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Aquaculture and Marine Tours of Ireland

Meet some of Ireland's leading marine experts and aquaculture farmers including whale and dolphin marine researchers and Irish fish farmers and shellfish farmers

an Irish sheep farm
expertly trained sheepdogs as used by the extensive sheep farmers

Touring Ireland's marine habitat and aquaculture farms of Ireland

Diverse Marine and Aquaculture Tours of Ireland

Agri Tours Ireland have proven credibility over the years of organising marine and aquaculture tours around Ireland's rugged and scenic coastline. Whether you are looking for a marine tour or aquaculture tour or a mixture of both we can arrange it for you.

Maybe you want a marine tour exploring Ireland's marine wildlife such as dolphins, wales and seabirds with an analysis of the different species and how they are catalogued, identified and tracked. Or maybe you want an Aquaculture tour looking into creation of a sustainable aquaculture industry that supports the coastal communities of Ireland.

Whatever it is you're interested in we can organise a compoletely customised aquaculture/marine tour to meet your requirements. All tours can be combined with visits to iconic sights of Ireland while you're here, an option a lot of our marine and aquaculture groups tend to like to include.

What Agri Tours Can Provide

  • Market leaders in Agricultural Tours of Ireland
  • Multi-Disciple Farm Tours
  • Specialist Farm Tours
  • Business and Industry Groups
  • Educational and Study Tours
  • Student and University Groups
  • Informative & Exploratory Tours for business leaders
  • Tours for Professional and Governmental bodies
  • Accommodation customised to suit your budget
  • Combined Agri and Sightseeing tours

About Marine Wildlife and Aquaculture in Ireland

Ireland's Marine Habitat

Ireland is an island and thus marine wildlife and aquaculture are very prominent. The rugged coastal edges of the island are one of the most lucrative for biodiversity as its the area where land and marine habitats intersect. A superb variety of plants and animals can be found within a small radius. For instance even what may seem like a simple rock pool, if in a limestone area can be one of the most abundant areas for intertidal marine animals. Ireland is located on the edge of the European shelf making it a spectacular and rich feeding area for seabirds, whales and dolphins.

Irish Seabirds

Ireland is internationally important for a large range of breeding seabirds with sites such as the cliffs of moher supporting over 30,000 pairs of seabirds with it being possible to view over 20 species of seabirds on-site. The cliffs of moher are home to 1,365 puffins, the largest mainland colony in Ireland. Puffins usually nest on steep slopes or cliff faces and headlands.

The Minke Whale in Irish Waters

The minke whale is the most common whale in Irish waters. It is quite a small whale growing to around 10m in length and can be seen off irish shores from early March until November. On a marine tour, it can be possible to good sighting of a minke whale due to the pattern in which they surface. Minke whales tend to surface several times in succession before it recedes for a deep dive lasting between five and ten minutes. A minkes whales "Blow" is difficult to witness but sometimes when the whale is close enough to us, it allows us to hear it. When a minke whale breaches the water which happens now and again, it's infamous white patches on the pectoral fins become visible!

The Humpback Whale in Irish Waters

Humpback whales numbers in Irish waters have been on the increase in recent years. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group Irish Whale and Dolphin Group(IWDG) have been working hard building a database to catalogue and identify humpback whales in order to track accurate numbers.

Fin Whales in Irish Waters

It is possible on Marine Tour of Ireland to witness fin whales. Fin Whales are the worlds second largest animal growing up to 22 metres long! The best chance of seeing a fin whale is towards the end of summer. The "Blow" of the fin whale is very strong and distinctively tall and straight.

Killer Whales in Irish Waters

Killer Whales have been spotted off the coast of Ireland although sightings are rare so we can't make any promises on your marine tour. They grow up to 10m and are usually just passing through Irish waters.

