What time of year are puffins in Ireland? Best time to see puffins in Ireland
So these puffins live life on their own timeline and it is difficult to give an exact “best time to see puffins in Ireland”, but I will tell you exactly what I discovered when I did my research, and when I saw them myself.
Puffins in Ireland – When can you see puffins
The general timeline for puffins in Ireland is anywhere between March and September. The breeding season starts anywhere from late March to early April and can finish in July or August, although there is a possibility (not guarantee) of some being around in September.
When did I persoanally see the puffins in Ireland and where?
I went to the Saltee Islands in Co. Wexford at the end of June and it seemed to me to be the perfect time go.
Puffins Saltee Islands, Co Wexford – Where to see Puffins in Ireland
The Saltee Islands includes a few Islands but I went to the Great Saltee Island which is just off the coast of Kilmore Quay (Co. Wexford). I purchased a ticket on board the Saltee Ferry . My friends and I actually booked out the whole ferry – there was around 15 of us.
If I remember correctly it cost 10 – 15 euro which was money well spent and a bargain for such an incredible experience!
The island itself is free to visit and the ferry drops you off right at the coast. It takes 15-20 minutes from Kilmore Quay.
The ferry was great. The driver told us exactly where to go on the island to see the most puffins and let us stop for a quick dip on the way back.
We headed to the back side of the island and within 10 minutes of getting off the boat, we’d come to the cliffs at the back of the island and there were puffins everywhere! I had no idea these little cuties were so charismatic. They had no fear of people and waddled right alongside my feet. I sat well back but a few times they walked right up to and right by me. It was an INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE!! You can see my images on Instagram.
Do the Cliffs of Moher have puffins? Can I see Puffins at the Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are actually a very important site for puffins. It has the largest breeding colonies of puffins in the country with up to 1365 individuals. They nest in the cliffs and feed in the open water.
There’s also a bunch of other important bird species found here including: Guillemot, Razorbill, Fulmar and Kittiwake. All these birds are found in high numbers here.
I’ve never seen the puffins here myself but I will be trying this year!
Where to see puffins at the Cliffs Of Moher
Apparently, if you visit between May and June you will see the puffins along the length of the cliffs. You can also get the Doolin Ferry which brings you along the cliffs by water. That way you can watch them out feeding in the sea. I did this before and all I can say is have travel sickness tablets with you because I was too sick to enjoy it!!
Can you see puffins in Galway?
This island is just 5km wide.
Where else in Ireland can I see Puffins?
Here is a complete list of all the places known to host the puffins in Ireland:
- Great Saltee Island, Wexford
- Skellig Islands & Skellig Michael – Co Kerry
- The Cliffs of Moher, Clare
- Inisbofin Island, Connemara Galway
- Rathlin Island – Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland
- Clare Island – Co Mayo
Puffin Numbers in Ireland
Atlantic Puffin numbers are starting to decline. The Great Saltee Island has seen a decline in recent years. It is thought that as the puffins nest in the cliffs, that the eggs are preyed upon by rats in the area. However, it is great to know that numbers along the Cliffs of Moher are actually increasing.