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Sunday 19 May 2019

Sisters' shock after vicious seagull attacks on family walk left them with bloodied mouths

Susan Farrelly with children Nova, Romey and Vega, who were attacked by seagulls while eating chips in Howth, Co Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers
Susan Farrelly with children Nova, Romey and Vega, who were attacked by seagulls while eating chips in Howth, Co Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Two sisters have warned of the dangers of aggressive seagulls after they were attacked in the face while enjoying chips on a family walk at the seaside.

Laura Grehan (37) and Susan Farrelly (40), both from Castleknock, Dublin, were in Howth Harbour, Dublin, at around 2pm on Sunday when a seagull swooped down and stole a chip from the mouth of Ms Farrelly.

Less than 60 seconds later, what the pair believe was the same bird struck again, this time targeting Ms Grehan.

Ms Farrelly suffered a small cut to her bottom lip, but Ms Grehan's injury was more serious and left her mouth dripping with blood.

Laura Grehan shows the injury to her bottom lip
Laura Grehan shows the injury to her bottom lip

She required a tetanus injection and antibiotics after the attack.

Ms Farrelly's children, Romey (15), Nova (5) and Vega (2), and Ms Grehan's children, Jacob (13), Summer (10), Elijah (7) and Aurora (2), were with them during the incident.

Ms Farrelly said after the first attack, the children thought it was funny.

But they got a fright when the bird struck again, especially Elijah, who thought it might be his fault after he dropped a handful of chips.

"As I went to put a chip in my mouth, the seagull came down and put its beak in my mouth," Ms Farrelly said.

"He cut my lip and I went hysterical. My sister was laughing at me when, within 60 seconds, the same seagull came back and ripped my sister's whole lip.

"Her lip is all swollen, it went from inside the lip.

"Her mouth was pouring with blood," she said. "We think it was the same seagull because it had a big red mark on the bill."

Ms Farrelly, a musical theatre teacher, said it was like a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

"There were loads of them. It was like a scene from 'The Birds'," she said.

"I suppose it was funny for us as adults, but if it had been the kids, it would have been more serious."

After the attack, she said they warned others eating fish and chips of the danger, and some went to finish their meals in their cars.

Ms Grehan, who is a stay-at-home mother, said she was surprised at the attack.

"I was shocked when it happened to Susan, we thought it was just a freak thing," she said. "I've never seen anything like it.

"When we phoned D-Doc, the out-of-hours doctor service, I thought they would think it was a wind-up.

"But they said it was actually very common."

Irish Independent

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