Dingle dolphin Fungi's not dead – he's alive, well and still making a splash
FUNGI is alive and well despite reports that the country's most famous dolphin had finally shaken off this mortal coil.
Speculation had been rife that the Dingle dolphin, a feature of the Co Kerry harbour for almost 30 years, had died.
The harbour office still took it seriously enough to send out a boat just to make sure and, happily, their worst fears were not confirmed.
Since he first turned up in Dingle Harbour in 1983, Fungi has been very good to Dingle and a whole industry grew up around him.
The town even honoured the dolphin by commissioning his statue on the pier.
The Dingle Boatman's Association, made up of local fishermen, runs eight boats on a rota basis bringing visitors out to see him and provides 20 local jobs.
Bottle-nosed dolphins can live up to the age of 50 but the usual life expectancy is between 30 and 50 years.
It is not known how old he was when he showed up.
Chairman of the boatman's association, Jimmy Flannery, said the day would come when the boat will go out and Fungi will no longer be there.
"Every year now is a bonus and we've had almost 30 years already but you'd never know, he could live for 20 more," Mr Flannery said.
Meanwhile, the Irish Coast Guard was requested to assist members of the public who were trying to assist a beached dolphin at Lahinch, Co Clare.
Several attempts were made to take the dolphin out to deeper water on a floating stretcher but the animal was too unwell and repeatedly returned to shore. This animal had multiple injuries caused by the rocky nature of the beach where it was stranded and it was put down by a vet to avoid further pain and distress