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Snorkeling in Ireland – Explore the Atlantic Ocean

Snorkeling in Ireland, despite of it is not a tropical destination, can offer you more adventures than you would expect at first glance. The Irish people love the ocean, water activities and are proud of the country’s unspoiled coastline. If you are looking for a fun family activity for hot summer days, we tell you the best places to go!

Anett Szaszi - Snorkel Around The World

Written by Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver, and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years of experience. She fell in love with the ocean while snorkeling in the Red Sea on a vacation to Egypt back in 2008. Since then, she has been traveling to discover the world’s best snorkeling spots and sharing her experience and tips to inspire others. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!

Why You Should Go Snorkeling In Ireland?

Do you enjoy exploring the underwater world but don’t want to travel to remote destinations? Don’t worry, you can find decent snorkeling in Europe too!

Besides the most popular summer holiday destinations, like Spain, Greece, Cyprus, and Malta in the Mediterranean or Croatia in the Adriatic Sea, The Atlantic Ocean offers pretty good conditions for undersea activities with a diverse ecosystem and surprisingly clear water. With over 3,000 miles of unspoiled coastline to discover, the opportunities are endless.

Diving and snorkeling in Ireland is popular between May and September when the conditions are the best with calm sea, good visibility, and relatively warm water.

The water temperature reaches 15-17 degrees C (59-63 F) during the warmest months, therefore wearing a thick wetsuit, neoprene socks, and gloves is a must when snorkeling in Ireland as well as a hoodie to protect your head!

Tip: should you need help with buying equipment for snorkeling, read how to choose snorkel fins and check the best snorkel masks!

Where To Go Snorkeling In Ireland?

Since Ireland has a rocky coastline, it is hard to find a safe place to get into the water. Be careful on the steep cliffs and find a walking path leading to the water.

One can find more good snorkel beaches on the west coast in County Donegal, County Mayo, County Clare, and County Kerry. On the east coast, you can visit County Wexford’s beaches but it is worth checking out Forty Foot, Glenageary too which is a popular swimming place thanks to its closeness to Dublin.

People are snorkeling in the sea in Ireland

The tidal pools (locally called Pollock Holes) offer also good snorkeling in Ireland. These are accessible at low tide and the best is to explore them at the southern side of the Kilkee bay.

Tip: Ask for help on how to get to the snorkel spots from the local dive centers or tour operators, or check the coastline on Google Earth prior to your trip!

Best Snorkeling Spots In Ireland

  • Sandy’s Garden in Sligo
  • Lough Hyne marine lake
  • Derrynane Harbour
  • Kilkee bay
  • Mulroy Bay in Donegal
  • White Strand and Cove Harbour in Castlecove in Kerry
  • Silver Strand in Malin Beg in Donegal
  • Streamstown Bay and Connemara
  • Dunquin, Dingle Peninsula
  • Greystones and Hook Head.

What To See While Snorkeling In Ireland

Of course, the chilly water of The Atlantic Ocean doesn’t support tropical marine life so don’t expect colorful fish or overwhelming coral reefs. But this doesn’t mean there is nothing to see while snorkeling in Ireland!

The Irish underwater world is like being in a magical garden where you can swim in kelp forests and colorful algae-covered rocks while observing anemones, shellfish, crabs, and crustaceans.

Underwater life while snorkeling in Ireland

Look for sea stars hiding between seagrass and search for squids and octopuses! The most common fish species to see are blennies, dogfish, pipefish, scorpion fish, wrasse, and pollack.

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