UCD’s Sub-Aqua Club has gone from strength to strength since being founded in 1993 and is always happy to accommodate new members, writes Jack Logan
At this time of the year it nearly seems too cold to walk by the sea, never mind diving under the surface intentionally. Yet this is how the UCD Sub-Aqua club spend some of their weekends, all in the name of fun.
In comparison to other parts of the world, Ireland might seem an unlikely place to find a vibrant diving scene. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, according to the club’s P.R.O., Cathal Ó Fearghail, who has been with the club for two years.
Having learnt how to scuba dive in the warm and tropical waters off Thailand, Ó Fearghail too was apprehensive about getting involved in the scuba club, but these were quickly allayed during his first trip away with the club.
It is these same trips that Ó Fearghail points to as the highlight of the club’s activities – not just for the diving, but also the social aspect. The weekend trips are in addition to the weekly dives in nearby Dublin Bay.
While not being defined as competitively as other sports, scuba diving obviously requires an absolute attention to detail in both training and the equipment. Nonetheless, the UCD club caters for all levels through their training programmes and provides all the basic equipment.
The spirit and bond in the club is very apparent when it comes to their approach to equipment. Senior members are more than willing to lend their own gear to new members that may only wish to dip their toes in the water before fully committing to the sport.
The training provided by the diving club also represents great value for money when compared to the classes offered by commercial schools, and the weekend trips are run as inexpensively as possible.
Looking out to sea in this country, however, one can be forgiven for thinking that Irish seawater is as green as the grass and that surely there can be nothing to see down in the murky depths. This is, evidently, a common misconception –some of the sites in Ireland are spectacular, mainly due to the benefits of Ireland sitting on the edge of the continental shelf.
With hundreds of miles of coastline, Ireland is spoilt for choice in its diving locations, but the UCD club tends to focus on the western seaboard where the sites are better suited for all levels of experience.
The club is always looking for students, alumni or staff to join its ranks and Refreshers’ Day (tomorrow, 3rd February) provides an opportunity to those who would like to join or the many who may want to get more information.