The club went to Tory in May 2004 and July 2005. It’s a long way to go, and a long boat trip out, but the diving and the scenery make it well worth a visit.
The first two times, we chartered boats from Pat Doohan (who runs the Tory Island Hotel), and also used his compressor for tank fills. In 2011, the club chartered Michael McVeigh’s boat, the Rosguill (details here), and this worked out well. It should also be possible to bring the club ribs over, but the weather would have to be set as it’s a long journey out.
Close to shore, the diving is not deep, only going down to about 30m, so it’s suitable for Sports Divers and up. The underwater scenery is unusual: there are huge granite boulders strewn around over cobble seabed, sheer cliffs, arches and whirlpools cut by the tide. The visibility can be spectacular, and there’s plenty of marine life: The walls are covered in anemones, and we’ve seen great shoals of pollack and a wealth of other fish species.
Above water, the island is small enough to walk around (3 miles long) and has much of interest, from its traditional field system and archaeological remains to the high eastern granite cliffs dotted with nesting seabirds.
Pat Doohan, Tory Island Hotel. 074 91 35920
We’ve not brought boats over before, though this should be possible if the weather looks set to hold for a few days.
General site info
The east end, north of ‘The Anvil’
Leaving from the harbour in West Town, you go along the south side of the island, passing the high razor-like rock ridge called ‘The Anvil’, then turning north and west. This area has long vertical cliff walls with a rocky seabed and huge boulders.
The west end, under the lighthouse
This site is less dramatic than the east end of the island. The cliffs are less steep, but there are still boulders the size of a small house, with flat cobbled seabed between them. Closer to shore, there are rocky gullies and the scattered remains of the British gunboat ‘The Wasp’, sent there on a rent-collecting mission in 1884.
In 2004, we rented a house. In 2005, we stayed in the Tory Island Hotel. The house worked out better, as houses do – you feel much more able to scatter your gear around, and come and go as you please.
We’ve taken the ferry from Magheroarty both times. See http://www.toryislandferry.com/ for details.