Saturday, 1 May 2010

Eyes Open Ireland

This week we once again go to the Loop Head Peninsula with Cortney of Conscious Crafts.

"One of my first experiences on the Loop Head Peninsula was with the resident dolphins on a dolphin watch tour on the Shannon Estuary. Our trip was blessed with beautiful sunny skies, comfortable seas and plenty of dolphin and other wildlife. Little did I know, dolphin are quite fascinated by the boats and human activity in the Estuary and more often than not they happily put on a "show" for the tourists, riding the bow of the boat and jumping out of the water when you least expect it."

"Our village, Carrigaholt, is home to the Dolphinwatch Centre. The Centre is operated by our good friends Susanne and Geoff Magee who pioneered dolphin watch tours in the Shannon Estuary in the early '90's. They have plenty of experience and great knowledge of the dolphins, wildlife and geology.  A trip on their boat, the Draiocht, is so much more than time with the dolphins. Captain Magee is great at educating the passengers about the geology of the Loop Head Cliffs, habits of birds and dolphins along with other interesting historical facts of the area."

"Prior to my first tour on the Draiocht I'd seen plenty of dolphins in aquariums and even swam with them on holiday in Cancun. Of course, "captivity" is the first word that comes to mind and instantly makes me feel sad for the many dolphin kept in small tanks for our study and amusement. Nevertheless, on the Loop Head Peninsula it's possible to view the pods of dolphin in their natural habitat from our cliffs and from the Draiocht." 

"These encounters feel less intrusive and more intimate, plus taking in the surroundings is breathtaking, to "be at sea" is perfect for anyone who loves to test their 'sea legs'."

"I'm fortunate in that my husband owns a fishing boat, the Fiona David. Last summer we spent a day on the Estuary and out in the Atlantic, it was another beautiful, sunny day and as if that weren't enough, our journey home was topped with a 30 minute show from a pod of dolphin surfing on the bow of the boat and swimming about."
"Witnessing nature, doesn't require a boat or camera and in certain instances she's happy to catch us unprepared. A few weeks back, we were enjoying a walk around Kilcredaun Lighthouse when my husband spotted a pod of dolphin. Without my camera, we sat on the cliff's ledge and enjoyed the dolphin 50 feet below us, swimming in  a triangular formation. The encore was a lone dolphin with a sea sponge at the water's surface. Amazing!

When you're ready to experience the rugged shores of County Clare, bi-pass the Cliffs of Moher and head straight to Carrigaholt's Dolphinwatch Centre book your tour and see photos and artifacts from the area. Before you leave, be sure to venture out to the Loop Head Lighthouse and wander around her rocky cliffs (same as the those of Moher, only not as tall and certainly more affordable and organic).  A day on Loop Head Peninsula is the perfect elixir for anyone leading a busy life. Our pace is relaxed and nature is abundant, life is simple and the sun shines often."

Learn more about Dolphinwatch Centre at

Hope to see you soon!

Cortney and Patrick
Conscious Crafts by West Clare Weavers
Loop Head Peninsula, Ireland