Ireland's wildlife logo.

Early date for Whale Watch Ireland 2024

Whale Watch Ireland, the annual Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) nationwide public whale watching event, has switched dates for 2024.

Now in its 22nd year, this coordinated national event takes place simultaneously at 11 sites around the Irish coast, which means there is a good chance that at least one site will be within striking distance for most people. Traditionally held on the third weekend in August, as part of National Heritage Week, this year the IWDG has decided to bring the event forward to Saturday 18 May, as part of National Biodiversity Week.

Promotional poster for Whale Watching Ireland 2024 event on May 18, featuring a map of watch points along the Irish coast, in blue and white color scheme.

Writing on the organisation’s website, IWDG Sightings Coordinator Padraig Whooley explains:

“This year’s event is being held earlier than usual in order to coincide with National Biodiversity Week Ireland which runs between May 17th-26th. We’re also hoping that in bringing it forward to early, rather than late summer, the odds of our delivering this event in more suitable weather will improve, as late August has done us very few favours in recent years!”

A good crowd at the Whale Watch Ireland event at Galley Head in West Cork
A good crowd enjoying Whale Watch Ireland at Galley Head in West Cork

These simultaneous land-based effort watches around the Irish coast provide the IWDG with a unique snapshot of whale and dolphin activity on the day, as well as offering a great opportunity for interested members of the public to learn more about cetaceans in Irish waters. With expert observers on hand at each location, there’s also a high probability of seeing whale and dolphin activity on the day, provided the conditions are suitable.

The two hour event is free, and takes place from 17:00-19:00 at the 11 locations detailed below (info via the IWDG Website):

LocationMeeting Pt.Leader namePhoneEmail
Howth Head,         Nth Co. DublinBalscadden Car parkRonan Hickey086 3391142[email protected]
Bray Head,           Co. WicklowRaheen Cliff walk car ParkJustin Ivory087 6833898[email protected]
Helvic Head,         Co. WaterfordThe High Car parkAndrew Malcolm 087 7952061[email protected]
Galley Hd,          West CorkLighthousePádraig Whooley086 3850568[email protected]
Slea Head,           Co. KerryLaybyNick Massett087 6736341[email protected]
Loop Head            Co. ClareLighthouseSimon Berrow086 8545450[email protected]
* Nimmo’s Pier, Galway CityParking at the CladdaghMarcus Hogan085 8772223[email protected]
Erris Head,            Co. MayoErris car parkTom Breathnach087 2688435[email protected]
Mullaghmore Head, Co. SligoMullaghmore LaybyRossa Meade086 0632081[email protected]
Rathlin Island,      Co. AntrimRSPB West Light Visitor CentreJames Crymble077 72879038[email protected]
Bloody Bridge,      Co. DownCar parkAndy Carden077 62019160[email protected]

* Please note the watch at Nimmo’s pier, Galway may be brought forward for an earlier start. So check in with leader (Marcus Hogan) for more details closer to the time

Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (

For more information check out the Whale Watch Ireland page on the IWDG website — and before you head out, be sure to check out our top tips for watching whales and dolphins to improve your chances.

These events are well worth attending, if you can make it. I’ll be heading for the Galley Head watch in West Cork — and hope to see some of you there.

Leave the first comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.