The Aran Islands, Co. Galway

The Canyon

Description: This site lies between the Brannock Rock and the North Light. The area between these two islands is flat limestone about 9m deep. Opposite the landing stage for the lighthouse there is a vertical canyon about 30–45m wide, 400m long running east-west, with the bottom at 33m. As this is a limestone area, the walls of the canyon are fissured and abound with all sorts of fish life. Visibility will frequently permit divers on one side to see divers on the other side of the canyon. There is a slight current, the site is partially exposed. Max. wind Force 3. Find the canyon with an echosounder.

Poll Na bPeist

Description: This is on the Atlantic side of Inismore about 1.6km south of Dun Aengus, the famous cliff top fort on the west side of the island and consists of a rectangular opening in the flat foreshore, it looks like a man made swimming pool. Entry is through a wide underground cavern about 25m long, depth in the pool is about 15m. Outside the pool the bottom is strewn with huge boulders and slopes away to 45m deep after about 300m. This site is located under Dun Angus, which is perched on top of vertical cliff 90m high. There is good shelter here in winds from the north to east, but is not divable in westerly winds above Force 2.

Brannock

Description: Located between Brannock Rock and the main island, this site is made of a series of steps starting at 8m at the shore reaching 32m after 60m out. The steps are approx. 3m high, and are fissured and undercut, perfect abodes for various life forms. This is the most sheltered site and is exposed only to north to east winds, winds up to Force 4 are no problem, there is no current and it is protected from the Atlantic swell.

Glassan Rock

Description: This dive is at the southwesterly tip of Inishmor. Begin slightly to the north of the tip where there is a cave above the water. The depth here is 15m but quickly drops to over 30m. The vertical rockface has an overhanging ledge 3–4m deep cut into it at a depth of about 12m. This runs around the tip of the island and into Gregory’s Sound. The ledge narrows towards the back and provides a perfect home to congers, lobsters and wrasse. The occasional crayfish can be found hanging upside down in a recess in the ceiling. Swim around the tip of the island to where a spectacular collection of giant boulders carpeted in dead mans fingers are propped up against the side of the island. It is possible to swim beneath some of these, stopping to look out at shoals of pollack swimming by.

The Puffing Holes

Description: This dive is an underwater chasm in the limestone which extends for at least 120m and is closed at one end. Although they cannot be seen from underwater, it is believed that the cave eventually leads to the puffing holes which are visible high on the shore above. Divers should not venture more than 10 or 15m into the entrance without advanced training and planning and using appropriate cave diving techniques. Under the right conditions this dive is exhilarating and unrivalled, but is definitely not one for the faint hearted.

Farvey Point

Description: A dive site stretching for about 2.5km long, beginning 800m south of the Island Pier, at the point of Gob Na Fearbhai. There are ledges at 10m, 20m, and 30m running parallel to the shore, and the shallow ledges are very suitable for trainees. As one moves out into deeper water, 30m plus, the area is covered in great boulders with excellent colour and fish life. This site is protected from the prevailing southwesterly winds. Currents are 1.5 knots at full flow.

Poll Seidte (Puffing Holes)

Description: This is a dive site for the quiet (windless) day or a wind from the north, which is rare during the summer months. Situated on the southern point of the island the drop-off, close to shore, is sudden and dramatic. Dive on the rising tide as this gives greater comfort to the diver.

Blue Pool

Description: Dive site on the exposed side of Inismeain facing Inismore, under steep cliffs (the spot known as Synge’s chair is directly above the dive site, this was Synge’s favourite place for
meditation). Very colourful drop-offs and wonderful colour, depths to 45m. As with all dive sites facing the open Atlantic, diving can only be safely undertaken in good weather conditions.

Finnis Reef

Description: The dive site is 4.8km west of Innisheer Pier, halfway between the east marker of the reef and the island, depth 15m. The reef stretches east from the Island for just over 1km, and levels out on to a sandy bottom. The colour, plant and marine life is very varied, dive on the rising tide.

Brocklinmore

Description: This is an underwater ledge on the east side of Inishmor which runs for most of the length of the island. It offers some superb dives in waters that often are diveable when westerlies don’t allow you out behind the islands. The ledge itself can be very difficult to find without accurate GPS reading (ask Galway Bay Scubadivers!). The ledge occurs along the contour where the seabed shelves up from 30–20m and follows the general lie of the island. There is normally a gentle current (0.5–1.0 knots) along the ledge which makes it an effortless dive with good boat cover. Drift along with the tide, swimming up and down the ledge which is dotted with rose corals and large white sea fans. The ledge is undercut and in places this can reach back 5 or 6m – too narrow to allow a diver in but a perfect home for the occasional crayfish.

Nearest Coast Cam

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