SUP down the River Laune
There is something serene and mighty about a river winding it’s way through the landscape. It’s a spectacular thing to witness, all that water effortlessly flowing out to sea. It’s an even better thing to be on the river experiencing all this first hand. The River Laune, flowing from the Lakes of Killarney out to Castlemaine Harbour in the Reeks District is no exception.
As you paddle down the river the landscape changes gradually shifting from trees and green grass to the civilization of Killorglin town, changing once again to tall reeds sand rushes positively bursting with birds. After a big bend in the river, the reeds transform into small cliffs with Ballykissane Monument and pier on the other side, where the river finally opens up into a wide estuary with the towering Slieve Mish mountains in the background.
There is plenty of activity on the river, especially around Killorglin. You’ll find kayakers, scullers from the Killorglin Rowing Club and other small water craft, but none of these options match the grace of the river quite like stand up paddle boarding. With stand up paddle boarding (SUP) you are able to glide across the water, hardly disrupting the calm surface as you explore the countryside from within.
There are numerous access points, all along the river, allowing for a quick jaunt or a long paddle as you see fit. You’ll need two cars, one at the start and one at the end of your journey, unless you want to turn it into a real workout and paddle back upstream. After leaving Killarney, heading west on the N72, the first great access point is at Beaufort Bridge where you will find a small car park and pathway down to the river’s bank. As you continue along The Ring of Kerry, heading towards Killorglin, you’ll find additional small roads leading down to the water’s edge. While looking for the perfect spot to launch, be respectful of private property. Ballykissane pier, where the river begins to open up into the sea, is a great place to get out, offering plenty of parking, a slipway, and a historical monument to boot.
The last stretch of the river, from roughly Killorglin to the sea is tidal, try to catch it when the tide is high and just going out to make your paddle even more easeful.
As you paddle along the river, one landscape flowing into the next, paddle stroke after paddle stroke, your sense of location dissipates and your other senses magnify. The wind rustling in the reeds, the odd whoosh of a windmill, the air full of bird song, you may catch a glimpse of baby ducks and their mother or a game of swans. The wind lightly blowing and the gentle pull of the endless current flowing towards the sea… It is peaceful like nowhere else on Earth.
Suggested Equipment Provider
Topline Boyles has been a family run business in Killorglin, Co. Kerry for more than 50 years offering a range of quality products including hiking gear, wet suits and fishing tackle, alongside their home decor and DIY range.