Locals complain of gridlock and vandalism as crowds descend on Cork and Kerry beaches

The causeway to Barleycove beach in West Cork was gridlocked again for the second time in a fortnight.
Locals complain of gridlock and vandalism as crowds descend on Cork and Kerry beaches
Gridlock at Barleycove beach. Photo: Liz Dunphy

Roads to beaches were gridlocked and hordes of teenagers trashed parts of a seaside village as thousands of people flocked to the coast during the weekend’s mini heatwave.

There were calls for increased weekend patrols by gardaí and local authority staff to enforce parking and camping bylaws after cars were abandoned on narrow beach access roads, and campsite fires were lit in sensitive protected dunes.

The causeway to Barleycove beach in West Cork was gridlocked again for the second time in a fortnight prompting fears about emergency vehicle access in the event of an accident.

Several illegal campfires were lit on Long Strand dunes, a special area of conservation, and on the Warren Beach dunes, near Rosscarbery on Saturday night. 

In Schull, there were reports of vandalism, of vomit and broken glass strewn on part of the foreshore, and of locals finding drunk people asleep on footpaths on Saturday morning after a gang of up to 100 teenagers descended on the coastal village.

One local described Friday night as “a shocking night of drinking and disrespect”.

Shrubs were ripped up and rocks from a newly landscaped area were scattered near the entrance to the local Centra shop.

The owners said it was “extremely disappointing and upsetting” to arrive at work on Saturday to find weeks of hard work had been vandalised overnight.

In West Kerry, gardaí were deployed to Inch beach to divert motorists away after crowds flocked to beaches.

Kerry County Council said it had deployed members of its enforcement units to Derrymore and the Maharees in an effort to control traffic in those areas.

Meanwhile, on the water, the Irish-built James Bond-style wave-piercing vessel, Thunder Child 11, set what’s believed to be a new world record for the Cork-Fastnet-Cork trip in an over 50ft powerboat.

With skipper Frank Kowalski at the helm, and crewed by Ciaran Monks, Carl Randalls, Mary Power and Robert Guzik, the 75ft-long vessel, powered by four 650hp Caterpillar engines and four France Helices SDS surface drives, crossed the start line off Weaver’s Point at 2pm.

They rounded the landmark lighthouse at 3.21pm, doing about 40knots, and powered back to Cork, in an unofficial time of 2:36:31, hitting a top speed of 53kts during the 115-nautical mile round trip.

The time must be ratified by the power-boating governing body UIM - the Union Internaionale Motonautique - before being declared an official record.

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