The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and the BBC’s Natural History Unit collaborated in documenting rare, giant humpback whales breaching West Kerry waters last summer; the footage is expected to boost tourism along the Wild Atlantic Way.
“Humpback Heaven” with wildlife presenter Mike Dilger recently aired on the popular BBC1 magazine program “The One Show,” and it isn’t the first time they’ve visited Irish shores to film the iconic mammals. Quite a few shoots have been conducted off of Waterford and West Cork in recent years.
A portion of the footage was captured aboard former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey’s old yacht, the ‘Celtic Mist,’ which he had donated to the IWDG.
IWDG sightings officer Pádraig Whooley told the Inishowen News that the footage showcases the huge potential of Ireland's marine wildlife to attract visitors:
"We hope that this footage will encourage some funding from tourism agencies or companies who see the enormous potential for using iconic and rare species like humpback whales to showcase the very best of Ireland's marine wildlife along our Wild Atlantic Way," he said.
The video below shows a Humpback repeatedly breaching the water, which came as a glorious surprise to the crew, as they were on their way back to shore. In a half hour it breached close to twenty times; though all whales can breach, humpbacks do so more than any other species, making them the most spectacular to watch.
According to the Irish Journal, almost 70 percent of humpback whale sightings off Ireland in 2014 were made in Kerry waters, particularly around the Blasket Islands and Dingle Bay.
The Wild Atlantic Way is an enchanting coastal touring route of land and sea that spans the west of Ireland, from Malin Head at Co. Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula to Kinsale, Co. Cork, and is one of Ireland’s most famously beautiful attractions.
Malin Head tourism also received a big boost during last summer's heat wave, with almost daily spectacular dolphin displays.