Ireland's famed Doolin wave doomed to extinction
Endangered Wave Update*
Landmark Irish wave threatened by harbor development
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 22 March, 2011 : - - For thousands of years the waves breaking on the limestone slabs of Crab Island and Doolin point have been peeling off & spitting tubes. It is only since the early 1970’s that they’ve been ridden by surfers. Since then they have become, along with the Bundoran reefs, the most surfed spots in the country.
They have been on the “must surf” list of any travelling surfers coming to Ireland, from Kevin Naughton’s arrival in the 70’s, to the McNulty brothers virgin surf on their ancestral turf in the 80’s, to Anthony Walsh’s extended stay last winter.
The scenery in the area is spectacular, with the massive cliffs of Moher looming to the south and the geographical uniqueness of the limestone karst region of the Burren to the north. Add in the Aran island chain only a few miles to the northwest and it all comes together to make this spot the iconic postcard surfspot of Ireland.
While being overshadowed in the media lately due to the discovery of heavy spots such as Aileen’s and Riley’s, Crab Island is still a more important surf spot to most of the surfers of Ireland. This is because of the frequency of which it breaks and the fact that it is within the capabilities of all competent surfers. It is the spot most likely to deliver the ’ride of a lifetime’ for 90% of Irish surfers.
Crab Island - going to be destroyed by new pier
Unfortunately that may not remain the case…
There is a ferry operation running from a small pier in the lagoon behind crab island to the nearby Aran islands. This runs during the summer months when the lagoon is not getting churned by big winter swells. These ferries now require a larger pier in deeper water in order to meet an EU regulation on commercial passenger ferries. However the design that Clare Co. Council has decided on is likely to damage both waves of Crab Island and Doolin point from backwash. It will also introduce a safety hazard by forcing surfers to now paddle across the ferry’s paths to get to the lineups.
This is what is being lost - A hollow peak unloads at Crab Island while a mellower wall starts to
wrap into the Doolin point wave on the inside. Zoom
Death Knell sounded; Ireland's famed Doolin wave doomed to extinction
Clare, Ireland 22 March, 2011 : - Contentious plans to construct the €6 million pier at Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland, yesterday received the unanimous approval of Clare’s councillors in spite of concerns expressed by surfers. At the council’s March meeting yesterday, councillors gave the plan their endorsement after Cllr Richard Nagle said: “The new pier is imperative for the economic life of north Clare, and it should proceed without delay.”
County manager Tom Coughlan recommended that conditional permission be granted for the proposal, which acts at the Clare gateway to the Aran Islands. However, the Irish Surfing Association told the council that the proposal would destroy the Crab Island and Doolin Point waves “which have been surfed for decades and are world renowned”.
Fáilte (Tourism) Ireland supported the concerns of surfers, requesting the council to re-examine the existing proposal to ensure that the plan could proceed without compromising the area for surfers. The stance of Fáilte Ireland placed it at odds with local tourism interests who lodged a submission with 200 signatures in support of the pier plan.
The Doolin-based supporters of the pier took up most of the available seating in the public gallery at yesterday’s meeting, with some holding up signs saying “Support Doolin Pier”. Cllr Martin Conway said the new pier would be “a major cog in Clare tourism”. The council official charged with leading the project, Tom Tiernan, said construction work could begin within four to six months. There is no recourse to An Bord Pleanála for third parties.
A spokesman for the West Coast Surf Club said that the surfers’ objections had not been accommodated at all. They had wanted a pier that does not damage the surfing waves and provides surfers with an ability to access the surfing waves without having to paddle across the ferry paths.
Source: Irish Times
Endangered Irish Wave gets temporary respite
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