Top 5 incredible places for snorkelling in Ireland (Ireland’s Blueway)

With the Atlantic hugging the coastline, countless incredible snorkelling spots are waiting. Here are five incredible places for snorkelling in Ireland.

One of the most breathtaking ways of exploring Ireland’s coastline is through a snorkelling adventure. In 2014, we saw the launch of Ireland’s Blueway, a new initiative in which encourages visitors to discover Ireland’s coastline.

The Blueway showcases some of the most incredible places for snorkelling in Ireland that are in safe, controlled environments.

Snorkelling uncovers a world that is explored by few, and luckily Ireland is home to thousands of miles of coastline of which to be discovered.

Ireland’s Blueway is made up of five coastal sites in County Galway and County Mayo, which allow for exploring some of the most beautiful of coastlines.

Snorkelling is a very family-friendly sport, although it is an enchanting and mesmerising experience for all those involved.

Become bewitched by the magical waters and creatures that live in the Irish seas. We guarantee you will become hooked after your first snorkelling experience!

When planning your snorkelling adventure, we advise that you never snorkel alone and that you always tell someone of your plans. Be sure to have practised using your snorkelling equipment before heading out; this can be done in your local swimming pool.

And always be aware of the weather, tides, and currents. If you have never snorkelled before, we suggest heading out with a snorkelling guide your first few times.

Here are five incredible places for snorkelling in Ireland.

5. Bofin Harbour, Inishbofin – crystal clear waters

Bofin Harbour in Inishbofin is a great place to go scuba or snorkelling.
Credit: @buzzbelee / Instagram

Situated off the coast of Connemara is the beautiful island of Inishbofin, home to some of Ireland’s most pristine waters.

At Fawnmore Beach follow the sandy slipway into the crystal-clear waters where you be blown away by the magic that is in the world beneath you.

By keeping to the right when you enter the water, you will see a large variety of sea life, from anemones, starfish, spider crabs, and hermit crabs.

Keep your eyes peeled for boats as this is a working harbour. Bofin Harbour is generally quite sheltered from the winds, especially in the inner harbour.

Address: Middlequarter, Inishbofin, Co. Galway, Ireland

4. Glassillaun Beach, Leenane – one of the most incredible places for snorkelling in Ireland

You can see incredible creatures at Glassillaun Beach, Leenane.

Glassillaun Beach in the Killary Fjord is home to two incredible trails for snorkelling, on the right and left-hand edges of the beach. If it is windy, you should use the appropriate side of the bay so that you are protected from the elements.

The rocky coastline around this white sandy beach is home to lots of beautiful sea creatures. From football jersey worms to starfish, and hermit crabs you will never want to get out of these waters.

You can embark on a discover snorkelling tour with Scubadive West who will go through all you need to know about snorkelling before exploring the reef.

Address: Unnamed Road, Glassillaun, Co. Galway, Ireland

3. Mannin Bay, Connemara – look out for secret coves

Mannin Bay is another of the top incredible places for snorkelling in Ireland.
Credit: YouTube / epic ocean

Located in the heart of Connemara, this is a breathtakingly beautiful spot for some snorkelling. Rocky pools act as homes for countless types of sea-life.

Common to the area are beds of red algae, rare anemones, sea cucumbers, and oysters. Sometimes seals can be found on the sandbanks that are exposed at low tide.

The bright white sand of the beach allows for a clear view of the marine life passing underneath you as you snorkel. Depending on the sea conditions, you may even get a chance to explore some of the secret coves and beaches that are inaccessible by land.

Address: R341, Shannanagower, Co. Galway, Ireland

2. Old Head, Louisburgh – crabs and anemones hide in the rocks

Another of the top incredible places for snorkelling in Ireland is Old Head, Louisburgh.
Credit: Twitter / @trinitydiving

This incredible snorkelling trail starts at the beach west of the pier wall and continues north for half a kilometre. Sheltered by high cliffs, this sandy beach is perfect for a day of snorkelling.

The base of these cliffs makes perfect hiding spots for sea creatures such as crabs and anemones.

During the summer months, there is a lifeguard on site. The ideal time for exploring this magnificent coastline is at high tide as you float about the countless shoals of fish going about their lives.

Address: beach louisburg, Old Head, Ireland

1. Keem Bay, Achill Island – keep an eye out for sharks

Keem Bay is one of the most incredible places for snorkelling in Ireland.
Credit: @KeemAdventure / Facebook

Situated on the beautiful Achill Island, this horseshoe-shaped bay is overlooked by rugged sea cliffs and picturesque hills. The water here is crystal clear, making it an incredible place for snorkelling as there is so much to see!

The snorkelling trail takes you along the southern side of the bay and can be done at all stages of the tide.

The white sand acts as an illuminator for the creatures below. Starfish of all sizes and colours are dotted about the place, along with schools of fish darting about.

Keem Bay was once home to a large number of basking sharks, and every so often they make an appearance here along with some friendly porpoises.

Organise a snorkelling trip with Keem Adventure who will point out all the creatures of the deep!

Address: Keel West, Keem, Co. Mayo, Ireland

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.

Get featured on Ireland Before You Die

Do you want to get your Irish business more online exposure? Especially to those interested in travelling the best places in Ireland? Then why not get a dedicated feature on Ireland Before You Die. Find out more here.

Related Posts


Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more