Smerwick Harbour on the Dingle Peninsula

View looking due east across Smerwick Harbour showing outcrop of Silurian rock topped by rip-rap boulders

Smerwick Harbour on the north shore of the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland has a wide sandy beach overlooked on one side by mist-covered slopes of hills  and mountains, with Ballydavid Head and Pointe Bhaile Na NGall projecting into the sea, and the village of Murreagh nestling at the water’s edge. While on the other side lies the scalloped horizon of the Three Sisters with Smerwick Village in their hinterland. From the parking spot close to Na Cluainte, the sand stretches for about three kilometres, forming part of the extensive Dingle Way footpath, and the length is delineated by a small slipway at the northwest end, and a small promontory called Traigh an Fhiona at the southeast end.

The geology is so varied in this area that the two ends of this sandy beach are composed of entirely different rocks, with older compact and fractured layers of green and yellow Silurian siltstones of the Clogher Head Formation belonging to the Dunquin Group to the north – and younger coarser-grained, purple and red coloured Devonian conglomerates of the Trabeg Member of the Trabeg Conglomerate Formation of the Dingle Group to the south.

The differences in the two types of rocks are very obvious. They make an interesting contrast visually, and they afford a variation of habitat for seashore creatures, seaweeds, and lichens that colonise them. Between the two kinds of strata at the separate ends of this beach, the wide and mainly yellow sandy shore is subtlly coloured in some areas with shades of purple or pale green, reflecting the constituent grains derived from the local rocks. Pebbles exposed in wet patches at mid tide level exhibit many petrologies of which bright red stones of jasper are the most remarkable.

Some pictures illustrating these features are shown below.

Don’t forget, you can click on any photograph to enlarge the image.

Ferriters Cove on the Dingle Peninsula

Layers of upstanding Silurian rock on the beach

The mountains look down on the golden crescent of sand at Ferriters Cove. It is isolated and peaceful – where the sound of gently lapping waves is only occasionally broken by raucous calls when flocks of oyster catchers or herring gulls suddenly take flight.

Rock layers here stand up like stacked tombstones with wide knife edges, or stumps of strata with sharp points protrude from the surface like nails on a fakir’s bed. The rocks are fossiliferous marine Silurian sediments, from the Ferriters Cove Formation in the Dunquin Group, dating from between 423 and 395 millions of years ago. They are composed of pale brown, yellow, grey and red siltstones, mudstones, and sandstones. They were deposited in a shallow sea with active volcanoes on its shore and hinterland, which produced volcanic deposits such as lava and tuffs.  The character of the rocks changes as you walk along the beach. Fossils such as brachiopods, corals, and trilobites are found in the mudstones.

Some pictures illustrating these features are shown below.

Don’t forget, you can click on any photograph to enlarge the image!

Patterns in the Sand at Inch Strand

Natural sand ripple patterns

Inch Strand is a wide beach on a sand spit that reaches out like a peninsula into the sea at right angles to the mainland on the South Coast of the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland. We walked the entire five kilometres of dune-backed shore as the tide was receding. By the time we turned back from the tip of the spit, the ebbing sea had left behind acres and acres of wonderful patterns in the sand, in sculptural forms the like of which I have never seen before. I was totally captivated by these designs, looking as did like elaborate knitting or crochet stitching. Here are just a couple of examples of the patterns in the sand.

Don’t forget, you can click on any photograph to enlarge the image!

Natural sand ripple patterns

Natural sand ripple patterns

Natural sand ripple patterns

Natural sand ripple patterns

Natural sand ripple patterns

Dunmore Head on the Dingle Peninsula

View of Slea Head on the Dingle PeninsulaPhotographs of the amazing Dunmore Head on the Dingle Peninsula on the West Coast of Ireland where the swell of azure blue waves crashes in white surf against the steeply sloping beds of Devonian strata in the cliffs, and breaks on the pinnacle-sharp rocks below. A small sandy cove, incredibly accessible even by car, is where visitors are privileged to picnic, build sand castles, brave the surf on boards, play among the rocks, and marvel at the views.

Don’t forget, you can click on any photograph to enlarge the image!

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2014

All Rights Reserved

Ventry Beach on the Dingle Peninsula

Just a few pictures from my visit to Ventry Beach on the Dingle Peninsula on the west Coast of Ireland yesterday selected from the 480 photographs I took! The weather was amazing for September and I was able to spend five hours on the sand enjoying the sights and sounds as well as the atmosphere of this old pilgrims’ path.

Don’t forget, you can click on any photograph to enlarge the image!

Oxford Sandy & Black Pigs

I had a wonderful day out at the Dorset County Show yesterday. It was great fun, very noisy, very busy, and too much to see in just one day. The warm sunny weather meant that it was really well attended and there was a sea of people as far as the eye could see – all having a good time. I especially enjoyed getting up close to all the farm animals – like these delightful Oxford Sandy and Black Pigs from the Ansty Herd near Dorchester. The piglets were really cute. Children just loved putting their fingers through the enclosure mesh to tickle the piglets, and the piglets seemed to be pleased with all the attention.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2014

All Rights Reserved