The journey along the Wild Atlantic Way covers 2,500km of spectacular coastline with white sands and glittering waves. It also includes over 180 Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Points where the views are both strategic & stunning.
These discovery points are to let you know you are in a very special area, and they give you some hints to local landmarks and other sights to see.
Not many people know it, but some of these discovery points can be close to some wonderful rock pool experiences, only discovered when you talk to the locals, ask for Local Experts will guide you to the best ones.
As we are so close to the rock pools of Grattan beach, we would like to celebrate the wonder of these pools and share some of the magic & mystery that lies beneath them, we call it 'What really lies under the Wild Atlantic Way- Rockpools of Grattan Beach, Salthill'.
Where are these famous rockpools? Well, they are dotted all over the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s just some are easier to reach than others. Have a chat with the locals and they will know of a 'good rockpool' and tell you what you can find.
Drone shot of Grattan beach, Salthill. (Tide is quite high, so no Rockpool to explore...yet)....
Aha, this is much better. The tide has receded and the many rockpools are revealed. As you can see rock pools are formed when the tide goes out, and there is an area of rocks and seaweed where animals take shelter.
However, before we go into the rockpools, let’s do a health & safety check in!
For Health & Safety tips when rock pooling;
· Wear shoes with a good grip, for example wellies or old trainers. Be aware of slippery seaweed, sharp rocks, and barnacles.
· Be aware of the tide, you can get cut off from the shore quickly. Check the tide times, find daily tide times for your location from websites.
· Go rock pooling in a group and look out for each other.
· Be careful of wildlife in the sea and in rock pools. Animals may sting, bite or pinch, if you are unsure do not touch.
· Wear suitable clothes for weather. Remember the weather changes quickly so you might need waterproofs and sun cream on hand.
· In an emergency call 999 and ask for the coastguard.
Here we are our first rockpool, as you can see the 'rockpools' are not signposted per se. All you need to do is walk carefully amongst the rocks and seaweed. Please be careful as these can be quite slippy.
As we are rock pooling and many of the Animals like to hide, we may have to lift some rocks! When lifting a rock, we need to be careful, as there could be acorn barnacles and keel worms which can cut your hand quite easily.
Typically, it takes some practice to 'see' the animals, as they are well camouflaged, after many years in the pools we still miss out some species too!
WE ALWAYS REPLACE A TURNED ROCK!! If you lift a rock, you must restore it as best as you can. Remember, this is an animal’s habitat, so please remember that!
You may have some idea there are fish and crustaceans to be found, but don't forget the flora too. There are some amazing seaweeds under the rocks, and these are very interesting too.
We always recommend you purchase this wonderful book A Beginner's Guide to Ireland's Seashore Our Aquarists swear by it, and it fits easily into your pocket with simple guides and ID Keys.
So, are you ready to explore?
Download our quick guide below to study some of the most popular and rare species that can be found in the rock pools. If you are exploring the ‘pools’ we would like you to record these species for citizen science. If you are taking photos, always in landscape mode, try to get the whole species and take some side shots too!
You can record your discovery here; https://records.biodiversityireland.ie/start-recording Just remember you may discover something that has never been seen before! This is why the rock pools are amazing, you might discover small fish that have floated all the way from the Sargasso Sea, a cuttlefish bone, new species crustaceans, tide seeds……the list is endless.
Check out some of the most common species on the shore, download the PDF and see what we found.
Galway Atlantaquaria, Ireland’s largest native species Aquarium are delighted to present these stories of the shore. Call into the Aquarium to learn more.
Our goal is to share the diversity of stories that reflect the beauty of the sea, we are doing this by sharing images, stories, art, reviews & interpretation of the beautiful blue ocean we are only discovering.
This blog is to record the adventures , ocean literacy, discoveries , and showcase the hidden beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way.