Surprising Wildlife Finds of the Causeway Coast & Glens

It won’t come as much of a surprise that Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast & Glens is host to a diverse range of fascinating wildlife, after all – who wouldn’t want to make this stunning destination their home? We spoke to an experienced wildlife photographer, Tom McDonnell (North Coast Nature) who has witnessed first-hand just how intriguing these creatures are. He has kindly offered to write a guest blog for us which includes some incredible images too! Enjoy!

Seal pup – Rathlin Island

My Name is Tom McDonnell and I’m a self-taught, passionate wildlife and nature photographer based on beautiful Rathlin Island in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

I first got into photography back in 1982, when my older brother died suddenly of an asthma attack.  We had not got any good photos of him and had a lot of trouble getting a good photo for a memorial card. From this tragedy, came my passion for photography. I bought my first camera back in 1983 and have not looked back since.

Common Kingfisher

I use to walk the local river where we lived in Antrim, watching the kingfishers, otters and other wildlife and said to myself “Someday I will get a good photograph of these stunning animals.” After years of perseverance I was finally able to get some great photos of the stunning kingfisher.

Fox – County Antrim

Since then, I have progressed on to travelling to parts of the world like Northern Alaska to photograph polar bears, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands to photograph penguins. I have also travelled to Finland to photograph brown bears and wolverine.

Corncrake – Rathlin Island

Nowadays, a lot of my photography is captured on Rathlin Island and the mainland. Rathlin has an abundance of wildlife and one of my favourites is the Irish hare, to which Rathlin is a stronghold. One of the rarest hares is the aptly named Golden Hare which is mythical in its own right; it has a beautiful light yellow golden coat and blue eyes. As far as we know, this beautiful mammal only resides on Rathlin – it is quite a challenge to photograph this stunning animal!

The elusive golden hare – Rathlin Island

Photography for me is not just to capture an image but to capture a moment in time so we can look back in future and cherish the beautiful wildlife and nature which surrounds each and every one of us.

Without our wildlife, from the tiny insects to the largest mammals, we as humans would not exist. Rathlin is a stronghold for wildlife so come and visit this beautiful island and enjoy the nature, wildlife and beauty the Causeway Coast and Glens has to offer.

Bottlenose Dolphin – Rathlin Island/Ballycastle

Atlantic puffins – Rathlin Island


Here’s a few more epic wildlife images from Tom:


You can keep up with Tom’s latest wildlife photographs by following him on Facebook



There’s lots more to see and do in the Causeway Coast and Glens, and you can find even more inspiration and ideas on our website. Don’t forget to check out our What’s On guide before your visit to find out about exciting events taking place across the Borough during your stay!

Need help planning your accommodation for your trip? No problem! Our Visitor Information Staff in Coleraine are happy to help, you can find their contact details here or you can browse the wide variety of accommodation options on our website


Have you already booked your next holiday to Ireland? We’d love to see your snaps of the Causeway Coast and Glens so be sure to tag us on Instagram @visitcausewaycoastandglens, and use the hashtag #VisitCauseway


We look forward to welcoming you to Northern Ireland’s famous Causeway Coastal Route

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