From the river Liffey and the Grand Canal that flow through the city, to the miles of beautiful coastline on the Irish Sea, Dublin is blessed with abundant access to water. This means there are plenty of excellent spots for kayaking when the urge to take to the water strikes.
There are a number of venues where you can rent kayaks, covering the full spectrum of canal, river, and sea kayaking.
In this post, we share our complete guide to kayaking in Dublin.
Map of Kayak Hire Locations
The following map shows the location of every kayak hire location highlighted in this post:
Kayaking along the river Liffey is a unique and fun way to experience Dublin, with something to offer tourists and natives alike. For those ready to take the plunge, there are three locations along the river where you can experience a kayaking session.
The first entry on our list is City Kayaking, who offer kayaking tours up the Liffey from their base on the river beside the prominent Jeanie Johnson tall ship. The city centre location is ideal for tourists.
City Kayaking’s main tour is a 2 hour trip up the Liffey, meandering along its gentle waters under the historic bridges of Dublin and taking in the famous landmarks of the city from a new angle. They also run a special package called ‘Music Under The Bridges’, where kayakers can take in the music of local musicians in the unique acoustic environment on the water.
Location: Dublin City Moorings, Custom House Quay, IFSC, Dublin
Wild Water Kayaking Club
For those looking to get into kayaking as a hobby, the Wild Water Kayaking Club offer courses for beginner and intermediate kayakers. As an added bonus, the price of course tuition includes membership of the club for a full club year.
The clubhouse is located directly on the Liffey, just above Palmerstown Weir in the east of the city.
Location: Lower Rd, Chapelizod, Dublin
The watersports shop Surf Dock in Dublin’s docklands neighbourhood offer kayak rental for use around Grand Canal Dock. This is an excellent option for those looking to try their hand at kayaking for a small sum. Wetsuits are also available for hire at the shop.
Location: Grand Canal Dockyard, Ringsend, Dublin
The calm waters of Dublin’s Grand Canal flow gently through South Dublin city, and provide a tranquil paddling experience for those looking to get away from it all. There are two locations along the Grand Canal where you can hire a kayak and take a trip on its still waters.
Extreme Time Off
Extreme Time Off host kayaking sessions along the Grand Canal from their base in Portobello. The route travels east up the canal to Inchicore and back, a distance of approximately 5.5 km.
The narrower span of the canal compared to the Liffey make this trip ideal for children.
Location: Portobello Harbour, Saint Peter’s, Dublin
For those looking to explore the wilder sections of the Grand Canal, Kayaking.ie offer excursions from Leixlip in County Kildare, on the border with County Dublin. Setting off from their base at the Royal Canal Amenity Group centre, the tour lasts for 2.5 hours and is suitable for beginners and children.
Location: Royal Canal Amenity Group, R149, Confey, Leixlip, Co. Kildare
The next entry on our list is sea kayaking at Dalkey in South Dublin, also facilitated by Kayaking.ie. The coastline at Dalkey is among the most scenic in the country, and provides a stunning backdrop to a kayaking excursion.
Tours last for 3 hours, and begin in Bullock Harbour before venturing out onto the sea. Among the many highlights on offer during the trip is the chance to meet the famous Dalkey seals, whose curious and friendly nature often finds them popping up near kayakers to say hello. There is also the option to visit Dalkey Island to the south of Bullock Harbour.
Bullock Harbour is situated within walking distance of the Dalkey DART station. Be sure to check out the cliff diving spot to the east of Bullock Harbour for spectacular views of Dublin Bay.
Location: Bullock Harbour, Glenageary, Dalkey, Dublin
Shearwater Sea Kayaking
Our final entry on the list is Shearwater Sea Kayaking, established by two experienced Irish kayakers with a love for the sport. They offer a range of sea kayaking tours from their base in Howth in North Dublin. The tours available range from introductory courses for absolute beginners to advanced packages for those looking to improve their kayaking.
Depending on the weather, kayakers can visit Ireland’s Eye, a nearby uninhabited island, enjoy the view of the cliffs and the many gulls that nest there, and if they’re lucky even catch a glimpse of the playful seals that reside in the waters around Howth.
Location: 7 Harbour View, Howth, Dublin