Ireland is a little island located in Europe. To the East lies the Irish Sea and the United Kingdom; to the West lies the wild Atlantic Ocean offering a straight shot to Canada and the United States.
The Emerald Isle is known for its dynamic native flora and fauna. Ancient and electric, the Irish landscape – and waterways – are bursting with life, offering tourists and locals natural attractions which are unique to Ireland.
Watching for dolphins is a popular sport in Ireland. Many tours offer the exciting opportunity to experience these intelligent mammals in their natural habitat just off the coast of Ireland.
Tempted yet? Check out the top five places you can see dolphins in Ireland.
5. Donegal Bay, Co. Donegal
Located in the Northwest of the country, is the remote county of Donegal. It could be argued that Donegal is the most authentic slice of true Ireland that exists still today.
It is primitive in many senses. Its landscape has been left to bloom without the pressures of modern development. The Irish language lives on with purpose and pride. Traditional culture is celebrated in a way seldom seen in city spots. It is true Ireland.
What better place to experience the beauty of the waterways than in this stunning and secluded setting? The Donegal Bay Waterbus is the clear answer here.
This robust and comfortable boat offers daily rides around Donegal Bay, with up-close views of off-shore islands as well as striking shots of the Bluestack Mountains – and, you may just see some dolphin.
4. Galway Bay, Co. Galway
There are many reasons why visitors choose to seek out Galway. It possesses the essence of Irish culture. It is known worldwide for its food (particularly Galway Bay oysters). It has world-class entertainment. And, to top it all off, it has been named the European Capital of Culture 2020.
Need another reason to visit this captivating county on the West Coast of Ireland? Dolphin tours!
Galway Bay boat tours are a terrific company which offer sea safaris along the Galway coast. This family-run, intimate excursion is best suited for small groups or families, and a dolphin sighting is usually thrown in for good measure!
3. Cork Harbour, Co. Cork
Cork Harbour is one of the most popular places where you can see dolphins in Ireland. Set in County Cork on the Southwest of the country, this seaside setting is favoured by those who love a little local culture, top-notch food and entertainment.
Cork Sea Safari offers daily tours from the harbour which all but guarantee dolphin sightings. The tour claims the harbour is the “‘2nd largest natural harbour in the world by navigational area’ after Sydney, Australia”.
The tour which is undertaken on a high-powered speed boat offers visitors an adrenaline-pumped nature excursion on the wild Atlantic Ocean.
2. Dingle, Co. Kerry
Dingle is a remarkable little seaside town in the sleepy and secluded county of Kerry. Surrounded by nature in full bloom, Dingle is a true sight for sore eyes.
Sitting on the Dingle Peninsula, which juts out dramatically into the roaring Atlantic Ocean, Dingle makes for one of the most postcard-worthy settings in all of Ireland.
It is also home to Ireland’s most famous dolphin, Fungie. This friendly sea-dwelling local has been around for decades and is known for its impish and playful manner in and around the calm harbour of Dingle.
Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours operate every day (weather permitting) and offer visitors a unique opportunity to get up close with this local legend.
If the weather fails you, at least there is a bronze statue immortalizing the friendly bottlenose dolphin – who has been a Dingle resident for over 30 years – on the pier.
1. Kilrush, Co. Clare
Located along the coast of County Clare is the town of Kilrush. Sitting along the Shannon Estuary, which flows into the vast depths of the Atlantic Ocean, Kilrush is, in fact, the location of Ireland’s only (known) pod of bottlenose dolphins.
The area itself is a hotbed of activity in the Summer months as vacationers and Irish residents look to catch a breath of salty sea air, as well as some dolphin sightings, too.
This Special Area of Conservation is also the site of dolphin breeding between May and September, making it the ultimate destination to snag a sight of the friendly sea-dwellers.
A tour with Dolphin Discovery is the best you can get. With over 30 years in marine tourism, you can be assured that safety and respect to the marine life are above board.