us to immerse our visitors in some of the great experiences that make Ireland so special. With Atlantic Sea Kayaking as your guide you will stay in some of Irelands magical and unique houses/hotels, experience the culinary craft that only these special places have to offer. You will have the opportunity and time to soak and relax in the ambience and facilities that makes them unique. We will cater for your adventurous streak. Allow our guides to lead you along the Coastline of South West Ireland. Kayak in the memory of the Titanic in Cork Harbour. Walk along the wild Atlantic coastline at night. Float on the tranquil waters looking at the Bioluminescence beneath your kayak. We will gear the adventure according to your ability. In the evening listen to local musicians get to meet them and try your hand at playing the Bodhran (drum)
Day 1. Arrive at Ballymaloe House. Where we meet for dinner, and get to know our fellow travelers. Ballymaloe House is Situated on a 400 acre farm in the gentle hills of East Cork, Ballymaloe is a Country House Hotel which has been run by the Allen Family since 1964. Best known for its food, Ballymaloe’s success stems from its ethos that all good things start in the ground! Produce for the kitchens are chosen according to what is in season and local. http://www.ballymaloe.ie/
Make a loaf of Irish Soda Bread with Ballymaloe Chef, JR. Then have a well earned breakfast which includes homemade breads, fruit salads, free range eggs and bacon and sausages from a local artisan farmer.
Later we explore Cork Harbour by kayak and on foot. Setting out from the town of Cobh we kayak to Spike Island ( Ireland’s Alcatraz) if the weather permits . Then a tour of the Titanic Centre. This was the last stop off point of the Ship on its ill fated maiden voyage. We also take time to explore the town on foot . After the trip we head back to Ballymaloe House to relax by the fire, take a nap, or browse through the Ballymaloe Craft Shop before dinner
After another great Ballymaloe breakfast, we drive the short distance to Cork City where we take a kayak tour around the city. Cork was once known as the Venice of the north with its 24 bridges and picturesque quay walls. After our kayak trip we ramble to the city centre and have lunch in The English Market. The British Queen recently voted this as one of the high lights of her historic visit to Ireland in 2012.
Then we depart for Inchydoney Island Resort and Spa, which has been voted Irelands Best Resort three out of the last 4 years and is famous for its beachside location, seawater spa and fresh seafood.
Here we take time to relax and enjoy the surroundings before we meet up for dinner.
After dinner we go for a night hike along the beaches and dunes. This is a very magical experience, the sea shore at night has many secrets and wonders that it will share with us.
The morning is spent at the hotel enjoying the spas and treatments. After lunch we travel a short distance up to Castlehaven Bay were we spend the afternoon sea kayaking, seaweed foraging, wildlife watching and exploring the amazing West Cork coastline by kayak and on foot.
We return to the Village of Castletownshend where we have dinner in the very famous and unique Mary Anne’s Bar. http://www.westcorkweek.com/maryanns/
Just as dusk is falling we again take to the kayaks and set off on our special starlight / moonlight adventure. In 2012 Trip Advisor voted this trip as one of the top 10 kayak trips in the world. . Later that night back at Inchydoney Island sleep will come easy after a magical day experiencing the secrets of West Cork .
After another great Inchydoney breakfast maybe have a last soak in the saltwater spa of the hotel, a farewell stroll on the beach?
We say our goodbyes and depart.
Price: €1650 p/p sharing.
Accommodation , Meals, Equipment, Guides, Transport while with us, permits , all activities, guides.
Transport to first day and last day but can be arranged. Extras while at accommodation.
Single supplement for accommodation will apply .
Single supplement for kayaks of €50 for entire tour applies.