Disappearing Rossbeigh Strand

Every year, there is a horse racing festival on Rossbeigh Strand. For how much longer, I don't know. You see, the beach is getting shorter and shorter, so there is increasingly less distance to run. Conceivably, the beach might not even be there when the centenary of the races rolls round in 2024. The first race meeting was held in 1924. According to the authorities, the event was illegal and they fined the organisers £80 (an estimated €5,250 today) for not having a permit. They later cut the fine to £20.

Rough bay strand

As mentioned, the strand itself is decreasing in size. The sea washed away a 400-metre sand dune in 2008 and, in 2011, the Rossbeigh Strand Tower collapsed. Ferocious storms in 2014 dislodged the wreck of the 19th-century schooner Sunbeam. Most of the wooden wreck had been submerged in the sand, on the spot where it had been driven ashore in 1903. The 2014 storm excavated it completely and shoved it 100 metres up the beach. In the face of such brutal natural forces, chances are the southern part of the island (pictured at the top of the frame) will erode away soon, creating an island. Usually, landscape photographers can be fairly certain that the subjects of their photographs will still be there the next time they visit. In this instance, though, how soon before Rossbeigh Strand becomes Rossbeigh Sandbank?

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