Kilstiffin Reef - Legend
The reef of Kilstiffin has a legend of a sunken church and city.The city Kilstiffin has also been called Kilstapheen, or Kilstuitheen has a legend of a sunken church and city, of which the golden domes appear once in seven years. The city sank when its chieftain lost in battle a golden key, a key which used to open the door of a fine castle there. The city will not be restored until the key is recovered from its unknown location – some say it lies under the ogam-inscribed gravestone on Slieve Callan, east of Milltown Malbay, while according to others it was thrown into the little lake on the top of that mountain. The city, with its golden-roofed palaces, churches, and towers, may at times be seen shining far below the surface. Once in every seven years it rises above the waves. But beware!! It is said that those who catch a glimpse of this city will die before it appears again...
Kilstiffen Reef (Canyon*, Ruined Cathedral**)
Description: The impression when on site is like you are diving in the open Atlantic Ocean. The top of the reef lies in about 10m and is not exposed at low tide.
The reef appears to be quite long, possibly as much as 1500 m running from north to south. The dive sites lies on the outer side, nearly on a line running from the Cliffs of Moher.
There is a drop-off on the western side.
Kilstiffen reef is not for trainees. It is not suitable for poor-weather diving. SMBs or flags are advised at all times because there is little shipping in the area, apart from a ferry to the Aran Islands.
Description: A canyon cut into the reef, which runs towards Lahinch for about 300m, the sheer sides reaching to the bottom at 25m. At no point is it any wider than about 10m, with many “shelves” lined with the best of what the Atlantic can offer. The cleft ends in a large cave at the inner end.
Description: Dive site, again on the outer edge, as a number of buttresses can be found close together at 20m which look very like those found supporting the side walls of cathedrals. Reaching from the top to the bottom of a small rock face, they are quite large and look almost man made.
Description: This is a long, low, rock running east-west. There is a broken drop-off for most of the length of the rock. Of interest are several very large steep-sided “pots”, some are up to 10m deep, close in to the rock. These were caused by the action of boulders being whirled around on the softer rock by wave action. They are usually clean of kelp inside, but well worth a look, there is often the large boulder at the bottom which caused the hole to be made.
North Seal Rock
Description: This site lies on the northern side of the rock and there is a sheer cliff dropping from the waterline to 30m or more in places. One can start from either end and move to the other and still get a very fine dive. If moving east, it is possible to find the opening between the Seal and Lime Rocks, passing under a large overhang into shallower sheltered water of the Rock. A very large tuna was sighted there.
South Seal Rock
Description: This site lies at the end of Seal Rock. On descent just off the tip of the rock, there is a sharp ridge at about 17 m, which runs away to the SW towards Mutton Island. There is a steep fall off on both sides into 30m This very interesting ridge probably runs all the way to the Island, while gradually getting deeper.
Description: Brandon Point lies at the corner of Mutton Island. There is a fine wall and “amphitheatre” dropping to 30m, with many ledges and some small caves. The wall can be followed to the east, reaching shallower water eventually.
Description: Brandon Rock is south of Mutton Island and only can be dived in fair weather as it is very exposed to the open Atlantic. Dramatic underwater scenery with plenty of sealife and depths to 40.
Description: It is situated well out into the Atlantic. The central part of the reef breaks at low tide, or in large swells. It is an underwater reef running roughly North-South with a sheer wall on the outer side which goes down in places to 50 m and more. The wall seems to run for about 1000m and is broken in some places.
Circle the rock in any direction and expect to find west coast life at its best. SMBs or surface flags are essential for ensuring that they are seen and picked up. This is an outstanding dive and it is not for trainees.
Description: Luogh Point is very close to Doolin Harbour. The point itself is quite conspicuous. Depth around 35m is easily reached close into the shore. The bottom, between 20m and 30m is full of gullies and huge holes which are home to a massive variety of life. The area is very exposed to the open Ocean and can only be accessed in very good weather conditions.
Description: There is nice diving to the north of Crab Island. 30 m is attainable fairly close to the shore. The bottom gets shallower in a series of steps as you head towards land. Many species reside here.
Description: This is a lovely shore diving just to the North of Crab Island. The area is home to a great variety of fish. There are a number of caves here which go for miles in under The Burren. Entries/exits are anywhere along the shore. This is a fair weather only site. Also beware of ferries which can be very frequent during summer months.
Fanore (Dive 1*, Dive 2**)
Probably one of the nicest shore dives in the country. The site is located where main road touches the shoreline. This site is very exposed and can only be dived in fair weather. Entries and exits are normally done in the gully.
