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!
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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!
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.
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.