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Ireland’s Best Adventure Races

Ireland is a country renowned for its beautiful landscapes and stunning scenery, making it the perfect location for adventure racing. From mountains to rugged coastlines, forests to lakes and river estuaries, there is something for everyone seeking an adrenaline-fuelled experience. Here, we’ll explore some of Ireland’s best adventure races.Ireland's Best Adventure Races

  1. Knock ME Down Adventure Race – well what did you expect? It is our website after all. Take a look around and see what this wonderful race in South-Eastern Ireland has to offer. You’ll find two options (35km Challenge & 62km MÓR) offering plenty of challenges between Newcastle in Co. Tipperary and Mount Melleray in Co. Waterford.
  2. Gael Force West Gael Force West is a race based in Galway and Mayo, taking place in June. It features a majestic route through a wildly beautiful landscape along Ireland’s western coastline. This 66km adventure race will take you along the spectacular Lough Inagh Valley to the majestic Killary Fjord, cycling through rugged Connemara, Co. Galway and finishing in the beautiful town of Westport in Mayo.

  3. Race 2 Glory Race 2 Glory, based in Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, is a multi-sport adventure race involving running (including a river section) and cycling. It has taken place for the past 10 years in July around the beautiful town of Kiltimagh. There are 2 course options for those taking part, the “Full Race” (40km in total) as well as the “Sprint Race” (20km in total), thereby catering for all abilities and fitness levels. Both courses are divided into 3 stages.

  4. Ballyhoura Beast The Ballyhoura Beast is a tough adventure race that takes place in the Ballyhoura Mountains in County Limerick. The race includes running, cycling, and kayaking, and covers 67km of challenging terrain. The route takes participants through the beautiful Ballyhoura Mountains, with their stunning views and rugged landscapes. The race is designed for experienced athletes, and the challenging terrain and steep climbs make it a real test of endurance.

  5. Dingle Adventure Race The Dingle Adventure Race takes place in June along the picturesque Dingle Peninsula in Co. Kerry. The race includes running, cycling, and kayaking, and covers 48km of challenging terrain. The race takes participants through some of the most breathtaking scenery in Ireland, incorporating the famous Slea Head Drive.

In conclusion, Ireland offers a wide range of adventure races that cater to all levels of fitness and ability. From the rugged mountains to the stunning coastlines, there is no shortage of breathtaking scenery to explore. Whether you are an experienced athlete or a beginner, there is an adventure race in Ireland that will challenge and inspire you.

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Alternative to the Quest Adventure Series

Quest Adventure Race Series

Alternative to the Quest Adventure Series

The Quest Adventure Race Series in Ireland is a multi-disciplinary event that challenges participants to push their physical limits in a range of beautiful natural settings. The series takes place across several locations in Ireland, including Killarney, Achill Island, and Glendalough.

The race includes a combination of running, cycling, kayaking, and hiking through some of Ireland’s most stunning landscapes. Participants must navigate through rugged terrain, steep hills, and open water, all while racing against the clock and other competitors.

Quest Adventure Race Series

The Quest Adventure Series is fantastic. In fact, that’s part of its problem. It is a superb event, which means that it regularly books out very quickly.

For that reason, you may be interested in an alternative to the Quest Adventure Series. It is also a very tough race, something that not everybody is up to, or wishes to tackle. Added to all that, it is eye-wateringly expensive, so you may well be looking for a more affordable alternative. A typical Quest Adventure Series race in 2023 costs between €120 and €135, well above the €95 charge for community-based events such as Knock ME Down Adventure Race in South Tipperary/West Waterford and Race to Glory in Mayo.

All of the above are reasons why smaller events such as the Knock ME Down Adventure Race may well be viable alternatives. The entire Knock ME Down field consists of just 600 participants, whereas the Quest Series regularly herds over 1,200 participants through its gates. (I know the mathematicians and accountants are calculating that as income of around €156k per race, but there are significant costs to bear in mind).

The Knock ME Down event is run entirely by volunteers from the area, you can see from the minute you enter the parking area in Newcastle, it is much loved by the volunteers and everybody in the region. All money raised by the event is divided between local groups (who supply volunteer marshals for the event) and spent on upgrading outdoor amenities in the vicinity of the event.

With a Quest Series event you will be dealing with sub-contracted race co-ordinators who know very little about the area. The areas in which these races are held gain very little from hosting the events.

Another downside of the series is that it is designed to be accessible to a pretty narrow range of participants, mainly seasoned athletes. Even though there are several race distances to choose from: including the full Quest, which covers over 100 kilometers, and the Mini Quest, which is a shorter and less intensive version of the race, they are often much too difficult for amateur participants.

