Special Report: Hope after all for Rossbeigh sand dunes destroyed by 2008 storms

On the face of it, the mass eroding of the sand dunes in Rossbeigh strand near Glenbeigh in Kerry is a worrying sight — but research being done for the past 12 years suggests there is hope for it after all.

Dr Jimmy Murphy is a senior lecturer in the School of Engineering in UCC and lead technical engineer of the Lir National Ocean test facility in MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine with more than 25 years of experience in the field.

His team have studied Rossbeigh consistently since 2008, monitoring the dune system that has caused such worry for the people in the community.

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“There is about a kilometre of actual dune gone since it was breached in 2008,” he said. “When you look at pictures from 2000, it looks very healthy and there was a load of sand at the front of the beach that started to disappear.

"It may have been a few hundred metres of a breach in 2008, since then you are talking a kilometre-wide breach.”

While that is a stark and sobering realisation, there are signs of hope, Dr Murphy said — the evidence his team has collected since 2008 suggests the dunes are making a comeback on their own.