Skydiving is an exciting sport and an awesome vacation activity that allows you to feel a surge of pure adrenaline through your body on a free fall towards Earth. At speeds of up to 200 km/h, this is an experience you will never forget! Also known as parachuting, skydiving is an entertaining activity that you can enjoy in Ireland.
Where can you skydive in Ireland? The nearest drop zone to Dublin is Clonbullogue in Offaly, some 55 km/35 mi away. Kilkenny, a town around 105 km/65 mi southwest of the capital, is the next nearest. Abbeyshrule, near Mullingar, is the third dropzone, some 110 km/70 mi west of Dublin.
To participate in this exciting adventure you have to go through certain procedures and meet medical requirements. You’ll also need to prepare yourself for the adventure of the lifetime.
To learn the basics of skydiving and a little extra, continue reading:
What age do you have to be to skydive in Ireland?
There is no official age limit for skydiving in Ireland. Young children and seniors can take part in jumping from a plane, but the providers of the experience can set their own age limits.
The Irish Parachute Club doesn’t allow people under 16 years of age to partake in parachuting but seniors get a green light (that is as long as the elderly person’s health condition is satisfactory).
The Irish Skydiving Club is less flexible about this particular matter. No person under 18 can book a jump with them. The same applies for seniors over 65 years of age. In addition to the age requirements, you need to meet medical requirements on the day of your skydive.
On the other hand, Tandem Skydive sets no limits regarding the skydiver’s age. If you are younger than 18 you must get permission from your Parent/Guardian and they MUST be present at The Parachute Centre on the day of your jump to sign documents. If you’re over 50 you’ll need to provide proof of good health from a doctor. The issuing date of the letter must be less than two weeks old on the day of the jump.
Where you can book skydiving in Ireland?
The Irish Parachute Club, located at Clonbullogue Airfield, Edenderry, in Offaly, is the first option. It is a reputable skydiving organization. You can book solo jumps, tandem skydive and assisted free falls.
The price of training and the initial solo jump is €199. Prepare €42.5 for every next jump, just in case; you may become an addict. The cost of a tandem skydive is €235. Depending on the type of the assisted free fall, the price may range from €115 to €1080.
The Irish Skydiving Club is another well-reputed provider, located at Kilkenny Aerodrome. They offer tandem parachuting you can enjoy from Friday to Monday. The price ranges from €230 to €325 depending on the day.
Fridays and Mondays are less expensive (€230), while weekends are pricier (€255). You can receive a small discount for booking two consecutive jumps during the weekend. In this case, each skydiving costs €245.
Tandem Skydive, operating from Abbeyshrule Aerodrome, is the third provider of skydiving. As its name implies, it specializes in tandem parachuting. The price of a free fall with professional assistance is €230. Days of operation are weekends, but the company remains flexible in this regard.
If you are a novice skydiver, tandem parachuting is the best option for you to get started. The instructor will take care of everything, which makes this free fall the safest to start with. All you have to do is relax, enjoy the scenery and feel the wind blowing in your face. Let the skydiving master make necessary decisions, such as when to throw yourselves from the plane and open the parachute.
Solo jumping requires an upfront practice that consists of several jumps. Once your training is complete you receive a license that allows you to parachute by yourself.
Wonder how the experience feels? Once the parachuting begins, you will be falling at the speed of around 190 km/120 mi per hour. At some point, your certified assistant opens the parachute. Until landing, you glide through the air.
Other factors impacting your ability to skydive
Besides your age and health, your body mass and height are key variables that determine whether you may participate in parachuting. In Ireland, the maximum weight of the skydiver shouldn’t exceed 102 kg/225 lb with the equipment included. Yet, the ratio between weight and height (BMI – Body Mass Index) is the defining factor too.
To calculate your BMI factor, use the following equation: weight in kilograms ÷ (height in meters x height in meters). If your Body Mass Index approaches the value of 29.9, make sure it doesn’t increase before jump day.
Getting sick on the eve of parachuting could prompt a call to reconsider your skydiving adventure. Not being able to enjoy the freefall would ruin the experience and your health condition could worsen due to the rapid change in altitude. Anyone suffering from heart disease and pregnant women shouldn’t skydive.
As long as you meet the weight requirements, your physical shape doesn’t really matter when it comes to skydiving. One thing you can do to help yourself prepare for the flight is a great deal of stretching and simple exercises to relax on the day of the jump. Don’t forget to stretch your neck!
Things to know before you go parachuting
Choose a reputable provider, especially for your first jump from the airplane. It is understandable that the price means a great deal in the final decision, but don’t let it be the primary factor. Place safety and the quality of experience ahead of it.
The same holds true for a drop zone.
Once you find yourself in the air, remember how to breathe. Slow, deep breaths will help you calm down. There is no need to panic if breathing suddenly becomes difficult. In most cases, this is due to the tilt of your head that causes the wind to rush into your nostrils at an odd angle. Tilt your head back or breath through the mouth, and everything is fine again.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions for peace of mind. Inquire about how many jumps your assigned instructor has completed so far. Also, don’t be shy to check on their credentials and ask how many jumps per day they complete on average.
It is likely to be cooler up at the height of the jump so you should wear light clothing and footwear. Choose pants and T-shirts that make you comfortable. Ladies should avoid wearing anything with loose ends, such as dresses and skirts. Choose footwear that won’t prevent you from lifting your legs during the free fall.
As challenging as this might appear to some rookie skydivers, you should eat on the day of the jump. Normal, nutritious rations would be great. You should leave your stomach neither empty nor laden with food. If you’re unable to make yourself eat out of nerves, mix a smoothie. Make sure to have some snacks to support yourself during the day.
Skydiving isn’t physically difficult. Once you start nosediving towards Mother Earth, your instructor and the gravity share the work between them.
Flying in the plane is the scariest part to many people. But others get pretty terrified once the Earth starts rushing toward you unimaginably fast during the drop. Once the parachute opens, if not earlier, those feelings get reversed.
Is the freefall safe? From the statistical point of view, skydiving is much safer than many ordinary things people do in everyday life. The likelihood of an accident during the free fall is about 1 in 100,000. In general, you are much more likely to have an accident while driving a car (1 in 6,000), going for scuba diving (1 in 34,500) or enjoying mountain hike (1 in 6,000).
After jumping from the plane when does the opening of the parachute occur? The jump from the airplane usually takes place at an altitude between 12,000 to 18,000 feet. The height at which the parachute opens is roughly around 750 meters (2,500 feet). The plane flight to jump altitude is about 10-25 minutes and you’ll have a pretty good view of the Irish landscapes. Time spent in freefall depends on the altitude from the jump and the weight of the tandem pair. Tandem skydiving from 12,000 feet can take up to 60 seconds. After freefall, you still have a flight under an open parachute, which takes approximately 10 minutes.
Are there sports similar to skydiving that are less adventurous? Yes, these would be parasailing or paragliding. In parasailing, a boat tows the parachute. In paragliding, you use a parachute-like canopy to glide through the sky.