A second beach has reappeared on Achill Island, Co. Mayo this year, much to the surprise of locals, as reported by the Irishtimes.
Six months on from the return of Dooagh beach after 30 years, Ashleam Bay has made its comeback. This beach, only 10kms from Dooagh, had not been seen for quite some time.
The news has been welcomed by Tourism manager of Achill, Sean Molloy, who spoke of his delight and excitement at the news. Ashleam is part of the Wild Atlantic Way and is the “discovery point” on Achill’s southern coast.
The beach is a small cove, also known as Port na hAille, is surrounded by high cliffs. The last locals had seen of the beach was over 12 years ago in 2005 and briefly in 2001. Local folklore claims the sand would return every seven years.
“And before that again it was when I was a child, which was over 20 years ago, and it lasted about a year then,” he said.
Molloy says he remembers times when the beach was used by the army as well as being a nudist beach at one point.
“Every time I go down there it changes, it’s always different, never the same,” he said.
It’s not all a mystery though, as the phenomenon was described as the natural outcome of hydrodynamics and sediment supply.
“In Dooagh’s case, the wind direction changed the hydrodynamics of the bay, and may have washed in an offshore sandbank,” he said Dr Kevin Lynch, Nuig geographer.
“This may be similar for Ashleam, and it could be that erosion on one part of the coast has provide a new sediment supply.” he added.
“It tends to happen more often on the Wexford coast, and long-term studies show it has nothing to do with climate change,” Dr Lynch says.
Molloy and Achill natives are now hoping the reclaimed beach will stay on until the new year, with hopes that it will increase the level of tourism to the area. Recently the area has seen tourism levels increase dramatically, by as much as 67%. This resulted in new employment opportunities in the area, with the creation of 79 new jobs.
“Fortunately, Achill is not short of beautiful locations, fabulous beaches and stunning scenery, but even by its high standards, Ashleam Bay is something special,” said Molloy.