Nature Holiday in Ireland: Wildlife, Seaside & Skellig Islands

A Nature Lover’s Paradise

Nestled on the edge of the Kenmare estuary but close to the open Atlantic, Westcove Estate offers a sanctuary for those seeking an immersive experience in the wild beauty of Ireland’s coastal landscape. With the rest of the world behind you, step into a haven where nature takes center stage. Whether you’re yearning for a peaceful retreat, thrilling wildlife encounters, or simply a place to have a sundowner as the light changes over the sea, Westcove Estate in County Kerry promises an unforgettable escape. Your nature holiday in Ireland awaits!

Embrace the Wild at Pier Cottage

Pier Cottage, our most secluded property, offers an unparalleled connection to nature. Perched right by the water’s edge, it’s the perfect spot to experience the tranquility and majesty of the estuary. Wake up to the sound of waves gently lapping against the shore and enjoy uninterrupted views of the stunning landscape that surrounds you. This unique accommodation, consisting of a pair of converted coastguard cottages, can sleep from 2 to 11 guests, making it ideal for couples seeking romance, or families yearning for adventure.

Pier Cottage, Westcove Estate

Year-Round Natural Wonders

Westcove Estate’s prime location in County Kerry allows guests to enjoy a variety of natural attractions and activities throughout the year. Here’s a seasonal guide to help you plan your perfect nature holiday in Ireland:


Spring is the perfect time to experience the blooming flora and vibrant landscapes of County Kerry. Bluebells and sea pinks give way to fields of flag irises and the omnipresent purple of Rhododendron Ponticum. In late June Oxeye Daisies, honeysuckle and towering foxgloves populate the roadsides as the young Irish hares become active and easy to spot.

Derrynane House and National Park
  • Description: Explore the historic Derrynane House, the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell , and its surrounding national park with lush gardens and walking trails.
  • Link: Derrynane House and National Park
  • Activities: Guided tours, picnics, and coastal walks.
Kerry Way Hiking Trails
  • Description: Experience the breathtaking Kerry Way, a 200km walking route that offers diverse landscapes from mountains to coastline.
  • Link: Kerry Way
  • Activities: Hiking, photography, botany, bird watching.
Harbour seal Pup, Westcove


Summer in County Kerry offers warm weather and long days perfect for outdoor adventures. Early summer is when the harbour seals at Westcove have their adorable pups, and the herons that nest in the grounds raise their demanding chicks. The hedgerows turn exotic with flame coloured montbretia (crocosmia) clashing with the red and purple fuschia that lines all the lanes.

Skellig Islands bird Watching
  • Description: Take a boat tour to the Skellig Islands. The “little” Skellig rising to 134 metres, houses Ireland’s largest gannet colony ( some 35,000 birds ) while Skellig Michael , teems with nesting puffins from March until July as well as housing an impressively preserved 6th century monastery. Dolphins, seals and even whales are often spotted en route, or around the islands themselves.
  • Links:
    Skellig Michael Boat Tours
    Skellig Experience
    Skellig Tours
  • Activities Bird watching, dolphin and whale watching, historical tours of the ancient monastery.
Puffin on Skellig Michael, co.Kerry
Derrynane Beach
  • Description: A stunning one and a half kilometre sandy beach perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
  • Link: Derrynane Beach
  • Activities: Swimming, kayaking, windsurfing.
Ring of Kerry Cycling
  • Description: Cycle along the famous Ring of Kerry, enjoying picturesque views and charming villages along the way.
  • Link: Ring of Kerry Cycle Route
  • Activities: Cycling, sightseeing, local dining.
Valentia Island
  • Description: Discover the beauty of Valentia Island with its dramatic cliffs, subtropical gardens, and historical sites.
  • Link: Valentia Island
  • Activities: Scenic drives, walking tours, Glanleam gardens, Geokaun Mountain and Fogher Cliffs.


In autumn the light becomes golden matching the hills that turn a soft russett brown. Wild blackberries are everywhere for the eating and mushrooms can appear overnight.

Gap of Dunloe
  • Description: A scenic mountain pass with stunning autumn foliage, perfect for a leisurely drive or guided tour.
  • Link: Gap of Dunloe Tours
  • Activities: Jaunting car rides, hiking, photography.
Muckross House and Gardens
  • Description: Visit the historic Muckross House and its beautifully maintained gardens, located within Killarney National Park.
  • Link: Muckross House
  • Activities: House tours, garden walks, traditional farms.
Carrauntoohil Hike
  • Description: Hike Ireland’s highest peak, Carrauntoohil, for breathtaking views and a challenging adventure.
  • Link: Carrauntoohil
  • Activities: Hiking, mountaineering, guided tours.


Winter offers a quieter, more introspective experience of County Kerry’s natural beauty. This is when the grey seals have their pups on offshore islands, and Westcove is visited by migratory Great Northern Divers from Greenland and Canada. A walk in the Atlantic storms can be stunningly dramatic and you can curl up afterwards by a roaring fire with an Irish coffee.

Killarney National Park Winter Walks
  • Description: Enjoy the serene beauty of Killarney National Park during the winter months, with empty roads and sometimes a dusting of snow on the higher peaks.
  • Link: Killarney National Park
  • Activities: Walking, wildlife spotting, visiting Torc Waterfall.
Dingle Peninsula
  • Description: Explore the rugged beauty of the Dingle Peninsula, with its dramatic coastal landscapes and charming towns.
  • Link: Dingle Peninsula
  • Activities: Scenic drives, cultural tours, local cuisine.
Ross Castle
  • Description: Visit the historic Ross Castle, located on the shores of Lough Leane in Killarney National Park.
  • Link: Ross Castle
  • Activities: Castle tours, boat trips, photography.
Kenmare River in Winter

Outdoor Activities for Every Adventurer

Westcove Estate offers a wide range of outdoor activities, ensuring that every guest can find something to enjoy:

  • Kayaking and Canoeing: Explore the estuary’s hidden inlets and enjoy the tranquility of paddling through the calm waters.
  • Fishing: Cast your line and try your luck at catching a variety of fish. The estuary is known for its rich marine life, making it a favorite spot for anglers.
  • Hiking and Walking: With trails that cater to all levels of fitness, hiking around Westcove Estate is a must. From gentle coastal walks to more challenging hikes, the scenery is always rewarding.
  • Photography: Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, the diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife provide endless opportunities for stunning photographs.
Dolphins spotting in Kenmare

Seasonal Highlights

To make the most of your stay at Westcove Estate, here are some seasonal highlights and recommendations:

  • Skellig Islands Tours: Book a guided tour to Skellig Michael. Early booking is essential as tours are very popular.
  • Seal Watching: Westcove Bay usually hosts around forty seals, both Atlantic Grey and Harbour seals. They can be seen all year round but in the winter haul out right in front of the pier cottages.
  • Stargazing: The clear winter skies offer incredible opportunities for stargazing. Bring a telescope and marvel at the night sky. Kerry Dark Sky Reserve
  • Cozy Nights In: Take advantage of the cozy interiors of Pier Cottage. Enjoy local produce and perhaps a glass of Irish whiskey by the fire.

Book Your Nature Escape Today

Westcove Estate invites you to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature. Pier Cottage, with its unrivaled location and stunning views, is the perfect base for your nature holiday in Ireland. Whether you’re looking to swim with seals, explore the Skellig Islands, or simply unwind in a tranquil setting, Westcove Estate offers it all.