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NPWS challenged over whaling exhibition
20 April 2012

ICABS has questioned the appropriateness of a National Parks and Wildlife Service exhibition which focuses on Ireland's past role in whaling. The exhibition hosted by Ballycroy National Park is described as an "exciting" part of its visitor centre.

A National Parks representative has described whaling as an 'important chapter of Mayo’s historical past' but anyone who witnesses the horrors of whaling are likely to agree that the marine massacres represent a shameful chapter.

"In the modern era, Mayo should be looking back in shame at the role it played in whale slaughter," we stated. "Promoting such an exhibition as 'exciting' is insensitive to the love and respect people overwhelmingly hold for whales and the view that whaling was, and is, entirely unacceptable."

The display was opened earlier this month by Minister Jimmy Deenihan.

A 1908 documentary entitled "Whaling Afloat and Ashore" provides a heart-breaking insight into the brutality of whaling off the Irish coast. It shows Norwegian and Irish whalers closing in on a whale and firing harpoons into its body. The doomed creature can be seen thrashing desperately while trying to struggle free from a tether.

But there is no escape for this whale or the hundreds of others dragged through bloodied water to the west coast. Its graceful journey through the Atlantic was diverted to a slipway in Mayo where it was hauled slowly out of the sea and sliced apart.

Ballycroy National Park should focus on celebrating the beauty of the natural world and stop tainting its visitor centre with memories of those who destroyed it.

Notice on Ballycroy National Park website showing a whaler with a harpoon


Ask Ballycroy National Park why they have chosen to host a whaling exhibition and to present it as an "exciting part" of its visitor centre.

Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre,
National Parks & Wildlife Service,
Ballycroy Village,
Westport, Co. Mayo.

Tel: 098 49 888

Slideshow: Ireland's past role in whaling cruelty

The slideshow below features still images from a 1908 documentary entitled "Whaling Afloat and Ashore". It shows Irish and Norwegian whalers targeting whales off the Irish coast.

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