Cork Whale Watch
Cork Whale Watch
5
Dolphin & Whale WatchingNature & Wildlife Tours
About
Colin Barnes is Ireland's longest established and best known whale watch operator, and has been enthralling whale watchers and wildlife enthusiasts in West Cork since 2001. Cork Whale Watch offers wonderful opportunities to observe marine wildlife in West Cork. These productive coastal waters provide critical feeding habitat for a diversity of species including cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), seals and sea birds, along with prolific fish life.If you've seen natural history documentaries on whales from anywhere in Co. Cork or Waterford, the chances are it was filmed from the MV Holly Jo. Among Colin's contributions are: RTE's "Wild trials", "Wild Journeys", "Living the Wildlife" and in recent years Colin has worked with both BBC Autumnwatch and Winterwatch and BBC Seasons to film large whales off the Cork coast. As a former fisherman of 40 years experience observing whales in West Cork, Colin may not have letters after his name, but those that do, know who to contact if they need to find, film or carry out research on whales and dolphins along the Cork coast. Colin has contributed to and co-authored scientific publications on both fin and humpback whales in collaboration with Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), and contributes to the All-Ireland Cetacean Sighting Scheme, by reporting sightings data to IWDG. Colin is a rare breed of conservationist, who has evolved from the fishing industry, his passion and understanding of local marine ecosystems is second to none. Colin is available for longer filming and research charters year round.
Union Hall, County Cork, Ireland
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(76 reviews)

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles624 reviews
Excellent
582
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32
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4
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5

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2020
Can't say anything bad about this experience at all. The boat ride alone was stunning. There were literally hundreds of dolphins and plenty of whale species to see.
The captain was really enthusiastic and gave loads of extra detail while being very vigilant for signs of whale activity.

Loved it!!!
Written 28 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2020
Had a fantastic trip out, saw up to 7 humpback whales, dozens of minke whales and hundreds of common dolphins. We were able to find them thanks to Colins expertise and knowledge of the area. He showed great enthusiasm throughout the trip and often got just as excited as the passengers when whales came very close to the boat!

Would certainly recommend a trip out with Cork Whale Watch, I'm already thinking about my next trip!
Written 10 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for review Conor. See you before too long back out on the HJ
Written 11 June 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
Skipper Colin provided an experience like no other. He began with a jelly fish and before we even left the dock, we proceeded to be directed to puffins, Harbour Porpoise, Minke Whales and playful Common Dolphin. We also saw a colony of seals. I was highly impressed to find Skipper Colin remind us of Covid-19 social distancing and hand hygiene government guidelines and to provide us with hand sanitizer as we boarded. I will definitely take this trip again when I'm next in West Cork.
Written 21 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Amanda G
Tipperary, Ireland
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020
What a great day out. The crew are absolutely wonderful, very knowledgable and made sure to tell us all saftey precautions before setting off. What an experience 10/10 overall highly recommended this trip couldnt fault it. We were so lucky on our trip we seen dolphins, Minsk whales and fin whales, Best €50 I ever spent. Will 100% be going to do it again. Take the trip it's well worth it.!!!
Written 11 August 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Couples
We had a fantastic day out on our trip. We had beautiful weather saw seals and lots of birds then the excitement really began with lots of dolphins swimming alongside the boat, jumping and playing. We thought we might not see any whales but the spotter saw huge splashes on the horizon and off we raced. Then a lone humpback whale enthralled us for ages, splashing with her fins and then jumping again and again. Colin, our captain was full of knowledge and he stayed out for at least 2 hours extra just to give us this amazing experience. Thank you
Written 23 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

E B
Dublin, Ireland
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Couples
We had received a voucher and booked several weeks in advance. We rang and we're told to book online, which we did. We received a voice message the day before our booking. We were told that we needed to call within 5mins or our booking would be given away. We rang back after 15-20mins as we did not see the message until then. He informed my partner that he had given our booking away to someone else. We asked was there another day we could book in or anything we could do as we were only in cork for this week. His answer was no and told us we were to blame for not reading the email correctly. The confirmation email said we needed to call in advance to confirm we were coming. As we had already been talking to them on the phone you would have thought this would have been sufficient. A phone call from them to confirm with us would have sorted the problem rather than him giving away our booking we had been looking forward to. We felt that as he had already received payment for the voucher he was happy for our voucher to go to waste and for him to get more money from cancelling our booking. Very disappointing.
Written 5 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021
Having taken several whale-watching trips in different parts of the world, and as wildlife surveyor by profession, I can highly recommend CWW. Even though I would have liked to see a little more of the whales, we did spy two Minke whales, and the dolphins and seal pups are crowd-pleasing joy to watch. Will return without a doubt. Colin is an extremely knowledgeable, professional but still enthusiastic guide, and the scenery on the way in and out is stunning.
Written 20 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Imelda G
Ireland
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2019
What a Terrific experience it is to go out on these trips. Always guaranteed to see wildlife, I’ve been out five times to see the excitement of the dolphins as they race the boat, the shyness of the seals nestling on the rocks, sometimes with pups, and of course the majesty of the whales. Seeing the ‘blow’ in the distance heralds the start of the best moments of my life, the last time I was out the sight of humpbacks ‘bubble netting’ the fish and finally the tail creating massive splashes. Will keep going, hoping to see one breaching soon! Thank you Colin.
Written 17 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 • Family
It was an incredible experience, we saw 3 different species of whale, 2 dolphin, seals, sun fish. The skipper was fantastic at finding the whales and was so knowledgeable about all sea wildlife. So interested to talk to. The boat was perfect, plenty of space to move around. I couldn’t recommend this trip enough. Great value too.
Written 20 August 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020
My family (Mom, Dad, 12 yr old girl, 14 yr old girl) went on 30th August. The weather was excellent and the sea not rough at all. The view of the coastline and of Castletownshend from Reen pier is worth a trip in itself. The boat is open, with no indoor shelter. There is a handrail all around and you can walk all around the outside for an excellent view. Colin was very knowledgeable and though they didn't make us wear them, explained the lifejackets and inflatable lifeboat that was on the boat. I did not feel unsafe at any time.
We had an excellent experience - this in spite of not having seen any whales! However, we saw a large number of dolphins, who happily raced along with the boat, sometimes underneath, sometimes beside. It was also very interesting to watch them hunt together, with the sea birds taking advantage of the activity to dive into the water and feed.
A small bit of advice would be to have plenty of layers of clothes, as eventually I felt fairly chilly.
We intend to go again, sometime between April and May. Thanks....
Written 24 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi John Thanks for this nice review. You may have been enjoying the scenery and dolphins so much that you didn't notice that of course the Holly Jo has indoor shelter in the generous wheelhouse which also has plenty of seating in case of inclement weather. Of course on a wildlife trip and during this time of Covid everyone prefers to stay outdoors. We look forward to seeing you out with us again in the new season when we generally have lots of minke whales and the humpbacks have returned too. Till then CWW team
Written 25 October 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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CORK WHALE WATCH: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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