Waves Breaking at Clogher Bay

Waves breaking on rocks video clip

It was a beautiful sunny and calm afternoon when we arrived at Clogher Bay on the Dingle peninsula. We had spent the morning at Smerwick Harbour just a short distance away where all was tranquil and the waves lapped gently on the sandy beach. So we couldn’t believe the ferocity of the waves coming to shore as they crashed against the jagged rocks at Clogher. Apparently it is often like that and there are signs posted warning against swimming because it is so dangerous. The video was shot into direct sunlight, with mist rolling down from the hills behind and sea spray  rising up to meet it.

Warning signs against swimming at Clogher

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2014

All Rights Reserved

Pebbles at Trabeg on the Dingle Peninsula

Pebbles of many colours on the beach

The sand looks black from a distance as you descend to the shore at Trá Chathail near An Trá Bheag (Short Strand) – otherwise known as Trabeg. The path cuts down deep through the stratified red rocks to get to the beach which is strewn with pebbles, mostly shades of red, maroon, green, grey, and white.

Trabeg is on the south coast of the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland, and is the “type section” of the Trabeg Conglomerate Formation which is exposed in the cliffs on the beach. This is place where that particular rock type was first described. The rock layers constitute part of the Dingle Group and were formed in the Devonian period between 345 and 395 million years ago. The conglomerates are composed of fairly well rounded pebbles of red sandstones and mudstones, with white vein quartz and chert. A few pebbles of volcanic rock and of grey limestone are also present.

The way in which the conglomerate rock has formed from the mass movement and subsequent accumulation of debris from terrestrial locations during, for example, river flood events, means that the pebbles are derived from a wide area covering many different geological types. The pebble beds or conglomerates are inter-bedded with layers of red sandstones and mudstones, the finer sediments of which were deposited normally by rivers during non-storm/flood times. The alternating layers are now tilted from the original horizontal orientation in which they were first deposited, and are clear to see dipping south at about 70 degrees.

As the cliffs at Trá Chathail are worn away by the action of waves and weathering, the pebbles contained in the conglomerate matrix are freed up and remain the shore below – an instant pebble beach. Added to these are pieces of other rock or matrix that became rounded into pebbles after they arrived on the beach. Some pebbles and rocks may have been transported by wave action from further along the coast were the geology is quite different: from the Eask Formation, West Cork Sandstone, Bulls Head Formation, and the earlier Silurian rocks of the Dunquin Group.

REFERENCE

Horne, Ralph R. (1976) Geological Guide to the Dingle Peninsula, Geological Survey of Ireland Guide Series No. 1, reprinted 1999.

Red pebbles with pattern of quartz veins

Beach stone with white quartz on the beach

Red pebbles with pattern of quartz veins

Beach stone with white quartz on the beach

Beach stone with white quartz on the beach

Beach stone with white quartz on the beach

Beach stone with white quartz on the beach

Beach stone with white quartz on the beach

Pebbles on the beach

View looking south from Tracahill Beach

Close-up of Trabeg Conglomerate Formation

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2014

All Rights Reserved

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!