11 Diving In Donegal Spots For An Underwater Adventure!

Looking for the best place for diving in Donegal?

This Irish county is home to some of the best diving spots in Europe.

 It is surrounded by several shipwrecks from the era of both world wars (World War 1 & 2). 

It is also home to one of the best and largest 5-star Donegal PADI Scuba Diving Centres in Ireland.

So, fellow experienced and new divers, get your licence ready and prepare to go on an amazing adventure of shipwreck discoveries. (Now, who says history lessons have to be in school only eh?)

Best Spot For Diving in Donegal (Beginner-friendly Divers): St. John Point
Best Spot For Diving in Donegal (Advanced Divers): Tory Island

11 Best Spots For Diving in Donegal 

1. Rutland Island

2. Arranmore Island

3. Inishbofin Island

4. Inishdooey Island

5. Tory Island

6. Horn Head

7. Mullaghmore

8. Mevagh Dive Centre

9. Malin Head

10. Inishtrahull

11. St. John Point

diving donegal

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If you’re not a fan of diving but you still want to see Donegal’s natural beauty (without getting wet), then you can always opt for this casual family-friendly tour too! 

When you visit Ireland you want to be prepared because it can get COLD! And it also rains a lot O_O If you want to enjoy this charming country in comfort, make sure you pack some essentials that we ALWAYS pack:

11 Best Spots For Diving in Donegal 

Diving in Ireland can be one of the most beautiful and memorable things to do, especially during the summer as you get to marvel at aquatic life and a vast number of shipwrecks to explore. 

It’s important to note that some shipwreck diving spots require an additional diving certification (such as a technical diving certification), especially if they’re located beyond the standard diving recreational limit of 40 meters.

So, you’re wondering what’s in Donegal that is worth exploring. Then dive into our top 11 best spots to find out!

1. Rutland Island

This is one of the easiest spots for diving in Ireland, especially for new and seasoned divers alike, due to its low risk and easy navigation underwater.

This diving spot near Rutland Island has a narrow canal with various rock formations and walls that are roughly 15 meters in depth and offers excellent protection from the elements and plenty of marine life to marvel at.

If the coastal water is clear, you may have the chance to catch a glimpse of cannon balls, 400-year-old bullets, and bits of pottery that are thought to have been part of the Spanish Armada that once crashed near the coast of Donegal.

What you need to know about this diving spot 

  • Diving Depth: 15 meters
  • Dive here for beautiful aquatic life and parts of shipwrecks
  • Nearby wreckage: remnants of the Spanish Armada

2. Arranmore Island

This is certainly one of the best spots for Donegal diving!

Although most of the wreckage has been leveled evenly, there are still significant parts of shipwrecks  spread across the seabed of Arranmore Island

You may even dive up to a depth of 36 meters for some of the shipwreck.

Do note that this diving spot is available for skilled scuba divers only and can only be done in ideal conditions as the sea temperament may change instantly, from pleasant waves to turbulence in a heartbeat.

What you need to know about this diving spot in Donegal:

  • Diving Depth: 36 meters
  • Dive here for beautiful coral life and shipwrecks 
  • Nearby Wreckage:

A Dutch cargo ship of 2,489 tons was wrecked off the coast of Donegal on December 6th, 1940 due to a bad storm and sank down at 6.7 meters (22.2 ft).

diving donegal

3. Inishbofin Island

If you’re looking to dive in a warmer sea near Donegal, then you should consider the southern island of Inishbofin

Located between the Irish counties of Galway and Mayo, this island has numerous high-quality diving spots, with views of the mainland Irish highlands.

The area is certainly one of the best spots for scuba diving in Ireland as the water is clear, there is abundant marine life, and the surrounding cliffs, gullies, and pinnacles are breathtaking. (If you’re lucky, be sure to check out the 20-meter-long kelp)

What you need to know about this diving spot in Donegal:

  • Diving Depth: 25 – 35 meters
  • Dive here for: scenic aquatic life
  • Nearby Wreckage: N/A

4. Inishdooey Island

If you’re looking for a more isolated island to dive on, consider diving at Inishdooey Island, which can be found at a depth of 15 meters. 

