Wildlife in Dublin: Where to See Nature in the City

Dublin is a cosmopolitan, capital city. But even still, there are plenty of ways to get close to the Irish wildlife in the city and nearby. In city parks, you’ll be able to find animals from squirrels to deer. Off the coast, you can see seabirds, seals and dolphins. Provided you know where to look, of course.

MammalsBirdsMarine Life
FoxesSwansHarbour Porpoises
Squirrels (Red and Grey)Falcons
Just some of the wildlife that you might be able to see in and around Dublin

Its rare that a day goes by when I don’t see some wildlife wandering around Dublin city or its parks. Even in today’s modern world, there are plenty of ways to connect with nature. Even in the heart of a major, developed city, you are not as far from the wild as you might think…

Wildlife in Dublin City

Wildlife in Dublin

As a local, the wildlife in Dublin that I am most familiar with would definitely be the birds, like the (in)famous seagulls and foxes that prowl the city at night. I think that most Dubliners have had experiences with these animals at some point.

While these are some of the most commonly seen creatures in the city, they are far from the only ones. Even in residential areas, the diversity of bird species is impressive. The waterways in the area are also home to fresh water fish and even otters in rare cases. Also, Dublin Bay is an area of conservation, with plenty of species.

Phoenix Park

Deer - Dublin
One of the famous Deer in the Phoenix Park

The Phoenix ParkOpens in a new tab. is one of the best things about Dublin, this is a huge city park is about twice the size of Central Park in New York. If you explore this area of maintained wilderness just next to Dublin city center, you will be able to find plenty of things to see, including wildlife.

Some of the species you can find in the Phoenix Park include:

  • Fallow Deer – Phoenix Park is home to a large population of fallow deer that roam freely throughout the park.
  • Foxes – Foxes are a common sight in Phoenix Park and you can often see them darting across open fields or peeking out from behind trees.
  • Rabbits – Wild rabbits are abundant in Phoenix Park, and you might spot them nibbling on grass or darting through the underbrush.
  • Hedgehogs – These small, spiky creatures are nocturnal, but you might might be lucky enough to spot one wandering around the park after dark.
  • Grey Squirrels – Like many parks in Ireland, Phoenix Park is home to a large population of grey squirrels. These animals are non-native and are pushing the native Red Squirrel to extinction.
  • Birds – Phoenix Park is a haven for bird watchers, with over 200 species of birds recorded in the park. Some of the most common species include swans, ducks, and various species of songbirds.

If you visit the Phoenix Park, you might also find Dublin Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the world. This is a great day out, especially for families.

Bull Island

Bull Island is an artificial island, just north of Dublin city center. The area is accessible by public transportation and there are plenty of reasons why you would want to visit.

This island feels like it is nowhere near the hustle and bustle of the city center. If you pay this place a visit, you will be able to get some peace and quiet right next to the city center. The island is also home to a couple of wildlife protection areas that are worth a visit.

Some of the animals that can be seen on Bull Island include:

  1. Brent Geese – Bull Island is an important stopover site for brent geese on their annual migration from Arctic Canada, to Ireland.
  2. Grey Seals – Bull Island is home to a large population of grey seals, which can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches or swimming in the waters around the island.
  3. Shorebirds – The sand dunes and mudflats on Bull Island provide important habitat for a wide variety of shorebirds, including oystercatchers, curlews, and sandpipers.
  4. Rabbits – Wild rabbits are abundant on Bull Island.
  5. Foxes – Foxes are a common sight on Bull Island, like the rest of the city.
  6. Butterflies – Bull Island is home to a diverse range of butterfly species, including the Common Blue and the Small Copper.


Bailey Lighthouse
The Bailey Lighthouse at Howth

Almost every time I give a tour of Dublin, I recommend people visit HowthOpens in a new tab.. This is one of the most popular parts of the city for visitors and locals alike. This peninsula is located north of Dublin city and is accessible in about 30 minutes by public transport.

Here, you will be able to explore the ancient, medieval fishing village, beautiful cliffs, the Rhododendron gardens and much more. Howth is a truly unique part of Dublin and it still has a sense of wildness to it, even today. Try to get out here, if you have the time!

Howth is a particularly good spot to watch wildlife off the coast. Some of the animals that you will be able to see from Howth include:

  1. Peregrine Falcons – Howth is home to a nesting pair of peregrine falcons, which can often be seen soaring over the cliffs and hunting for prey.
  2. Seabirds – Howth is a popular breeding site for a wide variety of seabirds, including gulls, cormorants, and razorbills.
  3. Grey Seals – Grey seals can often be spotted swimming in the waters around Howth, particularly near the harbor and marina.
  4. Foxes – They’re here too! No getting away from them, I suppose…
  5. Rabbits – If you’re lucky, you might be able to find some wild rabbits making this place their home.
  6. Butterflies – Howth is home to a variety of butterfly species, including the Small White and the Peacock.
  7. Common Dolphins – These playful and intelligent marine mammals are occasionally spotted in the waters off Howth.
  8. Harbour Porpoises – These small, shy cetaceans can also be seen in the waters off Howth.

Dublin Bay Biosphere

Dublin Bay
An amazing view of Dublin Bay and Howth

Dublin Bay has been declared a biosphere of unique importance by UNESCOOpens in a new tab.. There are plenty of cruises and tours that you will be able to take to explore this part of the Irish coast. By doing so, you will be able to get a view of Dublin that (sadly) even very few locals have gotten to enjoy!

  1. Harbour Porpoise – These small and elusive marine mammals are the most common cetacean in Irish waters and can often be see in Dublin’s waters.
  2. Grey Seal – You will be able to find these seals all over the coast of Ireland too.
  3. Bottlenose Dolphin – These intelligent and playful marine mammals are occasionally seen in the waters of Dublin Bay, often near Howth Head.
  4. Fin Whale – These majestic creatures can sometimes be spotted in the deeper waters of Dublin Bay, particularly during their seasonal migration.
  5. Gannet – These large and impressive seabirds are a common sight along the coast of Dublin Bay, where they can be seen diving into the water to catch fish.
  6. Cormorant – These distinctive and elegant seabirds are often seen perched on rocks or swimming in the waters of Dublin Bay.

FAQs About Wildlife in Dublin

Here are some frequently asked questions about seeing wildlife in Dublin:

Is it safe to approach wild animals in Dublin?

No, it is never safe to approach wild animals in Dublin or anywhere else. It’s important to respect their space and observe them from a safe distance.

Can I feed the wildlife in Dublin?

No, it’s not a good idea to feed the wildlife in Dublin. Feeding wild animals can disrupt their natural behavior and diet, and can also make them dependent on humans for food.

Are there any endangered species in Dublin?

Yes, there are several endangered species that can be found in Dublin, including the curlew bird, the grey seal, and the harbour porpoise. It’s important to protect these species and their habitats to ensure their survival.

Are there any restrictions on observing wildlife in Dublin?

Yes, there may be restrictions on observing wildlife in certain areas, such as nature reserves or protected habitats. It’s important to follow any rules or guidelines in place to protect the wildlife and their environment.


Jack Redmond has been a tour guide in Ireland for the past decade. Having received a national guiding qualification, he has brought thousands of travelers all over the island of Ireland.

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