Scuba divers are some of the keenest travellers on the planet, because for them there are two worlds to explore: above and below the waves. And because we’re an island, Ireland has so much more scope for discovering the weird and the wonderful below the shoreline!
Flipper-footed explorers from around the world come to Ireland to dive our deep blue waters. Anne Ferguson who, along with her husband Graham, make the up dive centre team Ocean Addicts, explains what makes Ireland such an attractive dive destination: “Our beautiful, rugged coastline translates to spectacular underwater scenery. The Gulf Stream, as well as warming the sea, brings nutrients to our water that results in unique and rich marine life”.
Irish (Sea) Citizens
The life, it seems, ranges from dolphins to octopus, dogfish to frogfish, electric rays to conger eels, and pretty sea anemones and corals – we could go on and on, but it’s definitely all happening underwater!
“One of the most spectacular sights to see is that of a basking shark,” says Graham. “The second biggest fish in the ocean, these gentle plankton eaters visit our coast every spring and we’ve even seen them as late as September inside the old Head of Kinsale”.
Another huge attraction for divers is the submerged scrapyard of wrecks off the island of Ireland’s coast. Irish Wrecks Online lists over 10,000 vessels sunk, stranded and even torpedoed in Irish waters over the last few hundred years. You can dive a scuttled U-boat, mined WWI battleship and even a sunken bulk carrier; the largest wreck by tonnage in the world. Yet another wreck has just recently been found in Dublin Bay according to PADI International, so our number of sunken treasures is just moving on up!
“Wrecks are interesting for many reasons,” explains Graham. “First there’s the history; whether the boat was for fishing, cargo, war, and the circumstance of its sinking. The wreck itself is intriguing for seeing the various parts of the boat, like the propeller or the boiler, and also for the marine life for which it forms a base. Wrecks also provide great opportunities for underwater photographers.”
Taking the Plunge
Anne advises divers coming to Ireland to find an operator with solid local knowledge of the best dive sites, and says the people who make the trip certainly won’t be disappointed. “When you dive in Ireland you are given a true Irish welcome, we want our guests to enjoy the total experience of their visit – above and below the waves.”
Now that sounds like an all-island trip to me!