From stingrays to starfish, here are the top five best aquariums in Ireland to see aquatic flora and fauna.
Ireland is home to numerous aquariums, many of which care for more than 100 different species of marine life from across the world’s oceans.
Family-friendly, this year-round, all-weather attraction is the perfect way to discover more about what lives in the deep.
From native to exotic, visitors can dive into the aquatic world and get up close and personal with a range of species – be that from behind the glass or one-on-one at touch tanks.
And, with educated and enthusiastic staff always on hand, a fantastic day out is sure to be had by all. Here are the top five best aquariums in Ireland.
5. Achill Experience Aquarium & Visitor Centre, Co. Mayo – an all-weather visitor centre
Those visiting Mayo’s first-ever aquarium are in for a treat.
The site is also home to a deserted village experience, gift shop, and visitor centre that features exhibitions on several topics relating to history, music, art, and emigration alongside audiovisual presentations.
Within its 16 tanks, guests will spot various species native to Achill waters, including piranhas, octopuses, pacific blue tang fish, and clownfish.
One of the best aquariums in Ireland, its open-top touch tank enables visitors to get a closer view of the likes of catsharks, starfish, and sea urchins.
Alongside visiting the gift shop, guests can also attend guided tours and talks, and there is even an opportunity to sponsor a baby shark!
Address: Crumpaun, Keel East, Achill, Co. Mayo, F28 TX49, Ireland
4. Sea Life Bray Aquarium, Co. Wicklow – East Coast’s sole attraction of its nature
Home to over 1,000 underwater animals, this family-friendly attraction is one of the country’s largest marine and freshwater zoos.
Not far from Dublin, this is a great day out when visiting the capital.
Placing a strong emphasis on conservation, the aquarium boasts more than 30 exhibits featuring a wide range of aquatic creatures, including seahorses, octopuses, red-bellied piranhas, and blacktip reef sharks.
Some of the aquarium’s most notable zones include the Tropical Shark Lagoon, Rivers of the World, and Bay of Rays.
And, with a quiz trail, indoor play area, and colouring table, plus regular talks and scheduled feed times, Sea Life Bray Aquarium is the perfect place to take the kids.
Address: Strand Rd, Bray, Co. Wicklow, A98 N8N3, Ireland
3. Galway Atlantaquaria, Co. Galway – dubbed Ireland’s national aquarium
As Ireland’s biggest native species aquarium, Atlantaquaria in Galway is an EAZA and BIAZA accredited site home to more than 100 aquatic species.
With a passionate focus on Irish biodiversity, the aquarium offers various exhibits, including the BioZone, Splash Tank, Ocean Tank, Shark and Ray Nursery, Bearna Dugout Canoe, and the (59 ft) 18 m skeleton of the second largest whale in the world, the Fin Whale!
The site also offers daily Rock Pool tours, Freshwater Fish Feeding, and Big Fish Feeding staff talks suitable for all.
The perfect day out no matter the weather, Galway Atlantaquaria is arguably one of the best aquariums in Ireland.
Address: Seapoint Promenade, Galway, H91 T2FD, Ireland
2. Exploris Aquarium, Co. Down – Northern Ireland’s only seal sanctuary
Portaferry’s own Exploris Aquarium is a childhood favourite amongst many who grew up in Northern Ireland.
Alongside being popular for its beloved seal sanctuary – of which sponsorship is available – the site is full of various exhibits homing over 100 different species, including sharks, otters, and penguins.
Other facilities offered include Jiggly Jellies, a two-tiered aquatic-themed indoor soft play area with separate age group sections, The Cracken Café and Restaurant, and a gift shop.
The site also offers time-tabled quiet sessions that cater for those with special needs.
Address: The Rope Walk, Castle St, Portaferry BT22 1NZ
1. Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium, Co. Kerry – fun for all the family
With lots of things to see and do, this indoor attraction is the perfect day out for all.
Visitors can experience the various exhibits on offer, including the Underwater Tunnel Tank, Amazon displays, and the Polar Penguin exhibition.
There is even the opportunity to get hands-on experience with some of the marine life in the site’s touch tank. From stingrays and starfish to crocodiles and sharks, Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium is definitely one of the best aquariums in Ireland.
Address: The Wood, Farrannakilla, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland
And that concludes our list of the top five best aquariums in Ireland. Let us know your favourite in the comments!