A giant walrus who washed up on the south coast of Ireland isn’t the first to breach our shores.
The walrus, who washed up in Valentia Island on Sunday, captured the imagination of the nation but back in 1930 a similar report appeared in this publication.
‘Walrus washed ashore’ reads the headline from thearchive on a story published on October 17, 1930.
The walrus “measuring about six feet from tip to tip” washed up in Berehaven.
Sadly, however, this walrus “had one of its tusks broken off, and was dead apparently for about a fortnight”.
Some people reported that the walrus had made Dursey Sound “its headquarters a couple of years ago”.
While rare, a number of walrus sightings have been reported in Ireland over the years. In 1987, one was reported on the Shannon, while in 1999, another was reported to have been spotted in Co Mayo.
Surfers, in particular those on the waves in Donegal, have also reported a few such Arctic visitors over the years, with a letter to thein 1999 describing a 'pair of inquisitive walrus' scaring some unsuspecting sufers out of the sea in Killala Bay.
On Sunday, local man Alan Houlihan and his five-year-old daughter Muireann spotted the Kery walrus along Glanleam Beach.
Marine biologist Kevin Flannery believes the arctic creature could have fallen asleep on an iceberg before being carried across the Atlantic ocean to Kerry.
Over two metres in length, this walrus is believed to be quite young as his tusks are small.
Mr 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 said.
“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.
“It’s brilliant. 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.”