Locals pledge to slow down the 'alarming' rapid erosion of Inchydoney's sand dunes

Up to 9m of sand dunes have disappeared from the beach, prompting fears about its impact on local wildlife.
Locals pledge to slow down the 'alarming' rapid erosion of Inchydoney's sand dunes

Dena O'Donovan and Clodagh McGuirk on Inchydoney beach in West Cork indicating where the sand dunes used to be, to illustrate how depleted they have been by recent storms. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Fears have been raised about the extensive erosion of sand dunes — which has been accelerating dramatically in recent months — at one of Ireland's premier tourist locations.

Up to 9m (30ft) of sloping dunes have disappeared at Inchydoney beach, near Clonakilty, Co Cork in as many years leaving cliff-type dunes which are a safety hazard.

Storms prior to Christmas took large chunks out of the remaining dunes. Locals are so concerned about the dunes' demise and the effect it will have on wildlife, some of it unique to the area, that they've set up an action group — Inchydoney Dunes Conservation Project (IDCP) — to address the situation.

“We're concerned about the destruction and loss of habitat on the dunes from recent storms and high tides,” IDCP co-chairwoman Clodagh McGuirk said. 

Dena O'Donovan and other local volunteers are aiming to stem the erosion of the dunes at  Inchydoney. 	Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Dena O'Donovan and other local volunteers are aiming to stem the erosion of the dunes at  Inchydoney. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

"We need to identify the root causes of the rapid erosion and we hope to develop a plan to conserve the dunes in the most appropriate and sustainable way."

“We want everyone to continue to enjoy Inchydoney in all the various ways that they do, with an awareness that we must protect the dunes from irreversible erosion,” she said.  "We believe everyone can play their part in conserving the dunes. 

"Simple actions can make a big difference, such as sticking to the obvious paths, steps and tracks, and not carving out new trails or trampling over vegetation, or sliding down the banks of the dunes."

Co-chairwoman Dena O’Donovan said they're encouraging the involvement of schools, local clubs and other community bodies in the project.

“We need to wake up to the fact the dune system won’t regenerate itself without a little help from us all. We don’t want to stop people using the dunes, but we need to investigate putting in amenities like walkways so people actually see the dunes regenerating,” she said.

Cork South-West TD Christopher O’Sullivan said inspiration for the project came from Castlegregory on the Maharees near Tralee Co Kerry, where a local voluntary group formed to restore dunes there.

“Everyone loves the dunes, but there’s also been a lot of alarm over their state over the past year,” he said.

"I felt it was important as a community that we step up to the mark to protect this incredible habitat. The speed with which our voluntary group has leapt into action is a promising sign for the future of his vital habitat." 

It's expected IDCP members will hold talks shortly with council engineers on the issue.

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox

HOME DELIVERY SERVICE

Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.

Discover the

Install our free app today

Available on

LOTTO RESULTS

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

  • 2
  • 10
  • 12
  • 13
  • 38
  • 40
  • 17

Full Lotto draw results »