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Stranded baby octopus gets a leg up from Dublin swimmer

HE HAS gone swimming with seals and rescued a man from drowning.

Now retired soldier and former bus driver Patrick O'Rourke has saved a baby octopus from certain death.

The 70-year-old, from Brendan Behan Court in Dublin, goes swimming in the Irish Sea most days.

And this week he plucked the octopus from North Beach at Rush.

"I've been going there for the past 25 years and this is the first time I've seen anything like this," said the pensioner.

"The tide was out and he or she was left behind. It certainly wasn't a monster octopus like the ones we used to see in the old black and white movies," he laughed.

Patrick carefully lifted the sea creature and took it out to sea.

"It took off immediately and then stopped and looked back as if to say 'thank you' and then it swam away," said Patrick.

"I'm not sure how it ended up on the beach but it would be very unusual. I go swimming here every day for about six months of the year and it's the first time this has happened," he added.

Patrick's sea adventures however are legendary.

He has even gone swimming with seals off North Beach.

"They say you shouldn't go near them because they can give you a nasty bite but my experience was that they were very friendly and just wanted to play," he said.

"As long as you don't show any fear, I think you're fine," he added.

Patrick, who once pulled a drowning man out of the water in Galway, says his daily swims help keep him fit.

"It's good for the body and the soul," he said.

"As long as you treat the sea with the respect it deserves, there's no better way of life."