Seals, Eagles & Other Wildlife

Harbour Seal Colony

A Harbour Seal or Common Seal

A harbour seal, also kown as the common seal, posing in Glengarriff Harbour for tourists en route to Garnish Island.


The small village of Glengarriff in Co. Cork is host to the largest common or harbour seal colony in Ireland. It has an estimated population of 250 seals. The seals are very photogenic and bask on the rocks posing for ferry passengers visiting Garnish Island.

Seal pups are born in and around August, the height of the season and are extremely popular with onlookers. The seals have grown used to the local ferry companies boats and do not shy away whatsoever. However they may be wary of boats they so not recognise and trust.

The seals are out in large numbers on nearly every day of the season so the chances of spotting them are extremely high. The ferry operaters will slow down near seal island affording you the opportunities to take photographs.

There are few places in the world you’ll get such an opportunity to get so close to these intriguing creatures as you will get in Glengarriff Harbour.


Seals on boatride to Garinish Island (Ilnacullin), Glengarriff, Country Cork, Ireland


Seal swimming in Glengarriff Harbour, Co. Cork ireland.

White Tailed Sea Eagles

White Tailed Sea Eagle in flight, Garnish Island, Glengarriff, Co. Cork, Ireland

In recent years Garnish Island has found itself home to a pair of the once extinct white tailed eagle. In 2016 they gave birth to one of only six Irish born chicks in the country. The chick named Eddie the Eagle has become quite famous featuring in many national news publications, he successfully fledged the nest at the end of 2016, which is very promising for the reintroduction of white tailed eagles across Ireland.

On the ferry trip out to Garnish Island, you have a good chance of spotting these majestic and rare birds. They nest on a tree on the perimeter of the Island in Glengarriff allowing for a great view of them from the water. If you are lucky you may even catch them in flight, observing their broad wingspan of up to 8 feet is a sight not to be missed.

According to an expert of the subject Clare Heardman “Eddie finally made history as the first wild born-eagle to hatch and fly in county Cork in over 100 years. He is also a huge attraction for tourists visiting Garnish”

Eddie’s parents are expected to have a chick every year for the rest of their life, they can reach ages of up to 25-30 years. This is exciting news for the wildlife in the area, particularly Garnish Island and Glengarriff.

White Tailed Sea Eagle, perched on Garnish Island, Glengarriff, Co. Cork, Ireland


Read more about our local eagles






Dolphins & Other Wildlife

Dolphin captured jumping in Southwest Ireland.

Glengarriff is well known for its abundance of nature and wildlife. It’s home to the Glengarriff Nature Reserve, An Ancient Oak Forrest, Garnish Island, The Ewe Gardens, The Bamboo Park, The Blue Pool Park among others.

Glengarriff can host many plants and trees that could not survive in the rest of the country due to it’s unique micro-climate. It has an incredibly mild climate allowing many rare and tropical things to grow.

In Glengarriff you will also get an opportunity to see things like, harbour seals, white tailed sea eagles, swans, ducks, herons, seagulls and many more. These are just some of the things you may see on your ferry trip out to Garnish Island. If you come in late summer you may also see some jellyfish from the safety of the ferry.

Every couple of months Glengarriff is visited by friendly pods of Dolphins, which swim playfully alongside the boats, jumping in an out of the water, often the dolphins will follow the ferries around. If you are lucky enough to be visiting Garnish Island when the dolphins are in town you may get to see them at very close proximity.

Swan in Glengarriff Harbour, Co. Cork, Ireland


Heron hunting for fish in Glengarriff Harbour, Glengarriff, Co. Cork, Ireland