A stretch of sand on Ireland’s west coast that prompted global wonder when it reappeared after 33 years has once again been washed away by the Atlantic Ocean.
Until 1984 Dooagh beach on Achill Island off the coast of Co. Mayo was a popular spot for locals and tourists.
The Atlantic Hotel, Corrymore House and The Wavecrest were all thriving businesses and people travelled from all over the world to enjoy the natural beauty.
But when winter arrived the same year the Atlantic washed the beach away leaving only stones and boulders in its place.
More than three decades later, in 2017, the beach began to re-appear and after 10 days, tonnes of fresh soft sand lay stretched along the coastline.
The locals were thrilled and spread the good news, sparking global headlines announcing the spectacular event.
TV crews arrived in their droves and photographs of the beach flooded the internet.
Curious visitors flocked to the area and the local tourist industry experienced a much-needed boost.
But the good times were not to last and harsh storms towards the end of 2018/beginning 2019 caused the sand levels to slowly erode.
Dooagh beach was once again washed away and locals are left mourning the loss.
Sean Molloy, manager of AchillTourism.com, was delighted when the beach returned in 2017 and feels disappointed it is gone again.
“We knew that at some point our gorgeous beach would be washed away again, but we had hoped to have had it for a little longer,” he said.
But Molloy has not let the event dampen his spirits and sees it purely as an act of nature. He said, “Fortunately, we are not short of beaches here on Achill and have 5 other Blue Flag beaches.”
“We are located on the Wild Atlantic Way and this just shows the awesome power of nature in its full glory.”
This is the third time Dooagh beach is recorded to have disappeared. It was first washed away in the 1890s but returned in 1927.
A pier was built and locals were regularly alerted by bugle when large amounts of seaweed flooded the sand.
Dooagh resident Emmet Callagahan still has the original bugle. It belonged to his great-great-grandfather Patrick Callaghan who was the man with the job to summons the crowd.
Interviewed in 2017 Callaghan said, “Back in those days [the 1920s, 1930s] Dooagh beach was the centre of the community, lots of businesses and guesthouses which are no longer there were sustained by it.”
The locals hoped its return would last but it was not to be. Achill Island’s other 5 blue flag beaches will continue to welcome tourists while the history of Dooagh beach remains a true depiction of how nature will never be controlled.
Watch the strange before and after footage here: