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High-flying humpbacks have a whale of a time off Irish coast.

REMARKABLE footage of one of the world's largest creatures in acrobatic display has been captured in Irish waters.

Giant humpback whales have been filmed breaching in the sea three miles off Hook Head, Co Wexford, providing some of the most dramatic wildlife footage ever shot around the coast.

Padraig Whooley, of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), chartered a boat after reports of large numbers of whales in the area since New Year.

"One of the largest creatures on the planet 'exploding' out of the water is truly one of the most remarkable sights in the animal kingdom," he said.

"None of the researchers had previously witnessed it in Irish waters."

Images of the humpback taken last Saturday have been sent to the College of the Atlantic, Maine, in the United States, for matching with the North Atlantic Humpback database which contains an extensive ID catalogue of over 5,000 individually recognisable whales.

Humpbacks, which were once hunted to near-extinction, are now found in every ocean and can grow to about 50 feet (15m).

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A humpback whale breaches the waters off Hook Head, in Co Wexford
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 26, 2010
Words:189
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