BirdWatch Ireland run a series of courses from the Bird Observatory on Cape Clear island, Co. Cork, and I highly recommend the "Beginning Birdwatching" course. I travelled by car from Dublin to Baltimore, where I got the ferry. The journey was easy, but you do need to check the ferry times in advance.
Accomodation: I stayed in the Bird Observatory which is a lovely, clean hostel, with toilet and shower facilities and a communal kitchen,situated in the idyllic harbour. The couple who run the hostel were very friendly and easy to talk to.
Course: I only had a basic/general knowldege of birds and I have now learnt skills for watching and identifying birds. I was able to borrow binoculars from the Observatory. We were given helpful tips on the use of binoculars and advise of what to do when purchasing a pair. The number of participants is limited which makes it easier to interact with the course leader.
Positives: we saw and heard about 30 different bird species each day! The weather was georgous so we were able to put up the nets and some birds were examined in the hand and ringed (by the course leader who had a liscece to do it). Other wildlife that we saw included: dolphins, a seal, a rabbit, a lizzard, Green hairstreak butterfly and an elephant hawk moth.
Negatives: I brought my wet gear but I forgot to bring suncream and got very sunburnt - you need to be prepared for all weather conditions!
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