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Irish Beach Gets its Sand Back After 33 Years


A wide view of Dooagh beach after a storm returned sand to it, 30 years after another storm had stripped all the sand off the beach, on Achill island, County Mayo, Ireland, May 5, 2017.

This is What’s Trending Today.

Many people on an island in western Ireland are excited.

They are celebrating a new beach. But actually, it is the return of an old beach.

The people live in Dooagh, a small community on Achill Island.

Older residents of Dooagh remember traveling down to the coastline and walking on the sand.

But during a storm in the 1980s, the beach washed away. All that remained were rocks, seaweed and small pools of water.

In recent weeks, the beach returned.

A woman walks her dogs along Dooagh beach after a storm returned sand to it, 30 years after another storm had stripped all the sand off the beach, on Achill island, County Mayo, Ireland, May 5, 2017.
A woman walks her dogs along Dooagh beach after a storm returned sand to it, 30 years after another storm had stripped all the sand off the beach, on Achill island, County Mayo, Ireland, May 5, 2017.

Sean Molloy works for the Achill Island tourist office. He told reporters that the sand began returning to Dooagh Bay last year. He said the water seemed brighter because there was more sand below.

Then this year, after a series of storms in April when the wind was blowing hard, the sand appeared along the coastline.

Residents woke up one morning after low tide to see 300 meters of soft sand.

A local restaurant owner told The Guardian newspaper that people heard about the beach’s return and are visiting Dooagh to take a look.

“We have a beautiful little village as it is, but it is great to look out and see this beautiful beach instead of just rocks,” the man said.

Achill Island is one of the western-most parts of Europe. A bridge connects the island with the rest of Ireland.

On Facebook, many people are posting videos and photographs of what Dooagh looked like for the past 33 years next to photos of what it looks like today.

People are talking about “the power of nature.” One Canadian tourist called Dooagh his “home away from home.” He was excited to see the changes.

A college professor in New Zealand called the Dooagh Beach story “a spectacular example of the way beaches change over time.” He said the loss of the sand was a product of changing weather conditions and erosion. Sometimes the sand moves up the coastline. Other times, it moves out to sea.

The Achill tourist office is happy to have new visitors. It is now busy releasing photos of crowds coming to see the returned beach.

Sean Molloy said he hopes the beach becomes the sixth Blue Flag beach on Achill Island. That means the areas must meet high standards for being clean, well-managed and environmentally friendly.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for VOA Learning English. His report was based on information from The Irish Times, The Guardian and the BBC. George Grow was the editor.

Do you have a beach where you live that disappeared but is now back? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

tide n. the regular upward and downward movement of sea levels

spectacular – adj. causing wonder

erosion – n. the gradual destruction of something by natural forces, such as water, wind, or ice; the process by which something is washed or worn away

beachn. a coastal areas covered by sand or rock particles

resident – n. someone living in a place for a length of time

standardn. something established as a model or example

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