On Sunday evening, about 1,000 people were in Dingle, Ireland, saying goodbye to Fungie the bottlenose dolphin. This incredible lone dolphin has been living in Dingle for more than three decades. It’s believed that the dolphin was probably released from an aquarium in England and found himself in Dingle. It didn’t take long for the locales to fall in love with this friendly, smiling dolphin that would throw fish to fisherman. He could also be seen swimming with trainers.
Jimmy Flannery and his wife Bridget run boat tours and have made Fingie a part of their main attraction. Not only was the dolphin a part of the community, he helped increase tourism as well. Fungie also helped educate locals and tourist on the importance of marine life and how we can protect it.
Memorial for Fungie
Last year, Covid-19 affected the entire world and put everyone in lockdown, including Dingle, Ireland. Jimmy Flannery, who visits with Fungie daily, was worried about his best friend during this time. Fungie adored human interaction and thrived on it. Not seeing anyone for a while must have been heartbreaking for the bottlenose dolphin. A year later, after no trace of the dolphin was found, the community honors their special companion.
For this dolphin’s memorial, the community went all out and even painted a mural of Fungie the bottlenose dolphin on the old light house. Local children also created artwork to commemorate the dolphin , which was displayed at the Dingle Harbor entrance. A priest also joined the boat to bless it and its passengers.
This dolphin touched many, including Bob Tait who decided to stay in Dingle after his five day holiday. The dolphin played a role in his decision 27 years ago. Another local, John Brosnan, views Fungie as a real life saver. A French cardiologist was on his boat observing Furgie and diagnosed Brosnan with a heart condition. This diagnosis saved his life and he will forever be grateful to the dolphin.
Fungie the bottlenose dolphin has touched the hearts of many and will always be remembered. He lived a long life, probably well over 40 years since he came to Dingle when he was a teenager.