A man has been airlifted to hospital in a critical condition after he was washed into the sea in Co Clare this afternoon.

The 30-year-old man is believed to have been taking photographs at the base of a cliff at Creeragh off the Dunlicky coast road near Kilkee.

It is understood the man was struck by a rogue wave and was swept off the rocks into the sea.

Emergency services were alerted at around 3.30pm and a major search and rescue operation was mounted.

GardaĆ­ and volunteers from the Kilkee unit of the Irish Coast Guard were dispatched to the scene while the Shannon based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115, was also tasked to assist in the search.

The helicopter crew soon located the casualty and winched him on board the aircraft and rushed to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.

GardaĆ­ are investigating the circumstances of the incident.