Amazing sightings happening aboard the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s cruise this week.

11th May 2017

Due to the success of the 2016 tour, the IWDG is again undertaking a cruise in 2017 to raise awareness of the importance of Irish waters as a whale and dolphin sanctuary, highlight the work of the IWDG, carry out cetacean research and conduct outreach and education events while in port.  The Celtic Mist is being crewed by IWDG members and will have marine biologists on board to conduct research and to educate the public on whales and dolphins.  Updates on the Cruise's sightings will be posted on this site as they come in.

You can follow the track of Celtic Mist's journey on

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Celtic Mist departed Valentia at sunrise on Wednesday and again had an amazing wildlife watching day, described by the Skipper, Pat Hartigan, as “Better than any wildlife documentary”. The crew came across two feeding aggregations of birds, one with Minke whale, the other close to the Skelligs that consisted of 3 Humpback whales, 2-3 Minke whales, a Fin whale and a Sei whale! Naturally, the crew stayed in the area for a while with the engine off, sailing around the Skelligs before heading to Castletownbere, where they encountered two more Minke whales and a Humpback before docking in Lawrence Cove, Cork at 21:00. Thanks to IWDG stalwart, Nick Massett, who also joined the vessel and took some amazing shots for us.  

As the vessel heads for Baltimore over the next day, we wait with anticipation to hear about their further encounters. 


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The Celtic Mist departed Dingle in the presence of Dingle’s most famous cetacean resident, Fungie, before heading out towards the Blasket Islands. Here the group encountered another Minke whale before seeing Common dolphins on the way to Valentia harbour in Kerry - all this is only a half day's sailing!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Day 1 of the second leg of the cruise, the Celtic Mist left Fenit. Co Kerry, early at 6 am Monday morning by bottlenose dolphins as they left Fenit harbour. This auspicious start to the day heralded what Marine Mammal Observer, Sean O’Callaghan, described as “The most dolphins he’d seen in one day!” as the group saw up to 500 Common dolphins, 5 Minke whales, a possible Humpback sighting and 8 Basking sharks to top off a great day’s sailing.


Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Celtic Mist departed Kilrush, Co Clare, for Fenit, Co Kerry in glorious sea conditions. Captain Barry Keane and a small crew motored all the way to Fenit, where the first leg of this summer's survey cruises begin. Bottlenose dolphins were seen in the Shannon Estuary on a number of occasions with opportunities for photo-id taken. All were from the resident Shannon population. Skipper (Pat Hartigan) and second leg crew met the Celtic Mist in Fenit in glorious sunshine, enjoying a beautiful evening looking out over Tralee Bay.  

The sea conditions look good for the week and there were plenty of whales around so we hope that they will find humpbacks and other species to record and document. 


Steph on LOGGER, Cuan up the mast looking for dolphins and the crew relaxing

Entering Fenit Harbour

Monday, 1 May 2017 - Limerick Riverfest - update

Celtic Mist sailed up with a flotilla from the RWYC of Ireland to Limerick. Stiff southerly wind made Celtic Mist fly with 6-7kts under sail helped with a 2-3 knot current. We arrived in good time for the scheduled opening of Limerick Docks. Sunday was spent attending Riverfest and the return passage was largely under power as the weakening wind was westerly and by 5 pm was just a gentle breeze.


Many thanks to skipper Barry Keane, Stephen Little, Stephanie Levesque and Loraine Smith and Marie Keohane for safe passage.


29 April 2017 - Departing for Riverfest, Limerick

The start of the 2017 IWDG Sanctuary Cruise began this morning with Celtic Mist departing Kilrush, Co Clare, for a pre-cruise sail to Riverfest in Limerick.

The vessel left in rather breezy and cloudy conditions as part of a flotiila that is travelling to Limerick to support Chris Egan's sail around the Irish Coast to raise funds for the Irish Guide Dogs and the RNLI. The Celtic Mist will come back to Kilrush on Monday before departing for the first full leg of the tour at the end of the week.

The cruise aims to raise awareness of the importance of Irish waters as a whale and dolphin sanctuary, highlight the work of the IWDG, carry out cetacean research and conduct outreach and education events while in port.  The Celtic Mist will be crewed by IWDG members and have marine biologists on board to carry out research and to educate the public on whales and dolphins. 

The tour's next port of call will be Fenit before then heading south to Cork and cruising around to the south-east and up to Dublin and Drogheda before and finally sailing back around to Cork and Galway. The aim is to call into as many ports as possible, inviting school groups to visit the boat and attending festivals, such as Riverfest in Limerick, Riverfest in Dublin, the Glandore Festival, the Maritime Festival in Drogheda and Sea Fest in Galway.

If you would like further information on the cruise or how you can get involved, please email:

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