Posted on March 27, 2013 @ 12:43 PM in
It mightn’t be the best weather we’ve ever had at Easter but that doesn’t mean you have to hide away indoors! There are loads of fantastic family events happening over the Easter period on a range of Northern Ireland's Beaches and with the activity providers providing everything you need to have a good time there’s no excuse for not getting outside and having some family fun.
Don’t let the weather dampen your spirits this Easter, get the kids out of the house and book onto an event below. Whether you want to get stuck in with the kids or leave them to it with friends their own age – here are just a few of the many activities happening over the Easter break:
£15 Surfing Lessons, Alive Surf School, Portrush, Co. Antrim, 1st April
Who says the kids should get to have all the fun?! Join in with them and see who can stand up first and ride the waves into the shore. Alive Surf School is offering 2 hour surf lessons including all equipment and a free snack and drink for just £15 when you quote ‘OutdoorNI.com’ when booking.
Bay to Bay Sea Tour, Portrush Sea Tours, Portrush, Co. Antrim, 30th & 31st March, 1st, 3rd & 4th April
Enjoy the memorable experience of seeing our beautiful coastline from the sea. Witness the glorious sandy beaches of Portrush as you zoom across the water and experience the North Coast like never before as you take in the glorious sights of Ramore Head, the Skerries, Dunluce Castle and Island Doo. This is one sightseeing trip that will definitely not leave the kids bored.
Kids Surf Camp, Long Line Surf School, Benone Beach, Co. Londonderry, 30th March – 7th April
Surfing, beach games, safety and an experience the children will remember forever! Leave the kids to have fun on the beach while you go away and relax for a couple of hours knowing they’re in safe hands. Add into the mix a special kids Easter egg surf hunt on the 1st April and a whole day of fun on the beach with the kids big day out on the 5th April and you’ll have no problem keeping them amused over the break.
Easter Kids Camp, Portrush, Troggs Surf School, Co. Antrim, 6th – 7th April
Relax and chill out while the kids hit the waves, learn how to surf and meet new friends at The Troggs Quicksilver Kids Surf Camp. No experience is necessary and video footage of the surfing is included so everyone can relive the fun. An exciting, friendly and fully supervised learning experience - the kids are sure to be talking about it for ages!
Make sure to check out BeachNI.com for even more ideas on which beaches to visit this Easter.
Posted on December 5, 2012 @ 1:14 PM in
Northern Ireland’s beaches are amazing places to visit in the summer when the sun is shining and the days are long but the winter time can be an even better time to take a trip to the seaside because of the fact that you can walk for miles without meeting another soul!
As you stroll along the sandy beaches of Northern Ireland in winter, take in the amazing 360 degree views, feel the blustery wind in your hair, take a moment to watch the surfers make their moves, build some sand castles, practice your photography skills or watch out for the winter wildlife that may make an appearance. Just be sure to wrap up warm!
After a long breezy day on the beach, there’s only one thing that will finish the day off perfectly and that’s a hot drink for warming the belly…so listed below are a number of beaches that have café or restaurant facilities close by to service this very need.
So what are you waiting for?!
- Benone Strand, Co. Londonderry – stretches for over 7 miles from Downhill to Magilligan Point. This beach is a blue flag beach with amazing views along the North Coast, to Inishowen in Donegal and to Scotland.
- Carnlough Beach, Co. Antrim – has a serene and idyllic atmosphere and is at the foot of the famous Glens of Antrim if you fancy some additional walking in the hills.
- Crawfordsburn Beach, Co. Down - approximately 0.7 kilometres in length this beach comprises of sand with a rocky shoreline at either end and is only a 20 minute drive from Belfast.
- Murlough Beach, Co. Down - a wide flat sandy beach with a 2m wide pebble ridge providing amazing views of the Mourne Mountains in the distance.
- Tyrella Beach, Co. Down - a small enclosed beach and dune complex within Dundrum Bay comprising of a wide flat sandy beach, 2km long and backed by 25 hectres of mature dunes.
There’s no better way to get away from all the hype surrounding Christmas than to schedule a lazy winter day on the beach during the festive period…it certainly beats scrambling around the shops to find last minute presents or helping Gran complete her crosswords when she comes to stay for Christmas!
For more detailed information on all beaches in Northern Ireland including their facilities, activities and events, please visit BeachNI.com
Posted on October 26, 2012 @ 2:24 PM in
When we talk about summer we imagine beaches, sun, water, laughter, BBQ’s, ice-cream and so on. The list is endless and to some of us this is the best time of the year. While flicking through my diary the other day I saw a small inscription beside October 28th which said “Last Day of British Summer”. Surely this must be wrong? But when you think about it we have had some nice weather over the past few weeks which could make you think it is summer. But in Northern Ireland it seems that people can’t stop complaining about the weather and when I mention the word summer the most popular response is “What Summer???”
