Today began early as National Geographic Explorer passed slowly by the Skellig Islands. These two giant rock outcroppings are home to tens of thousands of nesting northern gannets and other sea birds and have a human footprint going back to distant history.

Making way towards the town of Dingle, there was time for naturalist presentations by Connor Ryan on “Seabirds of Britain and Ireland” and Kevin Rattue on “Geology and Landscapes of the British and Irish Isles”.

A cruise by the Blasket Islands, near the tip of the Dingle Peninsula, came mid-morning, between naturalist presentations. We spotted common dolphins and seabirds that take advantage of the rich marine feeding grounds surrounding the islands.

Afternoon options in and around lively Dingle included the “Cnoc a’Cairn” hike which gave us a chance to stretch our legs and enjoy stunning vistas, “Slea Head Drive” around the perimeter of the Dingle Peninsula with multiple stops to take in views and local culture, and “Life in Dingle and Blasket” with a scenic drive and a stop at the outstanding Blasket Centre. Some of us chose to explore Dingle on our own.