Dive Sites

Maiden Rock

Maiden Rock offers shallow diving with substratum of scattered boulders and silt. Nonetheless the area thnds to turn up species such as pipefish and octopus. It is effected by the strong currents which are channelled through Dalkey Sound and is best dived at slack water.
In addition it is suitable as a site for trainee divers.

Maiden Rock received it’s name from an eighth century story which tells of a group of twelve young maidens from the locality who were caught on the island by a terrible storm while collect duilisk. All twelve perished.

 

Maiden Rock Wreck

At the north western tip of Maiden rock a good sized boiler and other fragments of a wreck are present.
The wreck is nested close to the shore and sits on scattered rocks in about 8m sorrounded by small clumps of kelp. THe boiler is upright and it is possible to peer inside through an opening on the western side. There can be lobster present inside the boiler.

 

Coliemore Park Dive

This site is the only dive location close to the islands where access by boat is not required. Coliemore Park is located 50m south of Coliemore Harbour proceeding south from Dalkey Village.

It is necessary to kit up by the roadside and clamber over the rocks which involves a tricky entry to the water. Care is required on the clippery seaweed exposed at low tide. The site should only be dived exactly on slack water. There is a lot of fishing line on the dive so a scissors and knife are essential.

This dive constantly surprises me with the variance of marine life available. Dogfish are plentiful and congers are present in about 10m. There are very small boulders and scattered rock octopus here with max depth of 12m.
Proceed against the current on entry which will give the advantage of returning on a gentle drift. It is often necessary at the latter part of the dive to take a look above the surface to get a bearing of where you are.

 

 

South Tip Of Dalkey Island

The south of Dalkey Island provides much more shelter than exposed rock of the Muglins and can be dived regardless of tide direction. However venturing too far south on an ebbing tidte is not recommended. It is generally chosen as a dive site when the Muglins is undiveable.

Here 30 m depth is attainable. Take a southern bearing. Just below the surface close to the shore kelp is gradually gives way to scattered boulders. However the kelp is far more extensive than at the Muglins as the shallows extend farther out. The slope is very gentle and 20m takes more time to reach as a result of this.

It is a super location for marine life with large numbers of small lobster and wrasse. Ling and cuckoo wrasse also frequent this area.

To ascend turn on reciprocal bearing and surface in the shallows.

 

Southwest tip of the Muglins

The south-western edge of the Muglins offers a very different dive experience to the east face. Gone are the pinnacles and walls, replaced by gentle slopes of boulders and elongated ridges covered with a massive concentration of plumose anemones and dead man’s fingers taking advantage of the strong currents. Therefore this site should only be dived on slack water.
The shallows here produce a denser kelp forest which can be explored where long tailed scorpion fish and even the elusive tadpole fish can be seen.
The silty bottom is more accessible at 15m where tube anemones and brittle stars may be found.

 

East wall of the Muglins

The optimum dive site in area runs along the east facing wall of the Muglins rock.  It is best dived on a filling tide or on slack water, is accessible by boat and has a max depth of 30m.

A recommended entry point is at the north tip. On the surface take a bearing for Howth Head. Just beneath the surface follow the bearing past kelp and then a gently sloping shelf which leads to a swim through at about 10m.
This holds much marine life including a resident lobster. If you have entered from the north then on exit ascent slightly, turning right and descending to 15m-20m keeping the Muglins on your right.

Another sloping shelf can be bypassed quickly (regular school of young pollack and many velvet swimming crabs frequent this shelf).
Continuing SSW you will encounter large pinnacles and walls. Here, every inch is covered with anemones and soft corals.

A collection of smaller boulders in around 15m is a denizen of large conger eels and you may be fortunate enough to see one of the gigantuan lobsters here.
Leopard spotted gobies and butterfish are extremely common in this area. Ascending over sheer walls to 5-10m a number a gullies which comprise the central part of the East Wall contain a great variety of marine life.

Your 3M stop should not be speny idly.
The base of the kelp fronds in this depth will yield nudibranchs.

 

 

Muglins Swimthrough

The swimthrough at the northern tip of Muglins is well worth the effort on locating it.

Take a bearing towards Howth Head on descent. Past the kelp a gently sloping shelf leads to a narrow, descending shallow ‘U’ shaped crevice, on the left the swimthrough should come into view.

It is quite narrow, only wide enough to fit one diver at a time. It is about 12-15 feet in length. Close to the exit on the right a sizeable round pocket is worth casting your torch light into.

Lobster is regularly seen here.

 

 

North tip of the Muglins

The northern tip of the Muglins offers a very narrow wedge of protection against the current of a filling tide. Taking a northern bearing you can descend at the tip into kelp and a gently sloping shelf becomes more pronounced at 10-15m.

A silty bottom with scattered rocks is reached quite quickly. You can either ascend on a reciprocal bearing, or tide depending U-turn and continue your dive on the eastern or western side of the rock.

 

 

Anchors on the Muglins

At the south eastern tip of the Muglins a number of large anchors are nesteled at the base of a small ledge. The origin of these anchors is unknown.

However in 1873 a study was commissioned on the danger which the Muglins posed to shipping. It was reported that 12 ships had foundered on the unlit rock. It is unclear when these ships had foundered. Following this study a light was installed on the rock.

The anchors can be difficult to see as they are encrusted with life. They are about six feet lenght and there are 3-4 lying together.