Detecting in Ireland

Metal Detecting in IRELAND (Laws, Beaches, Gold and More)

Metal Detecting in Ireland

Ireland is, without a doubt, one of the best countries you could possibly visit! It has a rich culture and an old civilization that you should absolutely learn about…

… Better yet, what’s even better is to explore this beautiful country using you Metal Detector! It is certainly a massive opportunity … You won’t realize that until you try that yourself!

In fact, it is a great way to discover this notorious country from a different angle…

… You will certainly come across some highly valuable and historic finds that are not available elsewhere!

However, you should not take the legal aspect of this hobby for Granted! In other words, you should stick to the regulating laws, respect people surrounding you and practice this activity in an ethical way …

… In this Guide, I talk about these topics:

  • General overview about the regulating Laws
  • Some good Locations that you should go for
  • Gold Prospecting in Ireland
  • Detector recommendation for Irish Soil
  • Examples of Clubs you probably should join
  • Getting you permit there
  • As well as more helpful info …

So, without further ado, let’s get into the good stuff!

Is metal detecting legal in Ireland?

You can use your metal detector to search for any type of historic artifacts only if you’ve got a permission and approval from the concerned government agencies and the landowners when exploring a private land!

On the other hand, detection activities in Irish beaches are allowed …

… Just keep in mind that it is unauthorized to use detecting machines anywhere in Ireland to look for archaeological objects … This is prohibited by law!

In fact, there are known instances also where there have been severe penalties imposed on people who were using detecting without having the proper permits and/or authorization letter…

… Indeed, you might face a hefty fine and get your machine confiscated in some extreme cases!

It is important to note that the items that are typically searched by detectorists there, including any type of old coins, buttons, tokens, keys, seals, weights, strap ends, belt mounts, and even clothes fasteners or thimbles, all fall under the definition of ‘archaeological objects’ only and therefore you can only search for these with the proper license, not otherwise.

Where to go detecting in Ireland?

This country has a rich history due to which there are many places that are hiding some exciting and valuable treasures!

However, the laws are, as I’ve outlines above, a little bit strict … so always make sure that you have the required licenses beforehand at all times.

There are also many success stories of people finding really valuable things … Some places you can think of visiting exploring with your machine include:

  • Hill of Tara
  • Giant’s Causeway
  • Dunluce Castle
  • Dromberg Stone circles
  • Glendalough
  • County Wexford
  • Dun Aengus
  • The Rock of Cashel
  • The Burren
  • Shannon Pot
  • Charles Fort
  • Skellig Michael
  • Newgrange
  • Round towers

The Proper Detector for Irish Soil!

The most common type of soil in Ireland is brown soil! This type is found all over Ireland, especially on farms…

… It is rich and fertile and that’s why farmers in Ireland prefer growing their crops in brown soil. Another commonly found soil in Ireland is peaty soil…

… You will be able to spot this type of soil when you see a layer of peat or turf on the surface. Peaty soils are known to be acidic and are quite wet. This type of peaty soil is commonly found in some parts of the Irish midlands as well as in many parts of the north, south, and west Ireland.

The best metal detector for this type of ground (which also works best in brown soil) is the Garrett AT Pro (Check it Right Here on Amazon!)…

… AT stands for all terrain and since there is a fair amount of rainfall in Ireland, this detector has proven to be solid equipment to have along with you!

Though it is a slightly higher-end model than what beginners prefer, it is the model’s machinery and hi-tech electrical system that makes this device stands out. Some of the major advantages of this model are:

  • It is fully waterproof and even submersible up to 10 feet
  • It has a great manual as well as auto ground balance
  • It has proportional audio
  • Iron audio is separate

Finally, if you are leaning towards a much more advanced device! Then you can Check this High-Tech Detector Here on Amazon!!

Gold Prospecting in Ireland …

Due to the rich and varied history of Ireland, there are many locations in the country where you can find gold. In fact, the country is known for having a violent geological history that spans many millennia, and most of this geological activity has been in favor of laying down the layers of gold.

There are many such locations where gold has been deposited and these areas were once well known to the ancient inhabitants of the country, but now remain forgotten.

In fact, there are many townships and even mountains in Ireland that have gold in their names as well. And even the ancient places were usually named for having a presence of gold…

…Here are some of the places where you can prospect for gold with your beloved detector:

  • Coom-an-ore (Hollow of the Gold), between Bantry and Dunmanway, Co. Cork
  • Slieve-an-ore (Mountain of the Gold) near Feakle, Co. Clare
  • Tullynore (Tully-an-ore) (Little Hill of the Gold), Down
  • Lug-an-ore (Hollow of the Gold), near Clonmel, Tipperary
  • Glan-an-ore (Glen of the Gold), Co. Cork

For more helpful info about gold detection! You really should check this Gold Exploration Post! You will learn some practical info in there!