Puffin resting on the cliffs of moher, co.clare
A basking shark as seen on the marine tours of ireland

Dolphins in Irish Waters

The most frequently spotted species of dolphin on the marine tour of Ireland from Agritours are the Bottlenose Dolphin and the Common Dolphin. These are native to Ireland and may be witnessed all year round off the west and south coast. The Common Dolphin is split into two sub-species, the short-beaked and long-beaked species. These dolphins can travel in group sizes ranging anywhwere from 5-6 up to a few hundred. They tend to be boat friendly and very playful making them very popular among marine tours of Ireland visitors. Another regularly sighted dolphin species are the Risso's Dolphins. Rarer sighted species of dolphin include oceanic dolphins including Atlantic White-sided dolphin.

Short-beaked Common Dolphin in Irish Waters

The most common dolphin species we come across on marine tours of Ireland is the Short-beaked Common Dolphin. This species often rides the crest of a wave alongside our tour vessel allowing a great opportunity for photographs and analysis. The short beaked common dolphin is marked with it's beautifully aesthetic hourglass pattern.

Bottlenose Dolphin in Irish Waters

Bottlenose dolphins are among the friendliest Irish dolphins which tend to interact with humans more intimately. The most famous Irish dolphin is Fungie, a Bottlenose dolphin residing in Dingle, Co.Kerry. Fungie has had a fun and friendly relationship with humans for over 20 years. Bottlenose dolphins like Fungie who live in a restricted area are quite unusual as normally dolphins range over wide geographical areas. Another contradiction to this are the bottlenose dolphins that reside and restrict their travels in the Shannon Estuary in the West of Ireland.

Cetaceans in Irish Waters

Irish water are a very important habitat for Cetaceans, with 28% of the different types of species being found in Ireland or more specifically 24 species of cetacean. Cetaceans make up a large 48% of the native species of mammals in Ireland. Of the 24 species of cetacean, eighteen are species of toothed whale-including five species of beaked whale and there are six species of baleen whale. There are also two species of seal in Ireland, the grey seal and the common seal. Both species spend time on land but they mainly reside in the marine environment.

Fungie the dolphin off the coast of co.kerry, ireland.
A typical salmon farm on the aquaculture tours from agri tours ireland

The Harbour Porpoise in Irish Waters

The harbour porpoise can be found close to Irish shores. It is the smallest cetacean found in Irish waters and is often mistaken on our marine tours for a dolphin! They average about 1.6 metres long when fully grown. Surprisingly for cetaceans, the female weighs in heavier at around 75kg in relation to the male which weighs in at around 61kg. Its short round beak is it's most distinguishing feature from a dolphin. Unlike many species of dolphin, porpoises are often cautious when it comes to human contact and rarely interact with our boats on the marine tours.

Aquaculture in Ireland

Fishing and the use of other natural resources like seaweed have historically sustained coastal communities in Ireland. Over 9,000 years ago Ireland had it's first coastal settlers who relied on fish traps and tidal mills as source of food. Special boats such as the currach were built to cope with the rough conditions of the atlantic. In Ireland lighthouses, piers and harbours are traditional part of coastal towns and villages making for a scenic backdrop. Islands with their small communities typify the toughness and creativity of irish coastal communities. There are over 300 islands, large and small situated just off the Irish coast. These communities like a lot of the remote coastal communities around Ireland rely on aquaculture, with produce from the sea being a major resource. The demand for Irish seafood is increasing at a quicker than our fishing quota allocations can sustain. Aquaculture is vital to these communities as it offers employment and revenue.

Ireland's Aquaculture Potential

Irish farmed fish and shellfish has an excellent reputation, and summons a premium price on major global markets. However at current production levels supply doesn't meet demand. With this natural untapped resource calls are being made to capitalise on it's potential and create a sustainable aquaculture industry that supports Ireland's coastal communities and allows them to thrive. Aquaculture is relatively new in Ireland, operated in Irish waters owned by the state on behalf of every citizen in the country. Effectively aquaculture creates a new raw material that allows for sustainable development of Irish coastal communities. This then creates further upstream and downstream employment in those areas.

Salmon Production in Irish Waters

According to a 2016 aquaculture survey by the Irish Sea Fisheries Board(BIM) The salmon sector produced output worth €94.7 million, directly employing 191 people. 142 people were employed in processing salmon and over 80 employed in associated services such as diving and maintenance. Salmon production may not be the biggest sector but provides mainly full-time employment. It has the biggest economic knock on effect when it comes to job creation, product range and value and other services related to bringing these high value products to the shelves.

