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Thursday, 22nd April 2021

Dolphin spotted swimming in the Boyne

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The dolphin swims past the spot where children usually feed the birds at the boardwalk beside Dominic's Park Photo: Ciara Wilkinson.

In mythology the Boyne River was home to the Salmon of Knowledge but it was a dolphin that was making waves in the tidal river in Drogheda this morning.

Believed to be a bottlenose, the dolphin stayed swimming in an area some 7km from the mouth of the Boyne and close to Dominic's Park, a short walk from the town centre.

News of it’s arrival was posted by the Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery Service who had initially been alerted to the possibility of a dog being in Boyne.

Instead they found themselves, for the first time in their history, in the company of a dolphin.

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Among those watching it in wonder was Nicola Matthews who had with her Joshua (5) Zoe (3) and Imogen Matthews (4 weeks) and Theo Doyle (4).

 “They have had a clear view of him and have seen him jumping. It is the highlight of the year for the kids especially with being in lockdown.”

 “They have obviously been stuck in the house or been home schooled so I said we would come out and see the dolphin.”

 “I used to go to see Fungi regularly during the summer as a child with my parents and swim with him. This is the first time seeing one in the Boyne. It is spectacular.”

“It is not Fungi; this fella is quite young looking. There is salmon here in the river so he is fishing here, I am hoping he is not lost.”

Also watching on was Áine Walsh, an environmental scientist and interested in conservation.

“It is about 7kms in from the sea at the upper reaches of the estuary where the water will start to turn into fresh water from salt water. This fella needs salt water so he needs to turn on the tide hopefully.”

Drogheda has a new inhabitant. A dolphin has been spotted swimming up and down the river Boyne in the town giving the passers by a real treat. Kids stop on their way home from school hoping to see the dolpin. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson.

The Boyne Fishermen's Rescue said that when they realised it was a dolphin, they contacted the appropriate services for some further information, advice and guidance.

“A health check was quickly conducted and we are currently assisting the appropriate services with this incident” they said. 

Padraig Whooley, Sightings Officer with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said, “it is a large dolphin and likely to be a bottlenose.”

He advised people to “enjoy the spectacle” and said, “there is no need to jump to the conclusion that we need to intervene.”

There was no immediate concern for the dolphin and he referenced how a Walrus spotted off the West Coast of Ireland had been seen in Wales four days later.

“We would ask that any sightings with images be reported to us on www.iwdg.ie, where you can just click on the "Report a Sighting" Link on the homepage. These records will enable us monitor the animal and establish whether it stays in the area for a while, or leaves on the next falling tide, which hopefully it will.”

This article was written by Elaine Keogh

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