The Dingle Peninsula is renowned as one of the most beautiful stretches of unspoiled coastline that Europe has to offer. Whilst exploring this area of Eire Sue and I became aware of a Public Aquarium in the town of Dingle itself.
The Aquarium building
This Aquarium has a concept and has been arranged to give the impression that you are inside a forgotten Mayan cave with carved pillars, strange figurines and ivy growing on the walls etc. To add to the effect this theme is carried on into the exhibition aquariums.
The opening three aquariums are home to various native marine creatures and the lobster here really caught my eye.
Tropical freshwater aquaria followed. The first of these is a true spectacle. Open-topped, this huge aquarium is home to variously sized Silver Dollars, Black Pacu, Clarotes catfish, Leporinus fasciatus fasciatus, Tiger Shovel-nosed catfish, Severums, stunning Oscars and a shoal of Madagascan Rainbowfish. Amazingly each specie seemed to know the ‘water zone’ in which it should be swimming and this ‘kept the peace’ amongst the various residents.
One of several beautiful Oscars
The first of two small Amazonian biotope aquariums held a selection of small characins alongside Peppered Corydoras, Gibbiceps Plecs. and Silver Angelfish. The second of these had its décor arranged around a large tree root with Gold Lace Angelfish, Multiradiatus Plec., Cardinal tetras and Dwarf cichlids inter-acting and swimming between the branches.
A stunning display of Black Delta Guppies followed before the ‘must have’ Red-bellied Piranha display. Asian fish followed with a tank devoted to various Puntius and Danio species. Africa was not forgotten and the biotope aquarium was ‘stunning’. It amazed me to see a mixture of Neolamprologus brichardi, various riverine Synodontis, Elephant-nosed fish, Congo tetras and Red-eyed tetras all getting along in seemingly perfect harmony.
But it was the final aquarium in this section that I will long remember! A Rift Valley set-up with Caruleus cichlids and Dolphin cichlids also contained the most darkly coloured Asian Barred-Red Parrot cichlids that I have seen. I was ‘taken aback’ by the sheer beauty of this display.
A number of beautifully thought out tropical marine displays followed. The highlight of these is a massive aquarium home to Sand Tiger Sharks; a number of over-sized marine fish and a huge Turtle. In a smaller display the colours of a Picasso Triggerfish were an absolute delight to behold.
Brackish fish were not forgotten with a cylindrical aquarium housing a large shoal of Fingerfish.
Now we are onto the final section that is home to native fish. Three displays of native marine fish are followed by a freshwater display that combines small Pike with Rainbow Trout.
Whoever created the displays here took much time and thought not only to mix species but also to find colour combinations of fish that really catch the eye. The Mayan theme really works and is combined with some excellent electronic information displays. These work on a 2-page system that you change with the touch of a finger, focusing on the fish and other water-living creatures that each display contains. All of the aquaria were well kept and the fish on show all looked in perfect health.
Both Sue and I were very impressed with Dingle Oceanworld. If you are in the Dingle area this aquarium is a ‘must visit’ and is excellent value for the 12 Euro entrance fee.
As you read this report a new Penguin exhibit is set to open.