Welcome visitor sees playful dolphin enjoying the Galway sunshine

By Ellen O’Regan

This weekend brought more than just the spring weather to Galway Bay, as locals were delighted to spot a bottlenose dolphin leaping out of the water.

Local man Steve Sweeney captured this amazing footage of the visitor. The original Facebook video now has over 3,000 views and over 600 comments.

Video credit: Steve Sweeney

Mr Sweeney spotted a group of dolphins in the bay while out sailing on his son Ulick’s boat.

“It was really lovely to see them, they were like torpedoes coming towards us. We were really in heaven now looking at them,” he said.

Mr Sweeney said he has seen dolphins in Galway’s waters before, but this is the first time he has seen one leaping into the air.

“To see that happen in front of my eyes, I’ll never forget it. It was just one of those special moments, that’s the only way I could describe it,” he said.

Some questioned whether this could be Fungi, who up until his disappearance earlier this year had been Dingle’s resident celebrity dolphin. Galway Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have confirmed that although this visitor was a bottlenose dolphin like Fungi, its tail fluke does not have Fungi’s unique notch.

“I can understand why people are so downhearted in Dingle that they lost their dolphin, because to see them that close up and doing what they were doing, it’s an experience, it’s absolutely fantastic to see them in the wild,” said Mr Sweeney.

Conservation Officer with the Ocean Research Conservation Association (ORCA) Ireland, Kate O’Regan, said dolphins leap out of the water like this for a number of reasons, including during fights or to communicate.

“This was likely just play… But we shouldn’t really take advantage. We should keep our distance and reduce disturbance as much as possible,” she said.

It is yet unclear whether this dolphin was travelling within its 5km, or if its journey was for essential reasons.

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