There is a big propeller that can be seen from the wreck, which is located on the northeastern side of the Island Boilers

You don’t necessarily have to walk on the seafloor near this island as it is mostly covered by sea kelp.

What we do like is that it has unique underwater tunnels, arches, and holes, which make up a fascinating diving site. 

There is a great variety of marine life, such as seals, which can be spotted while snorkeling or diving too!

What you need to know about this diving spot in Donegal:

  • Diving Depth: 15 meters
  • Dive here for amazing underwater caves and seals
  • Nearby Wreckage: N/A

5. Tory Island

Here’s another great spot for diving in Donegal; Tory Island!

This isle is located around 14.5 kilometers (9 miles) from Donegal off the northwestern coast of Ireland. 

When the sea is calmer, divers can see as far as 30 meters (98 ft), making it one of the best spots to dive in Ireland!

Those who are brave enough to dive here will have the opportunity to see amazing aquatic life like dolphins, whales, and even basking sharks, which can all be spotted in the vicinity. 

The underwater seascape also includes gullies, caves, and kelp forests. 

Another highlight of diving at Tory Island is the 1884 wreck of the HMS Wasp. This wreck rests at about 15 meters (50 feet) deep and has 2 cannons still visible.​

What you need to know about this diving spot in Donegal:

  • Diving Depth: up to 30 meters (98ft)
  • Dive here for stunning underwater cave & shipwreck HWS Wasp
  • Nearby Wreckage:

A royal navy gunboat that was smashed on rocks in September 1884, and sank 15 meters (50 feet) underwater with 52 men perished. 

diving donegal

6. Horn Head

Horn Head is another great place to go diving because it is protected from the wind and the depth is between 20 and 30 meters. 

With plenty of wildlife animals surrounding these magnificent coastal cliffs, they are also frequented by a wide range of avian species, such as puffins, seagulls, and cormorants

What you need to know about this diving spot in Donegal:

  • Diving Depth: 20 – 30 meters
  • Dive here for wildlife animals and beautiful clear water
  • Nearby Wreckage: N/A

7. Mullaghmore

Mullaghmore is one of the nice beginner-friendly diving spots in Donegal to try!

There are more caves and caverns to discover than you could possibly see in a single dive. There aren’t any dangerous currents to contend with, as the dive route is quite straightforward. 

Its beautiful underwater scenery is reminiscent of a luxuriant underwater garden. 

Dive here as these local fishes are rather sociable and will swim up to you for a splash and a chat 🙂

If you want to avoid being surrounded by too many fish, it’s best that you don’t give them any food. 

What you need to know about this diving spot in Donegal:

  • Diving Depth: 20m – 50m
  • Dive here for beautiful sea tunnels and fishes
  • Nearby Wreckage: N/A

8.  Mevagh Dive Centre

Mevagh Dive Centre is one of the best diving school Donegal!

They offer brand-new diving facilities, as well as the ability to buy or rent diving gear and have it serviced or tested, and get all of your diving needs met under one roof.

Located between Sheephaven Bay and Mulroy Bay on the North West coast of Ireland, you can find some of the clearest waters for diving in Ireland. 

Hence, you should dive with one of the best Donegal diving clubs.

Donegal’s seas are also a paradise for anglers, with a wide variety of fish such as ling, coalfish, tope, conger, cod, pollack, mackerel, gurnard, blue shark, and bluefin tuna. 

What you need to know about this diving spot in Donegal:

  • Diving Depth: Up to 50 meters
  • Dive here for beautiful aquatic life and a variety of wild Atlantic fishes
  • Nearby Wreckage: N/A
diving donegal

9. Malin Head

Do you want to go wreck diving at Malin Head? 

Then be sure to try and join Malin Head’s Technical Diving Week, where you will embark on a trip featuring 7 days of scuba diving with Mevagh Dive Centre on their 11-meter catamaran coastal boat.

