Dublin Wreck Diving: RMS Leinster

Sep 18 2012 Posted by Office Administraton


Dive site.

RMS Leinster.

Diving Grade required: 



Location: 5 miles east from the Kish lighthouse. 

53 18 51.48    N

05 47 34.224 W


Access: Rib from Dun Laoghaire.1.5 hours before High Water

1    hour before Low Water.

Minimum Depth to Wreck 28 mts avg
Maximum Depth to Seabed: 32 mts avg. Sand
Average Visibility: 8-10m.


Travel time to site:         Approx 40 minutes from Dun Laoghaire in calm conditions


Precautions:                   The dive site is large and can be disorienting. SMB and 40mts reel                                        should be carried by all divers in the case of ascending away from

the shot line.


History of Wreck:

Refs UKHO wreck no 01003496. Chart symbol Wk 20.5mts


The Leinster was one of four fast steamships named after Ireland’s four provinces. Built in 1897 by Cammel Laird of Birkenhead for the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, Leinster was used to carry mail and passengers between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead. She grossed 2,646 metric tons and measured L. 115m x B .23m x D. 13m. Her twin screws were powered by an 8 cylinder triple expansion steam engine, and she could reach a top cruising speed of 24 knots.

On her final voyage, The Leinster was bound for Holyhead from Dun Laoghaire just three weeks before the end of the First World War. On board were hundreds of passengers and crew, many of whom were soldiers. Short of the Kish Bank, she was hit by two torpedoes fired by U-boat UB-123. The first struck in the mail room, killing most of the postal workers. The second torpedo hit in the engine room amidships, and the Leinster then sank bow first within 15 minutes of the first hit.

500 of the 771 passengers and crew lost their lives that morning.  Many of the bodies recoverd are now buried in the military cemetery in Blackhorse avenue. The anchor was raised in 1996 and is now prominently displayed in the Dun Laoghaire promenade as a memorial to those who died.


Diving the Wreck:


The Leinster lies about 22 km west of Dun Laoghaire (40 minutes to over an hour, depending on the weather) by RIB.  Her bow is pointing south and stands proud of the seabed, a little apart from the rest of the wreck, which is largely collapsed and settling into the sands. When the visibility is good, there is plenty of marine life to see – shoals of fish, congers, etc. This is a very substantial wreck and when uncovered by the sand, is a superb dive.

The wreck is subject to strong tidal currents outside of slack water, so best dived on a neap tide. In poor visibility (especially on springs) it can be hard to navigate, so a distance line is useful. A further consideration is that it lies in the path of the HSS ferry. The site is permanently shotted but these shots are submerged at HW slack. There are currently two shots tied into the Leinster, both are in the forward section apx 10mts back from the break and one is located 10mts back 5mts in port side the second is apx 15mts back from break and 5mts in on the starboard side.

In reasonable conditions it is possible to descend and swim down the port side and ascend the starboard shot. If looking for the bow section it is best to descend the port shot line (orange buoy) and real off south east for apx 15mts. There is debris that can be followed in good conditions but be prepared to ascend under SMB if you do. Ensure dive plan is clear and coxin is aware of your dive plan as currents are strong in this area.


Diving considerations

Always prepare for open water dives with consideration of a good light and SMB that is attached to a reel with adequate line.

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Lloyds shipwrecks of the Irish Sea

Shipwreck inventory of Ireland.