A dolphin's decades-long stay made this Irish town famous. A year after he left for good, Dingle bids farewell to Fungie

Asia's Tech News Daily

When Ireland entered one of the world’s most restrictive pandemic lockdowns in early 2020, Jimmy Flannery was worried how one of his best friends would cope.

© Dingle Sea Safari Tours
© Kara Fox/CNN Local children hang out on the Fungie statue which was placed in Dingle town in 2000.

Fungie, a bottlenose dolphin, had been living in Dingle, in southwest County Kerry, since 1983. From the day he arrived there, Fungie set himself out from the rest, throwing fish he’d caught onto local fisherman’s boats and accompanying cold-sea swimmers as they trained.

Bottlenose dolphins’ mouths naturally curve upwards, giving the appearance that they are always smiling. But locals would say that Fungie — pronounced Fun-ghee — was doing just that. It was this quality that compelled droves of tourists from around the world to visit this remote part of Ireland, and how a booming tourism industry was established at Europe’s edge.

But after 37 years, Fungie vanished without a trace.

Now, a year after he was last seen, Flannery is hosting a memorial to celebrate the beloved dolphin.

He and other local boat operators offered free boat trips out to the entrance of the Dingle harbor on Sunday, with emotions running high as the sun finally broke through a blanket of grey cloud on the anniversary of Fungie’s disappearance, leaving a rainbow in its wake. “He’s with us today,” Flannery said, as his first trip left the harbor.

“You try to keep jolly, but it’s hard,” said Bridget Flannery, Jimmy’s wife and owner of Dingle Sea Safari, one of the companies that run boat tours out in the harbor. “We always knew Fungie wouldn’t stay here forever. You wanna have a fairytale ending — don’t you — that he’s gone back to his buddies. But you know in your heart of hearts that he’s in a good place, somewhere. Dingle is a good place, but he’s in a better place.”

© David Cairns/Shutterstock Fungie approaches a local fishing boat in Dingle Bay in 2002.

Fungie was instrumental in bringing Dingle’s tourism to life. But more importantly, he helped educate people about the wider marine world.

‘Vanished’

Early on in the pandemic, Jimmy Flannery, who has run the company Dingle Dolphin Tours for over three decades, “took it on myself to try and keep Fungie company,” as tour operations were restricted from operating due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“He craved human interaction, that’s what he lived for,” Flannery said.

But after six weeks, Flannery’s check-ins had to stop as pandemic restrictions further tightened. By mid-October 2020, Fungie was gone.

“It was a massive shock,” Flannery said, recalling that Fungie had never disappeared for more than a few hours at a time.

© Kara Fox/CNN Dingle parish priest Michael Moynihan blesses the boat and its passengers with holy water.

A major search operation was launched, with a dozen boats involved. Search and rescue divers carried out an extensive search of the coves and inlets where the dolphin normally swam, even carrying out a sonar scan of the seabed.

“I suppose it was inevitable from the day he arrived,” said Kevin Flannery, a marine biologist and cousin of Jimmy Flannery who has been observing Fungie since 1983. “Everybody was expecting him to go one day, and to take one day at a time with him.”

The Dingle native and founder of the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium said that it’s likely that Fungie is dead, with age a likely factor. Fungie was a teenager when he first showed up in Dingle, he said.

Male bottlenose dolphins have a life expectancy of up to 40 years. In 2019, The Guinness Book of World Records named Fungie as the longest-living solitary dolphin in the world.

It’s unclear why Fungie chose Dingle, but Kevin Flannery believes that it’s possible he might have been released to the wild after a dolphinarium closed in England.

“The public were turning at that time, there was a sort of green revolution,” he said, noting that there were a few other dolphins that turned up around the same time in well-populated harbors across England.

© Kara Fox/CNN Bridget Flannery stands in front of local children’s Fungie artwork.

Fungie’s personality was captivating, but it also helped people understand why they should care about the ocean, he said.

“An awful lot of people got educated about the marine world in the realization that it wasn’t the place where you dump plastic and things, that it was a living entity where you had all these whales, dolphins, cetaceans of all sorts — and it was a place to be taken care of,” Kevin Flannery said.

“I suppose in that sense Fungie has educated millions of people,” he added, saying that the dolphin has contributed to a sea change in attitudes around sustainability.

