Killer whales off Mizen Head, Co. Cork

9th Apr 2008 IWDG have received a sequence of images of a killer whale pod traveling west off the Mizen on Sat 5th April at 14:30.

The sighting was made by Michelle Curran and Liam O' Shea who observed and photographed the group which comprised at least 3, possibly 4 individuals travelling westwards within a few hundred meters of the cliffs.

Initially unsure of which species they were looking at, they went into the Mizen Vision Ctr. which has some IWDG publications on display and by process of elimination they felt that killer whales were the most likely candidate. Their images suggest at least two adults, with one very large bull.


As with the basking sharks seen yesterday off the Waterford coast, this is the 1st validated sighting of this apex predator in 2008, and one wonders if this is a coincidence? There is evidence to suggest that killer whales in Cornwall may predate on basking sharks in the area. In a typical year, we would receive an average of 9-10 killer whale sightings in Irish waters, and their distribution has a strong SW & NW bias.

Killer whales can hug the coastline and we wonder whether there have been other sightings of this pod as they moved towards the Beara and south Kerry?

A huge thank you to Michelle and Liam for bringing this sighting to our attention.

Pádraig Whooley

IWDG Sightings Co-ordinator