'Kevin Costner' was first discovered in the Shannon Estuary in Co. Clare 28 years ago.
Several sightings of the finned creature, believed to be 7 feet long, have been made between the Bridge of Peace and Mell in the River Boyne.
Boyne Fishermen's River Rescue who were called to the scene of what they thought was a dog rescue instead captured the sighting on video.
And it has since been confirmed to be a bottlenose dolphin nicknamed 'Kevin Costner' after the Bodyguard movie star, who was first discovered in the Shannon Estuary in Co. Clare 28 years ago.
Pádraig Whooley ‘ Sightings Officer’ with the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group (IWDG) said they could confirm that not only is the creature a bottlenose dolphin but that he also had a bit of a back story.
“Our colleagues who study the bottlenose dolphin population in the Shannon Estuary, between counties Clare and Kerry can confirm that this individual is one of the oldest animals in their Bottlenose ID catalogue, and it was first recorded and photo identified by IWDG researchers some 28 years ago, back in 1993,” he stated.
“Mags Daly, Shannon Dolphin Project Manager confirmed this significant match last night after comparing images taken by Aidan Curran Photography. As you can see from this composite graphic below, it's a match.”
Mr Whooley said he had been given the nick name 'Kevin Costner', due to his rather protective nature and habit of guarding females and their calves in the inner reaches of the Shannon Estuary.
"So his appearance in the Boyne river system on the east coast in recent days is without precedent, as the Shannon Estuary population rarely venture outside of the outer estuary. Mags Daly informs us that he'd have been recorded during most field seasons over the past decades and there were upwards of a dozen sightings of him in the Shannon Estuary last year (2020), when he was recorded up to the end of the summer when fieldwork ended.”
"So why he has left the Shannon and ventured so far from home over the winter remains a mystery, but given his pedigree, we know if there is any dolphin alive today, that is well adapted to surviving in a tidal river system, it's this one.
"There is every chance that he has been drawn upstream between the Peace Bridge and the Mary McAleese Bridge today (Fri. 23rd) by an abundance of salmon smolts heading downstream for the Irish Sea. IWDG has been in contact with local NPWS Conservation rangers this morning to give them our assessment and if they feel there is any need for intervention, then we'll be happy to assist. However, there is no evidence that #008 needs anything from us, but time and space.”