When visiting Inishmore, the seal colony is a must see attraction. Located on the coast road approximately one mile from Kilmurvy beach. The seal colony is clearly signposted and has picnic tables on site, so bring a picnic lunch and take use of the available tables and chairs to enjoy it in the beautiful surroundings. The best views of the seals is best at low tide when the seals are sun bathing on the rocks. Conversely, at high tide, the seals are much harder to spot as you can only see their heads in the water. During low tide at the Inishmore seal colony anywhere from 5 – 20 seals can be spotted at a given time.
Straw Island is the small uninhabited island with a lighthouse that can be seen upon arriving into Inishmore by ferry. The island is home to hundreds of grey seals. Dive Academy, based in the main village of Kilronan offer diving and snorkeling trips to Straw Island where you can swim with the seals. This is an excellent opportunity to watch these magnificent marine animals in their natural environment.
The Grey Seal
The Grey Seal is one of two seal species found in Ireland. Adult seals are large, males or bulls can grow up to 3.3m (10.8ft) long and weigh up to 300kg (661lbs). Female seals or cows can grow to 1.6 – 2.0m (5.2 – 6.5ft) in length and weigh between 100 – 150kg (225 – 330lbs). The colour of the grey seal varies from grey to brown and generally has blotches of lighter and darker fur on its body. The seals are darker in colour on their back than on their bellies.
The grey seals breed in Ireland between September and December generally in remote and undisturbed areas. Their pups are born with a white coat that they shed in about six weeks before they take to the water. The mother stays with the pups while they remain on the shore. The seals shed their fur in the spring months and generally remain ashore for the majority of this time.
Seal Colony Location
Suggestions for the Inishmore Seal Colony:
- Bring a picnic
- Keep a safe distance from the seals and never try to touch them (remember, they’re wild creatures).
- Respect their surroundings by avoiding littering or making any disturbance.
- If you have binoculars, bring them with you so you can get a better view of the seals.