Lost Irish Beach 'Magically' Reappears After 33 Years

By Kim Bussing on July 26, 2017

CCSS NAS-4 Word Search
Before and after images of Dooagh beach (Photo Credit: Achill Island Tourist)

With its majestic mountains, spectacular landscapes, and pristine beaches, Ireland’s Achill Island has always been a popular European tourist destination. However, since April, the rugged 57-square mile island of just 2,600 residents has gained worldwide fame thanks to the ‘miraculous’ return of a beach that was washed away over three decades ago.

The chain of events began in 1984 when residents of Dooagh, one of the five settlements on the island, awoke to a startling sight: their beautiful sandy beach had been washed away by strong Atlantic storms. In its wake were rocks and rock pools, and for 33 years, only trace amounts of sand returned to the once unspoiled shores. The area’s thriving tourism industry slowly petered away, and the handful of beachside hotels, pubs, and restaurants gradually shuttered as well.

Dooagh Beach (Photo Credit: Achill Island Tourist)

Then, around Easter this year, something magical happened — An unusual ten-day tide blanketed the barren 300-meter (984-foot) stretch of rock beach with hundreds of tons of soft golden sand! Scientists from the National University of Ireland, Galway suspect that the sand had been gathering offshore for months and was transported to the beach by the high winds and powerful waves.

The locals are delighted to have their beach back, especially as it is attracting hordes of visitors wishing to witness the power of nature, with their own eyes. JJ McNamara, the owner of Achill Cliff House, hopes the beach’s revival will attract surfers back to the region. However, Sean Molloy, manager of Achill Tourism, cautions against venturing into the chilly waters just yet, saying, "Because of the sand coming in, we don't know how safe the beach is now because currents could be changed and it'll take a little bit of time." He instead recommends visitors enjoy the soft sand and leave the swimming to the pods of dolphins that frequent the area.

Tourists flock to visit revived beach (Photo Credit: Achill Island Tourist)

Dooagh residents hope the beach’s revival also means the return of sand eels, a popular local delicacy, which was unable to survive the inhospitable rocky environment left behind by the 1984 storms. Clumps of seaweed called “the wrack” have also landed ashore again, a boon for the area’s farmers who use the briny plants to fertilize their land.

Ironically, this is not the first time Dooagh Beach has pulled a disappearing and reappearing act. It vanished in the 1890s, for over 30 years, before returning in 1927. However, the locals are optimistic that this time around, the beautiful sand is here to stay.

​​​​​Resources: wikipedia.org, theguardian.com,independent.co.uk, irishtimes.com

Listen to the Article: Play Audio

Create MLA, Chicago, or APA Website Citation

Create a website citation for this article. We support MLA8, MLA7, APA, and Chicago citation formats.

VocabularyPlay Game


Reading Comprehension (10 questions)

  1. Why is Achill Island popular with European tourists?
  2. What ‘magical’ event did the area experience around Easter?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Can Dooagh residents do anything to prevent losing the beach...

Vocabulary in Context

Dooagh residents hope the beach’s revival also means the return of sand eels, a popular local delicacy, that was unable to survive the inhospitable rocky environment left...

to use your custom avatar.
  • spirou8fantasio
    spirou8fantasioThursday, July 27, 2017 at 6:46 pm
    Ooh hilarious!
    • GangThursday, July 27, 2017 at 6:41 pm
      Oh that is hilarious!
      • callie_b
        callie_bThursday, July 27, 2017 at 5:58 pm
        That's so awesome that the beach is back for the SECOND time!!! Wow!🌊🌊
        • izy2005
          izy2005Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 5:03 pm
          Wow that is amazing!! How would a rocky beach turn into a sandy pristine beach? How is it golden sand? What is a Sand Ell (I have to look it up). I think the people where shocked that the beach slowly petered away. But now they are shouting for joy. Hope the beach will stay there for a long time.
          • veah11
            veah11Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 10:51 pm
            so true
          • kiarahThursday, July 27, 2017 at 4:49 pm
            • arielmosho
              arielmoshoThursday, July 27, 2017 at 4:46 pm
              Wow that's very cool......
              • HaterThursday, July 27, 2017 at 4:04 pm
                wow I didn't know beaches were so un popular now days!
                • kitkat100
                  kitkat100Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 3:55 pm
                  WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!t doesn't make sense
                  • jenny12345678
                    jenny12345678Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 1:55 pm
                    huh..... That's interesting.
                    • evanThursday, July 27, 2017 at 12:45 pm
                      well it's kinda cool but that can't phisicly hapen
                      • ghostthief
                        ghostthiefThursday, August 10, 2017 at 8:06 pm
                        No you are wrong the tide can decrease in size because of causes like global warming
                        • ghostthief
                          ghostthiefThursday, July 27, 2017 at 7:19 pm
                          No you are wrong the tide can decrease in size because of causes like global warming

                        Recent Comments

                        Nugget wrote:

                        Nugget approves.
                        Disney Scientists Reveal The Fut...

                        MSE wrote:

                        i feel so sorry for them
                        US Midwest States Get Pounded By...

                        Justin Mse wrote:

                        This little kid is gonna be the ...
                        Video Of The Week - A Future NBA...

                        MSE wrote:

                        It happen before tome in FL
                        Hurricane Matthew Leaves A Trail...

                        Our Apps and Plugins