The Wild Atlantic Way – Seal Watching


Elsie Jayne

The 41st Burtonport Summer Festival programme included “Seal Watching Trips” to see one of Ireland’s largest seal populations, with Jim Muldowney of Dive Arranmore.

Dungloe Bay

“The islands and rocks of Dungloe Bay are home to around 300 seals including pups at this time of year”, the programme suggested. I felt compelled to book a place.

The weather was a little windy and clouds filled the sky, as we set off from Burtonport Harbour. “Elsie Jayne,” a purpose built dive boat, provided a choice of seating both indoors and out; I chose to embrace the ocean breeze in the outer seating area.

Rutland Island

Jim provided a very interesting commentary throughout the trip.  Passing Rutland Island, we learned that more than 600 people worked for Rutland Fisheries in the 1780’s, when herring fishing was at its peak.

Sadly, the fishing industry went into decline and the island is no longer inhabited, except for seasonal visitors to a number of holiday homes.


The shores of Rutland Island

Nature provided an abundance of photographic opportunities, including a group of Cormorants taking time out from fishing:


And lots of seagulls searching for a tasty bite:


Inishfree Island

Sailing past Inishfree Island into Dungloe Bay, Elsie Jayne slowed down to avoid disturbing the seals.  Aided by binoculars provided by Dive Arranmore, we searched the waves and rocks:

and we were soon rewarded with LOTS of seals – some sunbathing on rocks, others delighting in a spot of swimming, and a number of curious little heads peaking above the waves with delightful doe eyes. It was thrilling to observe these beautiful creatures.

I took just two photographs as keepsakes. The camera of my memories was blessed with many other priceless seal snaps.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was a truly memorable experience. Indeed the weather Gods were kind to our group for it remained dry until we approached Burtonport Harbour.

I hope to return for a “Sea Safari” adventure. If you click on Dive Arranmore then Sea Safari (at the bottom of the page), there is a wonderful video of dolphins swimming off Arranmore Island – Mother Nature at her finest.

This post was written as a thank you for Dive Arranmore’s wonderful hospitality, and not for financial gain.

Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.




  1. When the economy is not doing so well, small communities are the ones that suffer the most. The same in New Zealand. Fishing is also becoming much harder to make a living from due to large trawlers coming to close to our shores.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Brigid– what an adventure!! Fun to get to go along. And saw from your next post that you are off for a couple weeks– Is you sis here now?? Hope you have the sweetest time talking and walking and eating together!! Love you posts friend. xox

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow – have wonderful. Seals and their pups are just so adorable.. magical even! Enjoy your wonderful break away with the family.. and as it’s ‘appropriate’, catch up on my post – Do you suffer from post holiday blues… on your return.. it may put a smile on your face. I wouldn’t normally plug a post but as your away, this one just seems ok to do.. hope you don’t mind!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fun day out Brigid!! Being out on the water and watching who lives there– another world! Lovely for us to get to see it too. I wonder how you are doing today– on your time off. Hoping it’s a sweet time for you– God Bless friend, hugs hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Brigid!! Are you home from your travels?? How was your break away? Were you with your sister? The wedding was wonderful, I’ll post all about it when I get some more photos from our nephew. Welcome Home!! hugs friend.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Rhonda. It was a staycation. My sister visited and my neice and her family. Two lovely little girls who are a delight. Glad the wedding was so good. Looking foreard to seeing your photographs and catching up with all my blog friends. 🌼🌼🌼


      • Cool that you had time with the neices! I love hanging out with ours– now that they are grown it’s wonderful to enjoy them as adults. Glad for your time with family– and happy that you’re back here!! hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Bless you K. I would have missed the experience if I had taken more. I just love seals. My sister and I had two lovely seal watching experiences together in Scotland. Now I would live to see dolphins. Saw them only once here about 17 years ago…🌼🌼🌼


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s