Eco Tourism

Something to be seen in every season.

In the winter months, whales follow shoals of herring around the Irish coast and you can see them only 2 hours drive from Dublin here in Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, with skipper Brendan Glody aboard Keltoi Warrior.

As soon as the herring come to Dunmore, from around late October, Brendan is on a lookout for whales through his living room telescope in his house perched on Red Head cliff, ready to go out to greet them as soon as he spots their blow. In this way, he is usually able to pinpoint their location.

Setting out from Dunmore East harbour and travelling about 3 miles from Hook Lighthouse you will be on the lookout for Fin whales, Humpback and Minke whales.

Along with whales you usually also see seals and gannets who also come to feed on herring; with luck you might even catch a glimpse of a killer whale.

Brendan will advise you on how to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime exciting experience by bringing the right equipment for the winter sea conditions (please see also section what to bring).

in the warmer months, you will find kittiwake colonies in Men’s Cove, at the Flat Rocks and in Portally; guillemots, oyster catchers, stone turners and many varietys of sea gulls and gannets

After exploring the Dunmore East's many coves: Lawlor’s, Counsillor's, Lady’s and Men’s Cove, Badger’s and Stoney Coves, you might want to explore the coast towards Rathmoyalan Cove and admire from aboard Keltoi Warrior the sea stacks, among which the one in Portally called the Old Ship, and on to Portally's caves with seal holes with their agile inhabitants, the Bishop‘s Cave on the Dunmore side of Portally or the Falskirt Rock towards Ballymacaw.

Travelling in the direction of Creaden Head, you will also be able to see the 40 rocky steps or the Donegal hole or cave where a boat named Donegal sunk. You can also admire from the sea the red rocks which have given name to the Copper Coast.

There is always an element of surprise in each trip. Part of the thrill is that it is the weather and the sea that dictate the conditions.

Whale and Dolphin watching

Dunmore East provide excellent opportunities to observe some of the 24 Cetacean species that have been recorded in Irish waters!

Adults range in length from 12–16 metres and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms. The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. An acrobatic animal known for breaching and slapping the water with its tail and pectorals. The species' diet consists mostly of krill and small fish. Humpbacks have a diverse repertoire of feeding methods, including the bubble net feeding technique.

Also belonging to the baleen whales species, is the second longest mammal in the world after the blue whale growing to 22m (72ft), 24m (80ft). The fin whale also known as the greyhound of the sea... for its beautiful, slender body is built like a racing yacht and the mammal can surpass the speed of the fastest ocean steamship. Its food consists of small schooling fish, squid, and crustaceans including copepods and krill.

The minke whales are the second smallest baleen whale; only the pygmy right whale is smaller. Minkes grow up to 10m and weigh up to 15tn. Minke whales are distinguished from other whales by a white band on each flipper. The body is usually black or dark-gray above and white underneath. Minke whales have between 240 and 360 baleen plates on each side of their mouths. Most of the length of the back, including dorsal fin and blowholes, appears at once when the whale surfaces to breathe.

The Common Dolphin range in size from 1.7m to 2.6m. These features give a distinctive hourglass pattern on the sides, which is the most characteristic feature of common dolphins. These dolphins have a distinctive black back and cape form a V-shaped saddle that dips below the dorsal fin. They have an hourglass pattern on sides. Common dolphins are gregarious and live in herds ranging from a few tens to several thousands. They are active and boisterous and often bow-ride boats, ships and even large whales. Breaching, surface slaps using the flippers not uncommon.

The harbour porpoise is the smallest cetacean in Irish waters ranging from 1.5m to 1.9m and our only porpoise species. They can be difficult to see, especially in choppy sea or large swell. Diving gannets and feeding seabirds that often associate with foraging porpoises may point to their whereabouts. Brief glimpses are typically of a small dark back and triangular dorsal fin, which roll forward out of the water on surfacing, their heads or tail flukes very rarely showing. Because of their slow movement, they generally do not produce any splashes, which is more typical of dolphins.

Over-riding impression of the bottlenose in the wild is the height of the fin, bulk of their frame and their strong, deliberate back arch as they dive after breathing. Usually seen in small groups feeding in same area, with. They surface 2-3 times each minute, seldom-showing beak or fluke. Dives usually last for a minute or so but some have been timed at 10 mins. In the absence of ships, they have been observed surf-riding in shore breakers or on storm waves in mid ocean.

The Basking Shark is the largest fish in the Northern Atlantic and the second largest in the world. It is characterised by its large dorsal fin and docile surface swimming behaviour. Similar in many aspects to other large sharks Cetorhinus maximus has a relatively narrow girth and pointed snout. It average size is 5-7 meters although specimens have been recorded at 11 meters. The shark is a filter feeder and uses expanding gill rakers located at the side of its mouth to catch large quantities of copepods. This feeding strategy is described as Ram filter feeding due to the sharks action of swimming head first with open mouth through waters in which its prey is found.

Book your eco-tourism trip

We offer whale and dolhin watching as well as tours along this remarkable coastline



Per person per hour

Once in a lifetime opportunity to see a whale at close quarters. Whale watching trips during winter typically last 3 hours. Get in touch with the skipper to enquire about conditions. Minimum group size 5.