Posts Tagged ‘Greystones Harbour’

Greystones, Co. Wicklow, January 2016

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Turning to view Bray Head a chill north west wind morphed to cutting, burning my face as I leaned forward retracing my steps back along the north pier of Greystones Harbour. Nearly 3 months of interminable damp, wet, grey, dreary, unseasonably mild Atlantic based weather has tried the patience of Ireland’s population this winter, it’s grand to get out in the fresh air and experience some class of sunlight breaking through the clouds. Halyards clink, clink their lonely sound on masts and a lazy dirty brown ground swell rises up before swashing back in synchronicity along the north beach, pier breakwaters and the rocks in front of St David’s to the south.

Greystones, Co. Wicklow north pier.

Although Greystones exudes a familiarity to this writer, my family and many of my earliest memories rooted in the place, how alien it feels today walking through the building site of a controversial harbour development that one day might deliver on its promise so reinvigorating Greystones connection with its so recent maritime history especially the fishing. Ironically a no fishing sign on the pier head accurately describes what has happened offshore, I cannot but smile.

Greystones Harbour, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

The extent of the new harbour development northwards has clearly exacerbated coastal erosion along the north beach, glacial deposits in the mud cliffs scoured and washed southwards by the strong ebbing tide to infill the cove, the mens bathing place and the south beach as far as Ballygannon point. I have never seen such coastal deposition in this area, granted north easterly gales have been infrequent over the past few years. It begs the question though, how are the offshore grounds changing?

Willie Redmond (left) and Seamus "Jago" Hayden (right) clean a trammel net of weed, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland around 1960.

My grandfather fished the offshore grounds as did my uncles and latterly me. In fact the amount of grandfathers, fathers and sons that fished out of Greystones could surely fill a book with names given the amount of people that I have witnessed preparing their boats for sea over the years. Compared to recent past times the harbour is soulless reflected in the tackle shop adjacent to the Beach House pub closing its doors for the last time due to falling trade. Ironically again, the answer to Greystones maritime economic malaise lies beyond the pier heads, rejuvenate those fishing grounds and the heart will beat again, ah the wisdom of middle age………….