Marine Wildlife on the Doorstep
The most poignant part of the recent Irish Times piece entitled “Wild Atlantic Way: whales and wonder along Cork’s Haven Coast” is simply put by local skipper Colin Barnes. “People go to Iceland, Newfoundland and New Zealand to see these creatures, but you can see the exact same here.” Cork’s Haven Coastline provides a potential viewpoint for marine wildlife at every turn. It is recognised as one of the best whale-watching destinations in Europe.
Ballynoe House is situated on West Cork’s Haven Coast
The number of headlands, peninsulas and embayments of the Haven Coast, part of the Wild Atlantic Way tourist route, means that viewing larger marine wildlife is common. This includes several species of whale (fin, minke & humpback) as well as dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks. Often, these marine leviathans come close to shore.
We have personally viewed passing whales from Keameen Point or Sandscove, just a short walk from Ballynoe House. TWe have also seen them from the observation deck at Galley Head lighthouse or passing the Sheep’s Head Lighthouse outbound from Bantry Bay. You only need to follow local blogs and Facebook pages of tour operators and their clients who post videos of personal visits by cetaceans alongside tour boats. There are some spectacular images of both minke whales and basking sharks breaching off Baltimore.
In 2016, just a short walk from Ballynoe House, a Basking Shark was filmed off the beach at Red Strand.
Whetting your appetite for a visit to West Cork
Of course, the smaller marine life you can’t see is the freshest of options in most restaurants, pubs and diners. From the ubiquitous fish and chips to something served gourmet-style. So, after your walk there is a surfeit of recommendations for places to refuel. West Cork was recently voted as the Foodie Capital of Ireland. To maintain that perfect life balance of food and exercise, all those additional calories can easily be burned off on your next hike.
Mark Grace, Ballynoe House
Whale Watching Tours in West Cork
Skipper Colin Barnes’ Cork Whale Watch offers a unique boating experience from Reen Pier, near Union Hall, a short drive from Ballynoe House. Further West, Whale Watch West Cork offers boat tours out of Baltimore harbour.
The Stags are visible from Ardfield village and the coastline near Ballynoe House. Book now to stay with us.