It came, it was enchanted and now it has gone again: The Irish beach, which surfaced in 2017 after 34 years of absence from the county of Mayo and attracted worldwide attention has disappeared again.
Winter storms have swept away the sand of Dooagh, Achill Island, with only rocks and a reminder that nature can take them.
"It was a series of storms," said Seamus Molloy of Achill Tourism on Monday. "The beach was hit hard during storm Ali in September. Some giant rollers banging off the shore, huge water walls just falling down on the beach. "
Molloy had suspected that the beach was slipping. "The sand was in the river, you could see it. Since Christmas, I've watched it most days. It happened last month – just washed away. "
The beach at Dooagh, a 200-meter-long beach sandwiched between the beaches of Keel and Keem, first disappeared in 1984 during winter storms.
An unusual tide around Easter 2017 has restored it, hundreds of tons of sand covered the rocks and brought with it a strong interest in the media – BBC, CNN, Fox News, Time, Shanghai Daily – and tourists, including busloads from China.
"In our own office here, we saw a 71% increase in visitors looking for information in 2017," said Molloy.
The locals had prepared for the departure of the beach and hope for a quick return, said the Tourism Manager. "It was great while we had it, but it was inevitable, as if it was going to be. The sand is just out in the bay. It can come back with the right conditions. "
Jon Fratschoel, owner of the Ferndale Bed and Breakfast, marveled at the amount of sand that was washed ashore in 2017 and has now disappeared. "It's incredible, a natural wonder."
Fratschoel was skeptical of the impact of the beach on tourism. "I do not think it's a huge thing. When it first happened, maybe 10% of my guests knew about it. "He said Achilles & # 39; s permanent beaches had outstripped the volatile one. "It was not the best of them. And it was pretty short. I'm not sure if it's a loss or not. "
Achill, 2,440 inhabitants, is Ireland's largest island, 57 km ² moor, cliff and beach, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. A bridge connects it to the mainland.
The beauty and pristine wilderness have drawn and inspired artists and writers. Graham Greene lived in a traditional stone house in the village of Dooagh, which he had rented in the late 1940s by his girlfriend Catherine Walston. He allegedly wrote parts of the heart of matter and the fallen idol under his corrugated iron roof.
The German anti-Nazi Nobel laureate Heinrich Böll lived on Achill in the 1950s and 1960s. His former country house is now a retreat for writers. Kevin Toolis has described the mournful traditions of the island in My Father's Wake, part of the memoir, and part of the meditation on death.
The islanders were disappointed to say goodbye to Dooagh Beach, but there was a good side, Molloy said. "This is just a shining example of the power of nature. From this point of view, it is still good news. "