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Marine Wildlife
Fungie as seen in Dingle in the summer of 2019
“It’s better this way, rather than Fungie wash up dead on the shores of Dingle Bay, [that he] just disappear.” That’s the message from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s (IWDG) chief executive as nearly two weeks have passed since…
The culturally iconic leaping Atlantic salmon
New research led by scientists at University College Cork (UCC) which uses genetic fingerprinting techniques indicated that captive-born salmon are far less successful at reproducing as wild salmon spawning in the same river. “We looked at the lifetime reproductive success…
Professor John Quinn with the Gannet colony sign on the Great Saltee Islands
COVID-19’s impact on visits to offshore islands may be benefiting the gannet seabird colony on Wexford’s Great Saltee. A new University College Cork (UCC) study has recorded the level of disturbance to the birds caused by tourists in the summer…
There is mounting concern for the wellbeing of Fungie
Everyone in Dingle - and beyond too, in a much wider world of shared joy in his existence - everyone knew that some day, it was going to happen. Some day, the sad but inevitable feeling was going to take…
IRLHB#43 photographed on 11 October 2020 off West Kerry
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says it has recently documented evidence of a humpback whale scarred by entanglement in fishing gear in Irish waters. Humpback IRL#HB43 was photographed in Dingle Bay on Sunday 11 October by IWDG member…
Fungie as seen in Dingle in July 2019
Poor weather off the Kerry coast has put on hold the search for Fungie the dolphin who has been missing from his Dingle home for almost a week, according to the Guardian. Yesterday, Sunday 18 October, RTÉ News reported that…
File image of Fungie frolicking near Dingle Harbour
Reports of the disappearance of Dingle’s resident dolphin Fungie this week appear to have been greatly exaggerated, as a cetacean matching his description was spotted by a local fisherman. Paul Hand tells RTÉ News that he is “one thousand percent…
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has also called for a scientific study of species including sprat stocks
The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) has called on Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State for Biodiversity Pippa Hackett to “act swiftly” over a High Court decision that overturns a ban on fishing by vessels over 18 metres…
Brent Geese arriving on Strangford Lough
Strangford Lough is world-famous as the main arrival site for most of the migrating Canadian population (up to 80%) of pale-bellied Brent geese. Every autumn thousands of these birds leave their breeding grounds in eastern Canada and travel to Ireland…
Kenmare Bay in Co Kerry
A new report from the Irish Wildlife Trust says some of this country’s protected marine zones are suffering from “serious deterioration, and in some cases outright destruction”. And according to The Irish Times, the situation is grave enough for the…
Galaxy and Altair are two seals currently in the care of Seal Rescue Ireland in Courtown
Volunteers with Seal Rescue Ireland walked 117km — a kilometre for every seal the charity rescued last year — to raise much needed funds for their efforts last month. As the Gorey Guardian reports, the ‘Seal Stride’ challenge took the…
The Clyde naval base at Faslane in Loch Gare
Three northern bottlenose whales were the subject of special rescue operation in Western Scotland yesterday (Thursday 1 October) as boats worked to guide them out to sea ahead of a major military exercise. As the Guardian reports, rescue teams led…
File image of a common seal pup
Plans to allow for the culling of seals by fishermen with high-powered rifles have been branded as “insane” by a conservation expert. According to the Irish Examiner, the Government is looking into the granting of licences that would permit fishermen…
My word, what big teeth you've got….the orca is a barrel of laughs among friends, but at a full size of eight metres this is maybe the only species feared by the Great White Shark
Stories of whales attacking boats at sea and sometimes sinking them go back a long way in maritime history, and as often as not it has happened in such a sudden and frightening way that identifying the precise species has…
Cockles in an Irish supermarket
The Dubliners' ode to Irish shellfish in their song Molly Malone may have been relying on inaccurate information. New research by University College, Cork (UCC) scientists reports there is “inconsistent” data on the location of Irish cockles in previous studies. Cockles…
Lead researcher Emer Keaveney, Marine Mammal Ecologist, Ocean Research & Conservation Ireland
The waters off the south coast of Ireland have been selected as the study location for Ireland’s first real-time acoustic monitoring project of large whales, with the aim to relay warning alerts to maritime traffic to reduce the risk of…

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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