Surfers enjoy the waves at Garrettstown, West Cork. Photograph: David Creedon At first, there is some fussing from my 10- and 12-year-old sons. “Will the water be too cold?”, “I don’t want to wear a wetsuit”, “Are there even any decent waves?”… But once their young surf instructor, Josh Mahony, appears with two boards under his arms and the kind of shoulders that suggest he could paddle south to Spain and back in his lunch break, there is only silence as they follow him into the waves.
Some hours later, having caught many waves including their first proper unbroken green ones – before today they’d only surfed more easily managed whitewater – it’s an effort to get them out. Sam Haddad’s sons on the Inishowen peninsula. Photograph: Sam Haddad We’ve come to Garretstown in County Cork, a picturesque stretch of sandy beach dotted with smooth grey, brown and smooth purple pebbles. In the car park, an old man is selling honey, eggs and swedes from a picnic table, while all around us is verdant green countryside and cows, save a brutalist concrete toilet block, a yellow airstream pizza van and a wooden sauna sitting above the shoreline.
The boys are having a lesson with Atlantic Offshore Adventures (€30), and I rent a board to join them. The water is incredibly clear and rich in seaweed – signs of a healthy marine ecosystem. There was uproar in spring when Garretstown lost its Blue Flag clean beach status for not having the right […]