Working in the city but eager to make the most of your weekends? Getting out on the water is a great way to unwind after a long week and there’s no better place for it than Dublin. So why not go kayaking in Dublin?

Kayaking Dublin: The Basics

On first impression, Dublin looks like a lot of other capital cities – a bustling epicentre, filled with people rushing about their daily business. However, scratch beneath the surface and you will find a host of outdoor activities on offer. Kayaking enthusiasts are especially well catered for thanks to an abundance of kayaking spots both along the coast and in the city centre itself.

We have assembled a list of our favourite river, canal and sea spots for kayaking in Dublin for you to try this weekend. We have included the price and details of guiding companies that we trust who operate in each area. These kayak tours are suitable for all experience levels and ages and are a great way to get a different perspective of the capital city.

Kayaking Dublin: The Essential Information

1. Kayaking around Dalkey Island

Kayaking around Dalkey island

What to expect:

Dalkey is a small village, just a 30-minute DART ride from the city centre. Home to one of the most spectacular sections of coastline in Ireland, it is begging to be explored by kayak. Bullock Harbour is definitely one of the best launching spots in the area. Epic views of the city centre, Killiney Hill, Dalkey Island and the Dublin and Wicklow mountains. From Bullock, you can opt to take a number of different routes – either up and down the coastline towards either Killiney or Dun Laoghaire or out around Dalkey Island and the Muglins. Dalkey Island is home to a Napoleonic Martello Tower which dates back to 800AD, so it is a nice spot to stop for a picnic. It is also home to a large colony of playful seals who will dart under your kayak as you paddle around the island.

Tours: offers daily kayaking trips around Dalkey Island and the surrounding coastline. Tours leave Bullock Harbour at 9.30am and 2pm Thursday – Sunday. They also offer sunset tour on Thursday and Friday evenings leaves at 5.30pm. Tours last for 3 hours from time of arrival to time of leaving. Tours go at a leisurely, relaxed pace. It’s all about enjoying yourself. The 3 hour guided tours all cost €69.

2. Kayaking down the River Liffey

Kayaking in Dublin City

What to expect:

Kayaking through the city centre gives you the opportunity to see some of its most iconic landmarks away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets. The trip can be as strenuous as you like – you can opt to take the two-hour tour which brings you through the city-centre or the three-hour tour which will continue further up the Liffey to the slightly wilder parts around Islandbridge.


City Kayaking offers kayaking trips in Dublin City Centre. Tours leave daily from Dublin City Moorings which is located next to the Jeanie Johnson ship on the north side of the river. Daily 2 hour tours leave at 1pm and cost €38 . Their Music Under the Bridge trip costs €42 and kids paddling costs €34.

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3. Kayaking on the Grand Canal

Dublin Kayaking and Canoeing on the Grand Canal

What to expect:

One of the city’s most vast outdoor spaces is The Grand Canal. This body of water offers a whopping 131km of calm waters waiting to be explored. That’s longer than the Wicklow Way! Those who are looking for a more sedate paddle can opt to take on either the sections of the canal based in city centre. Alternatively you can go slightly further afield to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Those who fancy staying close to town can head to Portobello for a jaunt down the canal.  If you are willing to travel a little further out of town, you can explore the wilder parts of the Grand Canal. Departing from Leixlip, you will feel a million miles from the city centre as you explore the peaceful waters of this historic section of the Grand Canal.


Portobello Adventure offers one-hour sessions from 11am at weekends meeting at Corner Portobello harbour road and Lennox plece. The tour costs  €15 . run 2.5-hour long kayaking trips from Leixlip every Saturday and Sunday, the tour costs €69 per adult and €59 per child under 14.

Ticknock Hike: Weekend Wander

Kayaking Dublin: Gear Essentials

Kayaking Gear Paddles

Many of the kayak schools in Dublin will provide you with the specialist equipment you need such as buoyancy aids and paddles. However, there are a few things we would advise bringing to make sure you have the best possible outing on the water.

A Rain Jacket: This is essential regardless of the outdoor activity in Ireland but even on clear sunny days you will be splashed from your paddle. We advise having a light waterproof jacket to keep the worst of the water off so you can focus on paddling.

Gloves: We have found that often water will run down the length of the paddle. This can make your hands quite wet and cold while you’re out on the water. A decent pair of gloves will keep your hands warm.

Extra Layers: It is a good idea to pack extra layers for after your Dublin kayaking adventure.

A hat: If you’re lucky enough to have been blessed with good weather, keeping the worst of the sun out of your eyes with a sun hat is a great idea.

Suncream: There is no shade out on the water. Be sure to apply suncream to exposed skin before heading out.

Sunglasses: Thank us later. On sunny days there will be a huge amount of glare off the water.  Having sunnies will help you take in your surroundings.

Food & Drink Nearby

Coffee Being Poured

Howth: Treat yourself to some locally caught fish at the Oar House which is located on the pier.

Dublin City: Head to Coffeeangel on George’s dock before your kayak adventure for your caffeine fix!

Portobello: Grove Road Café has excellent coffee and snacks.

Dalkey: Muggs is a brilliant café and Nova is an excellent vegetarian restaurant.

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By Outsider

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