Over the last weekend over a hundred bottlenose dolphins have made the coast of Donegal their temporary home while taking advantage of the exceptionally warm water around our shores.
The dolphin pod has been spotted in numerous locations including Arranmore Bay, Burtonport and between Rossnowlagh and Doorin Head and are putting on great displays for the many visitors who have travelled to see these lovable creatures.
However, swimmers and marine enthusiasts have been warned to be wary of this unusually large number which have made Donegal their home.
Around 100 bottlenose dolphins were spotted in the inner Donegal Bay area between Rossnowlagh Beach and Doorin Head over the past few days and the many visitors to Rossnowlagh Beach were thrilled with the display over the weekend as they came in quite near the shore.
However marine experts have warned onlookers and swimmers not to be swimming too close to them and above all, to treat them with respect.
Dr. Simon Berrow from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said, “These are lovable and playful creatures but they should be treated with respect.
“They’re big, robust animals and very active and also very curious and will approach boats and people.
“They’re wild creatures living in an environment that is totally alien to us and do not realise their own strength.
“They actually do not recognise the difference between a swimmer and another dolphin.
“Just enjoy the spectacle - they are really boisterous and they’re great fun. We discourage swimming with them so enjoy them, take some pictures and send them to us.”
Paul Diver from the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh told this newspaper. “The presence of the dolphins along the beach has spread like wildfire and attracted many onlookers to the resort over the weekend - it is a great boost.
“In spite of the wet and windy weather over the last week, the water is exceptionally warm and seemingly full of fish.
“Normally there would be a presence of dolphins every year stretching along the coast from Mullaghmore to St. John’s Point but never before in such large numbers.”
Large numbers have also been spotted around West Donegal in the Burtonport area and nobody was complaining.
Fisherman spots Dolphin Pod
Fisherman John Rafferty and his nephew Adam Rogers were out fishing on Sunday when they spotted something in the waters off Arranmore.
“We saw a bit of activity and headed over. There was a pod of about 50 dolphins and as we went past, they started to follow the boat.”
Mr. Rafferty, who is also editor of the Irish Skipper magazine, said: “That was the end of our fishing. It was down with the rods and out with the camera then.
“They were really playful – they were hunting for mackerel and then started to play with the fish, just tossing them up into the air.” Mr. Rafferty said.
It seems that the novelty of Fungi, the Dingle Dolphin might be threatened as hundreds of the species make their way to Donegal - a possible good omen for an All Ireland final?