Dingle Bay has some amazing dive sites. We have compiled a list of some of our favourites below.
Our “house reef” and safe haven provides a delightful dive in almost all weather conditions. Thornback Rays glide gracefully along the sandy seabed, Nudibranchs cling to the seagrass and little Cuttles burrow into the sand. The sheltered, shallow waters and the seagrass environment provide a nursery for juvenile schooling fish of many species. If you are lucky, you will even spot Pipefish, Triggerfish and John Dory, or perhaps a flash of Fungi, the Dingle Dolphin as he plays in the nearby harbour mouth. The perfect spot for a drift dive when the tide is right and the site is transformed after dark for a spectacular night dive.
Just a short boat journey from the dive centre lies one of our favourite dive sites. Shallow and sheltered and teaming with life, it offers the perfect site for divers of all abilities. This secret cove opens up from a narrow entrance with high cliffs and soaring seabirds. Filled with crystal clear waters, the pretty gullies and kelp are home to schooling fish and crustaceans. However, the highlight of the site is a beautiful swim-through from the cove to the bay beyond, with walls plastered in a host of colourful Dalia, Daisy and Jewel Anemones. Cracks in the rock are home to Squat Lobsters, Blennies, Gobies and many more interesting critters. This is another spot that really comes alive in the moonlight and is our favourite night dive site when conditions allow.
Located just outside the harbour mouth, Crow Rock is another very popular dive site. With depths ranging from 5-30 metres, the reef extends from Crow Rock itself in a westerly direction. This striking reef is covered in colourful sponges and vast swathes of neon-bright jewel anemones. The reef is home to a wealth of marine life including Conger Eels, Dogfish and pretty Cuckoo Wrasse.
Searrach meaning foal in Gaelic is the name given to the rock around which this fantastic dive site is situated. The depth ranges from 5-25 metres making this accessible to all levels of diver. Conger Eels, Dogfish and Lobsters make this rock their home, as well as the usual array of sponges and anemones.
One for the more experienced, Slattery’s Bank offers an exciting 25-35 metre dive. Covered in Dingle Bay’s signature sponges and anemones, the bank rises from the sea floor exposing layers of rock, which form natural cracks and crevices, playing host to Crayfish, Lobsters and Spider Crabs. The reef also attracts many large fish, such as Pollock, Wrasse, Bib and Cod.
A pinnacle rising from 40 metres and peaking 6 metres below the surface, Wild Bank is a stunning dive site to explore when conditions allow. Pick a depth and spiral your way up, observing the plentiful aquatic life it has to offer.
The cliffs around Ventry Harbour offer a wealth of diving spots, of which our favourite has to be Parkmore Point. Here the cliffs descend to 30 metres running south. Meander your way through the rocks, gullies and kelp looking out for Dogfish, resident Spider Crabs and Conger Eels along the way. We have even spotted Octopus and Sunfish at this beautiful dive site! June is Basking Shark season and these beautiful giants can often be spotted congregating just off the point, so keep your eyes peeled.
We also have a range of sheltered spots accessible in all conditions with sandy bottoms and clear waters perfect for training.
THE MANCHESTER MERCHANT
This cargo liner, bound for Manchester from New Orleans carrying 13,000 bails of cotton, tragically caught fire off the Irish coast. It was brought into Dingle Bay where attempts to fight the fire were unsuccessful. As a last resort, the ship was scuttled in 15 metres of sheltered water, making it an ideal wreck dive for all levels of diver.
The Manchester Merchant is situated close to the surfers’ paradise of Inch Beach and the Cromane mussel beds. Above water you will be treated to glorious views of the MacGillycuddy Reeks on the Iveragh Peninsula to the south and the Sieve Mountains of the Dingle Peninsula to the north. Below water you will find a vast and largely intact wreck, which is teaming with Bib and Poor Mans Cod. It is also home to many large Lobsters, Velvet Swimming Crabs and other Crustaceans.
THE THREE BROTHERS (GREAT BLASKET)
This local fishing trawler struck rocks near Black Head off the west point of Great Blasket Island nearly thirty years ago. She eventually sank off the southern face of the island during an attempt to salvage her. Fortunately for us she now lies in sheltered waters and has remained almost completely intact since then. The structure of the wreck has become host to an abundance of vibrant and colourful anemones and sponges. Even the mast, complete with crows nest, remains unbroken, though you won’t see metal for the marine life encrusted on it. A dive not to be missed and my own personal favourite.
U.S.S. QUEBRA (GREAT BLASKET)
This historic steamer sank in 1916, whilst carrying vital supplies from New York to Liverpool to aid the war effort. The Quebra changed course to avoid a sited submarine, a “far” mist descended in the night and she ran on to treacherous rocks.
She now lies in 15-40 metres of water off the north face of Great Blasket Island. Her precious cargo, consisting of wire, brass sheeting and artillery shells, can now be found strewn across the rocky gullies, vying for attention amongst the abundant marine life. But beware; although the Navy cleared most of the live shells in the 1980s, some still remain!
The large boilers remain upright and intact and are home to numerous critters including Tompot Blennies, Conger Eels and Squat Lobsters to name but a few. The wreck has weathered many an Atlantic storm and the remainder of the wreck is somewhat broken up, but has formed a delightful artificial reef on which the local marine life has flourished. A great dive for both Wreckies and Naturalists alike.
THE BLASKET ISLANDS
The Blasket Islands offer some of the most spectacular diving in Europe and this is where you will find us whenever we get the chance. With numerous sites stretching across the islands and the rocks surrounding them, there is something to suit all tastes and abilities. Whether its wrecks, macro, seals or corals that take your fancy, you will find it in abundance at one of our Blasket Island dive sites.
The wild and remote sites, rarely visited by divers, are untouched and subsequently frequented by large shoals of fish. With walls painted with anemones, rocks and gullies filled with sponges, kelps and fish, and cracks and crevices full of crabs and crayfish, the underwater scenery is truly spectacular.
Each island offers it’s own unique diving experience. An Blascaod Mór (Great Blasket) is home to our two Blasket wrecks; U.S.S. Quebra and The Three Brothers, as well as our resident colony of Seals. Seals are also found around Beiginis (Beginish) where we have a number of sheltered sites, which allow us to dive and snorkel with these friendly creatures. Inis na Bró (Inishnabro) has the spectacular Cathedral Rock, magnificent both above and below the water line, this soaring natural rock sculpture offers walls dropping precipitously to 40 metres covered in marine life. Inis Mhic Uileáin (Inishvickillane) offers a number of pinnacles, rocky reefs and Seal Cove. One of the more remote islands, An Tiaracht (Tearaght Island) provides spectacular wall dives dropping off to 40+ metres and some of the best examples of rose coral in the area. On the south-west aspect of Tiaracht, towers a formidable example of Trinity House construction, the lighthouse was first built in 1870 and continues to operate as a working light today. For the lucky few, Foze Rocks, the final frontier before open Atlantic ocean, offers wild Irish diving at it’s absolute best (when the weather gods are smiling down on us!).