Dolphin spotted swimming up river Liffey in Dublin city centre

DSPCA monitoring situation, says weather may be affecting mammal’s sonar

A dolphin has been spotted swimming in the river Liffey in Dublin on Wednesday morning.

A number of people have taken to social media to share videos of the common dolphin, in particular around the North Wall Quay area and near Butt Bridge.

The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) said it has spoken to a member of the Marine Animal Rescue.

“The weather is affecting his sonar, he should return by himself [to the Irish Sea] but the situation will be monitored over the next day or so,” it said.


Clowie Russell, marine mammal ecologist with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, said the sighting was "unusual" and possibly a result of Storm Diana.

"Common dolphins are not usually seen in the river Liffey so it is unusual, they normally are seen in big groups and they're normally seen in deeper water so it is unusual for him to be by himself far up. He could possibly have gotten lost due to the weather," she told The Irish Times.

Ms Russell said the group will be monitoring the situation and are not "too worried".

“If he was strong enough to get up the river, he should be strong enough to get back out. Hopefully he’s gone back out now with high tide,” she added.

“He does look quite healthy, he’s not lethargic but if it was the case that he was there for a couple of days and we thought he was in trouble, we could see if we could coax him out with a boat. We try not to interfere, that would be a last resort.”

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said they received “several calls” from concerned members of the public on Wednesday asking what could be done for the dolphin.

“Our reply is always in these circumstances not to interfere,” it said. “If this dolphin is, as the video suggests, in good health and was able to swim upriver into the city centre, then it should be able to swim downriver on its own steam.”

The group said it received another sighting of a “small cetacean” (species unknown) on the river Liffey, around the East Link toll bridge on August 15th.

A pod of around 20 common dolphins were also recorded from a commercial fishing boat off Laytown, Co Meath on November 8th.

“We know this species is currently to be seen off our east coast,” the group added.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times