Since we recently covered whale watching in Ireland we absolutely had to also consider dolphin watching since the two do go hand in hand. However, while the whale watching tours can also offer dolphin sightings through chance encounters, if you want to have the best possible experience, you will want to go on a dedicated Ireland dolphin watching trip. Various ones are available but the following are definitely great.
Carigaholt is a great location since this is where the greatest river in the country opens towards the ocean. Here you can find the largest bottlenose dolphin group in the continent. There are around 200 present at Mouth of the Shannon so you can expect a really high dolphin encounter rate through Dolphinwatch.
Draiocht is the name of the passenger ship you will travel on, with Geoff Magee as the skipper. It leaves Carrigaholt Castle Pier and while you are on the tour you will definitely appreciate the commentary. The crew is highly competent and really friendly. Your enjoyment, safety and comfort will be totally guaranteed. While you visit the area and you learn more about the dolphins as they are present in the natural habitat you will want to have the camera with you. Be sure that you keep your eyes around you since you will have a high chance of seeing seals, wild goats and nesting seabirds. Dolphinwatch is a family business that operates ever since 1992.
There are actually six wonderful licensed ferries that operate through Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours and that give you access to 1 hour tours of the Dingle harbor (Kerry County). They all offer the possibility of seeing Fungie, a rather popular and friendly bottlenose dolphin present in the area. If you are not going to enjoy the experience, you do not have to pay for the tour. When there is no dolphin sighted you are not going to be charged. This is a guarantee that is rarely used though.
The Dingle Dolphin boats give you the possibility of being on a ferry that is pretty large. You can accommodate around 60 persons in one trip. Boats can even be rented for hen parties, weddings or any other special occasion you may have in mind. If there is a special occasion, you will receive some champagne on the house.
If you are the early type, morning trips lasting two hours are arranged. These run between 8 and 10 AM. You should seriously consider them if you want to have a tour that is filled with more tranquility. In the event you are interested, the tour does allow you to possibility to jump into a wetsuit and then get in the water in order to swim with the dolphin.