Dingle - Come sail with Fungie, the local dolphin. This is a nice spot to
sail even if it is only with the dolphin as she likes to play with windsurfers, she
will try and knock you in as you sail along by jumping in front of your board, she
also likes the sound of the fin and will swim with her nose right behind the fin.
Brandon Bay - The Hookipa of Europe. This is a wide horse-shoe shaped beach that can accomodate nerly every wind direction and swell direction that we get here, so you can sail in cross offshore, cross onshore or side shore. The bay faces north westerly and the surf is formed by a shelf at the edge of Brandon Bay Deep. It is port tack jumping in South Westerly's. The waves can reach twice mast high size, and the waves are powerful, and the wind can get very strong being accelerated down the Conar Pass. One main advantage of Brandon Bay is that you can concentrate on the wave and not on trying to avoid the other sailors as there are not many sailors who have found the wonders of this part of the world. One famous occupant is Jamie Knox, an English wave sailor who prefers Brandon to Hawaii. The night life here is typical Irish - friendly - I recommend Spillanes Pub for great food, drink and craic.
Sandy Bay - This an ideal bay for families and beginners as it is sheltered and has a resident lifeguard from June to August.
Scraganne Bay - Good place for slalom sailing, best in south to north west winds, this is a safe intermediate spot.
North Garrywilliam Point - Warning this wave is only for the best and most experienced surfers. The take off jacks up steeply as any Hawaiian wave with house sized right tubes on its best days - north west swells and light easterly winds. This place is not to be ridden on low tide due to a rocky reef. It is a long sail out to the break and there are no resting points once you are out there.
Mossies - Probably one of the best surfing waves in Europe. Nicknamed after the farmer who first saw surfers at this spot. It is situated opposite Spillanes Bar. Unless you like a long paddle out, access is easiest from Garrywilliam Point. The peak breaks left to right, and picks up any direction of swell. It is a rocky reef so beware at low tide.
Dumps - Half way between Sandy Bay and Fahamore, there is a gap in the sand dunes, this is Dumps. It is west facing so cross shore winds at north or south. The best waves are at low to mid tide. At high tide the name Dumps reveals its origins - you will be dumped onto the stones.
Stoney Gap - This is situated between the two Sandy bay caravan parks on the Brandon bay side. Cross shore winds are south to south west, best at mid tide. It is good in north west in a small swell but dangerous in a big swell. Surfing can be good at low tide.
Smerick Harbour - Surfing only. Two relatively unknown breaks, a left in the centre of the harbour and a righthander at Ballydavid are both good in north to north west swells and south to south east offshore winds. The left is not for the fainthearted as the take off is heavy. Ballydavid has an easy take off with a long wall and a fast finish. Best at mid tide.
Three Peaks - West of Brandon bay, this is one of the best places for surfing and windsurfing in safe fun. In south to south west cross shore winds it breaks from left to right on a shallow sand bank, best at rising mid tide. When surfing line up on 3 white poles on Stradbally golf course for the peak.
Slea Head - Surfing only. On the end of the Dingle Peninsula lies the southwest facing bay called Coomenole. It picks up all south and west swells and the beach drops sharply into the ocean. Ledgey right handers break in front of the shipwreck and rocky reef. Exercise caution, water movement in the area can be extreme.
Annascaul Rivermouth - Surfing only. Best in south west swell with offshore north to east winds. It is a faster take off than Inch reefs with the peak moving around a bit. As it wraps in you get a nice tube and a faster wave. The paddle out is often quite difficult because of the river mouth, good duck diving needed. Best at incoming mid tide.
Inch Reefs - Under inaccessible cliffs west of Inch Strand is Inch reef. Surfing only. You want a south to west swell and off shore winds from north to east to create righthand waves with easy take offs and long walls. Good place to watch your mates do their stuff while you make the effortless paddle out around the break. The best break is at high tide which makes for problems leaving the water. Surfable waves up to 10 foot. Make sure you have a suitable exit point figured out before you paddle in.
Inch Strand - Inch strand juts out to sea for 4 miles. It is a beautiful place which can also provide some good quality beach break waves. It is more of a long board wave or a beginners wave, best at mid tide. The northern end is normaly the best part of the beach, it receives good protection from northwesterly winds and is the easiest place to paddle out from when the waves are big. For windsurfing the prevailing wind is west to south west onshore.
Keel Bay -
A wide bay with cliffs at one end, a most spectacular setting for some great sailing.
The south Westerly winds blow side on-shore here, and the sets that roll in here can
be big, at the centre of the bay, affectionately known as "The Bowl" the waves can
reach double their normal size. A place for experts only. Sometimes when the wind
blows in off the cliffs you can sail a hundred yards from the cliffs and have the
impression that the wind is blowing straight out of the cliffs which are about 500
metres high. Access to this part of the beach is difficult as it is a storm beach
and the beach has a steep slope straight on to the shore break.
Keel Lake - When the wind is blowing the caravans all over the island, windsurfers turn to the lake for speed sailing with a capital S. The winds in Achill can get very strong so bring your smallest sails you have. It can get too windy for sailing on the sea.