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17 October 2014

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A whale of a time

In November 1977 a killer whale swam into Lough Foyle, Co. Derry, in pursuit of a late salmon run.
To the delight of thousands, in Derry city and from miles around, he stayed in the lough for several days before being coaxed back into open water. His apparent inability to find his own way back out to sea had already caused him to be dubbed Dopey Dick.

If you were in the Derry area in 1977, and remember the event, why not share your memories below.

The intelligent and inquisitive killer whale is arguably the most spectacular animal to be found in or around Ireland.
In autumn family packs follow migrating salmon to warmer waters and it is at this time that most are seen in Irish waters.
They are annual visitors off the south and west coasts and regular sightings are made off Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork.
Although a member of the dolphin family the male has true whale proportions, being up to 9m (30ft) long with a 2m (6ft) high dorsal fin. The female is only about half this size and the dorsal fin is much shorter and curved back, dolphin-style. Find out more in our killer whale factfile.

Did you see Dopey Dick in Lough Foyle?
Tell us what you remember about his visit and the efforts to lure him back out to sea:

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