Last Saturday the weather was calm and peaceful in Kerry and as our son Owen and his wife Marina had some Australian friends staying with them for the weekend Owen decided to book a boat trip with Des O Shea from the Wave Crest to see if we could spot some whales and dolphins. We met Des at the beautiful West Cove Harbour and set out on our fish watching adventure. Des is part of the Derrynane Inshore rescue team so we were in safe hands.

We headed out from Westcove and as we gently motored out from the harbour we saw the largest colony of seals that we had ever seen, just about 100 yards out from the shore. They were nicely camouflaged against the rocks

We headed first past Carroll’s Cove and then around Lambs Head until we were opposite the beach at Derrynane. We then moved rapidly towards the two islands which are out to sea from Derrynane Harbour, the islands of Deenish and Scariff. As you look from Derrynane Harbour Deenish where the salmon farm is located is to the left of Scariff.

Scariff Island was the part of the trip that fascinated me. It is now an uninhabited island of about 365 acres. If you look closely you can see the ruin of an old house and just behind it another one. The island used to be inhabited and the last person born on the island was a lady called Mary Galvin. Mary was the oldest of 17 children and she was Mick O Dwyer the famous Kerry footballer’s mother. She worked for many years as head cook at the wonderful Butler Arms Hotel in Waterville. Incidentally Mick’s father was one of 15 children so it is probably understandable that Mick was an only child!

Access to the island was and is very extremely difficult and the only way of landing on the island (and it had to be on a calm day) was up a few steps hacked out of the bare rock. See photo below.

After the spin between the islands Des headed out towards The Fastnet Rock in West Cork and this was the part of the trip where we hoped to see dolphins and whales and the basking sharks which were spotted in recent days at Derrynane.

Unfortunately that we didn’t get to see the whales or sharks even though the visibility was for miles but we did see some splendid sea birds, many different species and also plenty of the small common dolphins. Again in this photo you will have to look closely just off the bow of the boat as the dolphin was small and a little distance away.


It was a most interesting trip and a great way of seeing the shapes and contours of the land from a different perspective way out to sea. Also very exciting to see a little marine wildlife close-up from a very comfortable boat. Yes a well worth trip. Thank you Des.

 Ted Dwyer Family Business

April 2017