Animal News: Fungie, the dolphin, says goodbye

This is a semi-sad story, sad for Dingle, Ireland but maybe not sad for Fungie, the dolphin. (This is not a stellar name for a dolphin, Dingle. I mean, Dingle, you would have done better naming him Dingle, which is not a bad name for a dolphin.)

Fungie, one can guess, signed a contract with the town of Dingle 37 years ago, to provide a big time tourism attraction. And Fungie has done the job for all that time.

But now he seems to have departed the Dingle waters for sea parts unknown. Every human in Dingle is sad:

“What’s happening here is a bereavement,” said Caroline Boland, a spokeswoman for the Dingle Peninsula Tourism Alliance. “People are devastated to think he might be gone. It’s like a member of the family dying. He brought magic and he inspired us, this beautiful wild creature who lived at the mouth of the harbor.”

Fungie also brought in tourist bucks, to be unspeakably gross. So his disappearance is driving Dinglearians into lyrical fuddles that are considerably less exalted than, say, Yeats.

“He came with the tide,” said a young man who was operating the deep fryer at the back of the [Reel Dingle fish and chips restaurant]. “What comes with the tide, goes with the tide.”

At the narrow mouth of the harbor, Ilonka Duignan was eating ripe wild blackberries and watching the waves…

“It’s good that there’s a mystery to it,” she said. “He’s gone back to the wild, and I hope that he’ll never be found. Or that he’ll come back. One or the other.”

Yes. One or the other.

Not at all by the way, there are a number of spectacularly beautiful photographs of Dingle and Dingle’s seacoast throughout the New York Times article, by Ed O’Loughlin.



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