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Marine Wildlife
Ariel and Merida at Exploris Aquarium before their release back into the wild at the weekend
Two juvenile seals named Ariel and Merida after the Disney princesses are part of a novel marine research project using the latest technology to record and understand harbour seals’ behaviour. In a first for Northern Ireland, the Exploris Aquarium in…
A feeding basking shark showing the characteristic white gape
An endangered basking shark showed up off North America three years after it was tagged in Ireland, according to new research published by Irish and Canadian scientists. A female basking shark which was fitted with a satellite transmitter at Malin…
A rainbow on Belfast Lough as viewed from the Harbour's Window on Wildlife
As you make your passage west through Belfast Harbour to the Marina you probably don’t realise that on your port side near the cruise liner terminal is gem of a wildlife sanctuary just a hundred metres away writes Betty Armstrong.…
Philip Boucher Hayes presents Hot Air: Ireland’s Climate Crisis tonight on RTÉ One
Following last night’s stark warning for Irish coastal cities and towns, RTÉ’s On Climate season of TV programmes continues tonight (Tuesday 12 November) with a look at how climate change, pollution and overfishing have directly affected biodiversity around Ireland’s coasts.…
‘Mixed Picture’ Of Health In Seas Around Northern Ireland & UK
A new review of the state of the seas off Northern Ireland and the UK reveals a ‘mixed picture’ in terms of biodiversity, as BBC News reports. While the UK Government’s marine strategy assessment had good things to say about…
Image by friend of the IWDG, Jason, of the bottlenose dolphin refloated from Mutton Island in Galway Bay earlier this month
A bottlenose dolphin was recently rescued by quick-thinking locals after live stranding on Mutton Island near Galway city. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reports the story related to it by friend of the group Jason, who was alerted…
Microbeads - new Irish legislation restricting the use of plastic microbeads to protect marine wildlife is on the cards
The EU has permitted the Irish government to introduce legislation restricting use of plastic microbeads to protect marine wildlife and the environment writes Lorna Siggins. Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy confirmed the European Commission’s clearance last…
 A clip from ‘Ireland’s Deep Atlantic’ produced by Ken O'Sullivan was broadcast in 2018 by RTE and is now a part to the Junior Cert curriculum. His book Sea Fever is on sale now
Ken O’Sullivan spent the summers of his youth in what he describes as a ‘Huckleberry Finn-type existence’ on Fenit Island, Co Kerry, his father’s home place and that of his family since 1750. Getting the fishing bug at aged 10,…
 A four horned crab in red seaweed dress discovered at Geeha on Galway bay
Coastwatch is appealing for volunteers over the Spring tide period to participate in its annual coastal survey which has been extended to October 21st writes Lorna Siggins Recent stormy weather and heavy rain have curtailed this year’s effort, and Coastwatch coordinator…
GMIT-Led Research Team Launches World’s First Shellfish Traceability Tool
Studies carried out by a research team led by Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) have resulted in the development of the world's first scientific-based shellfish traceability tool. This unique tool used ‘trace elemental fingerprinting’ of shellfish soft tissues and shells…
The cetacean spotted at Dublin Port this afternoon
Update Friday 4 October: RTÉ News is now reporting that the whale, now identified as a 25ft fin whale and believed to be a juvenile, was found dead in Dublin Port this morning. RTÉ News reports on a suspected whale sighting…
Fishing net around the minke whale’s tail on Tyrella beach
The public has been urged to “stay clear” of a minke whale carcass found washed up on Tyrella beach in Co Down yesterday morning (Monday 9 September). According to ITV News, the 27ft marine wildlife giant was found with what…
A Sowerby’s beaked whale breaching
Concerns remain for the health of a rare beaked whale refloated from a Co Waterford beach at the weekend, as The Irish Times reports. The Sowerby’s beaked whale stranded near Helvick Head on Friday (30 August) and was twice returned…
Trinity Conference To Discuss Ireland’s ‘Poor Performance’ On Marine Protected Areas
The global climate crisis and how it relates to biodiversity and ocean protection is a big topic for discussion at a two-day conference in Trinity College Dublin which starts tomorrow (Monday 2 September). The ‘Bigger and Better’ Marine Protected Area…
Breaching humpback whale off Cape Verde this past April
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) sets sail this weekend for Cape Verde next month on its eighth humpback whale expedition. Funded by the Island Foundation, this two-week mission comes just months after the IWDG finally confirmed the breeding…
Greta Thunberg arrives into New York
It's been 15 days since 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg hitched a ride on a sail-powered yacht from Europe to the U.S. for the U.N. Climate Action Summit taking place in New York in mid-September. As Afloat previously reported, Thunberg…

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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