Galway’s iconic Claddagh swans take flight following clean-up

No more photo opportunities as Claddagh's iconic flock of swans has left the area.

Galway City Tribune – Cleaning up the Claddagh Basin has had one unintended consequence – it has scattered the city’s beloved swan population around the coast in search of food.

Residents have noticed the 60-strong flock of Mute Swans in the Claddagh have been missing for several weeks and were worried they had fallen victim to disease.

For more than a decade, the flock had become an iconic symbol of Galway’s oldest quarter, with locals and visitors drawn to the walkway by the Claddagh Hall to feed them and take pictures.

However, Mary Joyce Glynn of Galway & Claddagh Swan Rescue said their absence is in fact good news for the large bird population.

“It’s all to do with feeding. Now that the Claddagh Basin is so much cleaner they move out further to feed up the lake and the river,” she explained.

“There’s a lot of swans congregating in Woodquay where’s there’s a lot of fighting over territory. Many are settling in Oranmore, Maree, Renmore, anywhere at the mouth of a river where there’s nutritious feeding in water weeds, grasses and algae. The flocks have increased hugely in Connemara in the lakes where the water is cleaner.”

The Claddagh Basin had been very polluted, resulting in the growth of algae, something the swans enjoyed as part of an unhealthy diet. Their favourite feeding ground had also led them to beg passersby for food. This sparked an altogether unpleasant consequence.
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