A surge of Portuguese Man-Of-War jellyfish washed up along the south and west coasts of Ireland over the weekend.

Scientists say exceptional numbers of the highly venomous jellyfish have been blown in from the recent Atlantic storms.

Kevin Flannery, a marine biologist and Director of Dingle Oceanworld, said he has had numerous phone calls over the last few weeks regarding the jellyfish.

Speaking to RTÉ's News at One, he said there have been reports of the jellyfish on Inch and Ballybunion beachs, while one lady phoned to say she had spotted 50 or 60 of them on a beach in west Cork.

Portuguese Man-Of-War jellyfish use trailing tentacles to attract prey, and the tentacles remain dangerous even after the jellyfish has washed ashore.

Touching the tentacles has been known to cause fatalities, and people with asthma or breathing disorders are particularly vulnerable as they can go into anaphylactic shock.

Mr Flannery said the pain can be "quite extreme", and he is advising people to stay out of the water for the time being.

He said the jellyfish were likely brought by Storm Lorenzo, which arrived in Ireland from the Azores in the mid-Atlantic.

"From yesterday evening, the volume of them seems to have dissipated, so hopefully they are over and done with. But we did issue warnings over the weekend for beaches in Kerry and west Cork and people did abide by them."

Mr Flannery said that while he is hopeful we would not encounter such a large volume of them again, he warned that a similar storm could bring more.

He added that he has some live samples that he is bringing to the Exploris Aquarium near Queen's University in Belfast to study.

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