The Arctic walrus that was spotted off Co Kerry four months ago has now appeared at Clonea Strand and Ardmore Bay in Co Waterford, experts have confirmed.

Sightings officer with the Irish Dolphin and Whale Group Pádraig Whooley said the animal has distinctive white blotches on its left flipper.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Whooley said the walrus visited Wales, England and France, completing a 2,000km journey before returning to Ireland.

It is a remarkable story, he said, noting that it went as far south as La Rochelle, France.

Mr Whooley said he does not know why the walrus has returned to Ireland, but he hopes that it will spend a bit of time here before tracking back north towards a more comfortable habitat.

He added that walruses travel very fast in the water.

The animal was seen off Cornwall last Friday and covered 250km of open ocean to reach the Waterford coast, he noted.

Mr Whooley said: "Distances mean very, very little to this animal."

He urged the public to keep away from the walrus and give it a "respectful distance".

When the walrus was washed up on rocks at Valentia Island, Co Kerry, in March it was discovered by a father and his young daughter while they were walking. It then travelled onward to Wales.

The walrus was in an extremely exhausted state.

Over two metres in length, it is believed that he is quite young as his tusks are only 30cm long.

The tusks of a fully grown walrus can grow up to one metre in length.

Patrick Shields, general manager at the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, joked that staff were surprised to see international guests arriving in the summer of a pandemic.

He said: "I received a phone call at home to say we had a visitor in the bay since early morning.

"I was aware that Mike Dunne, a local fisherman, was going out to check and that there was a boat with a walrus on it in the harbour, which was surprising to me, initially. I needed to see it with my own eyes.

"When I came to the hotel around lunchtime I was surprised that Wally the Walrus had shown up.

"We haven't had a lot of international visitors this summer. So someone from Norway was exciting, and in particular a walrus, which was amazing. It's gathered a lot of attention.

"We understand he's been here since about 9am yesterday morning, or maybe a little bit before. There have been sightings all day yesterday and today as well."

Dubliner John Burn, visiting Ardmore on holiday, was among those seeking Wally out.

He said: "I'm going to have a look at him. I'm going up Declan's Way for the walk. I didn't think he was here today.

"I just seen a picture of him in the paper this morning. He's a long way from home, isn't he?"