9 May 2017

Freak tide brings back beach after 33 years

11:30 am on 9 May 2017

Residents and tourists on a remote Irish island have flocked to see a sandy beach that has reappeared after being washed away by storms more than 30 years ago.

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Dooagh beach, now with sand, earlier this month. Photo: Achill Island Tourist Office

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

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.

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".

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Dooagh beach in March. Photo: Screenshot / Emma Gill

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.