Last weekend saw the return of the Western Region Dive Rally with the Grainne Uaile Sub Aqua Club who are based in Killala, North Mayo. The 3-day event, which catered for all levels and types of divers on both boat and shore dives, was held at Kilcummin pier, very close to the area of Downpatrick Head. Clubs from all over the country descended on the small pier for what promised to be a great weekend of diving.
Arriving on Friday there was a hub of activity with divers getting ready for a night dive and boat trips for that evening already being planned, no quarter given on time. This was my first dive event in this venue and with this club but from the moment I walked into the registration tent, there was a sense of welcome from all concerned. The saying "start as you mean to continue" comes to mind when I think of how I saw the weekend starting. One thing that immediately struck me about the weekend was the great sense of community that there was around how the organisers had planned the event. If for any reason the dive you had planned couldn't go ahead every effort was made to accommodate a different dive for you.
Unfortunately, the visibility on the first evening toward shore wasn't great so the shore dives had to be called but that didn't stop the organisers from arranging a place on the litany of boats that had arrived from clubs or on their own.
By day two the visibility situation had improved and again the boats were travelling in and out from the early morning. As part of the event, a BBQ was organised where birthday wishes and a few candles on a cake were brought out for one of the organizers. As the visibility had improved shore dives began again from the Kilcummin Pier where, even from a short shallow dive, a wealth of sea life could be seen. By the end of the day, festivities didn't end when the diving did as a second BBQ had been organised tying in with the Killala Live Festival that had a host of events running around the town.
Unfortunately I didn't make it to day 3 of the event but by all accounts the dive to the wreck of the Thames (Sunk 1893) was spectacular! No one I spoke to who did the dive had anything negative to say. Overall the Grainne Uaile SAC gave a very well-run weekend that encouraged divers from all corners of the country to make a return trip next year. I would like to thank the organisers of this years Dive Rally, I will definitely be back next year.