Book Review: Finding Birds in Ireland

Finding Birds in Ireland by Eric DempseyOne of the biggest problems faced by bird watchers visiting Ireland — or indeed resident birders travelling to other parts of the country — is finding the best places to look for birds and other wildlife. Sure, you can pick a likely looking piece of habitat and spend time exploring it, and discovering wild places for yourself is all part of the fun, but it can be a bit of a lottery. If the time available for birding and wildlife watching is limited, then it makes sense to improve your odds somewhat.

Just across the water in Britain finding local wildlife hotspots is relatively simple. With a nationwide networks of well managed nature reserves from the RSPB, WWT, The Wildlife Trusts and a host of other organisations there’s almost always a fantastic wildlife location within easy striking distance. In Ireland things can be a little bit trickier.

Nature reserves here are much sparser, and many of Ireland’s birding and wildlife hotspots are unmanaged… and of course un-signposted. They can be difficult to locate without a bit of local knowledge on your side.

An expert local bird guide in your glove box

Finding Birds in Ireland Sample PageEnter “Finding Birds in Ireland” by Eric Dempsey, with illustrations by Michael O’ Clery.

Eric Dempsey is one of Ireland’s best known birders, a professional bird guide and a regular contributor to Irish print and broadcast media. In Finding Birds in Ireland Eric distils a lifetime of birding knowledge into a tidy little volume that slips neatly into your jacket pocket, glove compartment or day pack. It delivers everything you need to know to find, and get the most out of 275 of Ireland’s best birding and wildlife sites.

Sites are arranged by region and county — making it easy to look up the area you’re visiting. Each site is listed with a handy map, OS grid reference, access details, a seasonal list of target species, a run down of rarities that have occurred at each site in the past and any other relevant information. It’s a treasure trove of local birding knowledge that no birder in Ireland, or birder visiting Ireland, should be without.

Finding Birds in Ireland is available in all good bookshops in Ireland and from the usual array of online retailers. You can buy it from Amazon using one of the links below (and help support Irealand’s Wildlife in the process).

 I’d like to thank the publishers, Gill and Macmillan, for submitting Finding Birds in Ireland for review on the Ireland’s Wildlife website.

About Calvin Jones

Calvin Jones is a freelance writer, author, birder and lifelong wildlife enthusiast. He is founder and managing editor of He is also the tour leader and wildlife guide on our West Cork based Discover Wildlife tours.
Calvin is also co-author of bestselling digital marketing titles and offers digital business consulting services and training through Digital Marketing Success


  1. who are the “usual array of online retailers”?

    • Thanks for your comment JJ. I mean the leading online book retailers — the “usual suspects” when people think about buying books online:,,,, etc.

      You’ll find a more comprehensive list if you Google “online book retailers” :-).


  1. […] Finding Birds in Ireland by Eric Dempsey — the definitive guide to the best birding sites in Ireland… where to find them, what to look for, and when to visit (read a full review here). […]

  2. […] You’ll find some of Europe’s best seawatching locations on the Atlantic coasts in the north-west, west and south of the country. Some of the most well known seawatching spots in Ireland include The Bridges of Ross in Co. Clare, Cape Clear Island in Co. Cork and Kilcummin Head in Co. Mayo, but headlands right around the Irish coast can offer great seawatching potential when the winds are favourable at the right time of year. We’ll be putting together a feature focussed on seawatching in Ireland, detailing key Irish sites, in time for the next seawatching season (summer 2014), in the meantime, you’ll find a great guide to Ireland’s best seawatching sites in the back of “Finding Birds in Ireland” by Eric Dempsey which we reviewed here. […]

  3. […] Finding Birds in Irealnd: written by one of Ireland’s best known professional bird guides Eric Dempsey, this book is like having a portable bird guide in your pocket, packed with useful info on the best places to find birds (and by generally other wildlife) all over Ireland. Read the full review here. […]

  4. […] (for an overview of Ireland’s top birding sites you can’t beat the excellent “Finding Birds in Ireland” by Eric Dempsey), But when you’re keen to hone your fledgling birding skills, […]

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