Although the prized Blue Flag is no longer flying over scenic Bertra Beach at the foot of Croagh Patrick, things are finally starting to look up again at one of the county’s favourite bathing spots.
The beach, which suffered extensive damage when Storm Christine and Storm Brigid battered the western seaboard earlier this year, is to reopen to the public in two weeks’ time.
Access to the beach had been limited for some time while Mayo County Council carried out extensive works to right at least some of the havoc wreaked by the mighty power of the Atlantic high tides over the New Year.
Over the course of the New Year onslaught from the sea, the car park and a section of the entrance road to the popular, crescent shaped, tombola was torn asunder while coastal barriers, rocks, and boulders were tossed around and deposited on the beach.
The storm also caused serious damage to Bertra’s fragile dune habitat.
Westport-based Councillor Christy Hyland said the reopening is welcome news for the local tourism sector.
“This was one of the busier beaches in the area,” he said. “Bertra Beach is known throughout the county and it is a vital piece of infrastructure for tourism sector.
“It is a pity it took so long [to reopen] but, at the same time, we have to be positive that it is reopening. Sometimes, there’s not much we can do when it comes to the forces of nature.”
The cost of storm damage caused at Bertra exceeded €500,000.
An Taisce announced the beach was losing its Blue Flag two weeks ago. However, bathing water quality has not been compromised and it is hoped the beach will regain its Blue Flag status next year once the necessary infrastructure to warrant the internationally recognised symbol of excellence on the coast is in place again.