He’s not been seen for over a week now. The mainstay of tourism in the town of Dingle, Kerry in the far west of Ireland is gone and hopes are fading.

Fungie originally turned up in Dingle Harbour in the early 1980s. He fascinated locals and visitors alike with his friendly nature, but surely he’d soon join his mates in deeper waters.

Not so. He became a regular attraction and a little industry quickly grew up, – boat trips certainly but also the hospitality trade which found itself suddenly busier with the influx of tourists. No longer was Dingle a peaceful, niche corner of old Ireland, it was suddenly on the beaten track, a short and scenic trip down the road from celebrated Killarney.

Dingle Town

Now, here’s the thing. Some of us, maybe with rival Cork sympathies, thought it was all a cod (pun intended). Fungie might have been a real dolphin at the outset but those cunning Kerrymen weren’t about to lose their new income stream. I, for one, reckoned that the thing was now a blow-up dolphin, dragged about the harbour on display to gullible Americans.

One time I espoused this thought to the (previously friendly) ladies in the Tralee tourist office to be met with the fiercest of death stares (and I’ve received a few so I should know).

I repent; there is nothing in the present grief that suggests that Fungie was anything other than a real fish (or mammal). Fungie come back 😢😢