Visit This Country To Swim In The Beautiful Waters Of Its Inland Saltwater Lake

Ireland is known for its rugged wild Atlantic coastline, but it has a lesser-known inland saltwater lake with still waters that you can swim in. Lough Hyne is filled by a narrow channel to the sea which means it is protected from the rough ocean waves. This lake can be found in County Cork's wonderful, green countryside between Skibbereen town and Baltimore village. As well as being Ireland's only saltwater lake, it was the first marine reserve to be designated in Europe back in 1981.

Its unique ecosystem means that it is the most studied lake in the world as researchers are fascinated by this mile-long water body. In the Gaelic language, its name is "Lough Oighean" which means cauldron as its shape resembles one. It is one of the best things to do in Ireland and a wonderful reason to visit this friendly European destination. There are plenty of outdoor activities to do here, as well as an opportunity to get close to rare wildlife and view glowing bioluminescence.

Know before you go

As a saltwater lake, Lough Hyne is governed by the tides so it fills up and then drains twice a day. When planning your activities, make sure that you know the up-to-date tide times in case this affects what you want to do. If you go on a kayaking tour, the tour company will check that for you.

The lake is open all year round and there is no admission fee to get in. It is best to visit between April and October as the days are longer and the weather conditions are much better. As the lake isn't blessed with a parking lot, there are limited options to park on the road so it's easier to come early to secure a space or take a taxi instead. If you want to learn more about the lake, then head to the Skibbereen Heritage Center which has an exhibit on it as well as tourist information about additional things to see in the area.

Things to do at Lough Hyne

One of the most wonderful things to do on Lough Hyne is kayaking around it at night. This is because the lake is known for its bioluminescence and as you paddle around, you can see the plankton glowing blue in the water around your vessel. In the daytime, you can kayak, swim, and scuba dive while the tide is in.

When diving, you may see some of the 72 species of fish, jellyfish, sea sponges, and 24 types of crab hidden inside its seaweed forest. For some breathtaking views, head up nearby Knockomagh Hill which is a 1.2-mile walk that takes about an hour. Lough Hyde is also a good place to go birdwatching as they come to feed on the creatures that are washed into the lake. The best thing about Ireland is that it is one of the most scenic vacation spots in the world, and wherever you hike, paddle, or drive, you're bound to find a beautiful landscape waiting for you.