At Saucepan Kids, we like to get out and about and take part in activities that push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Living by the Atlantic coast, we’ve always been keen on water sports so when the guys from Shielbaggan Outdoor Education Centre invited us to try coasteering, we had to go and try it out.
First of all, Shielbaggan is Ireland’s largest coasteering centre and I can see why. With miles and miles of stunning Wexford coastline to choose from, they have their pick of locations.
The centre is in the South West Wexford village of Ramsgrange, around 15km from New Ross and 30km West of Wexford town.
For those who haven’t heard of it before, coasteering is a physical activity that encompasses movement along the intertidal zone of a rocky coastline on foot or by swimming, without the aid of boats, surf boards or other craft. In simple terms, it means jumping off cliffs and exploring the water level of the coastline.
The only things we were told to bring was swimwear, a towel, a pair of old trainers to wear in the sea and a sense of adventure.
When we turned up at the centre (which was well sign-posted in Ramsgrange), we were given well-fitted wetsuits – I always marvel as to how they can guess the size so accurately. After changing we were taken by minibus to the coastline (about 12 k away) near Hook Head lighthouse (well worth a visit another day). There at the pier, we were given helmets and lifejackets before the two qualified instructors (Shellagh and Adam) ran through a safety briefing.
The fun and physical session lasted two hours and overall we completed four major cliff jumps with lots of sea swimming, scrambling up rocks and exploring crevices in between. All along the way, the instructors showed us fossils and plant life in rockpools.
I’ll be honest, I couldn’t bring myself to jump the final cliff jump, it was just too high for me (8 metres) but the kids did it no problem – twice in fact and would have kept going if we hadn’t had to head back.
We walked back to the pier and got changed into dry clothes before being transported back to the centre.
The overall opinion was that coasteering was great fun and we loved doing a physical activity together. The smiles say it all really… However I think that kids would need to be over the age of 8 to really enjoy it.
Shielbaggan Outdoor Education Centre offer a range of water and land activities suitable for all ages. They also run corporate events and summer camps. Check out their website http://www.shielbagganoec.com/ or their Facebook page. Their philosophy is ‘Get Out There’! and I couldn’t agree more.