Friday, 25 September 2015

Kayaking in Killarney with Outdoors Ireland. A must.

Kayaking is fun. Kayaking in the beautiful surroundings of Killarney, including Lough Leane and Innisfallen is something everyone should try at least once. I was so ignorant of the amazing nature that exists in my home county. Getting out into the water is a unique way to get a clearer understanding of how crazily interesting  the lakes are in regards to wildlife and the history attached to the area.

Back to the start.
I've had this love/hate relationship with water every since a very scary water incident as a kid. My fear of water meant that the sight of waves at a beach or in a movie would make me feel queasy.I've never gone on the outdoor slide at the Aqua Dome and one time I pretty much had a panic attack involving a pier and a tourist submarine on holidays (long story..) So naturally last Saturday I decided to go kayaking in the lakes of Killarney, including the deepest lake in Ireland. 
Why? Because I felt like I was missing out on seeing a beautiful part of the world. I started swimming lessons again late last year and that definitely helped me with my fear of water but I knew I would have to get out of my comfort zone with water in order to make some real progress. 
Easier said than done! I barely slept a wink Friday night and by Saturday morning I was super nervous, tired and not sure if I could do it. I was also doped up on panadol for stomach cramps so it seemed like the odds were not in my favour. But thankfully it takes more than that to stop me!
I made a booking with Outdoors Ireland for a full day trip. The day was certainly made easier by the fact that the guide for the tour, Mj, was very friendly and helpful so I knew I didn't really have anything to worry about. It was such a fun experience and I learnt so much about the nature within the lakes and Islands. I won't really go into it because I think it's better to experience the stories and facts first hand. 
 After lots of trips to Killarney I finally got to see some deer! Also I got to try out some yummy berries.( The Harry Potter fans amongst you will imagine my delight at seeing a Yew and Elder tree.) It was fantastic getting such an indepth tour of our surroundings. I didn't take any pictures myself as I like to put the phone away when I'm outside, live in the moment and all that. But as luck would have it, pictures get taken of you during the trip so I'd like to thank the lads for sending them onto me.
If you don't have any issues with water than the day will be a breeze, still possibly tiring depending on your fitness but it's good to push yourself right.
For me, due to my feelings about water there were certainly a few moments that were quite tough for me and required me to really focus on not freaking myself out otherwise it could easily gone arseways up (quite literally, Kayak and myself) 
I never once felt under pressure or silly when I was having a dodgy moment by the group, really sound folk which I'm so grateful for. It was so relaxing out in the water and a great opportunity to take some time and reflect on whatever is going on in your life. Bliss. 
One of my "oh Jesus" what am I doing in the water moments 

Overall the whole trip was the perfect blend of a friendly yet professional service and I'd highly recommend to you all to give it a try. It's definitely beginner friendly and you won't regret it! I still can't believe I did it. It was such a huge deal for me (I'd pat myself on the back but my arms are still a tad sore) and I would definitely try it again. 
All the information you need can be found here on the Outdoor Ireland site.

Tips for Kayaking: 
  • Enjoy your adventure, be prepared to earn your lunch
  • Bring a tasty lunch (you'll deserve it) and keep hydrated! ( I didn't and it did impact my energy levels, rookie mistake) 
  • Remember that it is highly unlikely you'll fall out, ask for help if you need it and you'll get it. 
  • Your arms may hurt but it's so so worth it! Doing some stretches when I got home helped. 

                           Up the Kingdom

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