St. Patrick's Day 2001

St. Patrick's Day and the Parade is cancelled!
Where will we bring the kids? A Seal Release !

Three seals, Ciarбn, Liam and Tуmas, that have been at the Sanctuary for three months now are ready to go home. This is no ordinary release. The National Geographic Channel are here to film the release along with the work of the Irish Seal Sanctuary for a new programme entitled "Earthpulse", a 26 part series to be broadcast to 90 countries and over 100 million people, later this summer.

It's 2.45pm and it's a bitterly cold Donabate beach, yet over 2,000 people have formed the characteristic "Freedom Corridor" with it's "Window on the Sea". This is the traditional farewell that we offer to our seals. Before the release, another wild animal goes free. A black headed gull that has been nursed back to full health by Linda Wells of the Sanctuary is set free. Without even a glance back, the gull goes high and free. Memories of Johnathen Livingston Seagull come flooding back. A good omen?

The three boxes are to be opened by our three seal handlers, Бine Carroll, Mary Price and Linda Wells. After a few words to the crowd from the top of one of the boxes comes the countdown.......... 10....9.....8....7......6.......5........4.................3.........................2.....................................1

The boxes are opened and out they come. Cautiously at first, gathering their thoughts and viewing the crowd. They have never seen so many people. They smell the salt water and see the sea.

Suddenly it's a race. For most of the crowd and especially the children, this is the closest they have come to a wild animal and the joy on their faces makes it all worthwhile. What a story for the teacher on Monday. Nobody will beat this! Everyone has forgotten the cold and are unaware of the rising tide now lapping around their feet. Most wait till the seals are out of sight.

Finally, when out of sight, people start to make their way home. A traffic jam out of Donabate, but people don't mind. Some head for a "hot toddie" in the Dunes Hotel, while Seal Sanctuary volunteers pack up the boxes and make sure that the seals have finally left.

Another successful release.




Copyright 2000 by the Irish Seal Sanctuary. All rights reserved.