Oyster Production in Irish Waters

Oyster production is the biggest employer within the aquaculture industry with over 1,200 employed in 2015 for gigas and native oysters. The most intensive production areas are in the southeast and northwest although oyster production takes place in all coastal areas of Ireland. Due to a shift in preference for smaller size oysters, value of Irish oysters have dropped slightly. The Irish industry couldn't adapt to this market preference on time in 2015 and along with an overall reduction in French consumption of Irish oysters this led to value decreasing although overall production increased marginally to over 9,000 tonnes. France however remain the main market for Irish oysters accounting for 76% of exports.

Mussel Production in Irish Waters

Mussel production in Ireland is now limited to three bays; Wexford Harbour, Castlemaine Harbour and Carlingford Lough. Producers in this sector have reduced from 46 in 2014 to 40 in 2015. However due to an increase in seed stock in the three producing bays, annual production is now back over 5,000 tonnes. There are two types of mussels produced in Irish bays; seabed cultured mussels and rope mussels. The majority of seabed cultured mussels are actually exported to Holland. Mussels are priced very low on the european market which means Irish producers are only achieving somewhere between €700 and €750 per tonne. Notwithstanding the sector contributes to the employment of over 270 people in the primary production of mussels. The majority of this employment is in Cork, the most important Irish rope mussel region, employing 60% within this sector.

Picturesque irish harbour on the wild atlantic way
Salmon farm produce as seen on the aquaculture tours of ireland.

How our Agri Tours Work

We look after everything Ireland

Agri Tours will take over from the minute you touch down into Ireland. We provide a inclusive private tour including transport, arranging all your farm visits, sightseeing attractions, accommodation, and we can provide as many meals as you would like included.

Every tour we provide is private just for your group, and tailored just to your needs.

If your group's agricultural connection is educational, business, or entirely personal, we can craft the ideal Irish farm tour itinerary to match.

Interests Selected By You

Let us know your group's interests and we will design visits to match, from a highly specialised one-sector tour to a multi discipline tour encompassing the broad range of agricultural, horticultural and aquaculture enterprises in Ireland.

Purely farm visits, or perhaps a mixture along with some of Ireland's greatest cultural and sightseeing attractions. Maybe your group would like to get involved in the famous Irish culture and add experiences outside the farming industry as well.

Everything we produce is fully customised to your needs, so please don't hesitate to let us know your exacting requirements, we would be only too happy to produce an itinerary for your needs.

Designed to your Budget

From students looking for budget friendly accommodation, to business leaders looking to enjoy some of Ireland's best accommodation, your whole tour will be customised to match your budget needs.

Vehicle options

We can provide vehicles from private cars for groups of 2 up to 50 seater coaches, along with a full range of minibuses and small coach sizes in the middle.

Accommodation options

The accommodation is tailored to the requirements of your party. we have access to the full range of of Islands accommodation, from hostels for young groups,B&Bs and homestays, 3*, 4* & 5* hotels to luxury manor houses and castles.

Let us quote your tour:

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Why you should let Agri Tours quote for your trip

Agricultural Expertise

Agri Tours Ireland is run by David O'Gorman, who has a BSc in Agriculture from University College Dublin. His previous positions included lecturing in horticulture and working for the government's agricultural advisory service.

You will not find a more knowledgeable or more dedicated team for Farm Tours in Ireland.

Unmatched Contacts

Having the right contacts in Ireland agricultural sector is key to providing the very best in Agro Tourism. We have been trading since 1989, and in all those years have built up the industries best range of contacts across every sector of the agricultural industry in Ireland.

No matter what your area of specialist interest we have unique access to businesses to provide the ideal visits. Let us quote your tour.

Unbeatable Value

As part of the Discover Ireland tours group, we command unrivalled buying power with all the aspects of your tour giving you the very best in value. From budget friendly accommodation the students to five-star luxury, you will find our prices highly competitive at all market levels. Our ability to provide value in all the tours we do is one of the reasons we are the market leaders in agri-tourism.

