Northern Ireland has a dramatic coastline and an extremely diverse terrain with rolling fields and the impressive Mountains of Mourne. The capital, Belfast, which has for so long been associated with "The Troubles", as they were known, is a vibrant city with ornate Victorian architecture, superb shopping and lively nightlife. Londonderry is one of the finest walled towns in Europe. The Antrim Coast is one of the most scenic shorelines in Britain with towering cliffs, deserted beaches and picturesque fishing villages. The most popular natural tourist attraction is that of the Giant’s Causeway. Inland lies Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the British Isles.
There are intact wrecks to explore, spectacular drop offs and exhilarating drift dives. There are some very good dive sites, choosing from the shelter of Strangford Lough with its wealth of marine life in an unspoilt environment, to Rathlin Island, which lies some 6 miles off Ballycastle, famous for it's wall dives to the more challenging, wreck strewn Irish Sea.
- The WW1 Flagship - HMS Drake, was torpedoed in 1917 by the German submarine U79 while escorting a convoy towards England. U79 was nearing the end of its patrol and had only 3 torpedoes remaining. With great accuracy, U79's commander used the torpedoes to good effect, hitting 3 ships, the Drake, a destroyer, HMS Brisk and a merchant ship, the Lugano. Captain Radcliffe attempted to beach the Drake on Rathlin Island but, with damaged steering gear, collided with a fourth ship, the Mendip Range, before successfully anchoring in Church Bay on the south coast. The crew was successfully landed before the ship sank in 18 metres. This might have been the end of the story but for an unfortunate incident in 1962 when a Fleetwood trawler, the Ella Hewett, ran aground on the wreck of the Drake before sinking alongside.
- The Lochgarry ferry at Rathlin Island - also, during WW11, a passenger ship, the Lochgarry which was on troop carrying duties off the west coast of Scotland went astray and hit rocks off Torr Point. With a badly damaged bow and water pouring in the captain had no option but to put the ship astern, finally anchoring and being abandoned half a mile east of Rathlin Island before sinking. The wreck is well preserved and sits upright in 32 metres and is another popular dive site although care is needed with a potentially strong current over the site.
- Strangford Lough - a very popular location with dive sites of various wrecks, most notably the MY Alastor, which belonged to Sir Donald Sopwith, the designer of the Sopwith Camel aircraft. It sits in 22 metres of water.
|Diving season:||March to October although, in sheltered areas such as Strangford Lough, year round|
|Water temperature:||Winter 7C (45F)|
|Summer 15C (59F)|
|Air temperature:||Winter 6C (43F)|
|Summer 18C (64F)|