In fact, it is one of the clearest seas in the world to dive in, with visibility reaching as far as 40 meters

In fact, the dive sites will range in depth from 40 to 70 meters and will include the famous Donegal wrecks.

Do note that you may need to have a technical dive certificate in order to explore shipwrecks beyond 30 m (100 ft) as part of the safety prerequisite. What we do like is that they also provide  accommodation for divers to rest throughout the Technical Diving Week.

What you need to know about this diving spot in Donegal:

  • Diving Depth: 40 – 70 meters
  • Dive here for collections of shipwrecks 
  • Nearby Wreckage: 

The SS Empire Heritage, built in 1930, was heading for Liverpool from New York with a cargo of oil, Sherman tanks. Unfortunately, it was torpedoed with 113 souls lost. She now rests 20 miles North West of Malin Head.

U-89 was an operational German U-boat used in World War 1 and on February 12th, 1918, she was rammed by HMS Roxburgh off Malin Head, losing all 43 souls.

HMS Audacious was a King George V’s class battleship (built-in 1913), which sank in 1914 after striking a mine while on a gunnery exercise.

10. Inistrahull 

Inishtrahull is a popular destination due to its abundance of unique flora and fauna, so much so that the National Parks and Wildlife Service has designated it as a Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area.

Not too far from this island, there is a small but evidently popular diving school called the Muff Diving Club Donegal, located just a driving distance from Derry

In fact, Muff diving school in Donegal has one of the most affordable memberships for scuba diving (£29.99 / $35)!

In the summer, you may have the chance to dive with basking sharks and whales  around the island, which is a popular stop for scuba divers before exploring the numerous shipwrecks in the area. 

What you need to know about this diving spot in Donegal:

  • Diving Depth: Up to 30 meters
  • Dive here for a chance to swim with Atlantic sharks and whales!
  • Nearby Wreckage: N/A 

11. St. Johns Point

If you’re looking for the nearest place to Donegal Town, this place is one of the closest spots for diving in Donegal, Ireland.

St. John’s Point is a popular dive site for beginners and crossover divers who missed the novice trip because it is a simple, beautiful, and safe place to dive. 

This small port is home to a thriving ecosystem of lobsters, crabs, and even fish.

If you’re lucky, you may even find hundreds of migrating crabs, followed by a pod of Donegal dolphins!

What you need to know about this diving spot in Donegal:

  • Diving Depth: 15 meters
  • Dive here for beautiful aquatic life
  • Nearby Wreckage: N/A

Facts About Donegal Diving

diving donegal

Who’d have known that Donegal has so many amazing diving spots! 

In fact, there are 4 distinct areas to dive in Donegal, where over 40 dive sites can be found, making them prime locations for scuba divers visiting Ireland: 

  • Northeast Donegal
  • Northwest Donegal
  • Aranmore
  • Malin Beg

If you’re looking for ways on how to get to Donegal for your diving session, then we are pleased to share that there are several ways you can reach Donegal:

  • By flight (from any part of the world)
  • By car (within Ireland)
  • By ferry (from neighboring Scotland or Great Britain)

Diving Water Temperature In Ireland

When it comes to scuba diving in Donegal, it’s important that you are aware of Donegal’s sea temperatures so that you can bring the appropriate diving gear.

Sea temperature (Winter): 10°C/50°F (January through March)

Sea temperature (Summer): 18°C/65°F (July through September)

Best Diving School In Donegal

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is the gold standard in scuba diving training, with courses offered in nearly every country. 

Courses offered by PADI that are particularly well-liked include

Requirements For Diving

So, if you’re about to start your diving journey or just about to start, then here are some of the pathways you can explore when taking these diving certifications.

Quick Facts About Diving In Ireland
Scuba diving Ireland cost€440 – €600
Course Duration:4 – 7 days
Minimum age:10 years or older
Diving requirements:Must be medically fitHave basic swimming skills:swim 200 meters without stoppingfloat or thread for 10 minutes
Certification:Level 0: Discover Scuba Diving
Level 1: Open Water Diver 
Level 2: Advanced Open Water 
Level 3: Professional DiverRescue DiverDive MasterTechnical Diver 
Level 4: Master Scuba Diver (Highest Level)


So, how deep can you dive with a PADI certification? Well, it depends on which type of PADI certification you own:

  • Level 0: Discover Scuba Diving: 12m / 40feet

As you can see from here, technical-certified divers usually have the capability to dive deeper compared to other divers.

