Rinevella Strand Appreciation < Back

Fauna at The cliffs of Moher

On the third Sat. in April this year, a small group met at Rinevella Strand, on the south side of the Loop Head Peninsula, to pick up as much plastic garbage as they could, strewn over the 300 metre length of the stoney shore – a yearly spring ritual, coinciding with National Spring Clean campaign during the month of April. The word went out on Facebook and by texts. Gung-ho individuals, couples and families arrived with bags and gloves, (and buckets and spades), and worked (and played) diligently in an effort to restore Rinevella back to its natural state – a pristine sandy beach with a grey stoney shore. The before and after shots were impressive – from a vivid multicoloured ribbon of (mainly) plastic garbage to the pale sandy tones of beach and coast. Within two hours, twenty or more large bags had been filled waiting for roadside collection by the County Council. Job done, all that was left on the strand were small waders and oyster catchers scurrying between lapping waves. And on the stoney foreshore, the subtle hues of the wildflowers – the sea campion, sea-beet, rock samphire and bittersweet, were the only colours now evident.

The range of items which had accumulated over the winter told varied stories of origin. Milk cartons, fishing rope, fishing line, plastic pieces of broken up fishing gear, gloves, a rubber boot were likely discards from fishing boats at sea. Plastic syringes, glass medicine bottles, broken cable ties, presumably, carelessly tossed by farmers, ending up in the sea, and washing ashore. Margarine containers, plastic bottles, broken toys, tins and soda cans, endless household junk and trash, styrofoam snack box containers come from many sources.

It is widely believed (by local residents here) that our neighbours across the Mouth of the Shannon in Kerry jettison their junk from the cliffs, which then swirls and bobs about on the tide, eventually washing up on Rinevella Beach. The prevailing southwesterly drift must certainly be responsible to some extent – but sadly, much is also wantonly tossed onto the shore by people living nearby and passing cars. But now, and for the rest of the summer &amp; autumn months, we can all appreciate our lovely (clean &amp; tidy) beach at Rinevella, and gaze out at the Atlantic and North Kerry, which stretches out on the opposite shore of the Mouth of the Shannon like a mirror image. Enjoy watching the clouds, the seabirds, the Northern Divers that frequent Rinevella Bay, and keep an eye out for dolphins, seals and otters…and, of course, “leave only your footprints behind”…

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