Sheephaven SAC Notes, May Bank Holiday Diving

May 08 2018 Posted by Office Administraton

Sheephaven divers took full advantage of the May Bank Holiday sunshine with the club members in the water on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

There were dives at two different sites on Saturday morning with shore dives at Massmount and St Johns Point, with the former having the better of the water visibility.

Plankton is now in full growth out at sea and they have brought in-water visibility right down to less than a metre, while at Massmount there was a complete contrast with exception horizontal visibility throughout the dive site.

Sunday mornings’ diving was a boat dive from Downings but getting a suitable site proved difficult due to the effect of a significant Atlantic swell rolling into the bay.

The first choice site in Skate Bay was just about tolerable for a 30 minute dive, with reduced visibility and a pronounced ground swell at depth.

The decision to move to Pan Rock for an alternative site didn’t produce a better result, worse in fact due to its more exposed location to the effect of the sea.

Snorkellers were out on both Sunday and Monday mornings and in the more sheltered confines of PortnaBlagh the club members were able to enjoy excellent conditions on both occasions.

In particular the Monday snorkel in bright sunshine with no swell and a very comfortable 10 degrees Celsius in the water allowed everyone to get across to Killyhoey beach and back with ease.

Finally Sheephaven SAC were invited on Saturday morning to give a talk at the Fanad Lighthouse for May Bank Holiday weekend, which is part of their ‘Shine a Light on Summer’ programme.

After the Sheephaven presentation on Diving the North Coast there was an opportunity to take up the invitation to tour the lighthouse, which was fascinating and is highly recommended.


While there has been a lighthouse on Fanad Head since 1815 the current one replaced the original, which was constructed as result of the loss HMS Saldanha in 1811. The 36 gun frigate was lost with all hands, after striking the nearby Swilly Rocks on the entrance to Lough Swilly.


Our guide John Scott described the techniques used in the construction of the current lighthouse and in particular how the stairs are built into the outer wall in manner that ensures they do not need other internal support.

The Commissioner of Irish Lights website gives an insight into all the lighthouses around the Irish coast, including their history and makes a wonderful read, it is also highly recommended.

Finally Sheephaven SAC wishes to extend their thanks to Eimear Ní Mhathúna and her staff for their invitation to make the presentation on Saturday and we wish them all the best in their future endeavours at Fanad Lighthouse.