They require technical knowledge of a mixture of breathing gases (I.e., Nitrox) which can be poisonous if not handled carefully, and carry 2 or more gas tanks compared to other divers.

Diving Gear

In order to participate in scuba diving, students typically need to purchase their own diving equipment, such as

Important note:

Important Diving Safety Tips 

Now that you already know all the best spots to dive in Donegal, it is equally important that you know the safety tips when diving as Donegal’s water can be trecherously cold at times.

Safety Tips Before Diving:

1. Make sure that you are already a PADI certified diver and dive within your licensed area.

2. Ensure that you are healthy before your upcoming diving session. That means no fever, no flu, or any other health issues.

3. Always check your scuba gear before your diving session.

4. Ensure that you have comprehensive travel insurance (that covers diving).

5. Prepare all emergency contacts and medical information when required.

Safety Tips During Diving:

1. Be alert and stay close to your guide and diving buddy.

2. Always monitor your air gauge.

3. Do not rush when descending or ascending in the water.

4. Do not touch anything (I know it’s tempting, but it’s best that you don’t).

5. Do not ever attempt to dive deeper than your guide or below 40 meters deep (because this is a maximum limit for recreational scuba diving & coverage protection for scuba diving insurance)

Safety Tips After Diving:

1. Keep all your diving gear aside when on board, as it can get in the way of others.

2. Debrief with your diving guide on any notes and areas to improve for your next dive. It’s also good if you can diligently log all your diving sessions for record 

3. If you’re feeling unwell or dizzy, inform someone and get immediate medical attention.

4. Take at least one day (24 hours) of rest before you board any flight* after your diving session. 


This is partly due to excess nitrogen (a.k.a. Nitrogen Narcosis) in your body, which can pose a potential health risk if you travel in a pressurized cabin-like aircraft.

diving donegal

FAQs On Diving In Donegal 

Is Ireland Good For Scuba Diving?

Yes, absolutely. Ireland is good for scuba diving. In Ireland, from the west coast of Cork all the way up the western seaboard to Donegal, we have some of the finest locations for scuba diving on the planet

However, from the western coast of Cork all the way up to the western shoreline of Donegal in Ireland, we have some of the finest settings for scuba diving on the entire planet. 

If you love scuba diving and war history, then diving in Ireland should certainly be on your bucket list as you get to immerse yourself in both stunning aquatic life as well as explore hundreds of military shipwrecks that are close to 100 years old! 

How Many Wrecks Are In The Irish Sea?

According to the Shipwreck Inventory of Ireland, compiled by the Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU), there are close to 18,000 ships that have descended onto the Irish seabed.

This is partly due to historical events such as The Battle of The Atlantic, where the Allied Countries (United States (USA), Great Britain, Canada, and Brazil) fought against  the Axis countries (Germany, Italy) over the control of the Atlantic Ocean, making it one of the longest continuous battles of the Second World War and one in which Canada played a central role

Where Is The Malin Head Wreck?

The Malin Head Wreck is located  28 miles northwest of Malin Head, Ireland as these wreckages are at a depth of 70 meters below sea level.

If you are a new diver or experienced diver, you should try to dive at Malin Head as it is one of the best diving spots in the world because of its clear water conditions and you will be able to explore the remaining historical artillery and ships on the Irish seabed.


Congratulations, you have discovered the 11 best spots for Diving Donegal. 

It is safe to say that with proper training, you can certainly enjoy and have a great time diving in Donegal, especially if you are also a fan of naval history.

Diving in Donegal is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as you get to dive and witness the remaining ocean liners and military ships that were once involved in the historical World War 1 (WW1) and World War 2 (WW2).

If diving isn’t really your thing, why not check out my best 15 spots in Donegal for surfing

Enjoy and scuba doo!

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