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A whale of a time at Downpatrick Head


JOYOUS SIGHT A humpback whale breaching.

Become a ‘citizen scientist’ for Whale Watch Day this Saturday

Ciara Moynihan

The arrival of species like fin and humpback whales and other species of whales and dolphins along the Irish coast is a good omen for this year’s All Island Whale Watch day on Saturday,  August 27. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is organising land-based whale watches at local headlands all around the country’s coastline between 2pm and 5pm, with Mayo’s event taking place at Downpatrick Head.
The aim of the day, which is part of Heritage Week and coordinated by the Heritage Council, is to raise awareness of the 25 species of cetaceans (porpoises, dolphins and whales) recorded to date in all Irish waters, by giving the public an opportunity to look for and observe some of these wonderful marine mammals in their natural environment.  This event also provides IWDG researchers with a unique snapshot of whale and dolphin activity around the Irish coast.
This annual, all-island event, organised by the IWDG in association with Inis Cologne, is free and open to all. All watches are land-based (no boats involved) and will be led by experienced IWDG researchers, enthusiasts and whale watchers, who will show participants how to observe and identify some of the more commonly recorded cetacean species in our waters.   
While there is no guarantee that the whales or dolphins will make an appearance, last year’s event saw whales or dolphins recorded at 15 of 20 sites (75 percent). If the weather cooperates on Saturday, there’s quite a good chance of seeing some really interesting marine wildlife, while also supporting whale and dolphin conservation in Ireland by becoming actively involved in ‘Citizen Science’.
Whale watchers are asked to bring binoculars or a spotting scope and dress appropriately for outdoor weather conditions. Please contact your local organizer, Aoife Foley on 085 8276984 for further details, or visit visit the IWDG website, where you’ll also find the latest information on whale and dolphin sightings and strandings in Irish waters.