As an island nation, Ireland’s connection to the sea is evident in much of our cultural icons and identity.
To give some examples the 10p coin with the salmon (designed by Percy Metcalfe in 1928) was all over our currency and even our city logo showcases our fishing vessels, like the Galway Hooker.
So even though fishing and connection to the sea are evident in our culture, we still know very little of the diversity of life in the sea. While our sea stories and local fishing catches tell part of the story, there is still a knowledge gap in the awareness, diversity, and understanding of the species that live in our rivers, lakes, and ocean. Not many people know that Aquariums play a wider role in conservation and education about our ocean.
I remember Ken O'Sullivan (Filmaker) saying, "Years ago we knew about fish under the water but could not really see what was below 6 foot, now with modern cameras we are learning even more about the wide diversity of life in the deepest parts of the sea".
Protection and Conservation
Aquariums play a huge role in many parts of society, from providing ocean literacy experiences, education & awareness, conservation campaigns (both local, national and international), many offer free educational resources, and work in schools. Many Aquariums are also part of huge networks sharing information on animal welfare and acting on endangered species with breeding programs and policy change. For general visitors, many people love the passion and engagement from the Aquarists, who are only too happy to tell you about the beauty of life underwater.
Aquariums In Ireland
If you are looking to visit some of the Aquariums in Ireland, here are some places you might like to sea.
Here are some of the testimonials from visitors of these Aquariums, enjoy.
Galway Atlantaquaria – our very own Native Species Aquarium located on the Salthill Promenade. Focus on native marine and freshwater species of fish and invertebrates, with a strong emphasis on Ocean Literacy, Community Engagement and Education on a local national and international level.
Such a great day out! I really enjoyed seeing all the different types of fish. Would recommend coming here, especially with kids.
The Achill Experience
I visited a few years ago and I must say I loved the experience, the team at Achill Experience have done a great job in interpretation.
Achill Experience – located in Achill in Co. Mayo, Achill, Achill Experience encompasses a visitor centre and aquarium. Home to both native and tropical species the aquarium also tells the story of the history of Shark fishing in the Achill in the 1950’s.
Our Tour Guide Was So Passionate About His Job The Way He Was Talking About Animals Was Honestly So Nice, He Answered Any And All Questions We Had and it really was just an amazing experience, if you're down this way for the day or you're even local We highly recommend checking this place out
Exploris Aquarium – located in Portaferry, in Co. Down, Exploris is home to a mixture of native and tropical fish species, along with a Reptile visitor centre and Seal Sanctuary. Visit the sunken galleon, meet friendly sharks and a snappy crocodile in Northern Ireland’s only Aquarium and Seal Sanctuary.
Brilliant family day out. Lots to see and do for kids of all ages. Really clean and well organised. Plenty of parking spaces. Friendly and helpful staff.
SEALIFE - Bray
Sealife Bray – part of the SEALIFE Trust, Sealife Bray is located on the Bray Promenade in Bray in Co. Wicklow. Home to put tropical and native marine and freshwater species, the aquarium showcases species from all over the world.
Sea Life Bray Aquarium has such a lovely variety of sea life and atmosphere! The tanks and quality of life that they provide for the animals is top class. There are so many exhibits, suitable for all ages. The staff was phenomenal when I went! They went the extra mile to provide information about the life that's there. They have a lovely gift shop as well. Definitely recommend.
Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium
Oceanworld Dingle – located on the Dingle Peninsula in Co. Kerry, this is Ireland’s largest aquarium, home to Tropical Sharks, Gentoo Penguins, Asian Short-clawed Otters, and an abundance of fish species. Dedicated to promoting and inspiring eco-awareness and stewardship through education, research, and conservation.
A brilliant place to visit with the family. The kids will absolutely love it. The sharks and crocodiles were a firm favourite. The gift shop was a massive hit, combine this with the very friendly staff and you'll have yourselves a brilliant day out. Highly recommended
The Great Blue Ocean - So why not get out there and visit your local aquarium or put it on your ‘To Do List’ for 2022.
We hope you enjoyed the ocean journey and making plans to visit the Aquariums in Ireland. International visitors know lots about the green beauty of Ireland, and we hope this showed there are some beautiful blues just beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a great blue ocean, and the Aquariums offer a unique window into this mysterious world.
While all Aquariums in Ireland showcase the diversity of life in Ireland, they work very hard to ensure the animals are well cared for and this is considered in the admission fee too.
Aquariums have a ‘different’ feel and ethos, so make sure you try to visit all to get the very best interpretation of the wonderful world of water. You can tell by the reviews; people love the species and the presentation of ocean facts.
Our own Aquarium is loved for having over 90% of our Aquarium dedicated to our native species and cultural heritage ethos, we have the only museum quality Log Boat in Ireland, Galway Hooker Boat and largest Fin Whale Skeleton in Ireland too, so very special.
I think if you enjoy the Aquariums and learn about the beauty of life underwater, you might take home a message of conservation and care. And if that’s the message then wasn’t that worth it?
Our goal is to share the diversity of stories that reflect the beauty of the sea, we are doing this by sharing images, stories, art, reviews & interpretation of the beautiful blue ocean we are only discovering.
This blog is to record the adventures , ocean literacy, discoveries , and showcase the hidden beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way.