The Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Centre is open for visitors every year from mid-May until mid-September. It is open 7 days a week, from 10 am to 6 pm and admission is free.
The Shannon Estuary in Ireland is home to the only known resident population of bottlenose dolphins which comprises about 140 individuals. The researchers at the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation carry out photo-identification of the bottlenose dolphins to gain valuable information about individual dolphins living in the population. Not only can pictures help to identify previously recorded animals but they also allow estimates of the bottlenose dolphin population to be made. Changes within the population can be monitored and reasons for changes investigated. Acoustic monitoring of the dolphins and their surrounding environment is also carried out using underwater microphones called hydrophones. Marine biologists volunteering in the dolphin centre can answer questions about whales and dolphins, and other wildlife in the Shannon region, and are happy to discuss dolphin research with visitors.
Visit the dolphin research and education centre for free guided tours from marine biologists, and learn about the valuable ongoing research on the Shannon Estuary bottlenose dolphin population! Find out about the different whale and dolphin species living in Irish waters and study some real skeletons of common and rare species. Listen to dolphin sounds and watch a movie about the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation's many years of research in the Shannon Estuary. Explore cabinets filled with interesting specimens. Children can have fun investigating marine-themed goggle boxes and colouring on dolphin rubbing boards or by trying to solve the giant whale and dolphin jigsaw puzzle!
The Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation hosts a range of events throughout the summer, including pub quizzes, kids fun days, cake sales and more. For information about event dates and times, see the website or Facebook page.
The research team is often also present at various national events throughout the summer, including environmental fairs, local festivals, craft fairs at the Vandeleur Walled Garden in Kilrush, and Whale Watch Ireland.