Members of the Foyle Paddlers club got quite the shock when they were joined for a frolic in the sea, close to Malin Head, in County Donegal, by several basking sharks, the world’s second largest fish.

Sightings of these massive and harmless animals are common around Ireland’s coast. The only real threat these gentle creatures is that they might capsize boats due to their size.

One of the kayakers, Sandra Fox, told UTV the experience was “amazing.”

She said, “I think there was as many as seven of them in the water around us at one point. We spent about an hour in their presence – it was amazing.

"There were a few in the group who were quite nervous at first about getting too close. It was surreal, almost.

“There was a sense of awe that they would allow us into their space. They were very calm and almost playful.”

One of the more adventurous members actually got into the water with the fish but they kept their distance.

This video, taken in Donegal by another kayaker, will give you sense of what the sharks look like:

Thankfully the only ever recorded shark-related deaths in the Britain or Ireland were in 1937 when three people drowned near the Scottish village of Carradale. Their boat was tipped over by what was reported to be a basking shark.