© Kara Fox/CNN Jimmy Flannery, on his tour boat on Sunday. Behind him is a newly painted mural of Fungie that was painted on the old lighthouse and unveiled on Sunday.

The fishing industry in Ireland and the UK are “beginning to realize they can make more money from taking people out to sea,” Kevin Flannery said, adding that he hopes that mindset could soon extend to the whaling industry in Nordic countries.

The Fungie effect

Fungie might have put Dingle on the map, but the town’s tourist industry is still running strong, despite the pandemic and predictions that the disappearance of the town’s star attraction would knock it out.

© Kara Fox/CNN Tourists take a ride on Jimmy Flannery’s boat on Sunday.

While it was economically “shocking” at first, boat operators have quickly diversified their routes, offering private trips of the harbor, sea safaris and eco-tours.

That’s because of that Fungie effect, Kevin Flannery said.

Still, the loss has left many heartbroken.

“It hurts because it was like having your pet dog wait for you every morning when you were going off fishing. And every evening when you were coming back, he was there,” he said.

But for others, Fungie was more than just a companion. Local fisherman John Brosnan views Fungie as a lifesaver. Fourteen years ago, Brosnan was suffering from a heart condition, but didn’t know it. A French cardiologist who’d come to see Fungie ended up diagnosing Brosnan’s condition, and later treated him for it in France.

Making a fist with his hand, Brosnan tapped his heart. “Fungie is always here,” he said, “he will never leave my mind.”

Memories of Fungie were flowing as the crowds gathered throughout the afternoon. Bob Tait, a retired head chef in the merchant navy and a Glasgow native, said he came to Dingle on a “five-day holiday” 27 years ago but never left. The whale and dolphin enthusiast said that Fungie played a part in that decision.

© Kara Fox/CNN Tourists sail from Dingle harbor to sea for a special memorial service.

It’s no surprise that the community is looking for closure.

The wake, a sacred Irish tradition, allows people to bind together, to collectively overcome the grief that the death of one individual brings. And in this rural county, where the local radio station airs the daily deaths announcement four times a day to listeners, that tradition still runs deep.

The memorial might be the closest they can get. Organizers estimated Sunday that about 1,000 people had turned out to remember Fungie.

In the afternoon, a local priest and a Church of Ireland minister boarded one of the vessels, offering a prayer at sea.

Dingle parish priest Michael Moynihan said he was happy to read the blessing for Fungie from the highest point on the boat. “The higher, the better, nearer to my God,” he said. Prayers were also offered for the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Back at the entrance of Dingle Harbor, Jamie Flannery, Jimmy’s son, greeted visitors as they looked through a collection of testimonies written about Fungie, as well as drawings done by school children across the peninsula.

They’re the last generation that would have known the dolphin, and Jamie Flannery, like the greater community, is committed to keeping those memories alive.

“I want the children to believe that is he’s off on an adventure somewhere,” Jimmy Flannery said, invoking another Irish tradition: Storytelling.

“We can always just be romantic about it and think maybe he’s just gone off and enjoying himself somewhere,” he said.

© Kara Fox/CNN Local boat operators leave the Dingle harbor for a Fungie memorial in Dingle, Ireland on Sunday.
© Kara Fox/CNN Local boat operators celebrate Fungie’s life.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Spider-Man: No Way Home star Tom Holland says being with Zendaya is like ‘having a shoulder to cry on'

© Provided by Hindustan Times Zendaya and Tom Holland steal the spotlight at Spider-Man: No Way Home red carpet event. (AP) Star couple Tom Holland and Zendaya are gearing up ... Read more »

The `Ticket to Finale` task gets intense, Devoleena says no one is the winner

© Provided by Mid-Day The race to the endgame of COLORS` `BIGG BOSS` begins tonight! In today`s episode, the house announces the `Ticket To Finale` that gets everyone`s adrenaline soaring. ... Read more »

Trending TV News Today: Rakhi gets into physical fight with Abhijit Bichukale, Bharti Singh reacts to attending VicKat wedding, Tejasswi Prakash's brother is all game for TejRan and more

© Provided by BollywoodLife.com Let’s walk y’all through the TOP trending newsmakers of the day. Furious Rakhi lashes out at Bichukale In the upcoming episode of Bigg Boss 15, we ... Read more »

