Yesterday I wrote about the headstones in Donaghmore Cemetery near Ballygarrett in Co Wexford. This is also close to our family holiday home, but more significantly - it is just meters away from the ever encroaching sea, with just a road and a small piece of land now stopping the sea from uprooting the coffins and skeletons of this cemetery.
Wexford County Council have taken action and are doing a great job in adding new erosion protection works directly between the cemetery and the sea. The plan is a simple one and very much like others in the county. You can see in the photo below the abandoned houses on the ridge that are falling in to the sea, but you can also see a slope of gravel that will be covered in plastic and rocks. The cemetery is directly behind these works, the electric cables and poles on the road indicate how close to the edge it is. The rocks in the foreground are just the first of those to be used to build a wall to protect the cemetery. Unfortunately, these works came too late for the houses on the ridge, and they will not be extended beyond the cemetery as I understand it costs over €1 million per kilometre to build protection of this type. Nevertheless - this work to protect the cemetery is very welcome.
The works above are about 250 metres from our house. The photo below shows what has been washed away this year (mostly during Storms Imogen and Jake). The bushes at the top are just below the end of our garden - we used to have a path down through the middle. All the steps I added at the bottom are completely gone. There are large boulders buried in the sand - the Resident's Association dig these up on a regular basis and place them at the foot of the sand bank. Goodness knows how much worse the erosion would be without them.
Coastal erosion is a fact of life in Wexford - possibly Ireland's fastest shrinking county. The main cause in our locality is a combination of high tides and eastern winds eating into what is basically sand and soft macamore soil. I've no sense that global warming is eating at Wexford's coast - erosion has been here for hundreds of years. All we can do is add the odd rock to slow it down.