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Marine Wildlife
Wakame or Japanese kelp in Greystones Harbour in County Wicklow
Scientists from NUI Galway and Seasearch Ireland are asking divers and marina users to keep an eye out for Undaria pinnatifida, commonly known as Wakame or Japanese kelp. This species was first recorded in Belfast Lough, Northern Ireland in 2012,…
Fourteen Humboldt Penguins from the Curraghs Wildlife Park in the Isle of Man are settling well in their new home in Strangford Lough
Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry on Strangford Lough has welcomed new residents. Fourteen Humboldt Penguins from the Curraghs Wildlife Park in the Isle of Man are settling well in their new home. Exploris illustrates and exhibits the large variety of animals…
The Arctic walrus resting on the South Pembrokeshire coast on Saturday 20 March
An exhausted Arctic walrus spotted at Valentia Island last weekend is now apparently in Wales and recovered from its ordeal. According to RTÉ News, marine wildlife conservation groups both here and in Wales are confident that the walrus sighted yesterday…
The juvenile humpback whale carcass photographed at Colla West on 24 February
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has warned the public to stay away from the final resting place of a humpback whale carcass that washed ashore in West Cork last month. And according to the Southern Star, poor weather…
A massive 2 tonne, 13ft buoy was dropped into the Celtic Sea off the coast of Baltimore, Co. Cork as part of Ireland’s first-ever real-time acoustic monitoring project of cetacean species (whales, dolphins and porpoise) to examine the impact rising ocean noise pollution has on Irish marine life. The buoy will spend the next 12 months recording whale species as part of the Smart Whale Sounds project carried out by Ocean Research & Conservation Association Ireland, supported by Rainforest Connection and Huawei Ireland through its TECH4ALL programme. Pictured is Dr Emer Keaveney, Marine Mammal Ecologist, Ocean Research & Conservation Association Ireland
Ireland’s first real-time acoustic monitoring project of cetacean species (whales, dolphins and porpoise) began this week off the South Coast of Ireland, with the goal of creating a near real-time detection model for these species and examining the impact rising…
Irish Whale & Dolphin Group to Provide Marine Mammal Observer on Upcoming Fisheries Surveys
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) won the tender to provide a marine mammal observer on three fisheries acoustic surveys with the Marine Institute this year. These include a survey for blue whiting this month, the Western European Shelf…
The exhausted Arctic walrus sighted at Valentia Island on Sunday 14 March
Some lucky passers-by were treated to the extraordinary sight of an Arctic walrus on rocks at Valentia Island in Co Kerry yesterday, Sunday 14 March. Video of the marine wildlife — which resembles a large seal but for its obvious…
The blue crab found on Dollymount Strand on 15 February
Beach walkers have been urged to keep a lookout for invasive blue crab after a recent sighting in Dublin Bay. As the Irish Examiner reports, the National Biodiversity Day Centre says a specimen was found on Dollymount Strand on 15…
Lambs’ Remains Found Dumped in Important River for Freshwater Mussels
Kerry County Council has launched an investigation after the remains of a number of dead lambs were found dumped in the River Blackwater, as RTÉ News reports. Around eight lamb carcasses were found in the river close to the R568…
A common dolphin carcass classed as ‘very fresh’ recorded at Castlegregory, Co Kerry on 6 February
Whale and dolphin strandings in Ireland for the first two months of 2021 have reached their highest peak yet with 93 records, as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reports. The bulk of these marine wildlife findings were common dolphins,…
Humpback whales at the Deep Hole off West Cork in June 2020
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says it welcomes the new public consultation on expanding Ireland’s Marine Protected Areas. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Government is aiming to have 30% of Ireland’s maritime area designated as Marine Protected…
Fungie as seen in 2019 in Dingle Bay
A video circulating online of a dolphin frolicking in Galway Bay is “extremely unlikely” to be the missing bottlenose Fungie, as the Irish Examiner reports. The footage sparked hopes that Dingle’s famous long-term marine wildlife resident had reappeared nearly five…
Having wintered in Ireland the pale-bellied Brent Geese leave Ireland and head north again in March and April
The light-bellied brent goose that made a welcome return to Dublin Bay in October is already planning the return journey to breeding grounds in Canada after spending the winter in Ireland. Over the last few months, you may have spotted the…
Many cracks and chasms that have formed in the 150 m thick Brunt ice shelf in recent years
An enormous iceberg estimated at about one-and-a-half times the size of greater Paris has broken off in Antarctica. The European Space Agency (ESA) says radar images from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission show the 1270 square kilometre iceberg breaking free from…
File image of the IWDG’s research vessel Celtic Mist
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is seeking to recruit a Science Officer to join its core team based in the Shannon Dolphin Centre in Kilrush, Co Clare. The Science Officer will be expected to work closely with the…
The juvenile humpback was spotted afloat before it beached near Coney Island in Roaringwater Bay
The carcass of a juvenile humpback whale washed ashore in West Cork is only the ninth such stranding of the species in Ireland, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Sightings officer Pádraig Whooley confirmed from images 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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