The natural and rugged beauty of Ireland is obvious as soon as you start travelling around this beautiful country, but if it is wildlife you are after you may need to be a bit more clued up as to where to start looking. Once you are in the know then there is an abundance of amazing wildlife just waiting to be seen.
The variety of habitats that can be found in Ireland support plenty of fascinating wildlife, ranging from delicate wildflowers to gigantic whales.
This is a great place to start, with plentiful wildlife and breathtaking views across Belfast this mixture of semi-natural ancient woodland, wetland and grassland is a wonderful spot for a stroll.
Walking to the top of the hill is worthwhile for the view alone and an 8.5 mile circular route will bring you back along the shore of Belfast Lough.
Be on the lookout for the Irish hare, a distinct subspecies of the mountain hare found only in Ireland, and a visit at this time of the year will also reward you with bluebells and orchids.
The hill climb is of moderate difficulty with some steep sections to be aware of.
The famous Giants Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage site that provides some great wildlife watching opportunities.
A collection of lichens grow on the rocks and seabirds like fulmars and kittiwakes fly overhead. Some lucky visitors even get to see dolphins diving in the waves of the ocean.
Aillwee Birds of Prey Centre, Co. Clare
Situated in the heart of the beautiful Burren landscape the Aillwee Birds of Prey Centre celebrates all things birds of prey.
Inside the centre you can view birds of prey up close including barn owls and vultures. You can also see these birds in action during the incredible flying displays.
You can also get involved in the Hawk Walk which is an hour long trek through the beautiful Burren landscape accompanied by a guided falconer and a bird of prey of course!
Killarney National Park, Kerry
The mountainous lands of County Kerry are just beautiful and are also a great place for wildlife spotting. Hike through the National Park where you’ll find all manner of trails, one of which is the Gap of Dunloe where you take a boat from Ross Castle through the lower and middle lakes.
Whilst you are adventuring through the national park you may well be lucky enough to stumble upon Red Deer that roam in herds.
Other mammals that have been spotted within the National Park include otters, Stoats, Hedgehogs, Pygmy Shrews, Irish Hares, Rabbits, Mice, Badgers, Foxes, Red Squirrel and the American mink.
Wexford Nature Reserve
The Wexford Nature Reserve is a fantastic place for wildlife spotting throughout the year but is a winter destination for thousands of Greenland’s white fronted geese.
The open fields, widely spaced out hedges, water channels and soft, well-watered soils attract lots of wildfowl and waders.
Over 250 bird species have been seen on the Reserve so for the bird watchers amongst you this is an exciting place to visit.
Mute Swans are present on the reserve throughout the year, especially in summer with a summer moulting flock of up to 240. During the summer they moult their flight feathers and seek safety on the water until the feathers regrow and the birds can fly again.