Arctic walrus spotted along coastline of Co Waterford

‘Wally’ travelled 4,000km since he was first spotted off Irish coast in March

‘Wally’ the arctic walrus takes an interest in a boat off the coast of Ardmore, Co Waterford.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

‘Wally’ the arctic walrus takes an interest in a boat off the coast of Ardmore, Co Waterford. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

The wandering Arctic walrus, dubbed Wally, has delighted locals and tourists alike after making an appearance in the Co Waterford seaside town of Ardmore.

The walrus was photographed climbing on to a boat owned by a local hotelier off the coast of Ardmore on Wednesday.

The mammal was first spotted in Ireland off the coast of Valentia Island in March, and has since travelled 4,000km along the coast of western Europe, being spotted in France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Most recently he has been sighted in the Isles of Scilly, off Cornwall in England.

Patrick Shields, general manager at the five-star Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, joked that staff were surprised to see international guests arriving in the summer of a pandemic.

He said: “I received a phone call at home to say we had a visitor in the bay since early morning.

“I was aware that Mike Dunne, a local fisherman, was going out to check and that there was a boat with a walrus on it in the harbour, which was surprising to me, initially. I needed to see it with my own eyes.

“When I came to the hotel around lunchtime I was surprised that Wally the Walrus had shown up.

“We haven’t had a lot of international visitors this summer. So someone from Norway was exciting, and in particular a walrus, which was amazing. It’s gathered a lot of attention.

“We understand he’s been here since about 9am yesterday morning, or maybe a little bit before. There have been sightings all day yesterday and today as well.”

Dozens of locals and tourists turned out with binoculars and telescopes in a bid to get a view of the famous walrus.

Local interest

Mr Shields said: “A lot of people have been doing their own research online and they’ve discovered that he’s been seen in France and Wales and England as well.

“I’m hopeful that he can make his journey back to Norway eventually, safely and soundly. It’s garnered a lot of local interest and now international interest as well.

“The hotel owner owns the boat. I suppose you could say that the walrus is staying with us at the moment.

–PA