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 Guide to Liffey Descent 2015

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Paul Heff
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PostSubject: Guide to Liffey Descent 2015   Wed 05 Aug 2015, 5:06 pm

Phoenix Liffey Descent paddlers, here is your guide to my favourite race. If you have any other words of wisdom, please let me know Very Happy 


Click here for the 2015 Liffey Descent Entry Form. Note: RE Payment, if you're going to use Visa, send it off and ask them to ring you to take payment. Sending complete card details through the post isn't advisable...

Click here for Finbarr O'Hanlon's photo's of LD 2012

Click here for Fergus McCarthy's excellent video of LD 2010

Great video of weir shoots by Darragh Burke

Click here for official video of LD 2011

Click here for official video of LD 2012


Liffey Descent Guide:

Liffey Descent Race Guide for your Kayak. Right click and save this to your computer, laminate it and duct tape to your kayak.

Click for Paul Heff's Liffey Descent race guide with features (Click the blue dots for info).

Click for Canoeing Ireland's official race course guide

Click for LiffeyDescent Competitors Welcome Information Pack

Race registration, pre & post-race camping, post-race party is all based at the race finish, The Garda Rowing Club (see my guide above for location GPS Co-ords - 53.346177,-6.321967).

Free food is normally available for competitors at the Garda rowing club on Friday evening.


Before the Race - What to Expect:

Your race pack (bib, race number stickers, food ticket etc.) can be collected from the Garda Rowing Club on Friday evening or @ the Start on Sat morning. Check the race numbers/bib are correct as per your name on the list! We normally ask early camping arrivals on Friday to collect them, as it saves a lot of agro on Sat morning when things are hectic at the start.

Attach your race numbers to the left of your (dry!) boat b4 the race. Your race pack will include a voucher for food at the finish, either make sure it is in your car at the finish or place in a ziploc bag and stuff it in your pocket.

The get-off car-park is not large and will be mad busy on the morn, give yourself plenty of time during the shuttle, it's 45 minutes each way.....

Once shuttles are done, there is a lot of waiting around at the start. Bring your own pre-race food/drink with you, there's usually freebies of sports drinks & bars being handed out, but there is no shop at the start.

There is usually long queues for the portaloo's, a lot of anxious people... affraid  Consider carrying baby-wipes and anti-bacterial gel in a ziploc bag. Straffan belly, won't just hamper your race performance, it'll ruin the post-race party... No  

Once all the nerves have been disposed of (in the loo's? Smile) the race will be called, don't be too energetic running around the car park to warm up. You will have a circa 1 km paddle upstream against the flood to get to the start, that'll warm you up, but do have a good stretch, you'll be in the boat a long time. Note: They usually try and get boats on an hour before the start, there is no place to get off at the waiting area.


Clothing: Unless it is freezing on the day, a short sleeve rash-vest and shorts is enough, otherwise you'll roast - you'd be amazed how hot you'll get (Update ref 2014 - Unless you swim a lot.. pale ).


The starter call's each class in turn K2, K1, Racing Kayaks, General Purpose (GP's), and then Canadians. GP's will have 100's of people so give your self space and don't be afraid to charge to the top at the start, it is a race after all. If you're being blocked by someone slower at any stage (especially in the jungle) shout "RACER COMING THROUGH" and paddle through, nicely though, you may need them for rescue later....  


Celbridge Lake is a long plod, be careful not to enter the mudflats on the right, if everyone seems to be taking the long curving route by the left bank there's a reason for it! The portage at the end of the lake will take about 10 minutes mostly on tarmac, then down a grassy/muddy path to the river. Eat your Mars bar while waiting to get-on as there could be a 10 min wait or nothing at all.


At the end, get out and allow yourself a well deserved pat on the back. There is normally drinks, chocolate etc. being given out to the competitors. Showers are available in the rowing club and you'll find food available in the marquee, don't forget that voucher and be aware the queues build really fast after the race.



Logistics for the race:

If travelling Saturday morning, it is a straight forward journey but you should aim to be there by 09:00 (assuming a 12pm start) if you're going to shuttle. Yes, really!! There are 800+ paddlers and traffic movement is very slow due to paddlers dropping off boats, not to mention a 90 min shuttle, and a 1km paddle against the flow to the start.

Cork Northbound to Straffan boat drop-off. (Turn off at Junction-7 M7 Northbound (53.252043,-6.580598) and follow National Road to Straffan (53.304268,-6.617076)


After dropping off all your gear, you need to shuttle to the finish & back. This will take at least 90 mins so give yourself plenty time. There is a bus back from the car park, this leaves at XX:XX (tbc) - best to rely on shuttles, organised well in advance of the day....

Directions from Straffan get-on (53.304268,-6.617076) to Garda Rowing Club Finish (53.346177,-6.321967)

Use the above co-ordinates to return to Straffan. Simples.  Arrow

Have a snack/breakfast whilst waiting for the start.

Best of luck, it won't be long coming..  bounce  bounce  bounce

Paul Heff

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There are no limits, think like a balloon and reach for the stars  Very Happy


Last edited by Paul Heff on Thu 17 Sep 2015, 11:06 pm; edited 5 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Guide to Liffey Descent 2015   Thu 06 Aug 2015, 12:17 pm

A note for new Liffey Descent Paddlers.

Caution: The Liffey Descent is 28km and can be very challenging in places, I absolutely love it and I don't want to put anyone off. BUT, it is NOT like paddling the Lee, Lower Bandon etc.

At some stage you will be on your own, the section known as the jungle after Straffan Weir is twisty with lots of overhanging trees, strong eddy lines and currents. The weir exits are also tricky and you can expect to be swimming in powerful waves at times, and possibly having to rescue yourself, it is not a place for someone not confident in strong white water.

Have a look at the excerpt below from the application form, you need to satisfy the entry qualifying requirements to compete. In the absence of having competed in three qualifying events, there is a reason why you need to satisfy a level 3 instructor of your competence in whitewater to compete.



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PostSubject: Re: Guide to Liffey Descent 2015   Sun 16 Aug 2015, 6:39 pm

Right Click the Picture & Print, or Save to your computer.



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PostSubject: Re: Guide to Liffey Descent 2015   Thu 20 Aug 2015, 2:46 pm


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