“Heroes take journeys, confront dragons and discover the treasure of their true selves.”
Dates: 28th-30th August
Transport: Bus Eireann (Bus) & Ionrad Eireann (Train)
Accommodation: West Coast Lodge
Ronan and I took the plunge of our first trip together nearly 4 years ago. Ronan had spent the summer on an amazing J1 in Chicago while I had a sunny summer in Dublin, celebrating a summer of sport with the European Championships and the Olympic both being that summer.
Not long before Ronan was due home, we decided to arrange a mid-week break to catch up with each other and get some surfing in while we were at it. We decided on Lahinch after a bit of planning, discovering it would be one of the easier surf destinations to get to. We were fortunate enough to get a lift there, but coming home required a bus from Lahinch to the train station in Ennis, where you had the option of either getting the bus or the train back to Dublin. As we were both still students, we decided to make use of our student discount for the train home, and a slightly more comfortable journey home compared to the bus.
We decided to stay in a lovely hostel, of sorts, called the West Coast Lodge. This lovely little find is in the centre of Lahinch and a very short stroll to the beaches to surf and to bars and restaurants for evening entertainment. They have the option of private rooms or dorm style rooms, so there is something for every group, no matter what the size. We decided on a private room, and we got a great price of €20 each per night, including breakfast, but this price can be as low as €18 per person for a group room. The rooms were absolutely fabulous and not what you would expect from a “hostel”. the beds were huge, with extremely clean and well presented linen. There was also a flat screen satellite TV in the room, along with Wi-Fi throughout the accommodation. A continental breakfast was included in the price, along with access to their kitchen to make your own lunch, dinner and midnight snacks.
One of the best selling points for the lodge is their lounge area and roof top terrace. The spacious, cosy, inviting lounge is a great place to relax and recharge your batteries after a hard day’s surfing. The lounge area gives you the perfect opportunity to meet fellow travellers and exchange stories or simply challenge your friends to a game of chess , a few hands of poker or watch a movie on the42″ flat screen. We found it to be a great place to meet other people who were down traveling, who we later went to a local bar with for a trad night they were holding. The fabulous rooftop terrace offers fantastic views of the Atlantic Ocean where the outline of Cliffs of Moher. You can cook up a storm on the rooftop terrace BBQ – weather permitting of course! Unfortunately for us, we seemed to arrive in Lahinch for the rainiest and coldest few days of the summer, so never got the chance to make much use of the rooftop terrace.
The lodge very conveniently has equipment storage for people who might want to take their own surf boards, along with outdoor showers to wash off the sand from your wetsuit after a day of surfing.
If you don’t own your own surf board or wet suit, there’s no need to panic and miss out on such a good surf spot like Lahinch. Ronan had his own wetsuit and I was lucky enough to be able to borrow one, but neither of us own a surf board, but you have plenty of options to rent both along the sea front. We found Ben’s Surf Clinic to be the best. You can rent a board and wetsuit with them for €15 for 2 hours. As well as having high quality O’Neill wetsuits for hire, they also have boots, hoods and gloves available for those really cold days, which we tend to get a lot of in the west of Ireland. They have a wide range of boards for hire from foam boards for beginners or small days to hard boards, ranging from 6’0 right up to 10’0. They also have SUP’s, body boards and Kayaks for hire, if your unfortunate enough to arrive on a day with no waves. For the absolute beginner, or for the slightly more nervous, they also offer surf lessons.
As a break from the surfing, we spent some of our second afternoon having a look around Lahinch SeaWorld. It was a nice way to spend an hour or so, looking at Nemo and his friends, however it was quite overpriced for what it is, and doesn’t have a patch on the aquariums you would see abroad. It seems this must have been a common feeling with visitors, as it appears that the aquarium closed down about 3 years ago.
Ronan and myself were only down for a very short stay. As such, we only had one full day there, arriving late afternoon on our first day and leaving around lunch time on the third day, due to bus times, so we missed out on trying out some of the other local attractions/ Some of what we could have visited include walking the Burren, shore & deep sea fishing, dolphin watching, a round of golf at the world famous Championship Golf Course, the Cliffs of Moher and the Aillwee caves. Buses run from Lahinch to the Cliffs of Moher, however some of the other “local” sites worth seeing, like the Burren and the Aillwee caves, would require a car to get there.
Lahinch makes for a nice little weekend escape, with plenty of choices for accommodation, activities and entertainment. For Ronan and I, it made for an exciting first mini-break and was our first baby step towards our big adventure next year. At the time, neither of us imagined that a trip to Lahinch would one day lead to Australia but then a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…