Mullaghmore Head: the Irish mutant wave

October 20, 2020 | Surfing
Mullaghmore Head: one of the heaviest waves on the planet | Photo: Red Bull

It is one of the heaviest - and certainly one of the coldest - big waves on the planet. Welcome to Mullaghmore Head, the uncontrollable Irish beast.

Ireland can produce epic surf, especially during the winter season.

Mullaghmore Head is a highly temperamental wave that breaks between Grange and Cliffoney, 400 meters northwest of the village of Mullaghmore, in County Sligo.

The renowned European surf break directly faces the North Atlantic Ocean and is extremely exposed to the powerful swells that are produced between October and March.

It's cold as Mavericks, it's got a lip like Teahupoo, steps and bumps like Shipstern Bluff, and runs as long as Cloudbreak.

When Mullaghmore Head gets big, the weather conditions are also extreme - wind, rain, and stormy grey skies are the norm here.

The famous Irish left-hand wave pumps down the line over a rocky seafloor and in front of enormous cliffs.

Mullaghmore Head: the Irish mutant slab breaks in County Sligo | Photo: Gary McCall/WSL

Heavy, Cold and Unpredictable

One of the most epic moments in the history of Mullaghmore Head took place when the swell roared across the Atlantic in January 2014.

The so-called "Black Swell" produced some of the biggest waves ever recorded in the region. A similar event took place in late October 2020, when Hurricane Epsilon created 60-foot giants.

Mullaghmore Head is a very dangerous and unpredictable mutant wave. It's thick and has got plenty of ledges and lumps.

A wipeout at the mother of all Irish waves could easily result in severe injuries and even death. Jet skis have even been swept by the liquid monster on some of the most thunderous sessions.

Mullaghmore Head handles pretty much any size and delivers a huge, hollow green cylinder. But you've got to get in sync with the massive creature.

The trick is to spend as much time as you can in the water before paddling into it with confidence and skills. Commitment is key to success.

Although it can sometimes be too fast for the surfers, it can also provide a full-on ride, as long as you survive the early drop into the abyss.

The Irish ocean avalanche may also require you to maintain a high line, which means staying inside the barrel in order to kick out successfully.

Classiebawn Castle: overlooking Ireland's biggest wave | Photo: Creative Commons

Breathtaking Surroundings

Alistair Mennie, Andrew Cotton, Barry Mottershead, Conor Maguire, Easkey Britton, Enda Curran, John Monahan, Neil Britton, Ollie O'Flaherty, Paul O'Kane, Peter Conroy, Peter Craig, Richie Fitzgerald, Tom Butler, and Tom Lowe are some of the most experienced surfers at Mullaghmore Head.

"Mully," as it is known locally, has broken vertebrae and ribs and put several lives in jeopardy.

So, inflatable life vests are mandatory at Mullaghmore Head, even though they will not ensure 100 percent safety.

The Irish Tow Surf Rescue Club has already saved a few professional big wave surfers from drowning.

The giant and wild, left-hand slab breaks off a point overlooked by Classiebawn Castle and has all the scary characteristics of every big wave on the planet.

And if you look around, the views, the cliffs, the grass field, and hinterland are magnificent. It's a unique place where you can score the wave of a lifetime and enjoy Nature in its purest, raw form.

Time to push the limits at one of the most hardcore surfing destinations on Earth. It's Mullaghmore Head or nothing.

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