Meet the Shannon Dolphins

Fathom and Tom Crean

Fathom is the social butterfly of the Shannon dolphin population; she can turn up anywhere, with anyone.

Her dorsal fin is very well marked, making her one of the easiest dolphins in the Shannon population to match, even when images are taken from quite a distance. Notice the deep, hooked notch in the middle of her fin.

Fathom only has one known calf, called Tom Crean. Like his mother, Tom can turn up anywhere throughout the Shannon dolphin’s range, and so he was named after the famous explorer and Kerryman, Tom Crean. He is also a very social dolphin and he has a very distinctive dorsal fin, notice the straight tip of the fin. This feature allows us to identify him easily, even if we don’t capture the full fin.

Fathom and her calf Tom Crean in 2005. The boat in the background is the Celtic Mist, the IWDG research vessel, used to survey the full known range of the Shannon Dolphins.

Without question, she is a lady boss! Her closest association is with the male, Titan. She is most frequently seen in the outer estuary, particularly from Carrigaholt Bay to the cliffs at Loop Head Lighthouse but we have also seen her off Kilkee and down in Brandon Bay. During the last few winters she has also been spotted in the inner Shannon Estuary with the “Innies.” The term “Innies” refers to the subgroup of the Shannon dolphins that are regularly observed in the inner Shannon Estuary.

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