Last Chance to Get Wet in NI

Posted on August 16, 2018 @ 12:58 PM in AdventureCanoeing

As we approach the end of summer (parents rejoice; children despair!), the huge number of water sport events from Get Wet are beginning to wind down. But don’t panic – there’s still time left to dip your toe into a potentially life changing new hobby! Dive in with us one last time as we look at "Have a Go" water sports events happening soon. 

A Fermanagh extravaganza first! There's loads happening all over Northern Ireland in the next few weeks, but Lough Erne in particular has several events still to be enjoyed:

Stand Up Paddleboarding – Erne Paddlers: Lakeland Forum Canoe Steps, Sat 18th and Wed 29th August


Erne Paddlers are one of the many clubs to have recognised the huge growth in popularity in stand up paddleboarding. In an hour long session, you’ll be introduced to the sport via games designed to make you comfortable on a paddle board and gradually develop the skills that will allow you do go solo. At only £15 for non members, this event is fantastic value – just make sure you book in advance.


Inclusive Paddles - Erne Paddlers: Lakeland Forum Canoe Steps, Thurs 23rd and 30th August

Man, woman or child can take part in these events, enjoying the incredible scenery of the Erne. Specifically intended for people who have never paddled before, it is also suitable for anyone with disabilities. All of your equipment will be provided for you - your job is just to enjoy yourself!


Paddle Power - Erne Paddlers: Lakeland Forum Canoe Steps, Friday 17th, 24th and 31st August

Intended for parents and children who have some experience paddling, maybe having done some of Erne Paddler's earlier "Give it a Go" sessions. You'll be learning via the "games with aims" method, which is really just a fun way of something to say you'll pick lots up through fun games!


Don't worry if you don't live in the Lakeland County though - there are plenty of other events happening elsewhere, such as:

Rowing – Lagan Currachs: Lagan Lookout Marina, Belfast, Sat 18th and 25th August


Lagan Currachs’ weekly rows through Belfast have proven consistently to be one of the most popular events with newbies to water sports. Participants say that in addition to the fun of rowing and the health benefits of a good workout, even the act of being in a traditional currach boat is a brilliant experience. Their final Saturday row takes place on Saturday 25th August, booking is advisable.


Sailing – Donaghadee Sailing Club: Donaghadee Sailing Club, Shore Street, Sun 19th and 26th August


Sailing is another sport that has exploded in popularity in recent years, particularly amongst women. In a bid to help more girls get into the sport, Donaghadee Sailing Club are running a Women on Water Sailing Programme. It is designed for people with no experience of sailing, so if you’re worried about not knowing your stern from your starboard – you’ll be in good company!


Dinghy Sailing – Coleraine Yacht Club: Coleraine Yacht Club, The Marina, Wed 22nd and 29th August

Another sport ideal for a mixture of skill and fun, this dinghy sailing course promises a huge amount of both. Suitable for adults and juniors, in addition to a boat you’ll learn from some of the top coaches in the province. Bookings can be made online in advance.


Sculling – Lagan Scullers: No.8 Lockview Road, Belfast, Sun 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd September


Rowing’s more challenging sibling. Sculling is a fantastic way to keep fit and this 4 week course is ideal for introducing newcomers to the sport. Using a rowing machine to begin, you’ll soon be brought out onto the boat to learn the importance of synchronicity on the water, as well as how to launch, turn, stop and recover boats.

For a full list of the water sports events taking place between now and September, check out the GetWetNI website, or follow us on our GetWetNI Facebook page.

Ethan Loughrey
Ethan Loughrey  Mountain Bike Officer

Hardest thing about Mountain Biking? Definitely the trees.

Shining A Light On Northern Ireland's Great Lighthouses

Posted on August 1, 2018 @ 11:08 AM in Walking

Down through the centuries Lighthouses have helped guide ships and sailors safely along the coastline avoiding perilous rocks. Dotted along the stunning coastline on various walking routes, Northern Ireland boasts 5 Great Lighthouses waiting to be explored! 

The Bumblebee Lighthouse

St John's Point Lighthouse courtesy of Malcolm McGettigan

Image: St. John's Point Lighthouse courtesy of Malcolm McGettigan

Overlooking Dundrum Bay in the coastal town of Killough, you can't miss St John's Lighthouse. Located on section 4 of the Lecale Way between Ardglass and Tyrella, St John's is the tallest onshore lighthouse in Ireland, designed by acclaimed designer George Halpin Senior. It's striking tall tower is marked with vibrant bumblebee bands of yellow and black. These vivid colours, which distinguish it from other lighthouses, are known as its daymark. 

The Little Lighthouse

Blackhead Lighthouse courtesy of Malcolm McGettigan

Image: Blackhead Lighthouse courtesy of Malcolm McGettigan

Sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking Belfast Lough, Blackhead Lighthouse is located only half an hour from Belfast. Built in 1902, the lighthouse has guided many famous vessels to safety during Belfast's golden age of shipping, including RMS Titanic. As well as exploring the inside of the lighthouse, visitors can follow the dramatic coastline by walking the 2.4 mile linear (one way) Blackhead Path which takes you past a series of sea caves and coves towards the Victorian seaside resort of Whitehead.

The Upside Down Lighthouse

Rathlin Island

Image: Rathlin Island West Lighthouse courtesy of Tourism NI

Whether you love wildlife, are a bit of a history buff or simply want to experience life on an island and feel the wind in your face, Rathlin West Lighthouse is the place for you. At just six miles long, one mile wide, the west lighthouse is one of two lights which can be found on the Island. Known as being Ireland's only 'upside down' lighthouse, it can be accessed via the 4 mile linear (one way) Rathlin Trail. Be sure to take a tour of the lighthouse and embrace the views from its cliff-face vantage point to get a real insight into lightkeeping life. The Island is not only home to this unique lighthouse, but also one of the largest seabird colonies in the UK which can be admired from the RSPB Seabird Centre. 

Lighthouse On The Pier

Donaghadee Lighthouse

The character of Donaghadee is intimately joined to its most well known landmark Donaghadee Lighthouse. Since its construction in 1836 this limestone lighthouse has been a symbol of pride to the town's inhabitants. From it's lofty parapet, there's a seagulls eye view of the harbour and town which you can discover by following the 1.5 mile, Donaghadee Town Trail.

The Great Light 

Titanic Light

Image: Titanic Light courtesy of Titanic Foundation

The Great Light in Belfast's Titanic Quarter is one of the largest optics of its kind ever built in the world, and is around 130 years old. Weighing 10 tonnes and measuring 7 metres tall, the optic is a unique maritime heritage object with significance to Belfast's economic, maritime and industrial past. It is totally irreplaceable and is an exceptionally rare maritime artefact. It produced one of the strongest lighthouse beams ever to shine - a truly GREAT LIGHT. You can discover this light for yourself by following the 500 metre Titanic Walkway on Victoria Wharf, which connects the Titanic Slipways to HMS Caroline and the Thompson Dock.

For more coastal walks in Northern Ireland check out for details.

Latest comment posted by GARY on August 8, 2018 @ 4:25 PM

All Great Lighthouse,s of Northern Ireland, as one of my many interests I can't understand why my nearest Lighthouse, Haulbowline in Carlingford Lough is not included in this package? Read more >

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

Northern Ireland's Outdoor Adventure Blog