Just inland from Donabate is the Broadmeadow Estuary. This area is bordered by farms to the North, Golf Courses to the East, and residential areas to the west and south west. While surveying the coast of the estuary that borders the farms I found an inflow that was over the legal limit for nitrates (>50 mg/l) . This was causing large mats of algae to grow and is putting the estuary at risk of eutrophication. There were still lots of birds in this area most notably Brent Geese, a migratory species.
More Surfing in Lahinch
I was very excited to go surf in Lahinch one last time before I left. Luckily, this trip coincided with the largest swell while I was in Ireland. I had been wanting to surf a spot that needs a large swell to break and I finally got the chance to do it. It was also nice to see my friend Lexi one last time before I went back to the States. Her and her husband, Robin, also showed me the other side of the Cliff’s of Moher and the surf spot Aileen’s.
Last trip to Wexford
My very last week started off with a trip to Wexford to do a bit more surveying in Killmuckridge and Morriscastle. The areas we surveyed reminded me of Playa Linda, on the East coast of Florida, because of its dune system and small waves. This area seemed very clean at first, but the further we traveled south the more litter we found. There were lots of little bits of plastic mixed in with the tideline and also lots of derelict lobster pots. Also, a washed up cooler lid that we found was covered in live Goose barnacles.
Unfortunately, we also found a dead Leatherback sea turtle and seal pup, which seems to be more common this year than others. The images of which are too graphic for the blog.
One last Trip to Lahinch
I ended up taking one last day trip to Lahinch to do a bit more surfing and to also survey a few areas near prime surfing locations.
While I was there I surfed Cregg one last time. I ended up staying in the water for nearly 5 hours! Afterwards, I went back to Barrtrá to survey the coast. This part of the coast is very rocky and there were large numbers of Dog whelks and top shells present in the rock pools. The only litter I found was washed up fishing gear.
I spent my last few days in Ireland tying up loose ends and helping to prepare the results for the 2015 survey. Karin gave me a fantastic going away present, seaweed from Wexford that was dried and framed.
The time that I spent in Ireland interning for Coastwatch will be something that I remember for the rest of my life. It was really fun getting to travel to Europe for the first time and spending so much time in a new country and culture. I learned so much about the ocean and the coast while I was here, which I can hopefully use in my professional career. I was very happy that I traveled to Ireland for my internship, because it got me out of my comfort zone of always traveling to tropical locations. I hope to return to Ireland soon!