In Ireland in recent weeks we have experienced a few nasty storms in Ophelia and Brian and every time we have a storm I always think of our precious and delicate links golf courses and hope that they have not been damaged or blown away. I can remember the storm perhaps 40 or more years ago that totally remover the 7th green on The Old Course at Ballybunion that was perched on the cliff top. It has been rebuilt a few time since.
Also that really violent storm in 2014 that did so much damage to three or four of the greens at Doonbeg. Sad to report that here we are nearly 4 years later and Clare County Council and Donald Trump’s company haven’t yet reached agreement on what needs to be done on the coastal protection at Doonbeg. It’s a very regretful impasse that needs to be resolved.
The photo below was taken in Doonbeg just after that storm in 2014 when my dear friend PJ Queally invited me up to play what was left of Doonbeg and to see the damage the storm had done. They lost four of the greens that time and about 30 yards of their coastline. PJ very sadly died last month and I will miss him dearly. Rest in peace PJ and thanks for the wonderful golfing memories and the great fun and the friendship we enjoyed over the years.
The movement of sand has always fascinated me. It is of course how links golf courses are created, sand based greens and fairways in their natural state. I remember when the wind blew continuously one year from a South West direction over the beach at Waterville from the Ballinskelligs direction. So much sand was blown from the shore up onto the 17th green that the hole had to be closed and a new green built.
Also during that storm that I mentioned in 2014 most of the sand from the main beach at Waterville was washed away by the tide. Rocks and stones and the wreck of a ship that had been submerged by sand reappeared again. It took about two years before the sand was back as before. Nature is magical and wonderful and very powerful.
Last month we booked a sneaky few days holiday in Portugal and went out from Cork Airport on the Saturday morning as storm Brian was fast approaching. We were not sure about being able to take off and our 6:30 am flight stood on the runway for a while and we could feel a movement from the wind. The pilot advised us slightly nervous passengers, that the wind was a bit strong for take-off. After a few minutes not knowing if we were going to take off or not he put the foot on the throttle and zoom we were up into the sky. We landed in Portugal a few hours later to blue skies and 26% temperatures it felt truly magical.
We found a little beach bar for lunch owned and run by a very pleasant man called Joseph on our third day of our visit. It is situated on the westerly side of the beach that runs from the little fishing beach of Armaceo de Pera to Gale. The beach is 7.5 k long and we walked the length of it one day and back again. The following day we relaxed a lot and had a long liquid lunch in Joseph’s beach bar!
This beach bar is part of a little family business that he and his family have run for the last 40 years and yes of course I gave the owner Joseph one of my Ted Dwyer Family Business consultant business cards! You never can tell where a bit of business might come from.
As you can see from the photo Joseph’s beach bar overlooks a beautiful sandy beach and chatting one lunch time I said to him that his restaurant overlooked a wonderful beach. He mentioned to us that he would be closing the restaurant at the start of November and that when he reopened in March all of the sand on that same beach would be gone, washed away by one of their normal winter storms.
The remarkable part of the story he told us was that every year within three weeks of reopening in March the winds would get up and blow from a certain direction and blow all the sand back on to his beach and once again it would be beautiful and sandy. He said if that didn’t happen any year his business would be gone. The wonder of nature and the uncertainty of a family business.
Ted Dwyer Family Business