Beau­ti­ful beaches Four coast­line walks

The Irish Times - Weekend Review - - OUTDOORS - RICHARD NAIRN

Port­noo-Naran, Co Done­gal ( map ref­er­ence for start­ing point: G713991)

“At low tide, you can walk out to the is­land of Inish­keel with its early Chris­tian church and grave­yard. On the north­ern side of the is­land there are ex­ten­sive rock pools at low tide, but be sure to cross back to the main­land within an hour be­fore the tide cuts you off.”

Streedagh, Co Sligo (G636507)

“Six kilo­me­tres’ walk along the beach near Grange and back be­hind the sand dunes look­ing across the in­let to the dra­matic Ben­bul­bin Moun­tain. Abun­dant fos­sil-bear­ing lime­stone rocks at the top of the beach. Pop­u­lar with surfers be­cause of the At­lantic rollers.” Coral Strand, Co Gal­way (inset) (L630456) “At Bal­ly­con­neely, part of a com­plex around Man­nin Bay. The ‘coral’ that re­places sand on the beach is made of frag­ments of an alga called Mearl that lives off­shore in the shal­low wa­ters. It traps cal­cium in sea­wa­ter and builds hard struc­tures that be­come bro­ken up in win­ter storms. As you walk west to­wards Slyne Head, en­joy the flower-rich grass­lands of the sandy machair.” The Mur­rough, Co Wick­low ( O317038) “This 11km shin­gle beach stretches from Wick­low town to Grey­stones. High­lights in­clude the rich stran­d­line flora north of the old New­cas­tle rail­way house. The lit­tle tern colony at Kil­coole is pro­tected by Bird­Watch Ire­land war­dens in sum­mer, who will give in­for­ma­tion on other birds and wildlife to see here. Watch out for ot­ters in the la­goons in­land of the rail­way.”

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