Sharks in Ireland

Ireland is home to several species of shark, ranging from the giant basking shark to the tiny mouse catshark. Other species include the fast blue shark, the long-lived Greenland shark, and the commonly seen small-spotted catshark.

List of the Different Types of Sharks in Ireland

Species Maximum

Size

Aggressiveness
Angel Shark 4-7 feet Moderately aggressive
Basking Shark 23-30 feet Not aggressive
Birdbeak Catshark 2.6-4 feet Not aggressive
Black Dogfish 2.4-3.6 feet Not aggressive
Black Rough-scale Catshark 2.3-2.4 feet Not aggressive
Blackmouth Catshark 2-2.2 feet Not aggressive
Blue Shark 6-11 feet Not aggressive
Bluntnose Sixgill Shark 15-20 feet Moderately aggressive (rarely targets humans, reports of just one provoked attack)
Bramble Shark 9.2-10 feet Not aggressive
Common Thresher Shark 12-18 feet Not aggressive
False Catshark 8-10 feet Not aggressive
Frilled Shark 5.6-6.6 feet Not aggressive
Great Lanternshark 2.4-2.5 feet Not aggressive
Greenland Shark 7.9–14.1 feet Not aggressive
Iceland Catshark 1.64-1.96 feet Not aggressive
Kitefin Shark 3-5 feet Not aggressive
Knifetooth Dogfish 3.4-3.6 feet Not aggressive
Leafscale Gulper Shark 5-5.2 feet Not aggressive
Little Gulper Shark 2.6-3.6 feet Not aggressive
Little Sleeper Shark 4.6-4.7 feet Not aggressive
Longnose Velvet Dogfish 2.1-3.4 feet Not aggressive
Mouse Catshark 1.6-2.8 feet Not aggressive
Nursehound Shark 4.3-5.2 feet Not aggressive
Porbeagle Shark 6-12 feet Not aggressive
Portuguese Dogfish 3-3.3 feet Not aggressive
School Shark 6-7 feet Not aggressive
Sharpnose Sevengill Shark 2-4.6 feet Moderately aggressive
Shortfin Mako Shark 6.5-9.5 feet Highly aggressive
Small Spotted Catshark 2.5-3 feet Not aggressive
Thresher Shark 10-18 feet Not aggressive
Velvet Belly Lanternshark 1-2 feet Not aggressive

FAQs

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There were almost no records of shark attacks in Ireland until August 2022, when a snorkeler was attacked 200 km off the Irish coast.

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Basking sharks are now under special protection in Irish waters to keep them safe.

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Yes, in the Aran Islands, there are options to go snorkeling with blue sharks, and in other parts, diving with basking sharks is a tourist attraction.

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While there hasn’t been a great white sighting in Ireland yet, thanks to climate change and the migration of certain prey species like cod, it would not be unlikely for great whites to appear in Irish waters.

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Porbeagles are common along all coasts of Ireland but are mostly seen to the north of Lough Swilly in Donegal as well as near Clare, Cork, and Galway.

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Thresher sharks are rare in Ireland –leading to outrage when fishers landed one in 2021.

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Yes, they have been spotted along the northern coast of Ireland.

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