Desciption: The mouth of the gully descends into 6m-10 m. All along this reef there are ledges and overhangs, which are normally teeming with a great variety of fish. Also spotted here occasionally are John Dory, Shark and even Electric Rays. About a hundred metres south of the gully there is a rock feature sometimes referred to as “the cathedral”.
Description: About two hundred metres out in the Ocean, you will reach the “outside reef”. This reef is about 10 feet/3m high and is home to a variety of fish and lobsters. Good navigation is required. It is easy to go too far north especially on a rising tide.
Close to our base dive site very popular among local divers. Very easy access from the shore just 100 m away from the road.
Description: We can choose between three different dive ways underwater. One of them is dive around small “island” which top of this rock is above the water during low tide. If you choose another way you can find nice arches and swim throughs...
The Canyon (Aran Island)
Description: This site lies between the Brannock Rock and the North Light. The area between these two islands is flat limestone about 9m deep. Opposite the landing stage for the lighthouse there is a vertical canyon about 30–45m wide, 400m long. As this is a limestone area, the walls of the canyon are fissured and abound with all sorts of fish life. Visibility will frequently permit divers on one side to see divers on the other side of the canyon. There is a slight current, the site is partially exposed.
Poll Na bPeist (Aran Island)
Description: This site is on the Atlantic side of Inismore about 1.6km south of Dun Aengus, the famous cliff top fort on the west side of the island and consists of a rectangular opening in the flat foreshore, it looks like a man made swimming pool. Entry is through a wide underground cavern about 25m long, depth in the pool is about 15m. Outside the pool the bottom is strewn with huge boulders and slopes away to 45m deep after about 300m. This site is located under wall, which is perched on top of vertical cliff 90m high.
Brannock (Aran Island)
Description: This site is made of a series of steps starting at 8m at the shore reaching 32m after 60m out. The steps are approx. 3m high, and are fissured and undercut, perfect abodes for various life forms. This is the most sheltered site and is exposed only to north to east winds, winds up to Force 4 are no problem, there is no current and it is protected from the Atlantic swell.
Glassan Rock (Aran Island)
Description: There is a cave above the water. The vertical rock face has an overhanging ledge 3–4m deep cut into it at a depth of about 12m. This runs around the tip of the island. The ledge narrows towards the back and provides a perfect home to aquatic life. Swim around the tip of the island to where a spectacular collection of giant boulders carpeted in dead mans fingers are propped up against the side of the island. It is possible to swim beneath some of these, stopping to look out at shoals of pollack swimming by.
The Puffing Holes (Aran Island)
Description: This dive is an underwater chasm in the limestone which extends for at least 120 m and is closed at one end. Although they cannot be seen from underwater, it is believed that the cave eventually leads to the puffing holes which are visible high on the shore above. Divers should not venture more than 10 or 15 m into the entrance without advanced training and planning and using appropriate cave diving techniques. Under the right conditions this dive is exhilarating and unrivalled, but is definitely not one for the faint hearted.
Farvey Point (Aran Island)
Description: A dive site stretching for about 2.5km long. There are ledges at 10m, 20m, and 30m running parallel to the shore, and the shallow ledges are very suitable for trainees. As one moves out into deeper water, the area is covered in great boulders with excellent colour and fish life. Currents are 1.5 knots at full flow.
Poll Seidte (Puffing Holes)
Description: This is a dive site for the quiet (windless) day or a wind from the north, which is rare during the summer months. The drop-off, close to shore, is sudden and dramatic. Dive on the rising tide as this gives greater comfort to the diver.
Blue Pool (Aran Island)
Description: Dive site on the exposed side of island, under steep cliffs, the spot known as Synge’s chair is directly above the dive site, this was Synge’s favourite place for
meditation. Very colourful drop-offs and wonderful colour, depths to 40 m. As with all dive sites facing the open Atlantic, diving can only be safely undertaken in good weather conditions.
Finnis Reef (Aran Island)
Description: The dive site is located west of Innisheer Pier. The reef stretches east from the Island for just over 1km, and levels out on to a sandy bottom. The colour, plant and marine life is very varied.
Brocklinmore (Aran Island)
Description: This is an underwater ledge on the east side of Inishmor. It offers some superb dives in waters that often are diveable when westerlies don’t allow you out behind the islands. The ledge occurs along the contour where the seabed shelves up from 30–20m and follows the general lie of the island. There is normally a gentle current 0.5–1.0 knots along the ledge which makes it an effortless dive.