IRELAND RECENTLY suffered a battering at the hands of ex-hurricane Storm Lorenzo, but just as the skies seemed to be clearing, it seems the storm left a few thousand unwelcome gifts in its wake.
Reports have been coming in over the past few days of venomous Portugese man o' war jellyfish washing up on beaches up and down the country-- an extraordinarily unusual event, seeing as the invertebrates are usually native to warmer oceans.
Reports from Cork to Galway of 100s of Portuguese man o 'war washing up on individual beaches so be careful. They are beautiful and fascinating animals but they pack a punch!! #IrishWaterSafety #thebigjellyfishhunt @uccBEES @BioDataCentre pic.twitter.com/L3MO4H2pgd
— Tom Doyle (@tomkdoyle) October 11, 2019
Despite their elegant look, a sting from a man o' war is widely regarded as being one of the most painful stings you can experience-- and while they are generally not fatal to humans, they certainly deliver a painful punch.
The dangerous jellyfish have been spotted all along the south and west coasts, according to research centre Biodiversity Ireland, who warned people not to touch the creature should they come across one.
One of many "Portuguese man o' war" that have washed up Ireland's Atlantic coast over the last few days.
Painful stings but beautiful colours.
For info on private guided walking tours of the Cliffs of Moher, Burren or Slieve League Cliffs visit https://t.co/LBiHt8msze pic.twitter.com/0TWVx7ujWx
— Cormac's Coast (@cormac_mcginley) October 12, 2019
Now the director of Oceanworld in Dingle, County Kerry, has put the number of recorded sightings into the thousands, and blames Storm Lorenzo for the surprise guests.
Speaking to The Journal, Mr Kevin Flannery said:
“The infamous Lorenzo came direct from the Azores and these jellyfish are like floating balloons on top of the water,” he said, adding that that was the reason the man o'wars were "displaced and blown up to our waters".
Mr Flannery also reminded people not to touch the creatures, and compared their horrible sting to having "fallen into a handful of nettles" or "splashed with boiling water".
He added that young children and people with breathing difficulties were most at risk.
However, he was confident that the dangerous jellyfish would not breed in Irish waters as the temperature was far too cold.