One way to get your teenager to put down the games controller, tablet or phone is to challenge them to an activity that they see and do on their screens but not in real life.
We challenged our son James (15) to channel his inner Tom Cruise and do rock climbing in Dublin's Dalkey Quarry. It was a fantastic experience and now he wants to try more daring activities that challenge him. Mountain biking, kite surfing and archery have been put on the list. Watch this space!
Top Tip for rock climbing in Ireland
A detailed list of rock-climbing venues in Ireland is available on the http://www.climbing.ie/ using the interactive map. This is a resource created by the climbing community and is free to use.
The majority or rock climbing in Ireland is ‘traditional’ meaning there are no bolts or artificial structures therefore make sure you have the required skills set to climb safely. It is best to find a suitable instructor or join a club.
Rock Climbing in Ireland has developed by forging strong relationships with land owners. This involves strict leave no trace principals, respecting the environment and parking considerately.
Purchase the rock-climbing guide book for the specific area you are visiting. Guidebooks can be found at all good outdoor stores or online at the Mountaineering Ireland website.
The most popular rock-climbing venues in Ireland are:
Fairhead in County Antrim – Possibly the best rock-climbing venue in Ireland - Free downloadable PDF here - https://hikeandclimb.ie/fairhead-rock-climbing-guide/
Glendalough Valley – climbing in an incredibly beautiful setting on pristine granite - Ireland’s first 360-degree rock-climbing resource available here - https://hikeandclimb.ie/glendalough-valley-rock-climbing/
The Burren – a stretch of sheer pristine sea-washed limestone. This venue contains some of the best routes in Ireland.
The Mourne Mountains – climbing on mountain granite in spectacular situations enveloped in nature.
Dalkey Quarry – easy access and hundreds or routes - Free guide here - https://hikeandclimb.ie/rock-climbing-dublin/
Donegal – possibly has the highest concentration of routes in Ireland and mostly on sea cliffs.
The Gap of Dunloe – a selection of fine mountain crags in a beautiful setting.
Inis Mór – Ireland’s premiere sports climbing venue is on sea-washed limestone in a spectacular situation.
Wicklow Mountains – have a wide range of crags in stunningly beautiful situations.
Sea Cliffs of Ireland – there are thousands of routes on sea-cliffs that can be found with a little bit of curiosity and research.
Rock climbing in Ireland and internationally has changed in recent years from a niche activity undertaken by a small number of people to an activity that has exploded in popularity. This is partially due to the increase of excellent indoor climbing walls (Dublin City has 4 superb centres), high profile climbing movies and for the first time in history, climbing will be in the Olympics as a competitive sport.
Rock climbing provides a unique challenge in some of the most beautiful places in Ireland where we can enjoy the movement and skill of climbing, learn the technical aspects, undertake a psychological challenge and appreciate the beauty of nature.
The safest method of following a curiosity regarding rock climbing when starting is to find a suitable instructor or join a club.
There are some amazing clubs in Ireland that contain a wealth of experience and all are happy to accept new members. You can find your nearest club here - https://www.mountaineering.ie/localclub/
Hiring an instructor is another safe pathway to experience rock climbing in a friendly and fun environment. When looking for an instructor my top tips are:
Visit their website and ‘About’ page. What experience do they have?
Look for the relevant certification enabling you to have confidence. The most common certification is – RCI (Rock Climbing Instructor) https://www.mountain-training.org/qualifications/climbing/rock-climbing-instructor and the MCI (Mountain & Climbing Instructor) https://www.mountain-training.org/membership/ami/what-can-ami-members-do-for-me
Check out their social media and see if the content fits with your needs.
While there are some superb books and video information available, it is always advisable to seek guidance from either a professional instructor or join a club with a strong mentoring ethos.
The youth climbing club I recommended was the Dublin Cliff Hangers - https://dublincliffhangers.org/
They are an amazing club with such a welcoming feel and have a wide membership base from beginner climbers to some of the best youth climbers in Ireland (some on the Irish Youth Team).
Contact Ian Lawlor @ firstname.lastname@example.org