Salthill beaches have been awash with dead jellyfish for the past few weeks – but experts warn that despite being dead, they can still sting.
It may have been an unusual scene for the general public but experts in the marine biology department in NUI Galway weren’t a bit surprised as this is the mating season of that particular species of jellyfish.
Dr Tom Doyle, a marine biologist and an expert in gelatinous zoo plankton (jellyfish) ecology, said however that it was a growing cause of concern to see so many of them washed ashore.
In recent years, swarms of the species known as pelagia or commonly the mauve stinger, have been observed off Irish coasts at this time of year. And though some of them would inevitably end up on the beach, Dr Doyle did concede the number of them on Salthill beaches last week was high.
He said that once the jellyfish were washed ashore and stranded on the beach, their demise was inevitable as they get their oxygen from the water.
Dr Doyle, who is based in the Martin Ryan Institute in NUIG, said there was a Facebook page devoted to the creatures called the Big Jellyfish Hunt which monitored their movements year round.
“It’s not unusual to see swarms or brooms of them in the sea at this time of year as it is their mating season. The females release their eggs and the males are queuing up behind them which explains why so many of them are spotted in the one place.
“This particular one is an oceanic jellyfish and it survives most of the year on the ocean bed but surfaces during the mating season. Our Celtic Voyager vessel observed a line of them floating on the waters in Galway Bay which was one kilometre long, five to ten metres wide and probably five metres deep.
“That is their behaviour at this time of year but the South Westerly winds and the sea currents probably drove them in towards the beach where they were stranded,” he explained.
He said that it was always a concern to see so many of them dying in that manner but that marine records showed reports of similar swarms of them in Irish waters 100 years ago.
Dr Doyle stressed that though the jellyfish were dead, they could still sting and he warned people not to pick them up. He further warned daily swimmers to be aware of them in the water so close to the shore, as they were stingers.
They vary in size. Some are as big as a closed fist while others are quite tiny, only millimetres in width.
€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms
Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.
The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.
A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.
Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.
Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.
The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.
“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.
“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”
Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.
“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.
The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools
Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.
“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.
“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.
A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.