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Dublin Things To Do

Stand Up Paddleboarding In Dun Laoghaire

September 3, 2020

Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with the sea and a big believer in ‘Blue Mind’ (the mildly meditative state brought on when near, in, on, or underwater). You’ll regularly find me down at the Forty Foot, transformed into a big kid living her best mermaid life. One thing I wanted to try out for ages is stand up paddleboarding, so when I heard that the guys from BigStyle were opening their SUP school in Dun Laoghaire I was stalking their Instagram to see when we could go down. You’ll know from a previous post that I stayed in the BigStyle Atlantic Lodge last year and had an amazing time, so I knew we’d be in good hands.

Where in Dun Laoghaire?

You’ll find the lads in the car park of the West Pier in Dun Laoghaire. The stand up paddleboarding school is easy to spot as it’s made up of large shipping containers and looks unbelievable (see image above). It’s super accessible, there is loads of parking in the area (heads up: it’s paid, so bring a few euro for that) and if you’re on public transport, there are bus routes and a dart station a few minutes walk away.

What’s involved?

If you’ve tried stand up paddleboarding before, they offer rentals for €25 for an hour and a half (includes SUP, wetsuit and buoyancy aid). If, like me, you’re new to the world of SUP, you can book in for an hour and a half long lesson for just €45 (*pricing at time of posting). We went out in the evening to enjoy the sun setting at the end of our lesson.

We arrived down 15 minutes before our lesson, as requested. Our instructor Peter talked through all the safety measures, COVID measures, and kitted us out in our wetsuits and life jackets. With all of that done, we wandered towards the water. I was a little nervous because my balance isn’t the best and I’m possibly the least coordinated person on the planet but onto the water we went.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour is the perfect place to test out your stand up paddleboarding skills as it’s so sheltered and calm. When we got out on the water Peter showed us how to paddle properly and how to do some basic turns. We did a lap of the harbor, testing out some new skills along the way. I’ll admit, I started getting a bit cocky so Peter challenged us to try some more advanced turns and that’s when I came crashing back down to earth (or into the water in this case). I got my first full turn done, gloated, and then faceplanted into the water 🤣 Honestly though, it all just added to the fun and the experience.

By the end of the lesson, I was feeling really comfortable on the board and was confident that I could steer my way around and most importantly get back on if I fell off… 🤣 I’ll definitely be back down to the lads soon to rent some boards for some chilled out fun on the water. Check out the BigStyle website if you’d like to book in or find out more about stand up paddleboard lessons or rentals in Dun Laoghaire or the Atlantic Lodge.

Dublin Things To Do

Mobile Sauna In Dun Laoghaire Is Bringing Sea Swims To A New Level

March 17, 2020

Sea swimming has taken on somewhat of a renaissance. There are amazing people who have been doing this for years but there seems to be new generation of sea swimmers – like myself – who are just getting into it. Most of us have decided to take the plunge due to the health and mindfulness benefits associated with it. 

Dublin (and Ireland) has an abundance of amazing swimming spots. The key ones for me include Sandycove, The Forty Foot, Sea Point, Hawk Cliff and White Rock. Each spot has its own character and community of dedicated sea swimmers. FYI, sea swimmers are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. If you’re tight on time and can’t always work with the tides then White Rock and The Forty Foot are the spots for you. Both will allow you to swim at high or low tide without having to walk out for miles. Recently, Sandycove/The Forty Foot have been winning out over all others for me due to the addition of Dublin’s first mobile sauna – you heard that right, a mobile sauna!

My Swimming Experience

I started sea swimming in on the 1st of June this year, after hearing about a documentary called 100 Days Of Vitamin Sea. It follows a girl with chronic migraine using wild swimming in the treatment of her migraines. Naturally intrigued, after suffering with chronic migraine for nearly five years, I decided to give it a try…

From day one, I fell in love with the post-swim feeling! It also helps to relieve my symptoms which is amazing, even if it’s temporary. Over the summer we went to White Rock a few times a week and enjoyed bobbing in the water watching the Dart go by. As we swam, I couldn’t shift this nervous feeling that I wouldn’t be able to keep it up during the winter months – I’m well known for my cold blooded, lizard-like qualities. However, just in time for the colder months, Fad Saoil Saunas came to my rescue.

Post-Swim, Sandycove

Mobile Sauna

Fad Saoil is an amazing mobile sauna that can be found at the Forty Foot from Friday-Sunday every week. Offering you a toasty 15 minute sauna session for just €10. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment after braving the elements and getting into the sea. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m loving the cheeky bonus of knowing that there’s a delish sauna to hop into afterwards. The sauna also has a large window facing out over the Forty Foot, so you get views across to Howth while you sit, soaking in the warmth – magic!

Joe in Fad Saoil Mobile Sauna

Our self-care routine over the weekend now factors in the sauna as a must. We swim in Sandycove for approx 10 minutes (this has dropped dramatically from our time over the summer) and then hop into the sauna for 15 minutes, before finishing with a quick dip in the sea to close our pores after. I can’t stress enough how much this sets you up for the day when done in the mornings.

Health Benefits

There are loads of health benefits associated with sauna use and cold exposure. I’m not an expert so here’s a video with Dr. Rhonda Patrick discussing some of the benefits with Joe Rogan, if you’re interested.

Booking for weekends opens on Tuesdays and can be booked on their website or through the GloFox App. If you’re like me and use the sauna on a regular basis, you can buy a block of credits at a discount. They can also be booked for private events – the magic of being mobile. If you’re interested in giving it a try, check out  Fad Saoil Saunas website to find out more and to book.

View of the Forty Foot at Fad Saoil Mobile Sauna