Kilbrittain Whale – Kilbrittain, Ireland - Atlas Obscura

Kilbrittain Whale

Kilbrittain, Ireland

The skeleton of a whale that beached itself in this Irish town is now on display in their public park. 


After a huge whale beached itself on the beach in Kilbrittain, Ireland, a village facing Courtmascherry Bay, the locals turned it into a skeletal landmark when they weren’t able to save its life.

On January 15th, 2009, a fin whale stranded itself on the coast of Burren, most likely disoriented by unusual high tides. When the marine giant was discovered, the locals sprung into action to save creature by dragging it back into the water with the help of the Courtmascherry lifeboat, but to no avail. With no further options, the whale unfortunately perished there on the shore. A specialist was flown in from America to take a look at the carcass, and an necropsy was performed as the whale lay. The only problem left was what to do with the body. 

Following the necropsy, a group of local volunteers worked hard in the few hours available between high tides to remove the blubber from the skeleton of the animal. The group was helped by many members of the community, including workers from the local meat factory, who provided tractors and lorries to aid the volunteers. Once the skeleton had been stripped and cleaned, they collected the bones and eventually reassembled them on display in a public enclosure, where they remain today.

The skeleton of the ill-fated behemoth has become something of a symbol for the town and is now surrounded by a public park and playground. It’s not such a bad fate for the poor, confused whale. 

Know Before You Go

On public display in the village public park. The park is situated at the eastern end of Kilbrittain.

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