On the most recent leg of his remarkable journey, Wally the wandering walrus who was first spotted off Valentia Island in Co. Kerry back in March 2021, was seen lounging aboard a moored motorboat in a small cove near Clonakilty on the West Cork coast.
Wally, a young male walrus, has travelled extensively on his journey south. After that first sighting in Kerry he’s spent time in south Wales, Cornwall, the Atlantic coast of France and as far south as Bilbao in northern Spain before working his way back via the Scilly Isles to Waterford and, most recently, West Cork.
As documented by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group on its website, Wally’s stops include:
- Valentia Island, Co. Kerry, SW Ireland, 14 March
- Broadhaven, South Pembrokeshire, South Wales, UK 20 March
- Tenby bay, South Wales, UK, 29 March to 19 April
- Padstow, Cornwall, UK 20 May
- Les Sables d’Olonne, France, 27 May
- La Rochelle, France 28 May to 29 May
- River Nervion, Bilbao, Spain 04 June to 06 June
- Helen’s Scilly, UK 18 June to 30 July
- Clonea Strand/Ardmore Bay, Waterford, Ireland, 02 August to 05 Aug
We can now add another stop to that list: after checking out Courtmacsherry on 08 August, Wally spent the 09-10 August lounging on a motorboat at a small cove along the West Cork coast near Ardfield, Clonakilty.
Due to his enormous bulk, the walrus has damaged several small boats and sunk at least one in his attempts to haul out, prompting Seal Rescue Ireland to appeal for the donation of an old/unused RIB or pontoon to give Wally a safe haven to rest on. They are also urging people to give the walrus space, originally advising people to stay at least 300m from the animal, a figure they revised to a more sensible 100m in their most recent update. Even that more realistic figure seems too much for some boat operators to stick to, with recent examples of vessels approaching within 5 metres of the resting animal.
Should you get the chance to see Wally the Walrus on his visit to Ireland, by all means, do so. It’s an incredible opportunity to experience a fascinating creature that so rarely visits our shores — but please, show him the respect he deserves and stick to that Seal Rescue Ireland advised limit of 100m to avoid undue disturbance to the animal.