Well from owning a surf school and being on the beach for 12 hours a day I can safely say that there has been a summer and it was glorious. I think in Northern Ireland we should take summer as a time of long days, moderate temperature and a lot to do. We really aren’t close enough to the equator to be depending on sun every day to make our past times enjoyable. As I sit and write this I try and figure out why people complain about the weather so much. My conclusion is that when you look outside from a warm sheltered house it can sometimes look quite miserable, especially if it is raining. But what I find is that if you spend the majority of your day outside, the rain really doesn’t affect you, maybe that’s because I’m in a wetsuit but usually that rain just passes over and you end up with a few hours of lovely weather.
But it also comes down to the individual. I see people every day that come down and use the beach for walking or swimming no matter what the weather is and then there are people who only come down when the sun shines. The important thing is that they are out and about and enjoying a stretch of beach which is beautiful and free to use.
At Long Line Surf School we tried to encourage a beach lifestyle the minute we opened. The best way we found how to encourage this was mainly through the children as they don’t care as much about the weather. For the kids there were school trips down to the beach to come surfing which was amazing. To see all those children excited to be given the freedom to just run into the water and to experience it all for themselves. During the school term we also had our own Board Riders Club which consisted of 3 primary schools from Limavady as well as one secondary school. This small bunch of keen surfers came down after school once a week and had a great time while progressing their skills of surfing. Once the Summer Holidays had begun we started our KIDS BIG DAY OUT programme which occurred every Friday from 10am -5:30pm. This really showed off the outdoor lifestyle with the kids being outdoors the entire time with surfing in the morning, lunch in the picnic area even with torrential rain and then beach games followed with a swim in the sea to finish. This became a very popular day at Benone with Kids coming back every week.
As well as big days out and normal surf lessons we also ran a number of events to get people to come down and experience Benone Beach in a different way. On the 9th June we ran Irelands first Surfing Disabled Festival for young people aged 8-25 with disabilities. This was a great day for all as usually you find that it would be the siblings of the disabled people who would be going and trying these great outdoor sports and so we created the event in order to get everyone involved and with a team of lifeguards and surf instructors we made this day a complete success and a date that will be kept in the diary for next year.
In June we also ran the ‘North Coast Annual Waterman Championships’ which consisted of lifeguards, swimmers and members of Triathlon clubs coming down to enter in an endurance event of run, swim, paddle and run. Seeing a lot of adults having a go at this who may have never considered entering anything like this before was great and especially as you finish the trial with your friends and family cheering you on.
As July set in, the campsites filled up, the lifeguards started duty, everyone was in full swing and Long Line Surf School became very busy and over the two months to follow we met some great people, made some new friends and even squeezed in a few BBQ’s in between. That is what summer is about, long days with good surf, warm waters and friends learning new skills and giving anything a go. Talking about giving anything a go we were given the most amazing opportunity to run a Blind Surf Session during the summer with a number of members from the guide dogs for the Blind NI. By using our custom made surfboards for people with disabilities we were able to get people with visual impairments on surfboards and instructors on the back of the board in order to help steer the board and keep it balanced. It turned out to be one of the best days of my career as a Surf instructor and something which I found very rewarding. We’ve even got the local surfing community to raise money for the charity in early September at the special surf contest which also consisted of a blind category where the competitors were given blacked out goggles to try and surf with in order to create awareness on how difficult and sometimes intimidating it can be.
Now that the Summer on Benone Beach is over, the crowds are starting to leave and the local people still walk the beaches I can now look back and really appreciate this SUMMER no matter what the weather was like. The beach is there for communities and friends to come together and enjoy nature whether it is having a BBQ, surfing, swimming or just grabbing an ice-cream and sitting in your car watching the beach lifestyle unwrap.
At Long Line Surf School we find that Benone is there to be enjoyed all year round as well as the other beaches on the North Coast and we are very happy to be part of it. Keep an eye out next year for all the events you can become part of.
For more information on Long Line Surf School and what they offer at Benone Beach please visit their profile on OutdoorNI.com.
Posted on September 14, 2012 @ 8:40 AM in
OutdoorNI.com does Sea Kayaking is the latest in our regular blog feature OutdoorNI.com does - which is our opportunity to showcase the exciting outdoor activities available in Northern Ireland.
OutdoorNI’s Sarah Nelson spent an afternoon Sea Kayaking on the North Coast Sea Kayak Trail with Simply Sea Kayak . Here’s how she got on…
It’s not often blue skies and sun shine make an appearance in Northern Ireland – especially if you have planned to do something outside! Normally with the mere mention of a trip to the beach the clouds descend and the heavens open so you can imagine my surprise (and obvious delight) when there wasn’t a cloud in sight as I made my way to the sandy shores of East Strand Beach, Portrush for my first taste of sea kayaking.
