Cookies on The Southern Star website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the The Southern Star website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
How does The Southern Star use cookies?
Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
We dont sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
Hide Message
  • News

Arctic bearded seal seen at Timoleague petrol station

Saturday, 12th August, 2017 7:10am

Story by Jackie Keogh
Arctic bearded seal seen at Timoleague petrol station

The bearded seal which was spotted in West Cork, behind a petrol station.

THE rare sighting of a bearded seal from the Arctic earned wildlife tour operator, Paul Connaughton, 90,000 Facebook views, a BBC interview and airtime on RTÉ.

Paul, who operates Shearwater Wildlife Tours, was on his way home to Ballinglanna in Clonakilty at around 6pm on Friday evening when he spotted a pale seal hauled up out of the water, just beyond the petrol station in Timoleague.

‘I always carry my telescope, binoculars and camera with me,’ said Paul, who managed to get some fine shots of the visitor to our shores.

‘Immediately, I knew this was something different, but, in the end, it was easy enough to identify it as the bearded seal from the Arctic because of its long whiskers.’

Nevertheless, Paul, who is an experienced tour guide and the chairman of Birdwatch Ireland West Cork, contacted his friend Padraig Whooley of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, as well as the Irish Seal Sanctuary, and they confirmed that it was a bearded seal.

Paul put his photographs out through Twitter and Facebook and the images on Facebook reached 90,000 people in a single day. The BBC rang to interview Paul and RTÉ sent a film crew down and the report was broadcast on Tuesday night.

Paul reported that people are driving to Timoleague in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the seal – the likes of which has only ever been seen in Ireland once before.

When asked by The Southern Star if he could tell if the seal was male or female, Paul said: ‘It’s hard to tell … even the females have moustaches.’

Stay up-to-date with the latest West Cork news with a Southern Star digital subscription on your phone, tablet or computer. Click here for more.