STUNNING FOOTAGE of a rare waterspout spinning through Shannon Estuary has been captured on camera by a passenger waiting for a ferry in Co Kerry.
Gloria Jean Keller, a bed and breakfast owner from Kenmare, was on a trip to Galway waiting for a boat in Tarbert when she caught sight of the waterspout.
A swirling column of air and water mist, waterspouts are to all intents and purposes tornadoes, albeit formed over water rather than land.
Funnel clouds of this kind usually formed during a thunderstorm or heavy shower.
They usually originate from cumulonimbus or large cumulus clouds when the atmosphere is unstable.
Rarely seen in Ireland or anywhere in the world, footage of a waterspout is even rarer still.
There are two distinct types of waterspout.
There are tornadic waterspouts, which form over water or move from land to water and are associated with thunderstorms, high winds, large hail, and lightning.
Alternatively, there are fair weather waterspouts, which usually form along the dark flat base of a line of developing cumulus clouds.
Waterspouts of this kind are not generally associated with thunderstorms.
In contrast to tornadic waterspouts, which developed downward in a thunderstorm, fair weather waterspouts develop on the surface of the water, working their way upwards.
By the time a waterspout of this kind becomes visible, it is near maturity.
Fair weather waterspouts form in light wind conditions so they normally move very little.
The waterspout captured by Keller likely falls into the fair weather category given the conditions witnessed in the footage provided.