We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Shutterstock/Elliotte Rusty Harold
warning to swimmers

'One of the worst infestations of Portuguese Man-of-War in over 100 years'

More than 80 of the blue creatures have landed in just one bay in Co Cork.

IRELAND IS CURRENTLY experiencing one of the worst infestations of Portuguese Man-of-Wars in more than a century, water safety officials have warned.

Irish Water Safety is urging swimmers in the south, west and northwest in particular to exercise caution in the water.

According to a statement:

“We have experienced tropical maritime air for almost two months now with very little northerly winds, in addition sea water temperatures are approximately 15 degrees Celsius, consequently we have seen one of the largest infestations of the Portuguese Man-of-War land on our western seaboard in over a hundred years.

“There is a new moon on Saturday which will give us spring tides which will mean that we will have larger exposed areas of coastline where we are likely to see these most venomous siphonophores or to most of us jellyfish.”

IWS added:

Surfers, kite surfers, swimmers, kayakers, divers and walkers need to keep a vigilant eye open for these creatures which give a very strong sting and to some people can cause anaphylactic shock or seizures.

Local authorities from Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo and Donegal have reported the creatures on their shores, mainly in south and southwest facing bays, the statement said.

There have been reports of in excess of 80 landing on the South Harbour in Cape Clear in Co Cork, and in excess of 20 in Keel Bay in Achill.

Irish Water Safety has issued this advice, if you should happen to get stung:

  • Ensure you don’t get stung yourself when aiding others
  • Remove any attached tentacles with a gloved hand, stick or towel
  • Do not rub the affected area, this may result in further venom release
  • Rinse the affected area with sea-water (do not use fresh water, vinegar or urine)
  • Apply a ‘dry cold pack’ to the area (place a cold pack or ice inside a plastic bag and then wrap this package in a t-shirt or other piece of cloth)
  • Seek medical attention if there is anything other than minor discomfort (note: the sting can cause anaphylactic shock, if you are feeling unwell go to your local emergency department for treatment)

Members of the public should report sightings of the jellyfish to their local authority.

original Achill Island Coast Guard Achill Island Coast Guard

What’s in a name? 

Technically, the Portuguese Man-of-War isn’t a jellyfish – but they’re often referred to as such.

According to National Geographic:

Anyone unfamiliar with the biology of the venomous Portuguese Man-of-War would likely mistake it for a jellyfish. Not only is it not a jellyfish, it’s not even an “it,” but a “they.” The Portuguese Man-of-War is a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together.

That said, if you see one floating up alongside a fellow bather, yelling ‘jellyfish!’ is probably your best course of action.

Read: This €5,000 per trip train is leaving Dublin today

Read: Cigarettes and chewing gum are still the biggest litter problems in Ireland

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.