Kerry beach erosion lets sea through and creates island of spit at Rossbeigh


TIME AND tide have caused further dramatic erosion at Rossbeigh beach in Co Kerry where the sea has broken through to create an island of the outer tip of the sand spit.

Well known for bathing, horse-riding, surfing and fishing, Rossbeigh beach is something of a sister to Inch Strand, which reaches out from the opposite northern side of Dingle Bay. Inch was made famous internationally in the film Ryan’s Daughter.

The tide had passed between the two sandspits through the central channel, but now a yawning gap has emerged in Rossbeigh beach with the sea rushing through to raise new concerns about flooding and erosion in lowlands nearby.

There have been warnings for some time that the two-mile beach was eroding at an enormous rate, with acres of ground lost each year.

Local resident Roy Bridle who has a commanding view from high above the bay near Mountain Stage, said yesterday that the speed of the dunes receding had been “amazing” over the last two years. Their break-up has thrown up several old first World War shells.

Mr Bridle had been away and when he returned this weekend “there was this huge gap” in the spit. “These dunes have taken hundreds of years to build up, so it’s a bit heartbreaking, even though it is natural,” he said.

Local councillor and resident Michael Cahill, who only last April predicted that the beach would go, said the knock-on effects would be huge for housing and land in inner Cromane and Glenbeigh villages.

The gap at the outer part of the spit was up to 1,100ft and had created an island, he said.

Mr Cahill was driving up over the area early on Saturday morning when he was shocked by the size of the gap. With the spit going, flooding would increase and already public meetings had been held to highlight concerns.

The Office of Public Works was to take responsibility for coastal protection in January.

Kerry County Council, owner of the spit, has effectively no budget for erosion as the sums provided last year and this year have gone to undertake emergency works to the Dingle Road at Inch, which collapsed over a year ago.

Earlier this year, the council ruled out emergency works at Rossbeigh, saying “the natural processes involved in the current erosion . . . are very complex and not easily or cheaply protected against”.