Dolphin spotted swimming up river Boyne in Drogheda

Believed to be a bottlenose dolphin, it stayed swimming in an area 7km from the river mouth, a short walk from the town centre.
Dolphin spotted swimming up river Boyne in Drogheda

Elaine Keogh

In mythology the river Boyne was home to the salmon of knowledge, but it was a dolphin that was making waves in the tidal river in Drogheda, Co Louth on Thursday morning.

Believed to be a bottlenose dolphin, it was seen swimming in an area 7km from the mouth of the Boyne and close to a playground, a short walk from the town centre.

News of the dolphin's arrival was posted by the Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery Service, who were initially alerted to the possibility of a dog in the river.

Instead, they found themselves in the company of a dolphin for the first time.

The visiting dolphin was spotted swimming up and down the river, giving passersby a real treat. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

Among those watching was Nicola Matthews, who had with her five-year-old Joshua, Zoe (3) and Imogen Matthews (4 weeks), and four-year-old Theo Doyle.

“They have had a clear view of him and have seen him jumping. It is the highlight of the year for the kids especially with being in lockdown,” she said.

“They have obviously been stuck in the house or been homeschooled so I said we would come out and see the dolphin.”

“I used to go to see Fungi regularly during the summer as a child with my parents and swim with him. This is the first time seeing one in the Boyne. It is spectacular.”

“It is not Fungi; this fella is quite young looking. There is salmon here in the river so he is fishing here, I am hoping he is not lost.”

Also watching was Áine Walsh, an environmental scientist interested in conservation.

“It is about 7km in from the sea at the upper reaches of the estuary where the water will start to turn into fresh water from salt water. This fella needs salt water so he needs to turn on the tide hopefully.”

The dolphin was only a short swim away from the town centre. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

Health check

The Boyne Fishermen's Rescue said that when they realised it was a dolphin, “we contacted the appropriate services for some further information, advice and guidance. A health check was quickly conducted and we are currently assisting the appropriate services with this incident.”

Padraig Whooley, sightings officer with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said it was “a large dolphin and likely to be a bottlenose.”

He advised people to “enjoy the spectacle” and that there was “no need to jump to the conclusion that we need to intervene.”

There was no immediate concern for the dolphin and he referenced how a walrus spotted off the west coast had been seen in Wales four days later.

Mr Whooley asked that any sightings with images are reported to the group on

“These records will enable us monitor the animal and establish whether it stays in the area for a while, or leaves on the next falling tide, which hopefully it will.”

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