The disappearance of a single solitary dolphin in the year 2020 would seem to be small news among the horrible things that have happened this year. The pandemic is still raging. Ireland is in lockdown again. People are dying from Covid-19.
However, on October 20th it was reported that Fungie, a dolphin that first appeared in Dingle Bay, Co Kerry in 1983 was missing for 7 days.
For as long as I’ve been aware of Dingle, it has been synonymous with Fungie. He was hard to miss as there’s a statue in the town, and several boats lined the quays ready to take visitors out to see the friendly dolphin.
I went out once in 2017, and I saw him break the surface a few times but he wasn’t in the mood for playing at the time. You should have seen the packed boats of tourists trying to grab a glimpse of him. Thankfully our boat wasn’t as busy!
The last time I saw him was in August this year. My family and I walked out to Hussey’s Folly on a glorious evening where we sat in the grass watching the water, accompanied by several boats and kayakers.
There was the occasional shout when someone spotted him, and the delighted laughs and exclamations made it all worth it.
The next night we walked out by the small beach at Bín Bán. As night fell we heard splashes in the still water and spotted Fungie swimming back and forth just ten to twenty metres from shore. All was quiet. There was only my family and a passer-by around. It was very special hearing his splashes in the water.
Paddy Ferriter, keeper of the old lighthouse pictured above, was the first person to spot Fungie in 1983. He tells his story in a short clip here:
My photos of Fungie don’t do him justice. Follow these links for more:
Washington Post article on his disappearance.
There are wonderful videos of Fungie on this Facebook page.