Imagine waking up one day and finding that your beautiful local beach is no more – gone, its fine white sand swept away by a freak storm. You go about your daily business for 12 long years and then suddenly the beach is back, all its glory restored by another storm. This is what happened on the island of Achill, off the coast of Ireland, where the inhabitants are celebrating the return of the beautiful Ashleam Bay beach that was taken from them in 2005.
That in itself is remarkable enough, but the story gets even better! You see, another beach in Achill did a disappearing act once, but took much longer to return. The beach at Doonagh, located only six miles (10km) away from Ashleam Bay, was restored earlier this year after waves created by spring storms had swept away all the sand in 1984, leaving just rock pools behind.
Back to Ashleam Bay and the lovely surprise the Islanders got. According to Seán Molloy, of Achill Tourism, past storm had cleared the coast of most of the rocks and boulders, and then this past summer Storm Brian finished the job and replaced all the debris with a thick layer of sand.
Local legend says that the beach at Ashleam Bay returns for a short while every seven years, but this time around it took a bit longer than that. Not that anyone’s complaining.
“There is local folklore that stretches back hundreds of years that says this beach comes back every seven years then disappears again. It was last seen in 2005 and it stayed for a few months at that time before it was washed away again,” Molloy said.