The story of Fungie the Dingle Dolphin is curious and heartwarming (and a bit suspect). According to lore, the bottlenose dolphin was first spotted by Dingle’s lighthouse keeper in 1983, as it escorted fishing boats out to sea and then back again at the end of their voyages day after day. The sailors named him, and he became a fixture of harbor life. Fishermen took their children out to swim with him, and he seemed to love human contact. Now people come from miles around to have a few minutes’ time with Fungie, and the fishermen ferry them out to meet him. Trips last about 60 minutes and depart roughly every 2 hours in low season and as often as every half-hour in high season. Fungie swims right up to the boats, which stay out long enough to afford views of the picturesque bay. You can also take an early morning trip (8–10am) in a smaller rigid inflatable boat that holds only 10 people. On the morning trips only, you have the option of hiring a wetsuit and getting in the water with Fungie—but you’ll need to book (and tell them in advance that you want a wetsuit, which costs extra). The skippers take great lengths to stress that the trips are on Fungie’s terms—they don’t chase him, and they have no control over whether he puts in an appearance (although he usually does). On the standard trips you don’t pay if he doesn’t show. Although the little fella was still packing in the crowds at the time of writing, nobody quite knows how old Fungie is. Or if it’s still the same dolphin that adopted the town all those years ago. Either way, it’s a lovely outing with the kids.
- Frommer's Staff