Wednesday 24 July 2019

Locals overjoyed as beach washed away 30 years ago returns after storm

Picture Achill Island Tourism
Picture Achill Island Tourism

Hayley Halpin

Villagers say they are delighted a beach washed away over 30 years ago has returned to Achill Island in recent weeks.

For the first time since 1984, an extensively sandy beach has returned to Dooagh Bay, Co Mayo.

Dooagh Beach after the storm. Picture: Achill Island Tourism
Dooagh Beach after the storm. Picture: Achill Island Tourism

The beach near the west coast village of Dooagh on Achill Island disappeared in Spring storms in 1984 after waves washed all the sand away.

The beach was left with nothing more than rock pools.

However, for the first time since the storms of 1984, the island’s villagers and tourists can enjoy a walk along the strand again, as the sea has deposited thousands of tons of sand onto the formerly rocky beach.

The tonnes of sand were dumped on the beach over a ten day period in April, re-creating a 300m stretch of golden beach.

Dooagh Beach before the storm. Picture: Achill Island Tourism
Dooagh Beach before the storm. Picture: Achill Island Tourism

Speaking to, Alan Gielty, owner of the local Gielty’s Bar and Restaurant said he has seen a rise in people coming to the area in recent weeks.

“There’s a lot of people coming in to see it now. I’ve a little coffee shop here and since the news broke there’s people calling every day to see the beach,” Mr Gielty said.

The beach was also washed away in the 1890s but had returned by the 1930s. The beach had originally sustained four hotels and a number of guesthouses before it vanished in the 1980s.

Mr Gielty is the third generation to run the bar and he spoke about the disappearance of the beach over 30 years ago.

“We were always here as a pub. There is a beautiful beach, Keem Bay, which is three miles away from us and that’s where all the people would go. The beach would’ve been nice to have.

“That’s kind of the only area in the island of Achill where a lot of the dolphins are. The dolphins are in there most evenings but we never had a beach because it was decimated back,” he said.

“I don’t think this will disappear again because there’s so much sand gone into it now, I don’t think it will. When it went in the 80s, any time it was coming in, it was in small volumes.

“There’s so much sand that has been deposited over the last month to six weeks that I doubt if a storm will have any effect on it.

“It’s beautiful now, really golden colour sand,” he said.

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