Clifden Hole

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Brief feature description

Clifden is a saltwater tidal race that runs through two arches of a bridge and the second arch forms a lovely play hole. All hole moves (and some wave moves) are possible here so there's lots of fun to be had! The feature works all year round and the water is quite warm in the summer months.


Located just outside Clifden town [1]. To get here from Galway City take the N59 which leads directly to Clifden which is about 70km from Galway. The drive is through one of the most scenic areas of Ireland, Connemara. When in Clifden you need to take the road to Ballyconeeley. So drive into the town and as you approach Market street instead of turning right onto this street go straight ahead. The road narrows and you drive over a small bridge. The road widens again as you leave the town and drive for about 1 km and you will see a school on your right. Park here.

You can paddle across the saltlake to the hole from here (10 mins paddle). Climb over the wall on the opposite side of the road and paddle across the bay to the right until you come to the bridge. If you want to drive and take a look: about another half a kilometer from the school is the bridge and arches that form the hole


The land around the saltlake is private property - please respect the area. That's why it is best to park at the school and paddle across the lake. Please do not block any gates.

Required Conditions

Clifden works on Spring Tides, the hole forms about 2 hours before Galway Harbour High tide. The tide must be 4.2 metres(13.5 ft)+for the hole to be any good. It works best at around 5 metres(16 ft) +/-. Great angled video can be found Here. Galway tide tables can be found here -> [2]

If the tide is 17ft+ (5.2 meters) a wave forms downstram of the first arch. Wait until the rock in the pool beside this wave is covered as it is quite shallow over here. The wave is only good for front surfing or the odd blunt or spin but still good fun. The hole can often get quite beaty at these levels so the mellow wave is a nice way to take a break. Video of Clifden Wave Here.

Further info and tips

This feature on a good tide is generally deep and it is unlikely you will hit bottom no matter how hard you initiate your bow or stern. Some of the biggest air on loops and space godzillas in the country etc.. have been achieved at this feature. Video of some big air ->.

As the feature runs into a large saltwater lake the downstream dangers are minimal. On large tides however the feauture becomes very retentive and swims can take place. The feauture actually retaining people or boats is unheard of though.

There is a knack to getting in from downstream. Stay in the eddy for as long as possible and as you're paddling towards the hole stay as close to the wall as possible and some powerstrokes should see you into the hole. Both eddys work at different stages of the tide. If all else fails you can always drop in from upstream of the bridge and work on some entry moves!


Clifden hole sessions Video