Anthony Murnane reports on the international underwater search team visiting the Irish midlands to search for the Lough Ree monster.

The search for the Lough Ness Monster is probably one of the world's best-known mysteries. Tourists flock to the Scottish lake in their thousands every year but in 2001 another group of people arrived in Ireland to search for one of Lough Ree's unknown creatures. Lough Ree sits on the border between counties Longford and Westmeath.

Jan Sundberg from Sweden, Espen Samuelsen from Norway and Nick Sucik, a US marine make up the Global Underwater Search Team (GUST) visiting Ireland to examine reports that the monster may have been a giant eel, or 'horse eel' a mythological serpent with the body of a giant eel and a horse-like head. Mr Sundberg believes there is a good possibility that horse eels exist in Irish lakes and hopes that by using adapted submarine-detecting equipment they can gather evidence of underwater disturbances similar to those made by large mammals. 

Irish author Peter Costello explains the 1960s sighting by three Catholic priests fishing on Lough Ree (Fathers Richard Quigley, Matthew Burke and Daniel Murray) who claimed to have spotted a large black animal swimming up the lough. 

The midland lake of Lough Ree is the third biggest lake on the River Shannon. The Irish monster hunting expedition will spend a week at Killinure Point in Co Westmeath and intend to travel throughout the island looking for other evidence of horse eels.

An RTÉ News report by Anthony Murnane broadcast on 5 July 2001.