BirdWatch Ireland Reserves

Puffin Island - County Kerry

Puffin Island, GuillemotsPuffin IslandPuffin Island, Puffin


The Puffin Island Reserve is a narrow steep-sided island rising to 145 m with spectacular cliffs which, as its name suggests, is home to breeding Puffins during the summer months. Thousands of birds can be seen as they swirl around above their breeding burrows. Under the cover of darkness the island comes alive with thousands of Manx Shearwaters returning to their nests. On the steep cliffs, Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes also breed.

Key species


Often referred to the clown of the sea; watch the adults returning from fishing forays at sea with sandeels hanging from their colourful beaks.


Penguin-like, Guillemots look ungainly when they shuffle around on their nesting ledges on the cliffs, but underwater their streamlined shape comes into its own.

Manx Shearwater

A true ocean seabird that spends all day fishing out at sea before gathering in rafts just offshore in the evening, before returning to their nesting burrows under the dark night sky. 

Accessibility & Facilities

Access to the island is by written permission from BirdWatch Ireland only; it is inaccessible but can be viewed from a boat or distantly from the mainland. Licensed boat operators do daily tours through the summer months from Valentia on arrangement.

Opening times: The Puffin Island reserve is open all year-round although the island is generally inaccessible.

Entrance charges: Free, but donations to help us continue our work here are welcome.

Facilities: There are no facilities. 

Where is it?

Location: an offshore island some 7 km south-west of Valentia

Grid Ref: V 344 677

Google maps

Further info

BirdWatch Ireland West Kerry Branch - Facebook

BirdWatch Ireland Seabird blog  

Kerry Birding  

What’s the weather like?


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