Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Marine Wildlife
Karin Dubsky of Coastwatch
Progress on eradicating single use plastics which are so harmful to the marine environment will be discussed at a workshop hosted by Coastwatch later this month. The “Coastwatch and more4nature Earth Day 2024 workshop” will celebrate the disappearance of most…
The EPA says it is inviting proposals from the research community for “innovative projects to support the development and implementation of environmental policies in Ireland
Water quality is a research topic qualifying for grants of up to €14.5 million offered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA says it is inviting proposals from the research community for “innovative projects to support the development and…
One last sighting of the humpback whale freed from ropes by Penlee RNLI on Easter Sunday evening
A humpback whale caught in fishing ropes off the coast of Cornwall in south-west England has been saved thanks to the efforts of local rescuers. According to Marine Industry News, the whale known locally as “Ivy” became entangled in Mounts…
The endangered Upokohue/Hector’s dolphin
SailGP has been called out by Greenpeace’s executive director in New Zealand/Aotearoa over its response to a race cancellation prompted by the presence of dolphins on the racecourse. Racing was postponed on Saturday 23 March at the second annual New…
A message in the sand calling for 30% of Ireland's seas to be protected by 2030 to give our species, habitats and coastal communities the opportunity to thrive
The Irish government has come under fire from environmental groups for failing to introduce the Marine Protected Areas Bill, which would commit to effectively protecting 30% of Ireland's seas by 2030, as promised since July 2023. The Fair Seas coalition,…
Sea Synergy Oyster Project which received Small Conservation Grant funding in 2023
Galway Atlantaquaria is offering grants for five small-scale conservation projects related to marine and freshwater. Projects should focus on education and engagement, native species and habitats, or involving a local community or community group, with a special focus on marine…
Jennifer Coughlan of the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science at the deployment of habitat units along the Great South Wall at Dublin Port
Dublin Port Company (DPC), in collaboration with University College Dublin (UCD), proudly announces a groundbreaking initiative aimed at enhancing biodiversity along the Great South Wall. This innovative project marks a significant milestone in the realm of eco-engineering, setting a new…
File image of the Great South Wall in Dublin Bay
Dublin’s Great South Wall has taken on the appearance of the Cork Harbour shoreline thanks to a new biodiversity project. According to RTÉ News, a series of large concrete blocks imprinted with a mould of the Ringaskiddy coastline have been…
The Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) is working to identify the issues affecting water quality in every county in Ireland. Where issues are identified, we collaborate with the relevant local authority, public body, and water stakeholder to find a solution. Community engagement is the cornerstone of this approach
World Water Day has been marked with funding for over 150 projects to improve water quality across the island of Ireland. The Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO), which works for Ireland’s 31 local authorities to protect and restore good water…
An orca interaction with a yacht on the Iberian peninsula
As the cruising season arrives along the Atlantic coasts of France, Portugal, Spain, and through the Strait of Gibraltar, sailors are being urged to remain vigilant for potential orca encounters. The Cruising Association (CA) has issued a warning to sailors…
EU Seeks Public Opinion on Shark Protection
The European Commission is consulting the public about improving ways to protect and manage sharks and related marine ecosystems. The consultation aims to gather the public's views to ensure an informed follow-up to the 2023 European citizens’ initiative ‘Stop Finning…
Explorers Education Programme’s Wild About Wildlife on the Seashore logo
The Marine Institute has launched an updated edition of the Explorers Education Programme’s Wild About Wildlife on the Seashore workbook, which has also been translated into Irish, and is being used as a key teaching resource for student teachers at…
'A Climate-resilient Path for Ireland's Marine Protected Areas' - pictured are Jack O’Donovan Trá, Fair Seas Communications Officer; Dr Donal Griffin, Fair Seas coordinator; and Grace Carr, Marine Advocacy Officer for The Irish Wildlife Trust
Irish marine areas that can promote biodiversity in the face of worsening climate change have been identified in a new report by Fair Seas, a coalition of leading environmental NGOs and networks. The report commissioned research to determine the areas…
Basking sharks have a long association with Irish waters, going back to the earliest recording of their presence in 1739
What significance is there in the first arrival of a basking shark in Irish waters this year being spotted on the West Coast? It is not the earliest date of arrival of a basking shark. It ranks as the third…
Windfarms & Wildlife: Protecting the Bay’s Habitats — Uncover the Realities, Explore the Concerns
Join the conversation on Ireland’s offshore wind challenges at a public information meeting at the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel in Killiney this Tuesday 12 March at 7.30pm. Hosted in association with Dalkey Community Council and Killiney Bay Community Council, ‘Windfarms &…
The Nature Restoration Law has been passed in Brussels. This means member states now have 2years to plan how they will restore 20% of the EU's land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems by 2050
Two Government ministers have welcomed the European Parliament vote approving the Nature Restoration Law. While the controversial legislation has a strong land-based focus, it includes important elements aimed at improving water quality in member states. Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue…

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!