Whether it’s your first or your 500th triathlon, these are the best Ireland has to offer.

The sport of triathlon has exploded in recent years and with clubs and races springing up left, right and centre, it can be difficult to narrow the search down and pick the races you want to do. Don’t fret, we are here to help, these are the best triathlons in Ireland, according to triathletes themselves.

1. Hell of the West

Location: Kilkee, Co. Clare

Triathlon Club: Limerick Triathlon Club

Distance: Olympic – National Series

Hell of the West is notorious, even if you are not a triathlete you have probably heard of it. It ticks all the boxes: it’s not too late in the season, there’s a huge atmosphere, it is a tough course with lots of variety and very well run. The sea swim takes place in the waters of Kilkee’s horse shoe bay, followed by a 44km cycle and a 10km hilly run along the coastline of Loop Head. As one of Ireland’s oldest races, it’s iconic and all the pros have won it, which says a lot. Hell of the West is aptly named, it is not for the faint hearted, but a must do if you can hack it.

2. City of Derry Triathlon

Location: City of Derry

Triathlon Club: Northwest Triathlon Club

Distance: Sprint – National Series

This is one of the best city events and apparently the place for PB’s. A 750m open water swim (one way and with the tide) in the River Foyle, followed by a 20km closed road cycle and finishing off in a 5km flat run with great views of the city including the iconic Peace Bridge. They also have events for all the family running throughout the week, including a ‘Buddy Swim’ in the Foyle, which pairs up a child and an adult in a competitive race.

3. Hook or by Crook

Location: Dunmore East, Co. Waterford

Triathlon Club: Waterford Triathlon Club

Distance: Sprint

Hook or by Crook triathlon is set in the beautiful town of Dunmore East. It begins with a beach swim, a 20km cycle on the Dunmore to Waterford road, and finally a 5km run route through a golf course. A beautiful setting that is suitable for both novice and elite and a lot of people’s favourite sprint distance triathlon.

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4. The Lost Sheep

Location: Kenmare, Kerry

Triathlon Club: Cork Triathlon Club

Distance: Middle Distance Triathlon – National Series

On a good day, the Lost Sheep would have to be one of the best but it is tough! The burn in the legs will be well worth it though for the panoramic views of the Caha mountains and the Healy Pass it delivers. It’s the toughest half iron distance race on the Irish circuit. The event starts with a 1900m swim in the scenic Kenmare Bay, followed by an 83km cycle along the ring of Beara peninsula, over two category one climbs. Then, a 21km run on quiet country roads along by the river Sheen to finish in the heart of Kenmare town. It’s the perfect training event to do if you are doing an Ironman in October.

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5. Tri The Hook

Location: Hook Peninsula, Co. Wexford

Triathlon Club: –

Distance: Sprint Distance

The Hook Peninsula is another gorgeous part of the country. This coastal triathlon is great for beginner sea swimmers. The swim may be easy but the rest is not, Tri The Hook has a tough cycle route with technical and challenging climbs, followed by a cliff top run with some difficult ascents. But it is stunning and the massage and pasta waiting for you at the finish line are incentives enough to sign up.

6. Tri Athy

Location: Athy, Co. Kildare

Triathlon Club: –

Distance: Sprint, Olympic, Double Olympic

Tri Athy has had its ups and downs, but it is back on the maps in recent years. It has something for all levels – offering a try-a-tri up to a double Olympic. An easy down stream river swim, a closed road for the bike so you can fly it, and then a nice flat run along the river to finish up. TriAthy always attracts a big crowd so the atmosphere is always buzzing.

7. Caroline Kearney Memorial Triathlon

Location: Lough Ennell, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

Triathlon Club: Midland Triathlon Club

Distance: Olympic Distance – National Series

The Caroline Kearney Memorial Triathlon event is dedicated to one of Ireland’s leading female triathletes, Caroline Kearney who was tragically killed during a cycle training session with her French team in June 2006. There is such an amazing atmosphere at this tri, and definitely a top contender in the best triathlons in Ireland. The swim route is a 1500m triangular course in Lough Ennell, followed by a 40k cycling route, and to finish off a 10km run on flat closed country roads. Afterwards, you can sit up on a hay bale and tuck in to your post race meal.

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8. Loughrea Tri

Location: Loughrea, Co. Galway

Triathlon Club: Predator Triathlon Club

Distance: Sprint Triathlon, Paratriathlon National Championships – National Series

If you are a fan of lake swims, this is one of the best, taking place in the clear waters of Loughrea Lake. The 20km cycle circuit is all down quiet country roads. The run is a 5km out and back course with both a decent climb and descent.

9. Mullaghmore Triathlon

Location: Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo 

Triathlon Club: MSC Tri Club

Distance: Sprint

In the seaside village of Mullagmore, there is another firm favourite on the racing calendar; the Mullaghmore triathlon. A sprint distance triathlon ideal for beginners as there is a shorter 300m swim on offer. Exiting the water at the Sailing Club slipway, to embark on a 20km cycle to Grange Village ending with a 5km run around Mullaghmore Head.

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10. King of the Hill

Location: Kinsale, Co. Cork

Triathlon Club: Cork Triathlon Club

Distance: Sprint Distance Triathlon 

Another sprint distance triathlon is the King of the Hill, which has been on the go for the past 17 years. The swim takes place in the sheltered Dock Beach in Kinsale, followed by a 23km bike ride, and finishing off with a 5km run over the hill, it is a great race for scenery.

11. Pulse Port Beach Triathlon

12. Rosses Point Triathlon

13. The Two Provinces

14. iTri

15. TriAthlone

16. Carrick on Suir Triathlon

17. Dublin City Triathlon

18. The Harbourman

19. The Omney Dash

20. Blackwater Triathlon

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