Thursday 1st November 2001

All Hallow's Day and the first first day of winter, but the sun is shining on the Bull Island in Dublin, scene of the only Dublin release this Seal Week. A calm sea with Howth Head bathed in sunshine and "The Chimneys" standing proud in front of the Sugarloaf in the distance. A crowd of about 300 people have gathered at the Interpretive Centre at midday ready to set off along the beach down to Sutton Point for the release of Bonnie and Grбinne back to the sea.

Grбinne and Bonnie are two female Common Seals, rescued in Sligo but about to be released into Dublin Bay in order to increase the population of Common Seals in the Bay. A mixed colony of Greys and Commons are present, giving joy to the thousands of Dubliners who walk this stretch of coastline.

Pat Corrigan and Paul from the Interpretive Centre, deserve a special mention for their efforts in looking after these wonderful animals. It's time to head off but first a photo of everyone for the Irish Times.

Бine Carroll of the Sanctuary has brought along a busload of YouthReach children and they have volunteered to carry the seals. It's traditional here in Dublin for children to take it in turn to carry the seal boxes to the release site. Half an hour later we arrive at the point of release.

The traditional Freedom Corridor is formed giving everyone an excellent vantage point and more importantly the seals, a window on the sea. Catherine from St. Michael's House and Angela from YouthReach have been nominated to open the boxes. Nobody is under any time pressure today so after after a short chat with the crowd and some questions it's time for the countdown.......... 10...9......8........7........6..........5.............4..................3. .....................2................................1. and they're opened.

At first, nothing! Maybe they don't want to go! But sure enough, Bonnie takes a few tentative steps to be followed by Grбinne. No rush. Slowly, they make their way past a most appreciative crowd down to the water.
They enter together and once in the water, Bonnie turns back as if to say "goodbye and thanks".

It's worth noting that the two people who spent most time getting these animals ready for release, Brendan and Mary, cannot be here today due to pressure of work in the Sanctuary with sick seals. Their work will not be forgotten by the crowd or by the seals.

Thanks.


Time to make tracks




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