Dolphins make quite a splash as they check out Co Antrim coastline

A dolphin plays alongside a jetskier in Carnlough Bay. Pic by Brian Quinn Photography
A dolphin plays alongside a jetskier in Carnlough Bay. Pic by Brian Quinn Photography

A pod of dolphins made quite a splash when they paid a visit to Carnlough Bay on the Co Antrim coast at the weekend.

Locals and visitors to the seaside village were delighted to get a lengthy look at the friendly aquatic mammals on Saturday evening as dozens of them fed and played just off the coast.

Photographer Brian Quinn captured this stunning image of dolphins swimming in Carnlough Bay.

Photographer Brian Quinn captured this stunning image of dolphins swimming in Carnlough Bay.

Local amateur photographer Brian Quinn, who loves taking pictures of wildlife, was able to capture some spectacular close-up images of the dolphins, thanks to a local boat tours operator.

“I got a phone call from Davy Smyth, who runs the local boat tours out of Carnlough Harbour. He gave me the heads up on the dolphins being in the bay and took me out on the boat to get some pictures,” Brian explained.

“There must have been 30 dolphins playing in the water and they stuck around for at least 90 minutes.”

Mr Smyth, 51, owner and operator of Carnlough Bay Boat Tours, has been fishing the waters off the Co Antrim coast most of his life. He started his business taking visitors out on trips in his converted lifeboat three years ago.

Two people on a jetski get a closer look at the dolphins in Carnlough Bay. Pic by Brian Quinn Photography

Two people on a jetski get a closer look at the dolphins in Carnlough Bay. Pic by Brian Quinn Photography

“You never know when they (the dolphins) are going to turn up,” he said. “They just turn up when they want and head off when they want. You couldn’t predict when they’re going to be there, but it’s become a lot more common to see them, certainly over the last 20 years.

“They were heading south in the morning and I tried to keep up with them in the boat, but I got as far as Larne and they were gone. They came back up to the bay on Saturday evening and that’s when a lot of people got to see them.”

He added: “When you have people out on a tour and they see the dolphins it’s like they’re at a fireworks display. All you hear are the ooohs and ahhhhs. It’s almost like a life-changing experience for some people when they see them!”

• Check out more images on the Brian Quinn Photography Facebook page.

Dolphins making a splash in Carnlough Bay. Pic by Brian Quinn Photography

Dolphins making a splash in Carnlough Bay. Pic by Brian Quinn Photography

Curiosity, a former lifeboat, is now a sightseeing vessel operated by Carnlough Bay Boat Tours. Pic by Brian Quinn Photography

Curiosity, a former lifeboat, is now a sightseeing vessel operated by Carnlough Bay Boat Tours. Pic by Brian Quinn Photography