Whale-Watch Ireland 2003 Results

19th Aug 2003 Each watch was led by experienced IWDG personnel, who introduced participants to the field craft, required for whale watching, and explained how to identify and record cetaceans in Irish waters.

At many sites, information packs were made available, while informal workshops were organized for children.

Besides the obvious focus on Ireland's marine mammal fauna, most sites adopted a multidisciplinary approach to increasing awareness in our marine environment. To this effect we had a mix of expertise on hand to offer a broad range of interpretation, which included: local Birdwatch Ireland branch members, botanists and ecologists.

A big thanks to each of the following for their help on the day.

Site Breakdowns

Howth Head, Co. Dublin

Dave Wall

The day itself was fine and sunny with a light SW breeze. The initial crowd numbered some 20 people as we commenced our cliff-top walk. I had scanned the place a half-hour earlier and seen 2-3 harbour porpoise some 200- 300m from shore, however these had vanished by the time we got to the cliffs.

We settled ourselves on the cliffs halfway between the Ben of Howth and the Bailey. We saw several Grey seals during the course of the day. Despite our best efforts and the crowd swelling

to around 50+ only one porpoise popped up close to the cliffs before disappearing.

We continued as far as the descent to the lighthouse and then returned. No porpoises but some good views of a kestrel. Finally at watches end we met ISS members who told us they had seen 2-3 porpoises inshore at the Ben of Howth an hour previously!


Hook Head, Co. Wexford

Kevin Mc Cormick

Looks like the sunny southeast came up trumps with the weather, as we had glorious sunshine and a calm sea. We had a huge crowd again, lots of people with binoculars and the crowd was swelled with the lighthouse visitors but we sold some merchandise and even a few memberships!

On hand to help out were: Faith Wilson, Chris Wilson, Don Conroy, Alan Maguire and Dominic Berridge.

Things were quiet on the sightings front, and our efforts were probably not helped with the presence of so many dive ribs in the area. On the cetacean front, those with scopes picked up 2 dolphins, very far out and in the final analysis established they were white beaked dolphins.

Throw in a few grey seals, an abundance of seabirds and a glimpse of the cabin fever ship going up the estuary to Waterford, and that was the sum total of the Hook Head whale watch.

Old Head of Kinsale, Co. Cork

Pádraig Whooley

This watch was always going to be difficult as at the 11th hour we were informed by the Old Head Golf management that they could not allow us access to the lighthouse, due to the threat of protestors, hijacking the event to gain access.

Thanks to local farmer, Dan Buckley, things ended up fine, as he kindly gave us permission, at little notice, to conduct the watch from his field at the Luisitania memorial. The protestors stayed quiet and joined in on the whale watch, one of them even took out a m/ship subscription!

That said, we had a great crowd of c160 people, in brilliant sunny weather, who did not seem to mind the new watch site. We had brief sighting of a single harbour porpoise and two bottlenose dolphins, which were only seen by a few.

The crowd were given interpretation throughout and Tom O' Byrne was on hand to show people a viviparous lizard, which one of the crowd caught in the field ....wonderful to see one up close.

Most of crowd stayed right till the end, although this was perhaps more due to the fact that the weather was superb, the views spectacular and there was always a sense that something spectacular would show up on the day.


Dunmore Head, Co. Kerry

Mick O' Connell

We had strong winds, rain and a t