Truly Dedicated Service

Our team are here to give you perfect Irish tour experience. Every tour we produce is unique and fully customised to your group's needs. Our tour planning starts with a blank piece of paper and a chat with you, and I expect team will work with you to create the perfect itinerary.

More About Agri Tours Ireland

Farm Tour Types

We offer a whole range of farm tour types, from horticultural study tours for students to multi segment farm and sightseeing tours. All our tours are unique, fully customised to the needs of your group. Please take the information below just as a start point to help get your ideas flowing. When it comes to planning your tour we can provide any tour you would like, so please just get in touch and let us quote for your tour.

A visit to one of Ireland's beef farms
A student group on one of our Aquaculture tours of Ireland

Designed Around Your Interests

Your itinerary will be designed entirely around the needs and interests of your group.

Multi Discipline Tours

We can arrange farm Tours of Ireland to cover a wide range of industrial segments. Do let us know the different disciplines that interest your group and we can suggest visits to cover the range of industries they would like to experience.

Highly Specialist Tours

Our unrivalled range of agricultural contacts means we can provide highly specialist tours. If you would like your time in Ireland to focus entirely on one or a few segments, we can design an itinerary to give you the best insider experiences of Irish agricultural practices in your field.

Agricultural, Horticultural & Aquaculture

Below is a list of some of our specialist areas, but it is by no means an exhaustive list so no matter what your specialism just get in touch to let us provide a quote for your tour.

Informative Tours for AgriBusiness Leaders

We our highly experienced in providing tours for farm business leaders, who are coming to Ireland to meet and share ideas with Ireland's leading agri-businesses.

We can arrange visits some of Ireland's most cutting-edge farms, where you can discuss the latest techniques and how leading Irish farming businesses are taking farming into the 21st-century.

You can also see first-hand how downstream added-value is an integral part of the Irish agricultural industry and how such a small nation has become such a major player in world agricultural exports.

Education & Study Tours

We offer agricultural study tours and educational tours across all of Ireland's farming sectors.

Ireland is a major agricultural exporter and its agricultural industry is one of the most innovative in the world. From yield levels to downstream increase in value to efficiency techniques, let us know your interest area and we will use our unique range of contacts to provide the most informative and educational visits for your group.

Student and University Groups

We can provide itineraries and accommodation that match both the needs and the budgets of university and student groups. Be it a multidiscipline tour, or an educational tour focused in on one particular sector, we can arrange everything for your educational tour in Ireland.

Experiencing Ireland

Combining Sightseeing Attractions with AgroTourism visits

Kilkenny Castle in the heart of the Ancient City of Kilkenny once inhabited by the Vikings
The Old Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland is well worth a diversion for....

Whilst you are here...

No visit to Ireland is complete without taking the opportunity to soak in the atmosphere of Irish City and Country life. With our years of experience we have honed our tours to ensure you see the best of real Ireland while you are here.

Amongst the Farms and Forests of Ireland, there are Ancient Stones and Crosses, Magnificent Castles and Monasteries; the sheep graze along mountain trails and the farmer enjoys live music and a pint in the local pub. Agri Tours are happy to provide these authentic Irish experiences while you visiting Irish Farms.

Your Tour Your Way

Just let us know the perfect balance for your tour and we will create a unique itinerary to match. Some groups would just like a few pointers for a great Irish pub to enjoy a drink at the end of the day, and other groups would like a much larger bias on the sightseeing aspects, spending a significant part of their time experiencing all of Ireland's magnificent history and culture.

As part of the Discover Ireland tours group, our knowledge extends far beyond the agricultural sectors of Ireland. So if you would also like to discover some of Ireland's history, experience its vibrant culture and get amongst its friendly people, we would be only too happy to incorporate these aspects into your Irish Tour.

Agricultural Tour Operators International

Agri Tours is a founding member of Agricultural Tour Operators International (ATOI), the body that leads the way in setting standards for AgroTourism worldwide.

Agricultural Tour Operators International More About Agricultural Tour Operators International (ATOI)

National Tour Association

Agri Tours is part of the National Tour Association (NTA), one of the leading associations for tour operators across the globe.

National Tour Association More About National Tour Association (NTA)

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