Man is almost mown down by bus as he dashes across pedestrian crossing

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo This is the heart-stopping moment a man narrowly avoided being hit by a bus when he ran across a pedestrian crossing. The incident ... Read more »

When Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif almost starred in a film together

© Provided by Mid-Day As Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif are all set to make it official, let`s take a look when the actor confessed how he almost did a ... Read more »

Man killed family, then self, over faked vaccine pass -German prosecutor

© Reuters/CHRISTIAN MANG German police find five dead from shooting and stabbing BERLIN (Reuters) – A man who killed his wife and three young children before taking his own life ... Read more »

When does The Dawning 2021 start in Destiny 2?

© Provided by GamePur The Dawning is Destiny 2’s traditional Christmas season event, normally lasting for three weeks and involves the baking of all manner of delicious treats. Players need ... Read more »

Review: Jaan's autumn menu is a quiet force that deserves your attention

© Provided by Lifestyle Asia At Jaan by Kirk Westaway, the best seats in the house are the tables by the windows. From the 70th floor, they offer an IMAX ... Read more »

Watch A Tesla Model S Plaid's Brakes Catch Fire During Testing

The brakes on the Model S Plaid have come under fire recently for poor heat dissipation. Throttle House was one of the first to make the brakes a sticking point, ... Read more »

Russia-Ukraine border: What is happening and will tensions lead to war?

A crucial phone call is due to take place later between US president Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin at a time when there are warnings that war will break out between neighbours Russia and Ukraine. Read more »

Loose Women suffers awkward accident after guest crashes into Christmas tree

Loose Women suffered an awkward accident before the show even began today after a guest ended up crashing into a Christmas tree live on air. Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby ... Read more »

What India's snipers need in their new AK-203 rifles, and a fresh reason for the brain drain

© Provided by The Print The selected cartoons appeared first in other publications, either in print or online, or on social media, and are credited appropriately. In today’s featured cartoon, Sajith ... Read more »

Cathie Wood's nightmarish 2021: Ark Innovation has plunged 24% as tech has crashed, with 6 out of 8 Ark funds in the red

© Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images Superstar stock-picker Cathie Wood is having a bad 2021. Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest ... Read more »

The Right to Food hits the national agenda

© Provided by India Today It was the late Jayalalithaa who introduced the ‘Amma Unavagam (Mother’s canteen)’ offering subsidised meals for the poor in Tamil Nadu when she was chief ... Read more »

As Omicron surges around world, India records lowest Covid daily infections

© Provided by WION India reported the lowest Covid cases since May 2020 on December 07, 2021. The health ministry reported a total of 6,882 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday. ... Read more »

Vijay Hazare Trophy: Tamil Nadu face holders Mumbai in opener

© Provided by The Times of India CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu, which began the season by retaining the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 title, will face a stiff challenge when they face ... Read more »

Gordon on Pharmally issue: Justice on hand, evidence overwhelming

© Screen grab/Senate PRIB Senator Richard Gordon at blue ribbon committee hearing, August 31, 2021. Screen grab/Senate PRIB Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday expressed confidence that the Senate blue ribbon ... Read more »

Not Jasprit Bumrah or R Ashwin! Harbhajan Singh names who could be India's No. 1 bowler in future

© Provided by WION Virat Kohli-led Team India have plenty of quality bowlers who have stood tall and delivered the goods for the national side, especially in the Test format. ... Read more »

Man charged with murder, woman charged as accessory in Southeast Raleigh killing

Raleigh police have arrested two people in connection with a Sunday killing in the southeastern part of the city. Tevin Terrell Campbell, 27, is charged with murder, while Taliyah Johnson, ... Read more »

Veteran Kelantan juara Piala Presiden PBMM

VETERAN Kelantan membuktikan tahap kecergasan tinggi menerusi pelbagai kejuaraan membolehkan pasukan itu mengungguli saingan Kejohanan Bola Sepak Veteran Empat Penjuru Piala Presiden Persatuan Bola Sepak Melayu Malaysia (PBMM) 2021. Dua ... Read more »

Yazidi genocide: landmark guilty verdict for IS jihadi could transform how atrocities are brought to justice

