The waters of southwest Ireland are exceptionally rich in marine life and Baltimore in West Cork is at the heart of the explosive growth of Irish whale and dolphin watching. Seeing whales and dolphins close-up from a whale-watching boat is one of the most exciting experiences a holiday can offer. The season usually begins in spring, minke whales being among the first to appear, along with several kinds of dolphin, some of which perform spontaneous airborne displays alongside the moving boat. The climax of the season is from late summer onwards with the advent of the giant fin whales – the second largest animal on earth – and the chance of an acrobatic humpback whale.
Whales and dolphins are not the only marine wildlife on offer. Seals venture right up to the pier and there is often no need to venture farther than the harbour’s mouth for the chance of seeing a giant basking shark swimming lazily under the cliffs. Slightly farther from shore it might be the fin of an ocean sunfish or blue shark cutting the surface, or even the huge carapace of a leatherback turtle. Baltimore and the islands – in particular, Cape Clear with its famous bird observatory – are also a paradise for birdwatching. Rare bird sightings are possible at any time of year, but spring and autumn migrations are especially rewarding. Sea watching reaches a climax in late summer when species like the larger shearwaters appear inshore, sometimes in considerable numbers.
Baltimore Sea Safari
Tel: 087 240 9761
We offer close-up coastal sightseeing boat tours around the islands, with whale, dolphin, seal and wildlife watching. Full commentary is provided on our trips.
Tel: 086 854 7912
|Trips combine whale and dolphin watching and a cruise around some of Carbery's Isles with a 45-minute stopover on Sherkin or Cape Clear. Duration 2½ hours.|
Whale Watch West Cork
Tel: 086 120 0027
|Whale and Dolphin watching along the spectacular coast of southwest Ireland and around the islands with the marine zoologist and writer Nic Slocum|
Tel: 028 20511
|Offshore 125 hardboat with divers’ lift or rhib for diving, snorkelling, whale-watching & angling. Shop and rental with nitrox/air and IDEST service station.|
Baltimore Diving Centre
Tel: 028 20300
|For the experienced diver or someone new to the sport, everything you need including self-catering apartments on site, lecture room and all diving facilities.|
Tel: 086 824 0642
|Fast Offshore 105 licensed charter boat. Deep sea angling, shark fishing and wreck fishing. Also pelagic birdwatching, diving charters, whale and wildlife watching.|
Ann Kelly, Mariners Cove