With sheer walls, swim throughs and underwater arches, this dive site is every divers dream. Located in the middle of the bay it’s one of the 3 Black Rocks that can be seen sticking out of the sea at a spring low tide. The array of life that calls this rock home is incredibly diverse. From large pelagic fish such as pollock, wrasse and bait balls of mackerel to the bottom dwelling monkfish, plaice and dab. The small kelp forest at the top of the rock makes a lovely safety stop location with nudibranchs galore and a kaleidoscope of algae. This is a 30m dive site so Advanced Open Water divers and equivalent are more than welcome. Not qualified for 30m yet? Sign up for our Advanced Open Water Course by clicking here and unlock one of the most famous dive sites in Ireland.
Oileann na Bhatha (All-on na Bah-ha)
Que the Jurassic Park theme tune, when the boat pulls up to Oileann na Bhatha, it feels like you have stepped back in time. The dive site itself is comprised of two walls with an underwater canyon running between them. You can follow one of these walls out, cross over to the other and follow the second back in, or just have a nice long leisurely dive along one wall. The top of the wall ranges from 2m – 22m with the bottom dropping off to 35m+. The mid-section of the wall is simply stunning, best dived in the afternoon or late evening as the setting sun illuminates the wall and filters through the kelp topstory.
Covered by sponges, algae and an array of other animals, both invertebrates such as nudibranchs, sea fans, jellyfish and anemones, and vertebrates, with wrasse and pollock hanging around looking for something to munch on. Look into the cracks and see the googley eyes of a tompot blenny staring back, or even the snake-like gaze of a conger eel! This site truly lives up to its name as the Island of Life.
Much closer to Kilkee than the name suggests, Donegal Point is a 20 minute boat trip from the pier. There are multiple ways you can dive this site with great dives for all abilities from Open Water to experienced deep divers and cavern divers. On one side of the headland is an impressive wall dropping down to 35m. You can follow the wall until you reach the entrance to a beautiful cavern. Make sure your torch is charged up as it gets very dark in here! When you emerge from the other side of the cavern at 12m you are met by an explosion of light, with a kelp forest broken up by many boulders and small crevasses. The diversity of the habitat supports an impressive array of underwater life. If darkness isn’t your thing, that’s no problem, the top of Donegal Point has enough going on that will keep every diver enthralled, whether you are a macrophotographer or marine life enthusiast. From nudibranchs to sunfish, this dive site has everything in between.
The Blue Pool
Geograhically the blue pool is closer to Doonbeg than Kilkee however ask any diver that’s been there and they will tell you the extra time spent on the boat is well worth it. The blue pool consists of two parts. A kelp forest makes up the top of the Blue Pool and ranges in depth from 1m to 9m. There is a wall filled with cracks within which a variety of fish and invertebrate life hang out. Oftentimes you see squid eggs attached onto the kelp and the odd mermaid’s purse. As it’s protected on all sides the top of the Blue Pool is nearly always calm and is a great place to ReActivate.
The letterbox separates the top of the blue pool from the rest of the site. A rectangular piece of rock that has fallen away has created an amazing swim through from 9m to 17m. Once you come through the letterbox you are met by an explosion of light and 2 walls on either side reaching towards the surface. This gulley is very wide and makes the perfect dive. Go out one wall, cross the boulder field and come back along the other. This site is truly incredible and is definitely one that you should check out! You may even spot Kevin, our resident octopus hanging out around the 30m mark!
Our local nursery reef, Newfy, is an idyllic spot for those just starting out or divers who fancy a nice chilled shallow dive bustling with life. The reef runs out from the diving boards at Kilkee’s West End to the middle of the bay and comprises of a rock wall covered in kelp and surrounded by sand. Ranging from 1-10m, this site is home to an array of marine life, with schools of sprat and juvenile fish being commonplace from June until September. Dogfish, pollock, wrasse, a large variety of flatfish along with many invertebrates such as crab and lobster can be regularly seen here throughout the year!
This island of rock jetting out of the ocean makes a fantastic wall dive. Identifiable by the line of cormorants perched on the end, Biraghty Mor often offers a small bit of protection from lumpy seas. The wall is sheer and drops down to 30-35m with a boulder field and lumps of rock to explore before slowly zigzagging your way back up the wall to the surface. This is a great dive to see which species inhabit different depths. Deep fissures in the rock give conger eels and tompot blennies a great place to hide, whilst the red seaweeds from 15m to the surface and the kelp forest houses a variety of nudibranchs. To dive this site you need to be comfortable completing a safety stop in blue water with no reference line, as we swim away from the rock to return to the surface.
Often used as our final open water qualifying dive site, chimney bay is a great site to gradually reach your target depth. With a sloping bottom starting at 1m and extending to 30m you can easily turn around at any point on this dive. The top part of this site is dominated by a kelp forest and gives way to boulders covered in a variety of seaweed and a gritty bottom. There is so much to see at this site from massive rays with wingspans longer than our resident divemaster, to dogfish, wrasse, pollock, crabs, lobster and the odd conger can also be seen here along with a couple of golf balls due to wayward shots from the golf club!