I came to live in Westport in the 1980’s to work on a mussel farm and oyster fisherman in Clew Bay. Growing up in Dublin, I spent summer weekends on the beach in Killiney with my family and friends. Soemtimes we rowed to Dalkey island fishing for mackerel. I learned about bird watching on the North Bull Island on winter walks. I discovered Clew Bay’s islands are a wildlife haven for many species of birds and mammals.
Otter eating a fish on the seashore at Rosmoney, Clew Bay, County Mayo. Photo © Shay Fennelly
As an aspiring photojournalist I wrote feature stories about aquaculture and about people living on the coast. I learned how to watch otters in Clew Bay from Track of the Otter by Hugh Miles, wildlife camerman. I set up AQUAPHOTO a photo library documenting the marine environment on Ireland’s coast. I wrote about the marine environment in Ireland including aquaculture, fishing, whales and dolphins, shellfish, water quality, the impact of seismic surveys, fishing and oil and gas exploration. After a decade of freelance journalism as a mature student I returned to study and qualified as a marine biologist after four years. As a marine scientist I have worked as an environmental consultant for Aquafact Environmental Survey Specialists, MRAG (UK), McCarthy Keville and O’Sullivan, Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.
Wild Atlantic Charters is a new venture to increase awareness about the heritage of Clew Bay’s islands and drumlin landscape, especially its wildlife and marine environment.The Clew Bay boat trip on “Rebecca” will appeal to visitors interested in wildlife, bird watchers, nature enthusiasts, photographers, sightseers, and sea anglers. “Rebecca,” the charter vessel is fully insured to carry passengers and complies with all marine safety legislation.