Blue whale photographed for the first time in Irish waters
A Blue Whale was photographed for the first time off of Ireland's County Kerry coast. Amaetuer whale-watcher Ivan O'Kelly didn't realize the importance of his snapshot until he sent the photograph into the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). O'Kelly, from Dublin, was on board an albacore tuna fishing vessel when he saw what he thought was a large fin whale.
"It was colossal, like an oil tanker beside you. It was intimidating," he said.
"But we didn't know at the time we were looking at a blue whale."
"It was certainly one-and-a-half times the size of our boat," he said.
"It had a speckled back, and was very fast moving, fast swimming and very muscular.
"I never realised how impressive these creatures are. It was mind-blowing. It really was a very unique experience."
Padraig Whooley, IWDG sightings co-ordinator, said blue whales have been sighted three times in the last three days. Previously there had only been one validated sighting in Irish waters in the last century, he said.
"It is one of three things," said Mr Whooley. "Either they were there all the time and no one is seeing them or their population is growing or they have had a slight shift in distribution and are moving in shore.
"This sighting will have not just Irish or EU significance - it is of global importance," he added.