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Fungie the Irish Dolphin

Don dara bliain as a chéile, bhí sé de phribhléid agam seachtain phléisiúrtha a chaitheamh i nDaingean Uí Chúis, baile galánta, idir muir is sliabh. Thug an saoire sin an lón anama dom a bhí de dhíth go géar orm i mbliana agus bhí mé ag brath an saoire sin a cheiliúradh i bPictiúr na Míosa.

Is beag a shíl mé, áfach, gur seo an pictiúir a bheadh mar rogha agam ach tá sé chomh maith agam an deis a thapú anois agus Fungie i mbéal an phobail. Tá an deilf cháiliúil ag cur faoi i mbéal Chuan an Daingin ó bhí 1983 ann agus na mílte cuairteoirí ó na ceithre hairde ag triall ar Chorca Dhuibhne gach bliain chun radharc a fháil air. Mar is eol don saol mór anois, ar an drochuair, tá Fungie ar iarraidh ón chuan le coicís agus gach seans nach bhfillfidh sé.

Rinne bádóirí agus tumadóirí cuardach cuimsitheach a mhair ceithre lá ach níl tásc na tuairisc ar an deilf bholgshrónach. Tá Fungie níos mó ná cúig bliana is dhá scór d’aois, de réir na saineolaithe, agus is féidir go bhfuil a phort seinnte. Sin, nó ar shiúl chun na farraige móire ar lorg bia atá sé nó fiú ar thóir céile a bhí aige le bliain anuas, más fíor.

Ach níl muintir Dhaingean Uí Chúis ródhóchasach agus leathshúil acu ar eacnamaíocht an bhaile: tá tuairim is caoga duine fostaithe ag na báid a thugann na cuairteoirí amach go béal an chuain, gan trácht ar lucht gnó an bhaile atá ag brath ar na cuairteoirí céanna. Mar a dúirt fear amháin ar an Nuacht an oíche faoi dheireadh, tá níos mó déanta ag an deilf spraíúil seo do gheilleagar na háite ná mar atá déanta ag roinn turasóireachta ná rialtas ar bith.

Fungie, ár n-anamchara go deo.


For the second year in a row, I had the privilege of spending a week in Dingle, a beautiful town, between sea and mountain. That holiday gave me the sustenance I badly needed this year and I was thinking of celebrating that holiday in the Picture of the Month.

Little did I think, however, that this would be the picture I would choose but I might as well seize the opportunity now that everyone is talking about Fungie. The famous dolphin has been residing in Dingle Harbour since 1983 with thousands of visitors from far and near heading to the Dingle Peninsula to get a glimpse of him. As everyone now knows, unfortunately, Fungie has been missing for a fortnight and he probably won’t be back.

Boatmen and divers mounted a major search over four days but there has been no trace of the bottlenose dolphin. Fungie is more than 45 years old, according to the experts, and his days are possibly over. Either that, or he has gone to the open sea in search of food or even in search of a mate he has had, apparently, this past year.

But the people of Dingle are not too hopeful as they consider the town’s economy; there are about fifty people employed on the boats who bring the visitors out to the mouth of the harbour, not to mention the town’s business people who are dependent on those visitors. As one man said on the News the other night, this playful dolphin has done more for the local economy than any department for tourism or government.

Fungie, our soul friend for ever.

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