Five treated for stings by 'huge' Lion's Mane jellyfish as Ireland 'infested'
IRELAND has an infestation of dangerous Lion's Mane jellyfish and five people have now needed hospital treatment after being stung by them.
Irish Water Safety said the jellyfish are in our waters weeks, if not months, earlier than normal.
The most recent victim of the painful jellyfish sting was Jack Dunne (14), who was swimming at Port Beach in Co Louth when the "huge" jellyfish stuck to his shoulder and chest.
His mother Mellissa said: "Its tentacles went around his legs and waist."
Jack, who was at the beach with friends, was swimming at shoulder height when he got stung.
"His friends rang me and when we got to the beach he was on his hands and knees and finding it hard to breathe."
His parents brought him to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.
Mellissa said on the journey there Jack was vomiting and in pain.
"By the time we got to the hospital he was starting to lose the feeling in one of his legs with the pain.
"It was a horrible experience for him."
He was given strong anti-histamines and anti-inflammatories and was much better the following day.
She said the jellyfish was a Lion's Mane and they were also at Clogherhead Beach in Co Louth and in Galway Bay.
John Leech, chief executive of Irish Water Safety, said: "This year is the earliest and largest infestation of Lion's Mane jellyfish in my experience."
He said they were "very, very big and cannot be mistaken for anything else".
Jack was the fifth person to be hospitalised after getting stung by a Lion's Mane in recent weeks.
Mr Leech said there is a small risk that some people who are stung may suffer anaphylactic shock.
He said the number of jellyfish was on the rise because there were not enough predators. Predator numbers are down due to plastic pollution.