Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

London Natural History Museum's New Blue Whale Display Has Irish Origins

1st February 2015
2255 Views
London Natural History Museum's New Blue Whale Display Has Irish Origins

#MarineWildlife - News emerged this week that Dippy, the famous diplodocus cast at the entrance of London's Natural History Museum, is to be replaced with the skeleton of a blue whale.

But amid all the hubbub that this move has sparked, perhaps little known is the replacement creature's Irish origin.

According to Geographical, the magazine of the Royal Geographic Society, the museum's blue whale skeleton is from a female whale that was beached off Wexford more than 100 years ago.

The giant marine mammal was reportedly already injured when it washed up at Wexford Harbour in 1891, says whaling expert Phillip Hoare, who notes that the museum paid £250 (some £27,000 in today's money) for the carcass – which produced an incredible 630 gallons of valuable whale oil.

That rendering was done at the museum itself, which had a 'whale pit' reserved for such purposes till the 1940s, when complaints from the neighbours about the smell put paid to that practice.

What's more, the Wexford whale that will have pride of place in the museum's atrium is just one of countless other specimens acquired over the decades, many of which are stores in a warehouse in south London.

Geographical has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

Email The Author

MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

DBSC
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating