Basking sharks a plenty off Co. Clare

There is nothing that unusual about the current spate of basking shark sighting records being reported to IWDG daily from Co. Clare. But the numbers are still really impressive, with daily counts that suggest 100+ sharks in one small area between Spanish Point and Malbay last week. If we extend this relatively small area south towards Loop Head or north to Black Head in Co Clare; then how many sharks are there and what if we include Counties Kerry, Galway, Sligo and Mayo?  The honest answer is… we really don’t know.

Basking sharks feeding off Kilkee © Simon Berrow

Basking shark feeding off Kilkee © Simon Berrow

To answer such a question would require something like an aerial survey to get a comprehensive snapshot, but there could quite easily be 1,000’s of basking sharks currently inshore along our western seaboard.  These two images taken yesterday from Fodry Bay, Loop Peninsula and south of Kilkee by Carsten Krieger and Suzanne O’ Driscoil, show just how many sharks there are and how close they are to shore to feed on zooplankton.  This is a fantastic opportunity for members of the public to observe and record their observations to the IWDG, and thus make a real contribution to marine conservation.

At least 9 basking sharks feeding in Fodry Bay, Loop Head 8th May, © Carsten Krieger


Sharks feeding at Byrne’s Cove, Kilkee Golf Course area, 8th May, © Suzanne O’ Driscoil

Huge thanks to everyone for reporting their cetacean and basking sharks to IWDG in recent weeks during this difficult time. Keep them coming by reporting to

Pádraig Whooley, IWDG Sightings Officer

Basking sharks feeding off Kilkee © Simon Berrow