The good weather has resulted in increased jellyfish activity along Dublin’s coastline, beach visitors have been warned.
Photos of Compass jellyfish were posted on social media over the weekend, with reports of several day-trippers being treated for stings.
Named after their distinctive markings, they are commonly found in Irish waters between July and September. Measuring about 30cm to 50cm, Compass jellyfish have reddish brown V-shaped markings, 24 long tentacles and four frilly mouth arms.
While the painful sting is not considered to be as nasty as one from a Lion’s Mane, contact is still best avoided.
There were numerous sightings in Malahide, Portmarnock and Donabate over the weekend. One man revealed how he encountered a Compass jellyfish while swimming at the middle beach in Donabate.
“I got my wife out of the water quickly as it was her first swim of the year,” he said on social media.
Others expressed fears about letting their dogs into the sea due to the presence of jellyfish. It was also claimed that five children were stung on Portmarnock beach last Friday and had to be given ice packs by a lifeguard.
According to the HSE, Irish waters are not home to Box jellyfish, considered the most dangerous of them all.
It said the Lion’s Mane is “the most serious” jellyfish to be found around Ireland’s coastline and there have only been rare sightings of the Portuguese Man O’War.
Jellyfish stings in Ireland are not usually life-threatening and most just require basic first aid. Very rarely, however, the HSE says a person might have a serious allergic reaction, including breathing difficulties, chest tightness and swelling of the lips, mouth or tongue.
Fingal County Council confirmed that its lifeguards are starting to deal with more jellyfish stings since the increase in water temperatures last week. It said that Compass jellyfish accounted for most of these.
“We check in regularly with all of our lifeguards, and they are only seeing Compass jellyfish so far this season,” a spokesperson said. “It is likely we will see Lion’s Mane slightly later in the season and we will warn the public as they are sighted.
“Fingal County Council would also like to remind beach visitors that if they are stung on a lifeguarded beach, they can ask the lifeguards for assistance.”