Sandycove (Irish: Cuas an Ghainimh) is a small sheltered cove located just south of the town of Dun Laoghaire. Well known with swimmers both locally and nationally the area would commonly be associated with the nearby Forty Foot for the traditional Christmas day swims. The area is also well known for those who like to indulge in watersports such as kayaking, scuba diving and snorkelling.
What to expect in the area
Plenty of divers would know the area and the dives there as it is considered to be a good area for training new divers. There is one scuba club situated in close proximity to the cove and several other schools that regularly are seen in and out of the ramp on the beach. On a Saturday or Sunday morning, it is not unusual to stand on the 2 small piers in the cove, look at the water and see some bubbles followed by a gently emerging diver from the depths below.
Weather and conditions
Conditions can be varied in the area for snorkellers and divers alike depending on a few factors. Winds and tidal conditions can kick up what is a very silty seafloor that can reduce or even eliminate visibility. Caution needs to be taken when winds are from the south or east (onshore) as currents and surface chop can be surprisingly strong in the area at times. Dublin Bay is a very busy shipping lane that needs to be regularly maintained which involves dredging that unfortunately can muddy the waters. More information on when this is occurring can be found by looking at any ship tracker app.
Sea Life and sights
When conditions are right, personally speaking, I have always been amazed by the life that can be seen in the area. There seems to be always something new to be seen, particularly when you slow down and really look at the detail. Common sea life such as lobster, red crab and a variety of fish can be regularly seen but also some more unusual things can cross your path. Depending on the time of day it would not be unusual to see the grey seal, the odd octopus or Dublin Bay prawn. There is also an array of types of coral and sea kelp forests that you would never know what you might come across.
The area has also seen its share of shipwrecks through the years, such as the Iron Duke. Remnants of the wrecks in the form of anchors and the odd churned-up bits can be found from shallow shore diving or snorkelling. One of the anchors, believed to be from the wreck (unconfirmed), is in water little more than waist deep at low tide just outside the right pier from the coast.
For both snorkelling and shore diving, there are plenty of providers that are willing to do safe guided dives of the area, contact any one of them or drop down to them on a Saturday or Sunday morning and have a chat. Overall if you are in the area and looking for a spot to wade out into this is worth the visit.