Fungie the Dingle Dolphin
In 1984, a young bottle-nosed dolphin started to appear at the mouth of Dingle Harbour. The now world-famous dolphin has remained in Dingle since, and has become both a friend to the locals and a great “attraction” for visitors.
Christened “Fungie” by the local fishermen, the male dolphin lives and plays within a small area at the mouth of Dingle Harbour, overlooked by the lighthouse. A small cave under the cliffs at Burnham is thought to be his home, and from dawn till late night, Fungie is always around to welcome boats, trawlers and yachts to the Town. He is a curious and friendly animal, and has been photographed bringing gifts to divers of still living fish, clasped gently within his jaws. But to show his freedom, Fungie never accepts gifts from divers, or fish thrown from returning trawlers.
Fungie rarely ventures far from the mouth of the harbour, a fact that has baffled scientists and specialists. A simple explanation given is that at the time of his arrival, the body of a young female bottlenose was washed up locally. Dolphins are thought to show great fidelity in their relationships, and may only have one mate for life. Every June and July, schools of dolphins are to be seen in the area, although usually further offshore, and once or twice Fungie has been seen playing with these groups. His much-publicised fling with a young dolphin, named Smokey, was expected to cure his love sickness. Unfortunately, Smokey left, and Fungie stayed.
It is rare that humans can interact with these beautiful animals, but Fungie has swam and jumped and played with us. He has remained wild and free, existing in his own area at the mouth of Dingle Harbour, playing in the bow waves of boats and launching himself out of the water to startle and excite the crowds. He has warmed the hearts of the thousands of people that have travelled from near and far to see and swim with him.
Boat trips to see Fungie leave from the top of the pier in Dingle Town. Trips last approximately 45 minutes. There is a money back guarantee if our friend fails to appear, but don’t worry as this guarantee has never had to be paid out!