Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is permitted, subject to permit from the National Parks & Wildlife Service at 2 locations, namely Lough Hyne and the Upper Lake, Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains National Park.


Diving at Glendalough is restricted to the months of October - May and may not take place at any time after 11.00 hours. Diving must take place underwater only (no snorkelling permitted) in groups of not more than 6 people at any one time and also not more than 3 people diving in any one area at the same time. Divers are restricted to 2 diving visits per month and are prohibited from using compressors or boats. Divers must not create any visual or audible nuisance and must notify the park staff prior to commencement of their dive.

The conditions under which diving is permitted at Glendalough are under review by the National Parks & Wildlife Service.


Lough Hyne

Because of the potential for damage to the sensitive flora and fauna of the Nature Reserve, a quota system limiting the number of  dives is in place. Preference is given to diving for research rather than recreational purposes. The amount of diving permitted is reviewed on an ongoing basis by the National Parks & Wildlife Service.  The use of the Nature Reserve by trainee divers is not permitted.  All divers must have CMAS diver 1 qualification (or equivalent) and have undertaken a minimum of 50 dives. To use a boat with an engine of more than 10 hp requires a permit. As most divers use such boats the permit covers both diving and use of a boat with an engine greater than 10 hp. Two types of permit are issued, Recreational or Research Diving Permits.  The Lough Hyne Nature Reserve lies within the Lough Hyne and Environs SAC and there are certain activities, e.g. operation of commercial operation, or removal of fauna and flora for research, that require consent.  The Conservation Ranger can be contacted at for further information and for application forms for dive permits.

1. Recreational Diving Permit


Applicants are required to furnish the following information:

  • Name, address and telephone number of applicant 
  • Purpose of the dive
  • Area of Reserve where diving will take place
  • Craft details - number, type, length, horsepower and engine type
  • Organisation to which applicant is affiliated
  • Confirmation of qualifications and experience of all divers on the application
  • Confirmation of valid insurance cover for the dates and times for which the permit is required.
  • Depending on the nature of the activity, e.g. if it is an organised event or the applicant is a commercial company, then additional consent may be required, contact the Conservation Ranger for further information.


Permit Conditions

An applicant must sign a form indicating compliance with the terms and conditions of the permit and must undertake:

  • To comply with the Nature Reserve Regulations S.I. 207 of 1981:
  • To accept that permission may be withdrawn at any time
  • To remedy, if requested, any matter which is considered to breach the conditions of the permit
  • To indemnify the Minister, his/her servants and agents, against any claims for loss or damage to property or injury to persons arising out of the granting of the permission
  • To operate from the North Pier only and minimise disturbance to other car park users
  • Not to use compressors in the Reserve environs
  • To adhere strictly to the 5 nautical mph limit, to avoid the use of anchors anywhere in the Reserve and to remove all craft from the Reserve when the dive is completed
  • To comply with all reasonable requests made by the Conservation Ranger at the Reserve
  • To make good or pay the cost of making good any damage caused by the applicant to the Reserve
  • To use the Reserve only for the purpose or purposes specified in the permit and for no other purpose unless so authorised by the Minister or his/her authorised representative, and to seek prior written approval for any proposed change in the applicant’s activities at the Reserve
  • To produce the permit on request from a member of the An Garda Síochána or a person authorised under section 72 of the Wildlife Act, 1976
  • To comply with other terms and conditions which the Minister or his/her representative may see fit to attach to the permit and which is notified to the applicant in writing
  • To refrain from entering any private land adjoining the Reserve without the permission of the owner or occupier thereof.


2. Research Diving Permit


The research diving application form seeks similar details to the sports diving application plus the following:

  • Nature of the application e.g. removal of fauna or flora for identification purposes, to move or restrict fauna, to introduce new structures into the Reserve or use research equipment in or over the Reserve.  Additional consent may be required if specimens are to be collected, contact the Conservation Ranger for further details.
  • Purpose of study, objectives and duration
  • Area of the Reserve concerned
  • Organisation/Institution to which applicant is affiliated - department, position of applicant, name of supervisor
  • Qualifications and experience of applicant.


Permit Conditions

Similar to the recreational diving permit, an applicant for a research permit must sign a form indicating compliance with the terms and conditions of the permit.  Additional conditions for a research permit include:

  • To contact the Conservation Ranger at the start of the research work
  • To acknowledge the co-operation of the Minister in any reports, published papers, etc., resulting from activities undertaken at the Reserve
  • To forward a copy of all publications, articles, papers and theses to the Conservation Ranger for Lough Hyne
  • To forward a report of the applicant's activities at the Reserve to the Conservation Ranger at the end of the study period covered by permit from the National Parks & Wildlife Service
  • To obtain the agreement of the Conservation Ranger prior to introducing research equipment, markers, buoys, transect lines, etc., and to remove all such equipment at the end of the study period