Nature Reserves

Conserving vital habitats

Puffin Island, Co. Kerry

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.

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.


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.

Check out the latest Reserve News

CorncrakeNewsReservesSpecies Conservation and Land Management
August 18, 2023

Positive news for Ireland’s Corncrake population but numbers remain critically low

BirdWatch Ireland welcomes the news that Ireland’s Corncrake population is on the rise but says that cautious optimism is required as numbers still remain critically low. Data released by the…
Great Yellow Bumblebee at BirdWatch Ireland's Termoncarragh Meadows Nature Reserve ReservesSpecies Conservation and Land Management
May 21, 2021

Conserving the Great Yellow Bumblebee in Co. Mayo

BirdWatch Ireland is not just for the birds. A recent paper published in the Journal of Insect Conservation highlights that our reserves on the Mullet Peninsula hold the highest numbers…

Further Information

Site Guide – Puffin Island

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