Sandy the Sleeping Seal at Plassey, by University of Limerick PICTURE: SARAH O'KENNEDY
A FURRY seal has been spotted quietly slumbering and swimming along Limerick’s riverway, attracting “mesmerised” admirers in recent weeks.
And though its cute presence has been widely adored, it has been raising a number of eyebrows among locals as to why the marine mammal has been treading the River Shannon for the past two weeks.
The seal, which has been sighted between Corbally and Castletroy, was first photographed at an area locally known as Sandy at Plassey, by University of Limerick.
Given the location and its sleepy demeanour, it has been named locally as Sandy the Sleeping Seal.
Annacotty woman, Sarah O’Kennedy said that she spotted the aquatic creature at Sandy while walking her calm Border Collie.
“I stayed with him for 15 minutes, because I was afraid to kind of leave him on his own, in case some big dog would come up behind him and suddenly pounce on him, you know?” she said.
After some time it fell asleep, but as soon as Sarah got up close to take some pictures, Sandy wasn’t impressed with a human entering its napping space.
“He wasn’t one bit happy about that and gave a little growl,” she said.
Sarah soon called Seal Rescue Ireland, and was relieved to be told that Sandy (pictured above by Leanne McKenna) was simply resting.
Corbally woman Leanne McKenna, who stayed by Sandy for two hours, also notified Seal Rescue Ireland and sent them pictures and videos of the fluvial visitor.
“I was amused and mesmerised to see a seal in freshwater, it was strange. I took a video of it, and it seemed to be just resting. It didn’t have any cuts or anything.”
Local riverman Pat Lysaght, who was inundated with phone calls about Sandy, has been spotting seals for years. His theory is that they “just come up and follow the fish. There was a big one here about two years ago, and he was just fishing away.” Animal Magic Wildlife Rescue, Kilmallock, are currently pursuing the seal to ensure that it is safe.