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.
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.
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.
Nearest train station : Tralee
Car parking : In Kilrush or Carrigaholt
Website : www.shannondolphins.ie