Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Picturesque beach covered by a carpet of stranded jellyfish

Some of the hundreds of jellyfish stranded at Cranfield West Beach and shoreline in Co Down yesterday

A bloom of moon jellyfish has washed up on a Co Down beach – much to the surprise of curious passers-by.

Curious visitors were able to see hundreds of the slimy creatures dotted all over Cranfield West beach at the entrance to Carlingford Lough.

The beach, an Area of Special Scientific Interest, is set in an idyllic location. The south-facing beach boasts the majestic Mourne Mountains as a backdrop but yesterday members of the public were more fascinated by the washed-up jellyfish.

Last night, a spokeswoman for the beach said: "It is usually when it's a really wet summer we would get jellyfish about. My friends who are swimmers said they have seen a lot of them in the water recently.

"A few weeks ago a massive jellyfish washed up there. I'm sure there is a good reason for it."

The recent spell of warm weather has led to a rise in jellyfish being spotted at our seasides. Last year, jellyfish sightings around Ireland's coast were at their highest level in 25 years.

Among those spotted were the lion's mane variety.

The largest known species, it has a powerful sting which can cause blisters, irritation, and muscular cramp – and may even affect the respiratory system and the heart.

But beachcombers who happen to get stung by any of the poisonous varieties should remember that the old wives' tale suggesting using urine to treat the wound is best ignored.

Instead treat such stings with salt water or vinegar.

Fresh water causes more toxin release and increases discomfort.

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