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Portuguese Man O’War alert

Clare County Council is urging bathers to exercise extreme caution as a result of the worst Portuguese Man O’War infestation off the Clare coast in a century. Populations of the venomous species have increased along the western seaboard due to warming waters with record sightings of the species reported during recent weeks. Man-of-wars are found, sometimes in groups of 1,000 or more, floating in warm waters throughout the world’s oceans. Their tentacles can extend up to a maximum length of 165 ft (50 m). Clare McGrath, Clare’s Water Safety Development Officer, is advising beach-goers to be vigilant and to avoid any Portuguese Man O’War. “Surfers, kite surfers, swimmers, kayakers, divers and walkers need to keep a vigilant eye open for these creatures which give a very strong sting and to some people can cause anaphylactic shock or seizures,” said Ms. McGrath. “Stings usually cause severe pain to humans, leaving whip-like, red welts on the skin that normally last 2 or …

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