BBC News

Shifting sands: Vanished Irish beach makes comeback 30 years on

image copyrightAchill Island Tourist Office/Sean Molloy
image captionBefore and after: Dooagh beach as it was left after 1984 and (right) how it looks today

A County Mayo beach that disappeared more than 30 years ago has made a miraculous comeback.

Dooagh beach on Achill Island in the west of Ireland, was washed away in 1984 after storms hit the area.

media captionDooagh beach in Ireland disappeared more than 30 years ago. Earlier this year it returned.

But in April, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of sand were dumped back on the coastline during a freak tide, bringing the beach back to its former glory.

Thousands of tourists visit the area every year and having a new 300-metre long beach has delighted residents.

image copyrightGoogle Maps
image captionBirds eye view - how the beach looks from above


Emmet Callaghan from Achill Island Tourist Office told the BBC that the people of the island are thrilled.

"Yesterday we had gridlock here in the village with cars and campervans and people coming from all over Ireland and the UK to see our new beach," he said.

"The people here have always spoken about their days on the beach and how they enjoyed it as children and now to have it back with their kids is unbelievable.

"We already have five blue flag beaches and hopefully, if we keep our beach here, we'll have a sixth".

image captionEmmet Callaghan from Achill Island Tourist Office said the people of the island are thrilled

Dr Ivan Haigh from the University of Southampton said there were two explanations as to why the beach has reformed.

"It could be a change in sediment supply, from further up or down the coast which has brought a fresh amount of sediment to the beach," he said.

"It could also be due to a change in environmental conditions, either an alteration in the wave climate or a series of tides that has provided the ideal conditions for this beach to reform."

The tourism office and locals hope the new beach will stay, at least for the summer.

You can hear more about the beach that came back on BBC 5 live's Up All Night.

Related Topics

  • Republic of Ireland