Last updated on November 25, 2023
I’m a PADI AOWD diver and not really good at apnoea diving, but a few metres of depth is fine. But I’ve always liked snorkelling a lot. And as much as I like diving, but without compressed air and with less weight on your waist, you feel much freer and more mobile. Freedom I enjoy.
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How beautiful is the contrast between the world above and below the water surface. Above, glorious green hills, a white beach nestled in rugged cliffs. Below, a wonderland of kelp, anemones, small and larger fish, jellyfish, starfish, lobsters and crabs.
If you’re lucky, a seal or even a dolphin might drop by. Really, the Atlantic Ocean off Ireland’s coast is home to a lot of life. Especially on the exposed west coast. Check out this YouTube film: Freediving with an amazing Dolphin and Seal in Ireland, by E Pender.
And the nice thing about it is that you can combine it wonderfully with a round trip of Ireland. The (relatively) small amount of equipment fits into any rental car and then you can get into the water for an hour at any beach along the way. This also works with non-smoking partners and children, because who doesn’t like to spend a little time on the beach? In this article you’ll find some tips for nice locations.
To get you in the mood, I have a nice YouTube film for you: Snorkeling & free diving in Ireland. Silver Strand, Malin Beg, Donegal, by Underwater Ireland.
But maybe you want to do some more serious apnoea diving on your holiday? In that case I have researched three freediving schools for you.
By the way, we live in Ireland (second home) and run our motorbike rental business here in the summer months (www.easycruiser.tours). We also have nice guest rooms (www.the-view-accommodation.ie). We have travelled the island again and again over many years and therefore know it very well.
Apnoea Diving at Wicklow
Wicklow is just south of Dublin and easily accessible from there. Freediving Ireland offers AIDA courses and is also available for individual training or dive trips. Check out the picture gallery on his website!
Provider: Freediving Ireland
Apnoea Diving on the Dingle Peninsula
The Dingle Peninsula on the southern west coast is a dream! Above and under water. On this website you will find AIDA courses, individual training or simply beautiful accompanied dives:
Provider: Emerald Freediving
Apnoea diving on the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland
Freediving offers freediving courses, snorkelling, SUP paddleboarding and water safety (behaviour in high waves). By the way, the owner and trainer, Hanno, is from Germany and lived in Hawaii for a few years to surf, so he knows very high waves well.
Provider: Freedive Northern Ireland
Freedive also has its own video on Youtube: Best Water Activities in Northern Ireland
Here is a short video of a participant at Freedive: Freedive Northern Ireland session 2.
Who else offers snorkelling excursions?
There is a dive centre in Kinsale that also offers guided snorkelling tours. Provider: Ocean Addicts.
On the Aran Islands off the coast of Galway you can stay in a glamping resort and at Dive Academy you can go diving, kayaking and there are also guided snorkelling tours by boat. Provider: Dive Academy.
On the Connemara coast, west of Galway, you’ll find a dive centre that also offers snorkelling tours. Provider: Atlantic Scuba Adventure.
Well-known freediving and snorkelling sites
You can go freediving basically anywhere, especially along the Wild Atlantic Way. Well-known diving and freediving sites can be found at Hook Head, Malin Head, Malin Beg/, Silver Strand, Keem on Achill Island and Kilkee.
A good blog post on the subject can also be found on the PADI website: Diving in Ireland, Six of the Island`s luckiest Dive Sites by Ocean Allison.
Water temperatures and best time to go snorkelling and scuba diving
In the winter months, it can be quite stormy in Ireland and the Atlantic shows its rough side. April to September is the diving season in Ireland for most people.
In April you can expect water temperatures around 8-10 degrees. Over the summer, temperatures rise and reach around 16-18 degrees in September. Of course, these are only average values.
You should definitely bring a good wetsuit with a bonnet and possibly thin neoprene gloves.
Ireland is beautiful above water, spectacular on the coasts, especially the west coast, and at least as beautiful underwater. Clear waters and a variety of life in them make freediving and snorkelling an experience.
I hope I could inspire you to go on a holiday to Ireland?
Great, don’t forget your diving gear!
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Cover photo credit: photo by Jakob Bomann on Unsplash