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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 10 December, 2019
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People have been driving for miles to glimpse this sea phenomenon in Kerry

Some are even driving from Limerick to catch the ‘sea sparkle’ phenomenon.

A PHENOMENON KNOWN as ‘sea sparkle’ has been drawing crowds to the beaches of Ventry and Dingle in recent days – with some people undertaking long car journeys to catch a glimpse of it.

Here’s what it looks like, in ideal conditions:

shutterstock_226584796 File image Source: Shutterstock/PawelG Photo

And here’s how it looked at Ventry beach on Thursday night:

Tweet by @Ventry Weather Source: Ventry Weather/Twitter

So what is it? 

‘Noctiluca scintillans’ – sometimes also known as ‘fire of the sea’ – are a marine-dwelling species of dinoflagellate, marine biologist Kevin Flannery of Oceanworld in Dingle explained.

When a large number come together in what’s known as an ‘algal bloom’ they can give off a bioluminescence when disturbed. Climatic conditions have to be perfect – and the settled weather we’ve been enjoying means the effect is more visible.

“When you move it by night it lights up,” he explained.

“You can go into the sea and your hands and your body will light up.”

Local artist Jenny McCarthy paid a visit to Ventry beach on Thursday night to observe and photograph the sea sparkle, and said there was a steady stream of people doing likewise.

“Apparently on Tuesday it was most visible but it was still there,” she said.

“You’d have to throw a rock in the water or have a child run across the edge to see it, of course.”

Some people had even driven from Limerick to see the phenomenon, she added.

With the weather set to stay settled, Flannery said he expected it would remain visible in the area for the coming days.

PHOTOS: Your gorgeous shots of The Northern Lights 

Read: Seen in Ireland: Gorgeous pictures of the Northern Lights

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