Paragliding in Skerries
Nestled amongst secluded parklands overlooking the sea, the countryside near Ardgillan Castle is a thrilling and challenging launching point for paragliding. Ardgillan Castle is located on an elevated coastline between Balbriggan and Skerries. The launch site sits on a cliff overlooking a crescent-shaped sandy beach north of the town centre. During your descent you will have exhilarating views of the ocean, the countryside and the town to the southeast as you fly over the beach and shoreline. The low, coastal site allows for extended flights at an altitude of approximately 50 metres.
Launching from the Ardgillan Castle site can be difficult since you are required to back on to a main road (R127/Skerries Road), as well as pass over power lines and a railway. As you hover above the ground, you will fly over these transportation routes. The actual launching point is a narrow parking lot and swath of land between the road and the cliff overlooking the beach. The beach landing is also tricky, except at low-tide, when you can expect to have a wider landing area. High-energy manoeuvres and wing-over moves are not recommended for the site.
Given the difficulty of the coastal location of the site, the Irish Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (IHPA; www.ihpa.ie) considers the paragliding site in Skerries a restricted flying site. Only paragliders with at least 50 hours of air-time experience are permitted to launch from the Ardgillan site. You do not need to be a member of the IHPA to paraglide while visiting Ireland, but you should register with the association as a visiting pilot and sign an indemnity waiver. You are required to hold a current membership card from your national association and a valid International Pilot Proficiency Information (IPPI) Card where paragliding in Ireland. These cards are used to demonstrate that you have a valid pilot rating equivalent to or higher than Para Pro for hang gliding or Safe Pro 3 for paragliding. You should also verify that you have insurance coverage for paragliding.