Here at WorldIrish we’re always checking out what’s happening in the online community.
There’s something we’ve noticed more and more in recent months, and it always leaves us with a smile: dolphin sightings! It led us to ask why we’re seeing more images of dolphins off the Irish coast being shared than ever before?
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group website (click here) is a treasure trove of information, pictures and more. In a blog published on January 1, 2012 the Group wrote that 2011 had been a record year for recording schemes, but that actual sighting dipped slightly:
The last year has proved to be a record year for cetacean recording by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. A total of 160 stranding and 1565 sighting records have been received by end of year. These totals are likely to increase a little as stragglers filter in, but it is by far the highest total for the number of stranding records and the third highest total for sighting records since the IWDG recording schemes were established in 1991. […]
Sighting records were around 100 fewer than last year’s record of 1694 records and 1629 in 2007, but given the exceptional poor sea conditions during the autumn and winter this year’s total is very impressive.
Pádraig Whooley, Sightings Co-ordinator at the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, told WorldIrish that the apparent rise in sightings of dolphins is largely due to “greater awareness and more people watching”. He also said that the social networking phenomenon has allowed people to share photos quicker than ever before. The case may be that the presence of dolphins is not increasing, but our recording of them is.
Clearly, people have been getting the word out about dolphin sightings online.
The lead image above is from Risteárd Craobhach and his photo was taken off the coast of Wexford, near Kilmore Quay. See his other Flickr images here and a blog post he wrote about his dolphin sightings here.
There have been lots of other reports on Twitter, the national press, and other images online, including:
As the map above shows, cetacean sightings are not exclusive to the east coast of Ireland – which are usually at Killiney, Dalkey, Bray. The video below shows a young dolphin, who was found with its fins trapped in a small net, at Clifden, Co Galway, on New Years Day. “Lucky”, as the dolphin was named, gained its strength and eventually swam out to sea. Other sightings are common at Hook Head, Dingle and Killalla.