20 May 2021
The influence of the ocean is immense around the island of Ireland, and its fruits and pleasures are abundant.
Surrounded by water, and with its western seaboard the last stop in Europe before the vast Atlantic, Ireland is one of the most exposed countries in the world to the wonders of the ocean.
Fishermen and coastal communities have lived in harmony with the island’s seas and oceans since the beginning of time, and with World Ocean Day coming up on 8 June the Irish need little reminder of how important it is to honour, help protect and celebrate the oceans that connect us all.
Around this island nation, the variety of sea, ocean and aquatic experiences, above and below water, is second to none. If the ocean casts a spell on you, Irish waters are where you can feel its magic.
It could be exploring the underwater landscape on a scuba dive in County Down’s beautiful Strangford Lough, a simple but bracing open-water swim in the Irish Sea at Dublin’s renowned Forty Foot, or a seaside nature trail and a glass bottomed boat tour off the coast of County Galway.
The call of the sea resounds right across the island of Ireland, whether it’s the top-notch surfing at Easkey, County Sligo, a boat voyage of discovery along the stunning Causeway Coastal Route, sea-kayaking in Clew Bay, County Mayo, or walking on one of the seven Blue Flag beaches that grace County Wexford alone in Ireland’s Ancient East.
Exploring an oyster farm then tucking into the produce on the famous Wild Atlantic Way, or having lunch on the beach at Harry’s Shack in Portstewart, County Antrim, are just some of the ways to enjoy the island’s sustainable seafood.
Easkey, County Sligo
With County Kerry vying with County Cork for the best whale watching experiences, Irish waters will surprise when it comes to catching sight of the majestic beasts of the ocean. A tour with Blasket Islands Eco Marine Tours from Ventry village on Kerry’s Dingle Peninsula is likely to yield sightings of minke whales, dolphins, seals and sometimes orcas and basking sharks.
Ireland’s respect for the ocean is notable along the Wild Atlantic Way, where mile upon mile of golden, sandy beaches face towards the next stop – America. Washed by turquoise waves and stretching County Donegal in the north to County Cork in the south, this coastal, oceanic heaven encompasses some of Ireland’s most stunning landscapes and ecosystems.
The Irish love sharing this picture-postcard coastal environment with the world – and want to keep sharing it in the most sustainable way possible.
A network of enterprises in The Burren region, which stretches across northern County Clare, is striving to make their area into a global leader for sustainable tourism. Acting locally but thinking globally, Burren Ecotourism Network has been lauded with a Lonely Planet 'Best in Travel' pick for 2021 as a reward for their sustainability work.
Here you can meet the locals, taste the amazing just-fresh produce of the ocean and explore the rocky landscape through a wide range of tours specially tailored to take in the beauty while respecting and maintaining The Burren’s delicate ecosystems. The mighty Cliffs of Moher here are but one remarkable beauty spot connected to the ocean, and connected to us all.
Sea Kayakers, County Mayo
Whale Watching on the Wild Atlantic way
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