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Irish Dolphins

Irish dolphins like Fughi in Dingle have become a tourist attraction in their own right, an intrinsic part of Irish culture, attracting visitors from all over. This page is dedicated to them.

Irish bottlenose dolphin

Watch our video here of Dusty the most playful of these dolphins who has been living along the coast of County Clare in Ireland since 2005.

But that was only an 'over water' is another one, by John Hawkins who went swimming with him!

Interactive Dolphins- What Are They?

Usually, dolphins live in social groups called pods. Occasionally however, some dolphins will break off from their pod and live on their own.

They might do this for a short while, such as a dolphin named Venus who lived at the Blasket Islands in Ireland for a few months in 2005, or the might live alone for a rather long time, such as Funghi the Dingle dolphin who has been inhabiting Dingle harbour for 25 odd years. Funghi is a great example of an interactive dolphin. He loves to play with humans and to show off. Fughi has created a vibrant tourist industry of his own with thousands of admirers coming to Dingle every year specifically to see him.

Watch a video here of Duggie, the Donegal Irish dolphin with his dog friend Ben.


There is also Dony, a dolphin who is known to travel to five different countries including Ireland and to socialise with people everywhere. And Tory Island has Duggie the dolphin. While these dolphins will still have contact with and visits from other dolphins, they are mostly focussed on contact with humans.

They enjoy interaction with humans, swimmers, divers, and people on boats. Why?

Nobody knows, and their behaviour has not been subject to research. In the meantime, Funghi has become a major tourist attraction. And Dusty in County Clare is not far behind.

Find Out More About Ireland

Check out the Cliffs of Moher which are very close to where Dusty lives.

Check out the Aran Islands which are only a short boat trip from there.


Dusty’s living quarters have changed a few times since 2005. At first she was in Doolin, then at a sea cave in Farnore, later in Milltown Malbay at the beach, right now she is living near Doolin pier wwhere we met her when recording this footage.

How come these dolphins have so much time to play?

A fully grown dolphin needs about 30kg of fish a day. Funghi gets all his fish by hanging out at the mouth of the harbour where strong tidal currents wash fish towards him. This saves him a lot of time and enables him to socialise.

Dusty also socialises for sometimes up to 8 hours a day without significant breaks for feeding. We don’t know how she can afford to do this without losing weight.

The Irish Dolphins' Tricks

Dusty of all the interactive dolphins along the Irish coast, is the most sociable one. She will fetch diving masks thrown for her, and she has brought fish to a man who is particularly close to her and spends a lot of time with her. She is very patient and quite careful with children and people who are not strong swimmers, and she enjoys being patted.

Of course Dusty as every other dolphin is a wild animal and should be approached with care, and with respect. Every now and then, the media carry sensational stories of the dolphin attacking someone, but there is usually a good explanation for her behaviour. Given you approach her respectfully she is known to be extremely playful and interactive while also being gentle.

We saw Dusty being caressed, her back and front being stroked at the same time, and she stayed around which must mean she enjoys this. If she doesn’t enjoy the game, she will just swim away.

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Thanks a million and warmest regards from Ireland from Colm and Susanna.

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