Poolbeg

Picture by Pat Dillon.

last edit: March 2021

Poolbeg is one of the most iconic kitesurf spots in Dublin as it is very beginner friendly (shallow, flat and a lot of space, especially at Poolbeg beach) and you will have the chance to ride just next to one of the symbols of Dublin: the chimneys of the power generating station.

There are several launch areas at Poolbeg depending on the height of the tides, check out the below for more info.

Overview

Wind

  • Onshore: SE
  • Cross shore: SW
  • Off shore: W, NW

Forecast

Tide

Kiting in Poolbeg is tide dependent: even though the 3 spots are working in whatever tides, some spots would be better depending on whether it is low, medium, or high tide.

The reason for that is because tides in Dublin can stretch across a significant sweep, and this is particularly visible in the Sandymount bay because the bay is just so large.
Low tide is an absolutely astonishing view and you would feel on another planet, but you might have to walk a couple of kilometers to actually find water with a decent depth.

When low tide

Overview

Only the easternmost beach works when low tide as you will need to go as far as possible from the land to be sure to get a decent depth.
Be aware though that even from the easternmost beach you will need to walk quite a lot. If you are an experienced kitesurfer, you could inflate your kite at easternmost beach and then walk to the water holding your kite with your arms, and finally launch the kite when you are close enough to the water (we all know that walking with the kite up is not ideal).

Theoretically, Shelley Banks beach and even Poolbeg Beach would also work but you would have to walk a significant distance before actually hitting the water.

On the other hand, when you will reach the water, you will be rewarded by a cleaner and more consistent wind due to being further out into the bay.

How to accurately evaluate wind strength

This is a piece of advice I got from a very experience kitesurfer at Poolbeg, Col Torpay: the car park (circled in black in the map below) beside the Shelley Banks is naturally sheltered from SW winds due to the headland at the corner and so from the car park you might be misled into thinking it’s a day for bigger kites (14/15m).
However you’ll often find that once you make the long journey out to the water it’s actually perfect 12m weather.
Best thing to avoid the long walk back to change kites is to walk out to the headland away from the sheltered zone (the purple “X”) to check the wind before pumping your kite to get a more accurate gauge of the strength.

The secret gem of low tide in Poolbeg: the channel!

This body of water circled in red in the image below always keeps a bit of water and can often be kited up to 3 hours before or after low tide.
It can present amazing flat water, as well as a steady wind as it is far from the shore. It is even possible to kite this channel in a Westerly wind for the more experienced kiters as there is beach downwind to protect you.

When high tide

Which of the 3 spots would be the best?

Poolbeg Beach would be your better spot when high tide. It is also the most beginner friendly spots of the three, mainly because that is where you would have the most space.
Shelly Banks beach could work as well but be aware that if the tide is particularly high, then it might be completely covered with water. Additionally, the launch area could be quite narrow and surrounded by rocks, street lights, pedestrians: launching and landing could potentially require some good skills at maneuvering your kite.
The spot I would not recommend when high tide (any height), is the easternmost beach as it will very likely be completely covered with water. Additionally, the narrow space, combined with the rocks of the pier nearby and the pedestrians passing by, could make it difficult and dangerous to launch or land the kite. Hence I removed it from the map below.

The key thing to remember is: the more to the East you go, the more the sea will be deep and choppy and the more experienced you will need to be.

Shells?

Other think to keep in mind when high tide : the small portion of beach on which you will have to launch and land the kite might contain some shells so be mindful for your kite, as well as when walking barefoot (you might actually be better off with boots).

Dunno how to check tides? Take a look at this article.

Safety

No major flag.

Apart from the rocks of the coastline and pier which are very visible at any tide, and the fact the the more you go to the East, the more choppy the sea will be, there is no much hazard at Poolbeg.

That is why this spot would be one of the most beginner friendly of all the Dublin spots.
Good point as well to remember is that Poolbeg spot stretch over three beaches: needless to say you will have a lot of space to practice, which is quite important for beginners.

Getting there

With your own car

Poolbeg is accessible by car from Dublin city center in 10 minutes (oh my, isn’t Dublin the best European capital for kitesurfing?)

Very rarely (for example in Covid time with 5km radius restriction), there could be a barrier preventing you from accessing the easternmost beach and the Shelley Banks beach. Poolbeg beach though would still be accessible.
There is no official source to check if the barrier is in place or not, so the best option would be to reach out to other kitesurfers.

There is an official paid car park at Shelley Banks beach.

Alternatively, unofficial parking is tolerated by the side of the road from Poolbeg Beach to the easternmost beach:

Security of parked cars is not usually a problem but of course we suggest not to leave valuables on show.

By public transport

There is no way to get to Poolbeg by public transport :/

You would need to rent a car, or carpool with other kitesurfers.

Opinions from kitesurfers

Kiting at low tide can actually be a blessing in disguise. Yes it’s a long walk out to reach the water but you often get rewarded by cleaner and more consistent wind

Col Torpay

Contributors to this article

Col Torpay

Brian Daly

Louis Kerisel

Gregoire Lembo

How it looks

Pictures below are by Pat Dillon

Pictures below are by Philip Connaughton Jr – @pipphotographymoments

Feel free to leave a comment in the below if you want to add anything/think anything should be updated!

See you at the beach!

4 thoughts on “Poolbeg”

  1. Well done , very informative and accurate , I have been windsurfing there for about 20 years and they for another 20 kitesurfing . Buzz me if want any more info. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great website well done. One thing that I always watch myself on poolbeg is the strength of the outgoing tide. That old saying – ‘if your equipment failed could you return to the shore?,’
    this would be very difficult in an outgoing tide, out of your depth. So I tend to always stay within my depth in an outgoing tide, even windsurfing. (This lesson was learned many years ago on a windsurfer when wind totally died – I had to paddle like I was on Ireland’s fittest family! – thankfully I got one final gust that got me out of trouble!) this was before windguru and Kitsurfing- so I was the only one in the water. Scary moment.
    Thank you for doing the website.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Damian, thanks a lot for sharing this experience! I am also writing an article about the tides in Dublin and I will definitely incorporate that piece of feedback 🙂 I agree with you that one needs to be very careful with the power of the current in general and keeping your depth is a good way to prevent any bad surprise…

      Like

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