We provide dedicated, year-round whale watching trips out of Reen Pier, near Union Hall, West Cork, subject to weather conditions and demand. Our trips are a minimum of 4 hours duration, often longer.
NB. Whale Watching in the North Atlantic is weather dependent and we can’t run trips every day. Please call our phone number 00 353 (0)86 3850568 or contact us on this enquiry form below for comprehensive details on upcoming trips. All bookings are “provisional” until confirmed by you 2-3 days before your departure date. Your confirmation is essential, so we can confirm weather suitability and you can let us know of any changes to your plans. If we don’t hear from you, we will open your places to others.
Please note we have a standard 24 hr cancellation policy. If you cancel giving us less than 24 Hrs notice, or decide not to take up your booking at the last moment, we expect you to pay in full (or in part) for the place(s) you have blocked for others.
Summer Whale Watching Timetable
The summer schedule runs from 1 April to 30 October inclusive.
Morning trip: 10.30am to 2.30 pm
Afternoon trip: 3.00pm to 7.00 pm (Subject to demand)
Winter Whale Watching Timetable
The winter schedule runs from 01 November to 31 March inclusive.
One trip per day: 10.30am to 2.30 pm (flexible)
Book your West Cork Whale Watching Trip
To find out more about our upcoming trips, and to book your place get in touch on the phone number below, or use the booking enquiry form or you can message us on Facebook.
call +353 (0)86 3850568
or fill in the booking enquiry form below
For larger groups of 6 or more people please see our
Group Booking Page
Booking / enquiry form
Sometimes, for whatever reason, passengers may have to cancel their trip. Please ensure that you contact us at the earliest opportunity if you find you cannot keep your booking, as during busy months we may be able to offer your place to someone else. But we do have a standard 24 hr cancellation policy. If you cancel giving us less than 24 Hrs notice, or decide not to take up your booking at the last moment without good reason, we expect you to pay in full (or in part) for the place(s) you have blocked from others.
Full time students (with valid Student ID card): €40
Children (under 18 years): €40 (1st child), €30 (2nd child and all others)
Groups and larger families: Group rates available — contact us for details
NB.: Colin accepts payment for trips on board at the end of the voyage. There are no credit card processing facilities on the MV Holly Jo, so please be ready to pay Colin by cash after your trip.
We can invoice larger groups on request, particularly for educational trips, film and research projects.
Colin schedules trips based on the most reliable weather forecasts available, and it’s rare that arranged trips need to be cancelled. However, your safety and comfort is our priority, so if sea conditions turn out to be unsafe or unsuitable, we reserve the right to cancel trips and we’ll make every effort to let you know. But the onus is on you to keep informed of any pending weather situation which may impact on your trip, and the best way of doing this is via our daily Facebook updates, or by calling us 2-3 days before your trip.
It is essential that the contact details you give with your booking are correct at the time of sailing so that we can let you know of any changes as they occur.
“Reen Pier is 4 kilometres outside the village of Union Hall, West Cork. From Clonakilty, Leap or Glandore direction, go into Union Hall village and drive through the main street until you reach a large church on your left (heading away from village). Take a left turn at St. Bridget’s church; Reen Pier is signed at this point. Take 1st right after 300 metres (again signed for Reen Pier) and stay on this road, keeping the lake on your left, and you can’t miss Reen Pier. It’s a 4-5 minute drive from Union Hall to our car parking area. With beautiful Castlehaven Bay on your right hand side, the car parking area is marked by a “Cork Whale Watch” sign, and is about 200 mts before the pier itself; here you will find plenty of free car parking. Once parked, you should continue to walk the final 200 mts along the road to the pier where the Holly Jo will be waiting for you. We’d ask that you do not park on the pier itself, as it may obstruct commercial vehicles and you risk having your vehicle removed.
If you are traveling from the Skibbereen or Castletownshend direction, the church is on your right side, before you get into the main village, and take a right at the church, and follow the signs as above.
Our GPS location is N 51.5318 W -09.16529 or N 51 31.910 W -09 09.918”
Estimated drive times from Co. Cork locations given in minutes
Union Hall (5), Leap (10), Rosscarbery (20) Glandore (10), Clonakilty, (35)
Bandon (50), Innishannon (60), Kinsale (80), Courtmacsherry (60)
Cork city (90), Blarney (90)
Middleton (100), Youghal (120)
Enniskeane (45), Drimoleague (30), Dunmanway (40)
Macroom (70), Mallow (110), Fermoy (120)
Skibereen (15), Ballydehob (30), Schull (40), Baltimore (30)
Durrus (50), Bantry (60), Glengarrif (70), Castletownbere (110)
Estimated drive times from Co. Kerry locations in minutes
Killarney (130), Tralee (180), Listowel (200), Kenmare (120)
VERY IMPORTANT: WE SUGGEST YOU ARRIVE AT REEN PIER WITH AT LEAST TEN MINUTES TO SPARE BEFORE DEPARTURE TIME.
Public transport to Reen Pier is NOT available from the Irish bus service provider, Bus Eireann and taxis are not reliable. So if you don’t have a car, you should be prepared to hitch hike from Union Hall village.
What to bring on your whale watching trip (SEE FAQs)
Even on the finest day, as the ‘Holly Jo’ picks up speed, the breeze can be surprisingly chilly. Please ensure you bring a windproof/waterproof jacket for protection. We also suggest you apply sun block and bring a broad brimmed hat if your skin is sensitive to sun.
Although tea and coffee can be made, we suggest you bring snacks or a picnic as fresh sea air can make you very peckish. Also important to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids during the 4 hour+ trip.