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We’re going to need a bigger boat: Wally the walrus makes the most of his Waterford stay

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Wally the Arctic walrus takes an interest in a boat off the coast of Ardmore, Co Waterford on Wednesday, August 4, 2021. Picture: PA

Wally the Arctic walrus takes an interest in a boat off the coast of Ardmore, Co Waterford on Wednesday, August 4, 2021. Picture: PA

Canoeists row past Wally the Arctic walrus in Ardmore, Co Waterford. Picture: PA

Canoeists row past Wally the Arctic walrus in Ardmore, Co Waterford. Picture: PA

A canoeist rows past Wally the Arctic walrus in Ardmore, Co Waterford. Picture: PA

A canoeist rows past Wally the Arctic walrus in Ardmore, Co Waterford. Picture: PA

Wally the walrus spotted on Valentia Island, Co Kerry, in March. Photo: Alan Houlihan

Wally the walrus spotted on Valentia Island, Co Kerry, in March. Photo: Alan Houlihan

Wally the Walrus

Wally the Walrus

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Wally the Arctic walrus takes an interest in a boat off the coast of Ardmore, Co Waterford on Wednesday, August 4, 2021. Picture: PA

Where’s Wally?

He’s still in Waterford.

Wandering Wally the Walrus has delighted locals and tourists alike after making an appearance in an Irish seaside town, where he has been spotted climbing into boats, sunning himself on rocks and fishing for his supper.

The Arctic walrus was photographed climbing on to a boat owned by a local hotelier off the coast of Ardmore, Co Waterford, on Wednesday, after being spotted in the area on Monday and Tuesday.

Vying to fill the gap left by Fungie the missing Dingle dolphin, the walrus has returned to Irish shores after spending several weeks on the Scilly Isles, and fans have been travelling from far and wide to see him.

The marauding mammal was first spotted in Ireland off the coast of Valentia Island in March, and has since travelled 4,000km along the coast of western Europe, being spotted in France, Spain and the UK.

Most recently he has been sighted in the Isles of Scilly, off Cornwall in England.

Patrick Shields, general manager at the five-star Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, joked that staff were surprised to see international guests arriving in the summer of a pandemic.

He said: "I received a phone call at home to say we had a visitor in the bay since early morning.

"I was aware that Mike Dunne, a local fisherman, was going out to check and that there was a boat with a walrus on it in the harbour, which was surprising to me, initially. I needed to see it with my own eyes.

"When I came to the hotel around lunchtime I was surprised that Wally the Walrus had shown up.

"We haven't had a lot of international visitors this summer. So someone from Norway was exciting, and in particular a walrus, which was amazing. It's gathered a lot of attention.

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"We understand he's been here since about 9am yesterday morning, or maybe a little bit before. There have been sightings all day yesterday and today as well."

Dozens of locals and tourists turned out with binoculars and telescopes in a bid to get a view of the famous walrus.

Mr Shields said: "A lot of people have been doing their own research online and they've discovered that he's been seen in France and Wales and England as well.

"I'm hopeful that he can make his journey back to Norway eventually, safely and soundly. It's garnered a lot of local interest and now international interest as well.

"The hotel owner owns the boat. I suppose you could say that the walrus is staying with us at the moment."

Dubliner John Burn, visiting Ardmore on holiday, was among those seeking Wally out.

He said: "I'm going to have a look at him. I'm going up Declan's Way for the walk. I didn't think he was here today.

"I just seen a picture of him in the paper this morning. He's a long way from home, isn't he?"

Wally was seen most recently at the Isles of Scilly before being spotted at Clonea Strand, Co Waterford, on Monday afternoon.

Wally is believed to have originated in Svalbard, north of Norway. Some scientists believe he fell asleep on a floating sheet of ice and found himself very far from home.

While in the Scilly Isles, a purpose-built pontoon was made for the walrus in a bid to reduce damage he had been causing to a number of boats and in a bid to encourage him to leave.

He sank or damaged a number of vessels since arriving in June.

Seal Rescue Ireland (SRI) based in Wexford confirmed the young walrus has returned to Irish waters after completing the European leg of his tour and has been seen off the Co Waterford coast.

However, a spokesperson for the group appealed to the public not to approach him as he is a protected species.


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