Marine Wildlife on the Doorstep
The most poignant part of the recent Irish Times piece, “Wild Atlantic Way: whales and wonder along Cork’s Haven Coast” is simply put by local skipper, Colin Barnes. He underlines the popularity of local whale-watching tours in West Cork by saying that “People go to Iceland, Newfoundland and New Zealand to see these creatures, but you can see the exact same here.” Cork’s Haven Coastline (from Kinsale to Bantry)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, makes viewing larger marine wildlife 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 viewed passing whales from Keameen Point or Sandscove, just a short walk from Ballynoe House. We have also seen them from the observation deck at Galley Head lighthouse, or passing the Sheep’s Head Lighthouse outbound from Bantry Bay. Just follow local blogs and Facebook pages of tour operators and their clients to see videos of personal visits by cetaceans. 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, smaller marine life is the freshest of options in most restaurants, pubs and diners. From the ubiquitous fish and chips to something served gourmet-style. So, after many a local walk there is a surfeit of recommendations for places to refuel. West Cork was 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.
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 can be seen from Ardfield and the coastline near Ballynoe House. Book now to stay with us.
Mark Grace, Ballynoe House