Cape Clear Wildlife Weekends

The waters around Cape Clear are teaming with marine life and the island itself is famous for being a migration hotspot, with Cape Clear Bird Observatory in operation there as a result. We are offering you the chance to witness all of this first hand with a series of weekend tours to the island and the waters around it with our expert guides.

Long known as one of the best places in Ireland for observing seabird migration from land, our Cape Clear Wildlife Weekends will take in some seawatching from stunning coastal headlands as well as pelagic boat trips offshore where we will go in search of rare or unusual seabird species around the iconic Fastnet Rock. Manx Shearwater, European Storm-petrel, Great Skua, Gannet, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Razorbill and Shag are expected on each trip and there is a good chance we will encounter scarcer species like Sooty Shearwater, Great Shearwater, Cory’s Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Arctic Tern. If we’re lucky then an extra bonus species or two such as Balearic Shearwater, Long-tailed Skua, Sabine’s Gull, Grey Phalarope or even Fea’s Petrel are possible, all of which have been seen during our pelagics in recent years. These trips offer the best chance of finding Wilson’s Storm-petrel in Irish waters between late-June and mid-September with peak numbers expected in late-July and through August. May has seen some fantastic northward migration of seabirds especially Skuas and has also produced the greatest numbers of Cetaceans.

Cape Clear Harbour


asking Shark, Minke Whale, Common Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise, Grey Seal and Ocean Sunfish are just some of the species of marine wildlife we regularly see on our pelagic ventures and there is always a chance of something else like Humpback Whale, Fin Whale, Risso’s Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Leatherback Turtle, Blue Shark or Portuguese Man O’ War.

While there is a strong emphasis on marine wildlife during this tour, we will also spend time exploring the island of Cape Clear itself, taking in the resident and migratory birds that can be found there along with other wildlife and historical sites of interest. Chough, Rock Dove, Peregrine, Black Guillemot, Skylark and Stonechat are just some of the resident species we will look for while summer breeders such as Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Wheatear will also be present. Keep an open mind as there is always the chance of an unexpected rarity during migration season! Outside of the Island birding we will be visiting some of the best hotspots throughout West Cork while journeying to and from the airport.

Fastnet Lighhouse


Thursday – Meet at Cork Airport from 12 noon. Travel to accommodation in West Cork birding some hotspots along the way. Check in to accommodation before an evening meal in a local restaurant.

Friday – Travel to Baltimore for boat transfer to Cape Clear Island, observing inshore seabird species along the way. After checking in to our accommodation and having lunch we will take a short walk around the island followed by dinner and entertainment in one of the local pubs that evening.

Saturday – After an early breakfast we will head out on a pelagic boat trip to the waters around Fastnet Rock. Return to the island for lunch and a rest after which we will spend the afternoon and early evening exploring the island, looking for resident and summer breeders. Dinner and entertainment in one of the local pubs that evening.

Sunday – An early breakfast will be followed and a walk around the island, taking in morning bird song and searching for migrants. We will leave the island after lunch, heading off on an afternoon pelagic boat trip to the waters around Fastnet Rock after which we will return to Cape Clear for Dinner.

Monday – After breakfast depart Cape and spend the day visiting various hotspots while transiting to the airport for departure times.

Please note: our itinerary is flexible and there is the option of switching up the timing of the pelagic boat trips to make the best of the weather conditions at the time. Land based seawatching may also be carried out from Cape Clear should the weather conditions allow for it.

Price includes:

  • Transport throughout the trip
  • Transport to Cape Clear from Baltimore by boat (and return)
  • Three nights accommodation on Cape Clear and one night in West Cork
  • All meals throughout the trip.
  • Up to two pelagic boat trips in search of seabirds and marine wildlife (weather permitting)
  • Tea, coffee, during the pelagic boat trips
  • Guided walks around the island taking in resident and migrant birds, other wildlife and historical sites of interest
  • Species lists and sightings which will be kept and compiled for you by our guides

Price excludes:

  • Evening drinks/refreshments in the islands local pubs

What to bring:

  • Binoculars and/or a camera are advised along with telescopes if you have one(the guides will have their own telescopes with them which you are welcome to use)
  • Warm and waterproof clothing (especially for the pelagic boat trips)
  • Suitable footwear (Rubber boots/hiking boots or walking shoes for the island and soft-soled shoes for the boat)
  • Suncream, sunglasses and a hat

Logistics and other information:

  • Spaces are limited to a maximum of 11 people
  • Sea sickness remedies are available prior to our pelagic boat trips if needed
  • A toilet is available on board the pelagic boat.
  • Life jackets are available for each participant
  • Our boat is fitted with all the necessary safety equipment



Your guides for the weekend will be Paul Connaughton and Niall Keogh

  • Both of our guides are trained and qualified in sea survival techniques
  • Walking conditions on the island are easy to moderate
  • The pubs and shops on the island do take card but be prepared just in case!
  • For further details or any special requirements please contact us by e-mail or phone

Wild Weekends can be arranged for any time by contacting us directly, the cost is €950 per person.