At this stage, with the exciting prospect of the commercial development of the Quarry in Portroe, it may be of some interest to place on record a little of the known origin of the area as a diving site.
In 1980, yours truly, as a diving equipment trader and member of a small diving archeological research group from within the L.S.A.C. heard about a firm based in Pallasgreen called â€œLocation Technology Ltdâ€ which was manufacturing underwater metal detectors. I called to see them and they told me of a spot where they were doing their product testing in a quarry beside the Tubex factory near Portroe. I went out to have a look, (canâ€™t remember who was with me), and remember being awestruck by the amazing blue tinged visibility of the water. As I recall, Diving Officer Andrew Hendrick and Mike Kerrison, were first to dive it. This was truly an adventure because they had no foretaste of the awesome depths into which they were venturing. Accessibility and togging out arrangements were horrendous, as it was then mid winter. Believe me, it was worth it, as anybody who has dived there will testify! I remember Andrew being really adventurous in thoroughly exploring other diving locations within the quarry area.
I can find reference in official Club records to at least 3 Club dives in the Quarry during season 1980/81 and some water sampling undertaken by member Ute Oâ€™Gorman.
In November 1999, Dr. Tom (McDonnell) undertook some further water sampling, assisted by Brian Kearney with Michael Hogan of Lough Derg Sub Aqua Club. This testing was written up by Dr. Tom in the Spring â€™99 issue of â€œSubseaâ€, see copy attached.
Finally, since there may very well be some further substantiated early references to The Quarry as a diving site, I would love to hear of them but thatâ€™s it, as far as this correspondent is concerned.
At this stage who hasn’t heard that Portroe quarry is opening easter weekend? We have been on pins and needles since the rumor first surfaced on boards that it might be opening. It was on and off again for a while, but thankfully that’s all over and it will be officially opened at the Easter weekend.
Having Ireland’s first inland dive site so close should be a huge bonus for all the dive clubs in the area – so hopefully we can make the best of it. Anyone with any interest in a dive on Easter weekend can give me or Brian a shout and we will start planning something.
As the weather warms up I foresee a regular mid-week dive being planned there as well – let us know your thoughts if you have an interest in this kind of thing too! Have a look at their website here: http://www.diveportroe.com/
So yet another Snorkelling expedition was arranged, and this time, with the extra option to dive in Dromore lake. There was quite a breeze which drove a chop across the surface of the water. The universal comment from all concerned was that it was “friggin colder than last week”. The dry suit people were getting abuse from all quarters.. 🙂
12 people braved the cold waters and logged an open water snorkel. Well done to all, it was tough, cold, especially getting to grip with the choppy conditions and snorkels filling up with water 🙁
Well done to those who also snorkel dived. Then for those hardy/foolish enough, the hardened vetererns followed up the snorkel with a dive. Visibility was good, compared to trying to dive in Killaloo, that is.. Watching small insects, seeing a number of “caves” built into the mesh of the weed/grass like vegetation, thinking, what sort of creature could do that?? Fresh Water mussel shells, remains of old trees. The dive/snorkel tested ones fitness and endurance. Nothing like the pool work to accelerate the preparation for it.
Well Done and hopefully all is looking good for hitting the Open Water Sea dive next week. So fill the bottles and fingers crossed, diving iat Doctors Rock, Kilkee next Sunday 🙂
This week at University Limerick arena things got very dramatic during a routine scuba training routine. Ciaran was taking our youngest trainee Richie through the paces of an emergency situation. Richie was tasked with figuring out how to solve a serious underwater problem. How to swim to the bottom of the pool, find his reg and mask, put on the mask, clear it, then don his full scuba gear, BCD and bottle. He was never coached, he wasn’t even helped by his buddy. He was simply given a problem and asked to solve it. I happened to be floating by with a camera and captured it all – here is the video, enjoy!
The first open water club snorkel of the year, was also my very first open water snorkel ever. I met the group that were braving the cold February waters at 12 on a bright sunny Sunday afternoon, it was originally to be 11am but Mike and Johnny were kind enough to push it to 12 to suit me driving down from a visit to Dublin.
Getting into my gear required the help of Frank and Theresa, so grateful to you both. Once we were all in our gear and in the water we finned upstream a little and then back down to the entry point again. The water was fairly cold but not as bad as I was expecting for the time of year, it was well above freezing cold, and after the initial shock of cold it really was quite comfortable. I felt as though we were barely in the water when we were getting out again. I felt colder standing on the shore watching the two lads in the scuba gear than it was in the water in truth. All in all a very good afternoons activity that was quite enjoyable, although next time Iâ€™m bringing a weight belt, my hood, something to stand on while I get dressed, a bottle of warm water like Theresa had and a windbreaker. You live and learn as they say, and boy are they right!!!
Last Sunday Limerick Sub Aqua club surprised me. I thought it would be a low key affair with just one trainee braving the 5 degree waters of the Shannon river running past Castleconnell. Johnny and I agreed to assist anyone that wanted to get in the water to complete their open water snorkel or test gear. By the time Noon rolled around there were a dozen or so joining us.
The method of preparing for a snorkel so early in the season is different for everyone. Johnny has every piece of gear known to Ebay at his disposal from dry suits to electric rash vests. Paul Dave and I went for the traditional dry suit (although mine turned out to be not so dry). I am more impressed by those that stuck to their guns and came out in Semi Drys. Theresa had a novel idea. She arrived down to the shore with 2 litres of of what appeared to be the finest Avonmore milk…but in fact it was hot water destined for the back of her neck. Im not sure how that strategy paid off but I must say I never heard her complain.
Twenty minutes was all that was needed for most of us. A few kicks against the current, a duck dive or two and we were out of there. Johnny and Paul went for a reccie with scuba while the rest of us recovered in Charco;s for hot soup and coffee. Looking forward to Dromore lake next week!