One of Ireland’s most unique attractions and a tourism marketer’s dream, Fungie the Dolphin is now missing for 8 days….and sadly things are not looking good.
Since the 15th of October search parties have been searching the waters of Dingle bay for the much loved bottlenose Dolphin….and to be fair, he really is loved, he has contributed so much to the local economy and provided tourism professionals with endless photo opportunities for decades.
Since 1983 it is suggested that this lovable character has generated at least 50 jobs, never mind the winder economic impact for local hospitality providers.
But it’s not his economic impact that matters, Fungie is one of those symbols that we love about Ireland, this quirky lovable character has made his home in Dingle harbour and the local’s have grown up with him, watched over him and never taken him for granted, hence why there has been at least 12 boats, sonar teams and divers all out searching for him.
We even paddled out into dingle bay many years ago hoping to watch him swim alongside us, only to watch the tourism boats distract him and capture his attention. We didn’t care about the cost or the effort of doing it…. we just wanted to spend some time with him and create a superb memory.
Questions have been asked over the years about his welfare, questions that rarely make mainstream media, at a suggested age of 45 he has spent much of his life entertaining tourists on fishing boats all on his own.
He is in the Guinness World Records title-holder for the “longest recorded solitary dolphin” and you would wonder how that impacts such social and beautiful animals.
But we all know Dolphins are extremely intelligent and we like to think Fungie has enjoyed this life in the bay and maybe formed new unique relationships with many of his daily visitors.
There is hope…..some of the local tourism boat owners think that recent COVID19 restrictions where non-essential boats have been asked to stay off the water over March, April and May might have impacted his daily engagements with tourists and given him more time to explore the Wild Atlantic Way
All of County Kerry, the rest of the Island of Ireland and marine professionals are fearing the worst, but we really hope that during these difficult COVID19 times that Fungie comes home and brightens up the Dingle bay….and the rest Ireland.