The Irish Water Safety (IWS) authority have warned the public that Portuguese man of war jellyfish have washed ashore at several locations along the south coast of Ireland.

So far there have been 16 sightings along the south coast, mainly in County Waterford and Cork.
IWS chief executive John Leech told the Belfast Telegraph "If they land on beaches in large numbers we will have no choice but to close the beaches. This is an unprecedented number of sightings.”

The IWS spokesperson Roger Sweeny told that Ireland’s wet and winder summer could be the cause of this dangerous and strange invasion.

He said “We’ve had a lot of rainfall over the last month which is usually generated by south westernly winds, which has pushed them up here. They usually live about 400 miles south west of us here.”

These deadly jellyfish are a purple / blue colour and have 50-meter tentacles. Although commonly called a jellyfish that Portuguese man of war is in fact a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together.

They most commonly found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific and Indian oceans, but also in the northern Atlantic Gulf Stream.

Sweeney warned “If a child is badly stung they could die.

“There have been fatalities in the past. If stung, you need to plunge the affected area back into saltwater and pull the sting out with whatever you can. Don’t use fresh water as this will aggravate it. When you get back to your hotel or home, use as much hot water as you can bare and try to wash out anything that remains. No salt water is needed at this stage.”

Here’s a National Geographic video on the Portuguese Man of War: