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Marine Wildlife
The lion's mane jellyfish is also known as the giant jellyfish or hair jelly
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has put up warning signs in the lifeguarded area of Sandycove in south Dublin after sightings of lion’s mane jellyfish in the water. Though the notice was put in place yesterday (Thursday 13 June), it’s emerged…
Breaching humpbacks in Cape Verde this past April
Sixteen years after the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s (IWDG) first attempt to find the origins of Ireland’s humpback whales, a chance excursion on the latest expedition to Cape Verde has finally revealed the breeding grounds for these threatened marine…
Dublin Bay prawn on subtidal sand at South Rigg in the Irish Sea, one of the UK’s new marine protected areas
Forty-one new marine conservation zones on England’s coast will create a ‘blue belt’ of protected waters for marine wildlife eight times the size of greater London, as the Guardian reports. The string of new protected areas runs from Bournemouth to…
A Spanish fishing vessel has pleaded guilty to catches of Blue Shark off the Irish coast
Irish shark experts have called on newly elected MEPs to outlaw the growing shark fin fishery in European waters, following a fine imposed on a Spanish fishing vessel detained off the Irish coast. The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has…
Spirtle is easily identified by her distinctive skin markings
Sightings of an unusual looking bottlenose dolphin off the East Coast in recent weeks have turned out to be a Scottish scrapper named Spirtle. Images of the dolphin seen off South Dublin and North Wicklow earlier this month showed what…
The basking shark feeding on plankton in Keem Bay
One of the world’s largest sharks had become a regular visitor to an Achill Island beach, as Independent.ie reports. Local tourist officials have recorded almost daily sightings of the 20-plus-foot basking shark in the waters of Keem Bay over the…
Rory Cahill (4) and Evelyn Cahill (6) from Dunboyne, Co Meath with a replica of a Mesolithic fish trap at the launch of Fishy Fun at the National Museum of Ireland - Natural History
Ireland’s fisheries resource is set to come alive at the Natural History Museum this summer at a free event called Fishy Fun. A range of interactive activities suitable for all the family will be part of the special one-day event…
Free diving world champion Umberto Pelizzari raises a flag below water to highlight the plight of life below water
According to the Government, as directed by the Dáil, Ireland is now in a climate emergency…added to which are biodiversity and marine eco problems… That crisis was declared within the parliamentary portals to which 158 TDs are elected to represent…
Part of the River Newport as seen after OPW flood relief works in December 2018
The Office of Public Works has been accused of showing “disdain” for Ireland’s natural heritage over flood relief works on a waterway in Co Limerick. The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) criticised the clearing last year of some 3km of wild habitat…
The IWDG yacht Celtic Mist
A group of Ireland’s environmental NGOs are teaming up this spring for a rather unique education project lead by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. The exciting Floating Classroom initiative is combining ocean exploration with an educational schools programme which…
Humpback Whales Spotted ‘Socialising’ Off West Cork In Dramatic Drone Video
Whale watchers have captured spectacular aerial video of a group of humpback whales spotted “socialising” off West Cork. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s science officer Seán O’Callaghan filmed the remarkable scene last month just days after the first humpback…
Endangered species – Angel Shark
Angel shark are in such a perilous state of decline in Irish waters that a group of marine environmentalists has appealed for urgent action by Minister for Fisheries Michael Creed writes Lorna Siggins Sharks, rays and skates are the most threatened…
Native white-clawed crayfish like this one have been threatened by outbreaks of crayfish plague
The Marine Institute in Oranmore, Co Galway will host an Irish Crayfish Seminar on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 May in response to recent outbreaks of crayfish plague in Ireland’s waterways. A series of talks by invited speakers from across…
Sailors Asked To Help Spot Migrating Puffins
I remember when I first saw the Puffin seabirds. It was my first time sailing along the Kerry coastline and it was off Portmagee, on the appropriately named Puffin Island. We had closed the small Island south of Valentia which…
The IWDG team use local authority diggers to examine the sperm whale remains on Streedagh Strand
#MarineWildlife - A team from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) was on site at Streedagh Strand in Sligo yesterday (Thursday 4 April) to investigate the third sperm whale stranding in a matter of days along Ireland’s West Coast.…
The female sperm whale beached at Streedagh Strand in Co Sligo
#MarineWildlife - A third sperm whale stranding on Ireland’s west coast within just a few days is now a cause for concern, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says. Following the discovery of two sperm whale carcasses on the same…

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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