Head to the south coast if you’re looking for a whale of a time

A Humpback whale breaching, south of Sherkin Island, West Cork, yesterday morning, one example of the many species of whale that visit Irish shores at this time of the year. Pic: Robbie Murphy/Provision

If you want to see someof the largest whales onearth, the entire south coast of Ireland is now seen as one of the best places on the planet to whale watch.

The above picture of a humpback whale breaching near Sherkin Island is just one example of the many species of whale that visit Irish shores at this time of the year.

According to Padraig Whooley of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), this time of the year is the best time to whale watch as Fin whales, Humpbacks and minke whales come to Irish shores to feed on spawning herring.

“This is large whale season, so this is what we expect to see, not just in places like West Cork, but right across the 120 miles from Dursey Island to Dunmore East. We have been monitoring the whale population for the past 13 or 14 years. Ireland has some of the best land and boat-based whale watching on the planet,” he said.

Mr Whooley said the recent good weather has led to whale watchers being able to see some of the largest animals on the planet.

“The weather has been relatively benign in recent weeks so people have been able to get out and see whales with relative ease,” said Mr Whooley. I know Colin Barnes of Cork Whale Watch has been out almost every day for two weeks and they were seeing three species of whale in a day — minke, fin, and humpbacks.

“Whale watching here is simply world class. The great thing is you don’t have to be out in a boat, you can see them from the land also. People can see them from headlands sometimes without binoculars.

You’re talking about fin whales, the second largest animal in the world, at 70m-80m long and people can view them from the land. It’s brilliant.”

Meanwhile, the Kinsale RNLI were doing their bit for marine life after rescuing a baby seal from the beach in Sallyport, just below Charles Fort while out on an exercise. Named Rosie, the seal is now in the Dingle seal sanctuary where she is expected to make a full recovery.


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