Top diving spots on the island of Ireland

The waters around the island of Ireland offer divers an underwater world of fascinating shipwrecks, dramatic undersea cliffs and an abundance of marine life.  

From the Wild Atlantic Way to secluded Dublin Bay, there are great diving sites around the island of Ireland. And for those seeking a sustainable adventure, scuba diving is the perfect activity.  So, suit up and dive in.

Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry

The renowned oceanographer, Jacques Cousteau, called the waters on the north side of Dingle Peninsula on the Wild Atlantic Way “some of the best diving in the world”.  The underwater landscape mirrors the dramatic coastline of cliffs with sheer rock faces, steep drop offs and colourful walls.

Diamond Rocks, Kilkee, County Clare

Named as one of Europe’s top 10 diving sites, Diamond Rocks gets its name from the quartz crystals that sparkle when the sun shines on the rocks surrounding the water. The site is sheltered from the full force of the Atlantic and is teeming with invertebrates.

Carraroe, County Galway

The ideal place for inexperienced divers, the waters off Coral Beach in Carraroe are well sheltered and offer good visibility. The easy shore dive offers beautiful reefs brimming with fish, lobster, and gigantic eels across unique rock formations. Moreover, the local dive centre, Atlantic Scuba Adventures, is Ireland’s first solar-powered dive centre and holds a Blue Ocean award for sustainability.

Tory Island and Malin Head, County Donegal

The waters off County Donegal are great for diving with all sorts of treasures to be discovered underneath the waves. The tiny island of Tory lying off the coast is a popular diving site as the underwater seascape includes the 1884 wreck of the HMS Wasp. Meanwhile, Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point has more U-boats and liner wrecks than anywhere else in the world.

Causeway Coast, County Antrim

The spectacular Causeway Coast has many must-see sights including the famous Giant’s Causeway and it is also a great diving spot. Slip into the waters under the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge where you will almost certainly meet with harbour seals. For rust lovers, the County Antrim coastline also offers a multitude of accessible wrecks.

Dublin Bay and Dalkey Island

One of the great things about a dive in Dublin Bay is that you can easily incorporate it into a short break in Ireland’s capital city. Among the best places for underwater exploring in the bay are the waters around Dalkey Island, where kelp forests and rocky reefs are home to all manner of marine life.

Baltimore, County Cork

One of Ireland’s best known dive sites for those who enjoy exploring shipwrecks is Baltimore near the island’s most southerly tip. Here on the ocean floor lies the MV Kowloon Bridge which sank in 1986 and is the largest shipwreck in Europe and the largest by tonnage in the world. The ship’s cargo of iron ore is visible but the wreck has now been populated by an astounding variety of flora and fauna.

Clare Island, County Mayo

Lying off the coast of gorgeous County Mayo, Clare Island is a beautiful haven that was once the stronghold of the sixteenth-century pirate queen Grace O’Malley. Diving in the waters around the island will reveal underwater cliffs that are home to colourful sea-anemone. It’s rumoured that the wreck of a World War II plane lies somewhere in these waters but no-one has found it yet.

Fanore, County Clare

Another top County Clare diving site, Fanore is popular with both scuba divers and free divers. A rocky reef lying just 50 metres off the shore is great for an underwater wander as the visibility in these waters is extremely good. Lucky divers may be accompanied on their travels by visiting dolphins.

Killary Fjord, County Galway

Killary Harbour is a beautiful fjord sheltered by mountains which affords divers excellent visibility throughout most of the year. The underwater kelp forests are home to a variety of marine life including conger eels, and divers frequently encounter seals and dolphins. The fjord is also excellent for deep-water divers who can reach depths of about 40 metres.