A dolphin that survived being badly sunburnt in Scotland three years ago has delighted scientists after she was filmed thriving off the Co Kerry coast.

Spirtle, a female bottlenose dolphin, was stranded out of water on mudflats for 24 hours in the Moray Firth in May 2016.

Rescuers did not think she would survive her severe burns and dehydration.

However, her wounds did gradually heal and her scars meant she became one of the easiest of Scotland's east coast population of bottlenose dolphins to identify.

Sightings were subsequently recorded in Scotland in 2017 and 2018.

Earlier this year, Spirtle was spotted with a group of bottlenose dolphins several times off the Dublin and Wicklow coast.

She was spotted again at the weekend, this time near Fenit Lighthouse in Tralee Bay.

"She came right up to the boat and I couldn't believe it," said Dr Joanne O'Brien of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.

"She appeared to be in perfect health and was bow riding the Celtic Mist," Dr O'Brien added.

The IWDG is now trying to establish whether Spirtle is with other dolphins from Scotland, or if she has simply teamed up with some Irish friends.

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