All of the sand at Dooagh Beach suddenly vanished in the winter of 1984, when huge storms blew it all into the depths of the ocean.
The strip of coast on Achill Island in western Ireland was left with nothing but rock. Until, that is, a particularly windy week in April 2017.
In no more than ten days last month, a freak tide form the Atlantic deposited thousands of tons of sand on the waterfront — leaving a fresh new beach, much to locals’ surprise and delight.
“The people here have always spoken about their days on the beach and how they enjoyed it as children,” Emmet Callaghan from the Achill Island Tourist Office told the BBC. “And now to have it back with their kids is unbelievable.”
There are two probable explanations for the beach’s miraculous reappearance, according to Dr. Ivan Haigh from the University of Southampton.
There was either a sediment supply change further up the coast, which made the water sandier during the strong tide.
“It could also be due to a change in environmental conditions, either an alteration in the wave climate or a series of tides that has provided the ideal conditions for this beach to reform,” Haigh explained.
Achill, where the beach is located, is already known for its startling nature. Tourists flock to the region to see the windy cliffs and the large pods of dolphins that regularly enjoy Dooagh Bay.
And with the arrival of a new beach, even more people are crowding into the town, which has a resident population of fewer than 3,000.
“A lot of people come to Achill to look at the power of nature, because you see the cliffs and the boglands and the beaches and the mountains,” Sean Molloy, another tourism professional, told CNN. “This is just one very vivid example of the power of nature.”
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