I took this photo on the main beach at Derrynane in Kerry last Saturday morning and as I looked at the sand dunes that run alongside the beach all I could think of was the golf course at Doonbeg and the damage that will be done to it when the next big storm crashes in from the Atlantic Ocean.
As you can see from the photo some of this part of the beach at Derrynane is being protected by some large boulders and as a result coastal erosion has been prevented inside the stones. Look to the right of the photo and you will see the dunes that are unprotected and that piece of shoreline has been already been eroded some 20 feet or more.
I was in Doonbeg in the spring of 2014 after the serious storm that washed away 20 to 30 yards of coastline that contained three of Doonbeg’s wonderful greens which were built close to the shoreline. It was a very sad sight.
It’s not just the rebuilt golf course at Doonbeg that needs protecting from the Atlantic storms. All of our links golf courses on the West Coast of Ireland need protection from coastal erosion. I have seen at close hand the wonderfully successful work carried out over the years at Waterville, Lahinch and Ballybunion.
I remember one occasion playing the Old Course in Ballybunion, it could be 50 years ago. I hit a second shot onto the green at the old second hole, now the 7th and thinking that it was the most wonderful golf hole I had ever seen. As there was a strong wind blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean I had to hit my second shot well out to sea and watch the wind blow it back on to the green. For me a good golfing moment!
The following winter during a storm that green disappeared plonk into the ocean and since then Ballybunion Golf Club has spent a considerable amount of their green fee income each year successfully protecting their coastline and their two unique and wonderful golf courses. The protection of their courses is ongoing.
It’s now 2017 more than three years since Doonbeg Golf Club received the wakeup call from the elements and still Clare County Council and Presidents Trumps’ company that owns Doonbeg have not agreed on the coastal protection plan that is needed to protect the very important tourist attraction that is Doonbeg Golf Couse and Hotel.
Naturally whatever work is agreed will have to be done carefully to protect the fragile coastline. Sand dunes are special unique places that must be protected too.
Ted Dwyer Family Business