Thursday 14 December 2017

Bit of a trek needed to reach 'local' beach

WHERE is Fingal Bay Beach? Does it run between Balbriggan and Skerries, in the Rush-Portrane area or is it in Malahide-Portmarnock? Or is it elsewhere in the North County.

Now, one reader who has Googled Fingal Bay Beach has discovered that the place with the very familiar name is not in Ireland at all – and, indeed, is far away at the other end of the world, in Australia. Fingal Bay Beach, we are told, is at Port Stephens in New South Wales.

'A near perfect c-curve that faces south-east, Fingal Bay Beach has its own island connected by a sand-spit and is well-protected from all but a hefty south-east wind,' it is stated. 'The spit at the north end which links Fingal Island to the mainland gets decent waves when the sand builds up.

'The island's key feature is an imposing lighthouse and there are some stylish cafes a short walk from the water's edge.'

Nearby Port Stephens Council says the early settlers in the area were Worimi Aborigines on the coastal area. It seems that the earliest Europeans to live in the area were five escaped convicts, wrecked at Port Stevens in 1790. They were befriended by the Worimi who took them into the tribe, giving them wives by whom some had children, and taking them along on their wanderings.

Five years later, the whitemen were 'rescued' by Captain Broughton of the Providence when his ship sought shelter from a gale. Port Stevens itself was named by the famous Captain Cook in May 1770.

But the question remains as to whether some intrepid souls from Fingal in Dublin were among the early settlers in the area and affixed the name of their beloved homeland to their new-found yet and somewhat familiar territory.

Fingal Independent

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