The genocide verdict brought recently by a German court against an Iraqi member of Islamic State for crimes including the murder of a five-year-old Yazidi girl is a landmark decision ... Read more »

Halifax and Lloyds Bank go down as hundreds of customers struggle to make payments

HUNDREDS of Halifax and Lloyds Bank customers are having issues accessing their accounts after the banks' online services went down. According to complaints tracking website Downdetector, customers were struggling to ... Read more »

Biden and Putin: No love lost

© Jim WATSON Tough talk: Realtions between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden have been strained As Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin face off in a video call Tuesday over a ... Read more »

Struggle icon Ebrahim Ebrahim laid to rest

© Phumla Williams/Twitter. Struggle icon Ebrahim Ebrahim. CAPE TOWN – The late struggle icon Ebrahim Ebrahim is being laid to rest in Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon. He passed away at ... Read more »

Jonah Hill and Sarah Brady turned heads in matching powder-blue suits for their red-carpet debut as a couple

© Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Netflix Jonah Hill and Sarah Brady marked their first red carpet together in style. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Netflix Jonah Hill and Sarah Brady made ... Read more »

Motorcycle bombing in southern Iraqi city of Basra kills 4

BASRA, Iraq (AP) — A motorcycle rigged with explosives went off in the center of Iraq’s southern city of Basra on Tuesday, killing at least four people and wounding four ... Read more »

Bidens visit WWII memorial on 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, early Tuesday morning to pay their respects on the 80th anniversary of ... Read more »

Wearing mask is better than social distancing in EVERY scenario: study

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Wearing a face mask — regardless of how flimsy or tight-fitting it is — is better than social distancing at preventing you from ... Read more »

Paris aristocrat demands return of chateau in row over ancestor's will

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo A French aristocrat descended from one of France’s last monarchs has demanded the return of an historic chateau that once belonged to his ... Read more »

Bitcoin's self-proclaimed inventor Craig Wright wins trial over cache worth $54 billion

A computer scientist who has claimed to be the inventor of bitcoin largely prevailed on Monday in a Florida jury trial over whether the estate of a former business partner ... Read more »

Enbridge raising quarterly dividend, approves $1.1 billion in new capital projects

CALGARY — Enbridge Inc. raised its quarterly dividend as it announced the approval of $1.1 billion in new capital projects. © Provided by The Canadian Press The pipeline company said ... Read more »

Suu Kyi sentence puts spotlight on Myanmar's detained thousands

(Reuters) – Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was sentenced to four years in prison on Monday, later cut to two, is just one of thousands held in ... Read more »

Mateo Kovacic tests positive for Covid-19, Jorginho injured

Just 24 hours after his return to Chelsea training, Mateo Kovacic has been forced into isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, while Jorginho will also miss the game against Zenit ... Read more »

Omicron: More than 100 cases of new Covid variant discovered in London

More than 100 cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant have been identified in London, The Standard understands. © REUTERS People walk past a Selfridge’s store on Oxford Street, amid the ... Read more »

Lindsell Train faces worst performance in 20 years

© Provided by This Is Money MailOnline logo Top fund manager Nick Train has said he is not complacent about the future of the Lindsell Train Investment Trust, admitting it ... Read more »

Smoking rates continue to fall even with stress of the Covid pandemic

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Smoking rates in Britain continued to fall last year, according to official data released today. An Office for National Statistics (ONS) report showed ... Read more »

What is a Universal Credit budgeting advance and how much could I get?

STRUGGLING Universal Credit claimants can apply for a budgeting advance to help them get by – we explain how much you could claim. The cash can be used to pay ... Read more »

Michelle Heaton opens up about how Denise Welch helped her through her alcoholism

Michelle Heaton has revealed how a Loose Women star helped her through her difficult time in The Priory. Michelle, 42, entered the rehab facility to receive treatment for alcohol addiction ... Read more »

Tokyo governor plans to introduce de facto same-sex marriage next year -Kyodo

© Reuters/ISSEI KATO Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike attends a news conference, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo Metropolitan government will start a system that ... Read more »

Dozens killed in massive pre-dawn fire at overcrowded Burundi prison

© AP A massive fire ripped through an overcrowded prison in Burundi before dawn on Tuesday, killing dozens of inmates and seriously injuring many more, the country’s vice president said. ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic