Slaudeen is a small sandy cove at the mouth of Dingle Harbour between Hussey's Folly and the Lighthouse. It is where Dingle people have learnt to swim for generations, as it was and remains, within walking distance from town and safe for children.
In the past few decades it has become the preferred location for watching the acrobatics of Fungi the dolphin for those who walk out along 'The Banks'. When the tide is filling and the sun shining there is no finer place to swim. Traditionally, it was the bathing area for local men, with the women having their own area, near the 'bathing boxes' a little distance further out. Children swam in the 'pool' over to the right of the beach and as a boy I watched in awe as the local men swam to the 'Tuairín Bán' on the other side of the harbour, which to our young eyes was an epic feat. I met local man, Jimmy Flannery there recently. Jimmy has been swimming in Slaudeen all his life and is a powerful swimmer. He is suitably proud of the place and keeps a watchful eye on potential damage to the area. He wanted to highlight the kind efforts of a man he met at the beach in the past week.
On a few occasions this summer there has been a problem with people leaving quantities of cans and glass bottles on, and overlooking the beach. However, during the week Jimmy met a man who had collected all the illegally discarded litter and was carrying it back to town to dispose of it correctly. Jimmy didn't know his name but wanted to pass on his gratitude for cleaning the beach and to highlight the unsung heroes who take an interest in keeping these precious places clean. 'We hear enough of the thugs who litter, it would be good to read of people who are concerned and act on it.'
Another incidence of people who take exceptional pride in their beach was brought to my attention recently in Ballyferriter. Beal Bán is a long stretch of golden sand on the shores of Smerwick Harbour. For many years Michael Ferriter and his wife Peigí have been walking the beach, collecting litter as they walk. A number of people have been in touch to say a big 'go raibh maith agaibh' to them for their efforts, which have not gone unnoticed by other beach users. Michael and Peigí set an example to the rest of us.
The above cases are in sharp contrast to the beach users who have no problem leaving rubbish on the beach during this memorable hot Summer. If you are lucky enough to be able to spend a day on any of the Kerry beaches this summer, please take your rubbish home with you and take an lead from the likes of Michael, Peigí, Jimmy and the others who keep a watchful eye on our beaches.