Dingle’s Resident Dolphin, Fungie
Visitors to Ireland would be forgiven if they didn’t immediately associate the Emerald Isle with dolphins. But anyone spending time in Dingle would be missing out if they didn’t take a boat out into the harbor and try to catch a glimpse of Fungie, the Dingle Dolphin.
This bottlenose dolphin, nicknamed Fungie by locals, showed up in Dingle Bay in the early 1980s and chose to stay. He’s been a constant fixture ever since, charming fishermen and tourists alike. Fungie, like many dolphins the world over, is playful and curious and often swims alongside tourist and fishing boats. It’s not uncommon to be able to get photos of him leaping out of the water, as he’s a year-round resident of Dingle Harbor.
In addition to taking a boat out to watch Fungie playing in the water, you can also rent a wetsuit and snorkeling equipment in order to jump into the water and swim with Fungie. Contrary to popular opinion, Fungie is not fed or otherwise enticed into staying around Dingle – in fact, he’s never been lured into staying or even performing. He just seems to enjoy hanging around Dingle and showing off for anyone who’s paying attention.
To get a closer look at Fungie, you have two options – you can join a boat tour with one of the licensed tour operators, or you can hire a wetsuit and join Fungie in the water. If you want to stay (relatively) dry, a one-hour boat trip will cost you €16 for adults or €7 for kids under the age of 12. Boats run every day all year long, weather permitting, but if Fungie the dolphin doesn’t make an appearance during your boat trip, the trip is free!
Swimming tours run in the early mornings from about 08:00-10:00 in the summer and 09:00-11:00 in winter, weather permitting. There is a place in Dingle where you can rent wetsuits for the swimming trip, and you’ll need to book a space on such a tour in advance. Brosnan’s Bed & Breakfast in Dingle is where you’ll rent a wetsuit – two hours rental will cost €25, and it’ll cost you another €25 for a boat trip and swimming opportunity.
For more information, see the Dingle Dolphin website.