A man in his 30s has died after he was swept out to sea while walking along the shoreline in west Clare Sunday afternoon.

A major search and rescue operation was mounted after the alarm was raised at around 2.15pm.

The Kilkee unit of the Irish Coast Guard, the Shannon-based Coast Guard helicopter - Rescue 115 - the Aran Islands RNLI lifeboat, the National Ambulance Service and gardaí responded to the incident.

It is understood that the man had been picking seaweed with friends on the shoreline near Farrihy Bay, north of Kilkee, when he lost his footing and fell into the sea.

His body was recovered from the water shortly after 3pm and removed to University Hospital Limerick, where a post-mortem examination will be carried out.

Gardaí are investigating the circumstances of the incident.