The last thing I expected to see when I made a quick visit to Howth, on Dublin's north coast, yesterday afternoon was seals frolicking in the harbour.
But there, right by the fishing trawlers and moored boats, were three seals delighting the crowds.
It felt a bit surreal to make eye contact with these amazing creatures, who did not seem at all afraid of the humans staring at them from the harbour wall. If anything they seemed to relish the attention and put on a bit of a show, jumping up out of the water, doing somersaults and deep dives, and blowing bubbles out of their noses.
I overheard one elderly lady claim that up until fairly recently you could buy a bag of fish for €3 to feed the seals. But the trade was stopped when it became clear that too many people were feeding the seals and the sea creatures were stacking on the weight.