A Co Cavan family, whose dog retrieved a swan's egg from a local lake a year ago, have released the fully-grown bird back to the wild.

The remarkable story began last May when Declan McCabe's dog Sam came back from a lakeside walk with a swan egg in his mouth.

Declan McCabe holding the swan egg

Mr McCabe and his son Stephen set about trying to save the chick inside, using a borrowed egg incubator.

They successfully hatched the cygnet and nursed the young bird at home in Mountnugent, Co Cavan.

Mr McCabe said: "He has been going for his daily swim in the bath or the pool outside every day. For the last year, he's been grazing in the grass, and we’ve been giving him lettuce and meal for protein. I wanted to leave him until he was strong. I have noticed a bit of a change in him over the last couple of weeks and I think now is time for him to go to the lake."

Declan McCabe and the week-old cygnet

Earlier this week, Declan walked the swan back down to the lake where Sam first found the egg.

He said: "It was always our intention to put him back in the lake. The beauty is we live along the lake so it's a big advantage."

Ushering the swan into the water, he added: "He'll probably stay along the shore for a while, but I think he will go off. I'm down at the lake every day, so if he’s there we’ll still be able to see him and make sure he’s ok."