Dolphin Watching


The Shannon Special Conservation Area is home to around 140 delightful bottlenose dolphins who make it their business to inspect your vessel as you pass by! Kids will love the thrill of seeing these beautiful creatures up close and seeing them in their natural habitat is a real treat.

River Shannon

The mouth of River Shannon is where you can see Ireland’s most famous pod of dolphins. You can book the dolphin-watching cruises from Kilrush Creek Marina or in the village of Carrigaholt at the Loop Head Peninsula. Whichever company you choose you’ll not be disappointed!

Kilrush versus Carrigaholt

At Kilrush you’ll sail aboard the modern “Dolphin Discovery” passing out into the open waters through Lower Shannon’s only lock gates. Dolphin Discovery has three daily sailings in high season. High season is also when you’ll be more likely to see baby dolphins. Those choosing to depart from Carrigaholt will board the Draiocht (“Magic” in Irish) belonging to the Dolphinwatch operation run by passionate conservationists. The informed commentary on board is given by qualified marine naturalists.

Playful Creatures

Dolphins are an amazing species to observe; they’re unpredicatable and playful and their charming antics will delight the whole family, young and old. Their inquisitive nature means that sightings are frequent as they make sure they have a good nose at your boat and the people on board, even taking a bowride when they can. The younger dolphins are particularly curious and are more likely to come closer to your boat than their elders.

Marine and Coastal Wildlife

As well as spotting dolphins, you’re likely to see more marine and coastal wildlife, including seals, numerous seabirds, rare choughs and peregrine falcons. Combine this outstanding wildlife with the dramatic coastal scenery and you’re sure to have an outstanding day out with all the family! The dolphins make for an unforgettable experience and create treasured memories.

Highlight of the Day

The sound of the dolphins communicating with each other.

Further Information

Nearest train station : Tralee
Car parking : In Kilrush or Carrigaholt
Website :

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Join the conversation

3 thoughts on “Dolphin Watching”

  1. Lucia says:

    oh my god, this place was beautiful, I felt direct contact with this animals, and they are so smart, I love dolphins, was a great experience.

  2. Julia says:

    Highly recommend taking your kids to watch dolphins. Our 3 and 5-year olds were excited for two consecutive weeks, talking non-stop about these animals, asking for the next trip there!

  3. Sinead says:

    We really enjoyed the trip. It seems expensive, €52 for two, but I have to say that it was well worth it. We saw lots of dolphins in a very respectful honourable way. Geoff took us around the beautiful cliffs on the Kerry coast, he’s very knowledgable about the local geology. If you need to choose only one trip then I’d recommend this one, we were very glad we did.

    Visited June 2014

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