Concern is growing in Co Kerry that Fungie, the famous Dingle dolphin may be missing. 

The popular bottlenose dolphin has not been seen for two days, leading to speculation that he may have left the area or died.  

A number of boats spent today and yesterday afternoon searching for the dolphin at the mouth of Dingle harbour.  

Local boatman Jimmy Flannery said the dolphin was last spotted early on Wednesday morning.

"We have a report that he was seen following a fishing boat out the mouth of the harbour early on Wednesday morning but he hasn't been seen since," he said. 

"It’s unusual for him to go missing but I wouldn’t be overly concerned yet. I’d be hoping he’s just gone hiding for a while. But it is unlike him." 

Another boatman, Gary Brosnan, said a number of boats were involved in an extensive search of Dingle harbour earlier today.

"We had no luck today but we’ll head out again in the morning and see if we can spot him. He has gone missing for a few days in the past so we are hoping he’ll be back fairly soon."

Fungie first arrived in Dingle in 1983 and has been an ever-present attraction since.

The arrival of the dolphin helped establish the west Kerry town as a major tourist destination in the south-west. Up to 12 boats run daily trips to the dolphin during an extended tourist season, with thousands of visitors seeking to catch a glimpse of the friendly dolphin.

Experts say some bottlenose dolphins can have a lifespan of up to 50 years. Fungie is believed to be at least 45-years-old.

In a Facebook post tonight, Jeannine Masset and Rudi Schamart who frequently visit Fungie, have expressed their deep concern: "We all keep hoping for a miracle, but the bay feels really empty without him. As you will understand, we are very upset for it looks like we may have lost our best friend."