What other finds should you expect there?

Some of the commonly found objects with a detector in Ireland include:

  • Coins
  • Buttons
  • Tokens
  • Clothes fasteners
  • Thimbles
  • Keys
  • Weights
  • Seals
  • Strap ends
  • Belt mounts

Where to go underwater detecting there?

This aspect of the hobby is also quite popular in Ireland. There is no mention in the law about whether or not you need a license to carry out searching underwater there, so it is always best to check with the local authorities about what the law says on this!

There is an amazing collection of reefs, wrecks, and marine life off the shores of Ireland and all these factors make it worth diving into this country’s waters using your waterproof detector.

There are many opportunities for cave diving and cave detecting and there are also many shipwrecks that can be found around the Sanda Islands and Rathlin

…Also, around the eastern coastline, these are the wreck-laden waters of Strangford Lough in County Down. This is another popular good spot for exploring valuables underwater there!

Detecting on Irish beaches

Using a beloved machine on Irish beaches is perhaps the only place where the law states you don’t need to have a license or a permit!

There are many beautiful beaches there, though many local detectorists are often of the opinion that beach detecting is also a gray area in the country, with many facing fines due to using a metal detector on the beach…

… So, in order to get a firm confirmation on what beaches you can actually explore, it is always best to enquire beforehand from the local authorities in order to avoid getting into any sorts of trouble.

Here are some of the best Irish beaches that you can target:

  • Main Beach, Bundoran
  • Killiney Strand
  • Coumeenole Beach, Dunquin
  • Portstewart Strand
  • Inchydoney Beach
  • Keem Beach
  • Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay
  • Portsalon Beach
  • Inch Beach
  • Murlough Beach

Are there detecting Clubs?

In recent years, this hobby has been slowly, but steadily, growing in popularity!

Due to the strictness of the laws in the country, there are not many detecting clubs there…

… One of the most notorious ones there the Irish Metal Detecting Society and it has around 1700+ members from all over the country!

The society is dedicated to take this activity forward and are lobbying to have changes made in the law to facilitate metal detecting in the country.

How to get your detecting Permit there?

If you want to get a license to detect in Ireland, then you need to approach the Ministry for Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht…

…Generally speaking, the Minister in charge does not grant licenses for the use of detectors, or even their possession, except to those who are qualified archaeologists or people who are working under professional on-site archaeological supervision.

In order to get the consent, the applicant has to specifically make clear that the device will be used in accordance with best archaeological practices!

Furthermore, they also need to submit a detailed method statement that states the proposed work program the applicant will be undertaking for assessing the site.

In Ireland, only the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is the authorized person who can grant consent for detecting activities and also for authorizing any archaeological excavations.

Are there equipment shops there?

There are not many shops that sell detection equipment. This is mostly due to the unfavorable laws!

Yet, it is possible to purchase detectors and related of all leading brands online…

Are there detector suppliers in Ireland?

There are not many Suppliers or dealers for detection equipment there!

Metal Detectors Ireland is the only supplier that operates in Ireland.

Detecting in Cork …

Cork is the third largest city in Ireland, located in the south-west of the country…

… This hobby is quite popular in the city. There are many places that are apt for detection in Cork. These include:

  • Galtee Mountains
  • Cork City Gaol
  • Elizabeth Fort
  • UCC campus
  • St Fin Barre’s Cathedral
  • St Anne’s Church and Shandon Bells

Exploring around the River Lee and the River Blackwater also known as the Munster Blackwater is also likely to prove fruitful!


Hopefully you’ve learnt new and helpful information today! My main goal here was simply to encourage you, as much as possible, to have this experience and enjoy the hobby in another country, like Ireland … Doing so, have totally a different feel and taste!

Begin that said; just stick to the rules organizing this hobby! At the end of the day, this is all about joy … So there is no point in putting yourself in a bad position with local authorities or a land owner!

Finally, if you are looking for other exciting places to explore, then you should chech this detecting guide in Hawaii! I am sure you will learn some helpful info!!

About the Author

Carissa Harmer

Carissa is the huge metal detecting enthusiast that loves collecting coins. She is also highly interested in other treasure hunting activities like magnet fishing and gold prospecting/panning.