Snorkeling in Ireland – Explore the Atlantic Ocean

Snorkeling in Ireland, despite of it is not a tropical destination, can offer you more adventures that you would expect at first glance. The Irish people love the ocean, water activities and 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!

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, the Mediterranean or Croatia beaches, The Atlantic Ocean offers pretty good conditions for undersea activities with diverse eco-system and surprisingly clear water. With an 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 mask!

Where to snorkel?

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 to check out Forty Foot, Glenageary too which is a popular swimming place thanks to its closeness to Dublin. 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.

Snorkeling in Ireland

Tip: Ask help on how to get to the snorkel spots from the local dive centers or tour operators, or check the coastline on the 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, nor overwhelming coral reef. 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. Look for sea stars hiding between sea grass and search for squids and octopus! The most common fish species to see are blennies, dogfish, pipefish, scorpion fish, wrasse and pollack.

Underwater life while snorkeling in Ireland

Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years experience. She fell in love with the ocean when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea in 2008. Since then , she is traveling all over the world to discover our waters. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. Visiting mega-cities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. She is interested in sustainable traveling and marine conservation. She is hoping to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!

9 thoughts on “Snorkeling in Ireland – Explore the Atlantic Ocean

  • 2018-10-09 at 10:34

    Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just
    preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from
    our area library but I think I learned more from this post.

    I am very glad to see such excellent information being
    shared freely out there.

  • 2019-09-15 at 03:05

    Did you mean “County Clare”?

  • 2019-10-11 at 07:50

    White strand doonbeg co clare is very safe for snorkelling. It also has a group of vitemen C swimmers at 9am every morning . All welcome with or without wet suits.

    • 2019-10-11 at 22:23

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for the recommendation! I believe it is very useful for those who live nearby. 🙂

      BR, Anett

  • 2020-02-12 at 20:10

    Why cant i find sandys garden in sligo on the map?

    • 2020-02-15 at 12:12

      Hi Rebecca,
      You can find the bay if you search Ardmeen Sligo. That bay called Sandys Garden.
      Best regards, Anett

  • 2020-02-13 at 00:13

    Hi, wondering where exactly Sandy’s Garden is in Sligo? Only other mention of it I can find online is a YouTube video with no location info. Cheers for the recommendations.

    • 2020-02-15 at 12:11

      Hi Gary,
      Just type Ardmeen Sligo in the Google Map and it will show you the location.
      Hope this helps,
      BR, Anett


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