Sometimes it takes an outsider to spot an overlooked treasure – and that’s exactly what happened when Frenchman Francois Colussi trundled across the famous wooden bridge to Bull Island on Dublin’s northside and discovered Dollymount Strand.
“Usually near a city, the beach quality is not good. It’s crowded, it’s too small, there are too many buildings near or it’s polluted. But when I saw Dollymount, it was like a revelation. It’s a huge beach. It takes loads of different winds and it has shallow waters. That’s all you need for a great kitesurfing spot,” he states.
Known affectionately by locals as ‘The Dollier’, this strip of golden sand, backed by dunes and wild marram grass, is approximately 30 minutes from Dublin city centre by car or bus. Jutting 5km into the Irish Sea, it boasts views of Howth Head and the mountains, and has a bird sanctuary at its more remote end. Colussi had travelled the world kitesurfing and knew instantly that this beach – both suburban and wild – was the perfect place for his kitesurfing school, Pure Magic, which he runs with Catherine Etienne.
The school caters for everyone from beginners to experts, with regular lessons running from March to November. Out of season, arrangements can be made for those willing to deal with colder weather.
For anyone unfamiliar with kitesurfing, it involves attaching yourself to a kite and skimming at high speed across a body of water on a board. Enthusiasts also catch big airs and perform spectacular stunts as they harness gusts of wind. If you like your outdoor adventure served with a healthy dose of adrenalin, then it’s hard to beat the thrill of this one.