While the Quest Adventure Race Series is a unique and exciting way to test your limits and explore the beauty of Ireland’s natural wonders, it is not the only option. Do look around to see what other wonderful races are available all over Ireland.

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Adventure Racing in Ireland

Ireland's Best Adventure Races

Ireland, with its breathtaking landscapes and rugged terrain, has become a popular destination for adventure racing enthusiasts seeking an adrenaline-pumping challenge. Adventure racing in Ireland combines the excitement of various outdoor activities such as trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, and orienteering, making it a thrilling and unique experience for participants.

One of the most best known adventure races in Ireland is the “Gaelforce West,” held annually in County Mayo. This grueling event spans over 67 kilometers of stunning Irish countryside, including mountains, lakes, and the wild Atlantic coastline. Participants must navigate their way through the challenging course using map and compass, while tackling steep climbs, technical descents, and treacherous bogs. The race also includes kayaking across Killary Fjord, adding an element of water-based adventure to the mix. With its unpredictable weather conditions and rugged terrain, Gaelforce West is a true test of physical and mental endurance, pushing participants to their limits.

One of the up and coming races, based in the south-east of Ireland, is the Knock ME Down Adventure Race (, run by the volunteers of the Knockmealdown Active group, which seeks to promote activity all along the Knockmealdown Mountains in South Tipperary and West Waterford. The event takes participants through the stunning Knockmealdown Mountains, around the Vee scenic route, kayaking in Bay Lough (pictured below) and running around the grounds of Mount Melleray Monastery. The 2022 event facilitated over 500 participants, with 600 expected to attend in 2023. There is a Challenge event (35km) and a more difficult MÓR version (58km). Another very popular event based in the south-east is the BAR (Brickey Adventure Race), run in Waterford in July.

Some events work as a grouping, such as the “Quest Adventure Series,” which takes place in various locations across the country, including County Kerry, County Donegal, and County Wicklow. The Quest Adventure Series offers different race distances and difficulty levels, making it accessible to participants of all fitness levels. Participants can choose from options such as the Quest 12/24, Quest Kenmare, Quest Achill, and Quest Killarney, each offering its own unique challenges. From mountain biking through remote trails to trail running across vast moorlands and kayaking across pristine lakes, Quest Adventure Series provides an great opportunity to explore the stunning Irish landscape in a thrilling and adventurous way.

One of the highlights of adventure racing in Ireland is the camaraderie and sense of community among participants. Adventure racing is not just about competition; it’s also about respecting and supporting fellow racers. Some races require teams of two or more to navigate the course together, relying on each other’s skills and strengths to overcome challenges. This creates a sense of camaraderie and shared experience that is unique to adventure racing, fostering lasting friendships and memories.

Adventure racing in Ireland also offers a chance to connect with nature and appreciate the country’s breathtaking landscapes. From the majestic mountains of South Tipperary to the rugged coastline of Donegal, Ireland’s natural beauty is on full display during these races. Participants get to explore remote trails, paddle through serene lakes, and breathe in the fresh Irish air as they push themselves to their physical and mental limits. It’s a unique way to experience Ireland’s outdoors, immersing oneself in its wild and untamed landscapes.

Adventure racing in Ireland is not only about the thrill of the race but also about promoting sustainability and environmental conservation. Many races have strict rules and regulations to ensure that the environment is respected and preserved. Participants are expected to follow a “leave no trace” policy, leaving the course as they found it and minimising their impact on the environment. This promotes awareness and appreciation of Ireland’s natural heritage, fostering a culture of sustainability and conservation among adventure racers.

Adventure racing in Ireland offers an exhilarating and unforgettable experience for outdoor enthusiasts. With its stunning landscapes, challenging courses, and sense of community, adventure racing in Ireland has gained popularity among participants seeking a unique and thrilling adventure. Whether it’s navigating through remote trails, paddling across serene lakes, or tackling rugged mountain terrain, adventure racing in Ireland provides an opportunity to push one’s limits, connect with nature, and create lasting memories. So, gear up, embrace the challenge, and get ready for an adrenaline-pumping adventure in the beautiful emerald isle of Ireland.

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Quest Beara

For those of you interested in the Quest Beara event on August 27th, unfortunately it has been cancelled for 2022.

If you are looking for an event for August 27th, fear not, the Knock ME Down Adventure Race in South Tipperary and West Waterford has you covered.

Potential entrants for the Quest 12 Beara would be most suited to the 58km Knock ME Down MÓR event, just click on the link to learn more.