A giant walrus the size of a dairy bull has landed on the rocks in Valentia Island in a rare sighting of the Arctic species in Ireland.
Local man Alan Houlihan and his five-year-old daughter Muireann spotted the flippered marine mammal breaching out of the water as they walked along Glanleam Beach on the Kerry island yesterday morning.
Marine biologist Kevin Flannery believes the arctic creature could have fallen asleep on an iceberg before being carried across the Atlantic ocean to Kerry.
Islander Alan Houlihan said his young daughter, Muireann, was the first to spot the giant creature on their stroll.
“Muireann is the David Attenborough of Valentia Island.
“He’s huge, he’s about the size of a bull or a cow.
“Myself and my daughter were out walking on the beach down near the lighthouse”, he said, “He breached out of the water onto the rocks and gave us a bit of a show.
“I thought it was a seal at first and then we saw the tusks. He kind of jumped up on the rocks. He was massive. He was about the size of a bull or a cow, pretty similar in size, he’s big, big.
“He was right beside us, less than 50 metres away from us. He went off again for a while and he came back and went back to the rocks.
“He was sitting on the rock now kind of posing, at one stage there he threw up a fin and it looked like he was giving us all the birdie.”
The director of Dingle Oceanworld, Kevin Flannery, said it is an amazing sight.
“This is the first confirmed sighting of a walrus. It’s a one-off as far as I’m concerned.
”I haven’t seen it before, maybe others might have thought they saw one before but this is a definite confirmation of one.”
The leading marine biologist has his own theory on how he ended up in Kerry.
“He’s from the arctic. I’d say what happened is he fell asleep on an iceberg and drifted off and then he was gone too far, out into the mid-Atlantic or somewhere like that down off Greenland possibly.
“He would be pretty tired and pretty hungry at this stage.
“That is usually what happens to them is that they fall asleep on an iceberg and then get carried off from the arctic.”
He urged the public to give the Walrus some peace to recuperate from his mammoth journey.
“He’s on the rocks asleep. I’m asking for people to leave along and leave him rest and rest and rest until he goes back.
“I’ve seen pictures of him sent to me by Seanie Murphy, the ex (coxswain) of the lifeboat, and I’ve confirmed he is a walrus, not a seal with a toothache.”
Alan Houlihan, who grew up on the island, said the walrus was shivering on the rocks before he left him yesterday.
“I don’t know if he is well.” Mr Flannery said his tusks are used for digging out clams on the ground.
“Hopefully he’ll get a few scallops around Valentia.
“But at this point, he wants to rest. He’s come from the North Pole, possibly off Greenland.
“He could also be island-hopping and went to Iceland and on to Shetland but that’s unlikely. I’d say he came in out of the Atlantic. It’s thousands of miles away.
“If he regains his strength hopefully he’ll make his way back up.”