POTENTIAL sightings of Fungie have been reported up and down the coast of Co. Kerry, as locals cling to the hope that the missing dolphin might still return to Dingle.
Four possible sightings are currently being followed up on, just over a week after Fungie was last seen in Dingle Harbour.
Dolphin sightings were reported at Slea Head, Inch, Kells and Ballyferriter over a 36 hour period.
While these areas aren't far from Dingle, they aren't places associated with Fungie's usual movements.
Fungie hasn't been seen now for almost eight days.
Since he decided to take up residence in Kerry 37 years ago, the dolphin has barely gone more than 24 hours without being seen in the Dingle area, leading people to believe that he's decided to leave for pastures new or has sadly passed away.
Our beloved friend, Fungie❤️ Take a moment to think of your favourite Fungi memory and share it with someone you love today...Hopefully we can create a collective expression of joy and gratitude and guide him back home🥰#DinglePeninsulaMissesYouFungie pic.twitter.com/CkL3sMfljb
— Dingle Peninsula Tourism (@DinglePeninsula) October 19, 2020
Locals have been paying tribute to the famous dolphin this week, keeping their fingers crossed that he'll turn up again as curiously as he first appeared in 1983.
"He is woven into the fabric and identity of the town," A Dingle fisherman said.
Another said: "He gave so much and he asked for so little."
It's estimated that 50-100 jobs are tied to Fungie, who for over three-and-a-half decades has consistently frolicked in the sheltered alcove that is Dingle Bay - happily interacting with boats, kayakers and swimmers as they pass him by.
Search parties have been patrolling the surrounding area for days, but nothing concrete has turned up thus far.
There are optimistic theories that Fungie might have been drawn out to sea by a large shoal of fish he was hunting, or perhaps he's in hiding after a number of dolphin pods were spotted close to the Dingle peninsula.
But the longer we wait for any news about Ireland's favourite bottlenose, the less likely his triumphant return seems.