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Marine Wildlife
One of the Courtown sanctuary’s seal pups with a ‘wetsuit mamma’
Old wetsuits have been upcycled as stand-in ‘mammas’ for orphaned seal pups at a Wexford marine wildlife sanctuary, as RTÉ News reports. Seal Rescue Ireland in Courtown has been using the creations of local designer Lynn Houghton to help in…
Eyes of the whale shark. A. Anterior view of the whale shark, showing the locations of the eye (arrows). Note that whale shark eye is well projected from the orbit. Photo was taken in the sea near Saint Helena Island. B. Close-up view of the left eye of a captive whale shark
Japanese researchers have found that whale sharks have protective “armour” around their eyeballs in the form of tiny teeth. Japan's Okinawa Churashima Research Centre scientists studied the eyes of both living and dead whale sharks, which can grow to 18-metres…
The male Sowerby’s beaked whale seen in Wicklow Harbour on Saturday 4 July
A Sowerby’s beaked whale — of a marine wildlife species rarely sighted in Irish waters — has died after getting into distress in Wicklow Harbour, as The Irish Times reports. According to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), the…
Dingle Oceanworld in Co Kerry
A Dingle-based marine wildlife sanctuary and aquarium which has recently reopened fears having to close for good without State funding to help cover its bills, as the Irish Examiner reports. Dingle Oceanworld says it is down more than €200,000 in…
Some 50 per cent of wipes labelled as “flushable” are not biodegradable and contain microplastics
Increased use of wet wipes during the Covid-19 pandemic is already exacerbating the “plastic crisis” in oceans, an NUI Galway (NUIG) team says. Some 50 per cent of wipes labelled as “flushable” are not biodegradable and contain microplastics which are…
Blue Flag for Royal Cork Yacht Club - (L-R) Gavin Deane, General Manager, Dave Coveney, Marina & Facilities Supervisor and Mark Ring, Marina & Racing Manager
Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork Harbour has retained its An Taisce Blue Flag, one of ten Irish marinas to fly the environmental award flag in 2020/2021. As Afloat reported previously, another County Cork marina at Kinsale Yacht Club was…
The photograph with the most ‘likes’ will be announced on July 8th and sent a marine themed t-shirtand a copy of ‘Ireland’s Hidden Depths’ by Paul Kay
Photographers of Ireland’s rich marine environment are invited to enter images for a contest being run by the Irish Wildlife Trust. To mark both World Oceans Day this month and easing of travel restrictions to within county boundaries, the trust…
Australian Pro Whalewatcher has Bad Day at the Office
As seen off Sydney on Wednesday, as whale-watching is resumed after ending of COVID-19 Lockdown. You know how it is? Sometimes, for one second, you’re just looking the wrong way altogether.
Blue Flag - Kinsale Marina has been awarded the environmental Blue Flag for 2020
Kinsale Yacht Club has been awarded the environmental Blue Flag for 2020. The 2020 results were announced today by An Taisce. The marinas and beaches who achieved the accolade must adhere to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision,…
An injured guillemot is cared for
Harbours by their nature attract a myriad of marine wildlife and Bangor on Belfast Lough is no exception. Most people would associate Bangor with the guillemots that make their nests in holes in the marina wall but there is so…
Bottlenose dolphin in Irish waters
Marine scientists have published landmark advice to the European Commission for urgent action to protect dolphins and porpoise in European waters. According to EU Reporter, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is advocating for ‘emergency measures’…
Angel sharks are among the species believed to use the nursery hidden under Tralee Bay
Tralee Bay is a “major nursery” for sharks and rays in Irish waters, says a local marine wildlife expert. And Kevin Flannery insists the important breeding ground for the likes of angel sharks and porbeagle sharks needs protection. Marine biologist…
Orca Whales in Strangford Lough - Robbie Gilmore also saw them ten years earlier as a schoolboy
As sailors, if we want to preserve our playgrounds, or at least slow their destruction, we have to talk to others writes Strangford Lough's Robbie Gilmore While I was at school, I gave a speech about a voyage my Dad…
One of the humpback whales spotted on the IWDG’s Iceland expedition in May 2018
A new hour-long documentary following the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) on a unique research expedition to the Arctic Circle is now available to rent and watch on demand. On The Trail Of The Humpback Whale tells the story…
Pilot whale jumps for joy? Maybe so, but try to imagine this in the confines of Baltimore Harbour, when Albert in his prime would have weighed three tons
Whales, dolphins and porpoises hold a very special place in people’s hearts and minds. It may be a very long time since our shared mammalian ancestors went their respective ways, but when we get anywhere near “the cousins” in their…
Orca Killer Whales Spotted in Strangford Lough (VIDEO)
A pod of orcas or killer whales caused great excitement in Strangford Lough, County Down yesterday. As reported by BBC News NI, local skipper Richard Connor from Causeway Boats said that it may be unusual but not unheard of. It…

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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