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Enjoy wonderful wildlife and scenery in a beautiful part of Ireland.
Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, and in particular the rugged coastline of West Cork, allows visitors the chance to experience the thrill of seeing local wildlife in a truly fabulous setting. Spot magnificent whales, playful dolphins and cute seals plus many seabirds and the small, fascinating creatures that make the seashore their home: this is an Irish wildlife holiday with a difference.
With six nights in the attractive coastal village of Baltimore, you will have plenty of time to enjoy wildlife-spotting with expert guides, whilst also taking time to relax and explore some of the quaint villages, quirky craft shops and friendly bars and restaurants dotting the beautiful coastline of West Cork. This is where the Irish themselves like to holiday – but they don’t mind sharing the secret!
*As featured in The Times Travel “11 Surprising wildlife breaks” in January 2023*
On the outskirts of Baltimore, but within easy walking distance of the harbour and village centre, this traditional inn features a bar area crammed with memorabilia of years gone by leading into a bright and airy restaurant. Eat sumptuously-fresh seafood as you gaze out to the boats bobbing on the water, or chat over a Murphy’s with the locals. Rooms are extremely spacious and neatly decorated with splashes of cheery colours. A feeling of being beside the seaside pervades the place and the welcome is every bit as warm as you’d expect.
The holiday includes three different experiences, which will be scheduled across your stay, allowing plenty of time for exploring the area on your own, or taking time to relax.
The coastal waters off the south west of Ireland are a summer feeding ground for a number of whale species – commonly seen off the south coast are both fin whales and minke whales, whilst humpback whales make a slightly later, yet spectacular entrance. All in all, whale watching in Ireland is some of the best in Europe; in recent years, over 12 cetacean species have been seen in the clear, unpolluted waters here. The area also plays host to resident populations of common dolphins and harbour porpoises. In addition, there are frequent sightings of other dolphin species at different times throughout the year including bottlenose dolphins and risso’s dolphins. There are some opportunistic sightings of killer whales (Orca), long-finned pilot whales, white beaked dolphins and Atlantic white-sided dolphins. Other marine mammals regularly sighted on our wildlife boat tours include both the Atlantic grey seal and the common seal.
Your visit to Cape Clear Island will again start from the small harbour in Baltimore, with the crossing taking around 45 minutes. This beautiful island, steeped in culture and history, as well as magnificent wildlife, is one of the most southerly, inhabited islands of Ireland and still a Gaeltacht (Irish native speaking) region. It has a varied landscape featuring a patchwork of stonewalls, ancient megalithic standing stones and passage tombs, and impressive cliffs teeming with seabirds. All this surrounded by the beautiful crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Arriving at the jerry, board the island’s electric bus – Ireland’s first such service – for a tour of the island with a local driver. You’ll enjoy a great tour of this small piece of paradise, with an intriguing blend of wildlife, culture and history.
A day which can be flexible to suit your own needs and desires.
Secluded Castlehaven Bay is a haven for marine life and your expert local guide will ensure you experience the very best from smallest crabs and starfish living amongst the seaweed to close up views of seals and seabirds.
Indeed, for those keen to get going in the morning you could enjoy the dawn chorus by kayak or at the other end of the spectrum, a night paddle on the famous Lough Hyne – an amazing inland saltwater lake and Ireland’s first marine nature reserve. Start just before dark, allowing time for your eyes to adjust and your senses to be sharpened so you can really appreciate the tranquillity, with the moonlight glinting off the ripples created by your paddle dipping below the surface.
If you prefer to stay on dry land, we can, for a small supplement, arrange a walking wildlife tour at Kenmare in Co Kerry, around an hour from your accommodation in the company of an expert local guide. Do just let us know what we can do for you.
There’s plenty of time to explore on your own, maybe heading further west to the village of Schull with its colourful craft shops. Take a drive to Mizen Head, visit the imposing Bantry House and estate, or enjoy one of the numerous coastal walks in the Baltimore area, including a visit to the dramatic white beacon that stands sentry over the lough entrance. There is even a very unique way to visit an island – using a cable car take a trip to Dursey Island off the Beara peninsula. (Be prepared to give way to the sheep and cows still sometimes transported this way, though!)
While porpoises and common dolphins are resident, minke whales arrive off this part of the Irish coast starting in May; fin whales traditionally arrive in June or July. Both species continue through August into the autumn. The less predictable humpback whales traditionally arrive during August or the early autumn months.
This Irish wildlife holiday is based just over two hours’ drive from Cork, in western cork in the southwest of Ireland, which can be reached easily by direct flights from across the UK or via car ferry into Dublin or Rosslare.
£835 per person for April & October, £865 per person for May to September.
Prices based on two sharing double or twin ensuite rooms for six nights on a bed & breakfast basis.
Travel to Ireland
We would be delighted to book your travel to Ireland for this holiday.
We would recommend Dublin as your starting point, although it is also easy to come via Belfast or the port of Rosslare via the ferry from Fishguard in the south of Wales if bringing your own car. If you prefer to fly to Ireland, then you will need a hire car – we can arrange this for you if you wish.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions and recommended routes from your specified starting point, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
All Ireland itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
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This holiday can be arranged from April till October.
Availability is individually checked for a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses and other independent businesses, so please bear with us and we will respond in 1-2 working days.
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Your service compares exceptionally well with others we have used. It is superior in terms of choice of activities, hotels, and information provided.Patrick & Ann, Isle of Wight
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