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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 22 February, 2020

The surf: some eastern promise over calm, balmy weekend

Our new columnist Ben Farr paddles out to the good stuff ahead of the weekend waves.

Image: Mark live via Creative Commons

HERE EVERY FRIDAY, we shall be bringing you up to date with all the weather and wave predictions for the weekend ahead.

We will couple this with news stories from the world of surf, tips on how to improve yourself as a surfer, as well as lessons on how to read the weather charts and convert that into finding the best spot to go surfing.

For our inaugural report though I thought I’d just introduce myself and give you my background in surfing, and just generally get the ball, nay, wave rolling….

My name is Ben, and I’m a surf-aholic. Well that’s not strictly true, I’m more of a weather-aholic. Since opening my surf shop, FINN McCOOL’S SURF Co in Dingle, Kerry in 2001 I have become obsessed with reading the weather charts.

Every day for the past 10 years my first task at work is to check the plethora of weather websites to see how the ‘lows’ are stacking up to try and figure out if there will be any waves that day on our many beaches. The weather here in Ireland is constantly changing, it moves so quickly you have to be continually on top of what is happening out in the Atlantic.

And of course being in Dingle, Europe’s most westerly point, we get the weather and the waves first … and now so will you.  I started surfing back in 1990s in Newquay, Cornwall where I was born and raised. In Cornwall picking up a surfboard is as common as picking up a hurl is over here. Any time outside of school was spent on the beach, hanging out in the surf clubs and scoring as many sick waves as you could. When my family moved to Ireland in 2000 it was obvious you had an amazing coastline on offer, crammed with uncharted reef and beach breaks – you just didn’t know what was going to be around the next corner.

Ireland’s call

After a year of not being able to get any wax (or a decent pair of boardies – seriously what is your obsession with those tiny GAA shorts?) I decided to open a shop and thus Finn McCool’s was born.  Over that 10-year period I have seen the surf community just grow and grow here in Ireland. What was once just a sport for a few hardy enthusiasts who were not unfettered by the cold water has now boomed into a multi-million Euro industry as the Irish in their thousands have all jumped in the water.

You see more and more cars on the motorways across the country with boards on their roofs as lads and lasses head out on the search – and frankly the craic in the water is better for it.

I hope that this column will be interesting read and also become a useful tool for all surfers out there on the hunt for the next sick spot. From the old gnarly surf bum, to all the noobs on their pop-outs, to our youngest nippers and groms, I welcome you one and all.


Overview: Two high-pressure systems out in the Atlantic mean that we shall be experiencing very calm, balmy weather – but the swell will be small, if any at all. However, the winds will be light and mostly from the east, meaning that a lot of the country will be experiencing off shore conditions. This could hold the waves up and give them some good shape. In our favour are some quite strong tides (up to 4m) so check your tide books, and look for the pushing tide and this should help exaggerate the swell. The swell is due to pick up Tuesday with very strong storm winds.

The North – Being closer to the epicenter of what swell there is, should see our cousins in The North getting the best of the swell. The winds are not in their favour but should switch offshore Sunday. Expect 2ft waves, maybe 3ft on the sets.

Co Donegal/Sligo – The swell may be at its height on the Saturday but the wind will switch southerly on the Sunday making it off/cross-offshore for many beaches on the Sligo coast.

Co Clare – Looking generally quite small. Two foot and under.

Dingle Peninsula – With the swell ever so slightly to the north-west it is not likely to wrap around to South facing beaches. Check Mossies on Saturday from 11am as the tide pushes in for the best chance of a wave.

Cork & the south – The direction of the swell (NWW) means that the beaches on the south coast will be sheltered from any waves.

Disclaimer – These weather reports are intended as a general overview of swell running in that area. These are predictions and actual wave size may vary. Do not enter the water alone or without adequate equipment and do not enter surf that is too large for your abilities. We cannot be held responsible for any decisions you make based on this information. For daily weather information follow @dinglesurf on


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