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  • Writer's pictureColm Keating

Kayaking UNDER The Old Head of Kinsale

colm keating, man on paddleboard in cave, old head of kinsale,
Brendan McAleer and Laura O'Mahony exploring the caves under the Old Head of Kinsale.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited out to explore a lesser known part of one of the most famous sections on the Wild Atlantic Way. The invite came from the infamous Brendan McAleer. Brendan has spent the last few years exploring the rugged coastline of Donegal and he reckons he only has about 15% of it left to see. Considering how much it meanders in and out, not to mention the 600+m high cliffs, that's a pretty impressive feat.

Brendan brought his SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) and I was lucky enough to have a kayak lent to my by my good friend Laura O'Mahony.

kayak with reflection alongside cliff, colm keating,
Laura O'Mahony kayaking alongside the coast at The Old Head of Kinsale

I had been out to the Old Head many times over the years, shooting the famous view on the western flank looking south. However I had never seen it from the water. Brendan had done a recce the previous year and knew of a few caves and tunnels that ran right the headland at the neck. With the swell low and calm winds, we set off to see if we would be able to paddle right under the photo spots we knew so well.

kayak entering cave, old head of kinsale, colm keating,
Exploring a new cave under the Old Head of Kinsale

The thought of getting some unique imagery of this place was too much and I risked bringing my camera out on the water with me. Wrapped up tightly in two dry bags, it was handled with upmost care throughout the day. But man I am glad I brought the camera along.

Below are some more of the images from the day.

old head of kinsale lighthouse with paddleboarder, colm keating, brendan mcaleer,
Brendan McAleer with the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse in the background

In total we traveled about 8 miles over 4 hours and managed to get through 5 of the caves.

Hope the first of many of these trips!

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