Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Marine Wildlife
This dolphin was found on the beach at Fenit, Co Kerry this past Wednesday
#MarineWildlife - Not even two months in and 2017 is already the worst year on record for whale and dolphin strandings, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). As of Friday 17 February, a whopping 56 cetacean standings…
Slipper lobsters are usually found in much warmer climes
#MarineWildlife - The Galway Atlantaquaria is currently caring for an extremely rare slipper lobster found in Galway Bay off the Aran Islands in recent days. According to the Marine Institute, this is the first recorded landing of the warm ocean…
Seal Rescue Centre Seeks Sponsors
#MarineWildlife - The Seal Rescue Centre in Courtown is appealing for new sponsors to fund supplies for the marine wildlife in its care, as the Gorey Guardian reports. The sanctuary recently took on its first sponsor in Gorey’s Amber Springs…
A juvenile basking shark in Irish waters
#MarineWildlife - A whopping 71 species of shark can be found swimming in Irish waters. That’s according to the new New Red List of Cartilaginous Fish, as reported by TheJournal.ie, which adds that half of all sharks in Europe can…
Bottlenose dolphins are a regular delight for wildlife spotters around Ireland's coast
#MarineWildlife - Ireland’s whales and dolphins feature in a new atlas of the country’s wildlife, as The Irish Times reports. The Atlas of Mammals in Ireland 2010-2015, published by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, maps the distribution of 77 mammal…
One of the dolphins that stranded in Dungarvan on Friday 13 January
#MarineWildlife - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group reports on the stranding of three common dolphins in Dungarvan at the weekend. Two of the three dolphins were still alive when found on Friday (13 January), though they were in “poor…
Herring shoals attract seals and cetaceans to the South Coast in big numbers each winter
#PairTrawling - Winter season pair trawling has been blamed for a spate of marine wildlife deaths on the Waterford coast this week, as the Irish Examiner reports. Locals in Ardmore discovered four seals and a porpoise washed up on their…
One stranded dolphin is lifted to safety on board Tarbert Rowing Club’s inflatable
#MarineWildlife - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reports the good news of the rescue of two live common dolphins that stranded on a Co Kerry beach at the weekend. IWDG volunteers found three dolphins at Tarbert on Sunday…
Humpback whales like this one off the US coast are regular visitors to Irish waters
#MarineWildlife - Whale watchers off the Sunny South East believed they’ve photographed Ireland’s first humpback whale sighting of 2017, as TheJournal.ie reports. South Coast Charter Angling skipper Martin Colfer was out with photographer Myles Carroll yesterday (Wednesday 4 January) when…
The IWDG’s Celtic Mist heading into Fenit after surveying in Brandon and Tralee Bays
#MarineWildlife - Conservationists want Tralee Bay and Brandon Bay in North Kerry to be declared a protected marine wildlife zone for bottlenose dolphins. The call comes in the wake of new research by the Irish Whale Dolphin Group (IWDG) in…
Black guillemots near Rathlin Island now have their own protected zone, the first of its kind in the UK
#MarineWildlife - The RSPB has welcomed the announcement of new marine protected areas for Northern Ireland this week. “The formal designation of four new marine protected areas will help protect a range of vulnerable species and habitats - ranging from…
Bottlenose dolphins are a regular delight for wildlife spotters around Ireland's coast
#MarineWildlife - The first meeting of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s (IWDG) new local group for North Kerry takes place this Friday 9 December at the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre from 7.30pm to 9pm. All are welcome to the…
Grey seals like these, as well as common seals, are regularly found around the Irish and British coasts
#MarineWildlife - Is cannibalism among seals to blame for deaths of the marine mammals recorded on Ireland’s shores? That’s one reason suggested by researchers in the latest report from the Irish Seal Sanctuary’s seal death database, according to the Irish…
The large baleen whale spotted on Cross Beach at the weekend
#MarineWildlife - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) received a report at the weekend of a large baleen whale struggling in the shallows at Cross Beach in north-west Co Mayo. The 12-metre marine mammal, thought to be a sei…
Humpback whales like this one off the US coast are regular visitors to Norway’s Arctic fjords
#MarineWildlife - A small Norwegian community in the Arctic Circle recently had a whale of a problem with their internet connection - literally. As New Scientist reports, a subsea internet cable in the Kaldfjorden north of Tromsø which should have…
Common seal pups like this one regularly strand on Irish beaches in winter but rarely with severe injuries
#MarineWildlife - The Wicklow People reports that a six-week-old common seal is being treated for suspected stab wounds after being found in “very shape” by people walking on Arklow’s South Beach yesterday morning (Friday 18 November). The incident is the…

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!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

DBSC
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton

bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating