SEVERAL local beaches were closed to swimmers by Cork County Council lifeguards at the weekend, after a massive influx of dangerous jellyfish.
Barleycove Beach lifeguards raised the red flag on Saturday evening, after spotting Portuguese Man O’War jellyfish washed up on the shoreline.
Within a few hours, there were more confirmed sightings of the jellyfish – and more red flags – at Tragumna, Inchydoney, Rosscarbery, Red Strand near Clonakilty and Fennell’s Bay at Crosshaven.
There have also been sightings in recent days in Lough Hyne near Skibbereen. A total of 27 were counted on Long Strand (near Owenahincha) alone.
The Cork Beach Lifeguard Service reported on its Facebook page that several hundred had been spotted offshore in recent weeks, so it was likely the strong winds of last week may have brought them ashore.
‘Please let us know if you see one. Don’t forget to take a photo but don’t touch them! They are very dangerous,’ they urged.
Zoologist Nic Slocum, who runs whale watching trips along the West Cork coast, said the most common jellyfish in this area are purple stingers, compass and moon. ‘We don’t normally get the Portuguese Man O’ War here, it could be tidal, or due to a current, but on the whole, their movement is based on the availability of food,’ he told The Southern Star.