Sligo’s Shelly Valley

Sea birds make the loveliest messes

BEHIND the gigantic sand dunes on Strandhill beach in Sligo is an otherworldly place, littered with the shells of eaten snails and sea creatures.

It’s a sandy valley carpeted with colour and flanked by long, thick green grass. Crushed shells in this graveyard catch the evening light, shaking off their deathly feel and beaming out pretty pastels – pink, green, blue, purple.

Tread lightly though. Slimy slow coaches still living trudge on in the grasses in their hundreds.

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Remora, Dolphin or Shark?

In an open sea race there are remoras, dolphins and sharks. In high wind in Mullaghmore Bay, swimmers can experience all three; at least I did.

It’s dark and raining. You can’t see any bodies, but you can feel the water around them moving. Those bubbles are the only connection you have with human life in a swelly 5km sea race.

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