After arriving at the beach and enjoying a quick walk round the impressive new pedestrian promenade I met the rest of the group joining me for the kayaking session and was introduced to Gareth and Steve our friendly and enthusiastic instructors for the afternoon. Straight away it was time to get stuck in and we were kitted out with all the necessary gear including waterproof jackets, buoyancy aids and spray decks (a sheet made out of water-tight cloth sized to fit over the opening, or cockpit, of the kayak to prevent water coming in). It wasn’t long before we were all sitting in our kayaks on steady ground for a very literal ‘dry run’. After learning how to adjust our boats to suit our own measurements we were taught what to do in the event of a capsize - luckily for us the conditions were pretty much perfect so any chances of an impromptu swim where very slim, nevertheless it was most definitely an essential piece of information to learn. Ensuring we had the foundations for an enjoyable journey on the water Gareth and Steve taught us how to handle the paddle, coming round us one by one to make sure we had the correct technique down before we headed out to test our new found skills. It was then time to buddy up and carry our crafts down to the beach – the first arm workout of the day and certainly not the last!
After a shove in the right direction we were off - skimming across the waters of the spectacular North Coast Sea Kayak Trail. As I glided along with minimal effort over the crystal clear water I almost forgot where I was letting my mind wonder with thoughts of the Caribbean until the Northern Irish accents behind me confirmed such idyllic places do actually exist right on our doorstep! We continued to paddle along in twos, kissing the coastline and exchanging banter along the way. After putting our steering skills to the test getting up close to the rocky coastline we then began to make our way over to the impressive skerries – a chain of small islands formed from cooled volcanic lava.
Keen for us to experience the beauty of this section of the coast that can only be explored by water Gareth and Steve pointed out the wildlife on the island including the large population of breeding seabirds and told us to look out for the rabbits – I’m still trying to work out how they got there! In an effort to help us appreciate this rich area of fossils Steve challenged us to kayak as close to the island as possible without playing dodgems with the rocks – all I can say is thank goodness plastic doesn’t dent!
Deciding we had to get evidence that the sun actually does shine in Northern Ireland the guys got out the Go Pro camera for a group shot - it was time for the first serious manoeuvre of the day. Thinking I was coping rather well with the 180 degree turn after looking over to see everyone waiting for me in a perfect line and Steve remarking ‘I’d hate to see you reverse a car’ (which I have to admit isn’t a pretty sight!) I eventually managed to slide into position for the Kodak moment.
Photo shoot over we continued to navigate between the basalt islands whilst a few friendly seals popped up to say hello. Before we knew it, it was time to start heading back in with the current behind us to give a welcome helping hand as we paddled our way back to East Strand.
Having previously never paddled before I really did feel that I had achieved a lot in an afternoon with the guided journey allowing me to put the skills learnt at the start of the session into practice. It also gave me the opportunity to experience just a small glimpse of what the North Coast has to offer to sea kayakers, opening my eyes to the endless possibilities for day paddles and expeditions on Northern Ireland’s Coastal Trails .
It is safe to say that ever since our paddle the rowing machine is no longer doing it for me! I’ll happily swap a workout in the gym for clear waters, stunning views, and a fresh breeze any day. However not only was my introduction to sea kayaking a good work out it was definitely a memorable experience and one that has left me unable to think of a more relaxing and peaceful way of experiencing an unique perspective of Northern Ireland’s incredible coastline.
Simply Sea Kayak
Introduction to Sea Kayaking
Cost per person, per day: £45.00
(includes all specialist equipment, no experience required)
Know someone who might like to give this a go? You can purchase the ‘North Coast Sea Kayaking Experience’ online from the OutdoorNI.com Gift Voucher page.
Posted on August 20, 2012 @ 4:43 PM in
Northern Ireland’s beaches with their long stretches of soft sand to explore, endless amounts of water to wade in and the likelihood of not bumping into anyone else, really are ideal for you and your four legged friend. Not only will they provide a welcome change of scenery they are also sure to make your dog’s tail wag even more compared to the usual day to day walks in your local area.
With this in mind, BeachNI.com have hand picked the best beaches in Northern Ireland which allow dogs all year round, so all you have to do is grab the lead and off you go.
- Ballyholme Beach, Co. Down - Ballyholme Beach is approximately 1.3 km in length and consists of a typical sandy beach with a rocky shore at each end.
- Crawfordsburn Beach, Co. Down – Crawfordsburn Beach is approximately 0.7 kilometres in length and comprises of sand with a rocky shoreline at either end.
- Groomsport Beach, Co. Down – Groomsport Beach is approximately 0.5km in length and consists of sand interspersed with rocky outcrops.
- Helen’s Bay Beach, Co. Down – This beach is approximately 0.5km in length and features a beach front of sand with a rocky shoreline at either end.
- Millisle Beach, Co. Down - Millisle Beach is a popular rural beach on the Ards Peninsula and provides 150m of golden sand to explore.
- Portstewart Strand Beach, Co. Antrim - Portstewart Strand is the perfect spot to spend lazy summer days and take long walks into the sand dunes, which are a haven for wild flowers and butterflies.
There are plenty more beautiful beaches in Northern Ireland that you can enjoy with your dog, check out BeachNI.com for a comprehensive list of dog walking beaches. Please note that some beaches have restrictions and zones in place for dogs in the summer months so make sure to check out the website before you visit.
Please be a responsible dog owner and ensure your dog is kept on a lead where appropriate.
Alternatively, if your dog fancies something a bit more adventurous than walking on the beach, why not take him surfing! :-)