IT'S not every day you get to see a dragon in Ireland.
The Sea Life Centre in Bray, Co Wicklow, will play host to two leafy sea dragons (pictured) this week, as part of a new programme to conserve the species.
The creatures, who hail from the cool coastal waters of southern Australia, will be monitored and researched by scientists at the centre.
Though related to seahorses, the leafy sea dragons are a unique scientific genus.
Sea dragons are an endangered species, and the Sea Life Centre is studying these fragile creatures in a bid to protect and conserve them and assist the regeneration of the species.
"The leafies are remarkable creatures, and appropriately named as they really do appear to be sprouting thin leaf-coloured shoots from all over their body," said Sea Life manager Pat O'Suilleabhain.
The leafy sea dragons will be officially welcomed in a symbolic blessing ceremony hosted by a Chinese dragon on Wednesday at 6pm at the Sea Life Centre in Bray.