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Basking shark pays a rare visit to Dún Laoghaire

The ‘honorary whale’ was sighted off Dún Laoghaire pier yesterday

The 'honorary whale' (not this one) was spotted at the entrance to Dún Laoghaire harbour yesterday
The 'honorary whale' (not this one) was spotted at the entrance to Dún Laoghaire harbour yesterday

A RARE GIANT visitor to Dún Laoghaire harbour was spotted yesterday as a basking shark swam close to the pier.

Ronan McLaughlin of the L.E. Ciara spotted the shark from the east coast pier and reported the sighting to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.

Pádraig Whooley, IWDG’s sightings co-ordinator said that while sighting of basking sharks are not uncommon at this time of year, they are quite rare along the east coast.

Whooley told TheJournal.ie that unfortunately McLaughlin didn’t take any pictures of yesterday’s visitor. However he is urging people to keep their eyes peeled in Dún Laoghaire, as basking sharks rarely travel alone and “where there is one, there are likely to be more”. IWDG run whale-watching courses at Cape Clear for those who want the chance to spot them in a less rare setting.

On 2 April around 50 basking sharks were sighted off Loop Head in Clare .

Other sightings around the country in the past month include three dolphins in Killiney Bay on 13th May, a minke whale at Cape Clear Island in Cork on 12 May, and another basking shark at Power Head in Cork on 9 May.

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Basking sharks can be 20 to 30 feet in length and while the dorsal fin is usually visible, it may also be possible to see the tail fin above the surface of the water.

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Emer McLysaght

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