Saturday, 2 September 2017

Rain stops play, but not on
the beach at Ballybunion

Looking out at the beach in the rain in Ballybunion from a cave in the cliffs (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Patrick Comerford

Autumn has truly arrived with a September chill in the air, and by this afternoon, the autumn rains had arrived in west Limerick and north Kerry.

Two of us thought we would catch a walk on the beach in Ballybunion today before the rain came down. It is less than an hour’s drive from Askeaton, but by the time we arrived and parked above the cliffs the skies were grey and the rain was beginning to fall.

The schools have re-opened, summer is gone, and the season has come to an end in Ballybunion. Over the next few weeks, many of the cafés, shops and restaurants, as well as the caravan parks and bed-and-breakfast houses. are going to close. Some may re-open for the October bank holiday weekend, but most are not going to open again until Easter. But there was still a small number of people in Ballybunion this afternoon.

A bolt from a crossbow stopped play at a cricket match between Middlesex and Surrey at the Oval earlier this week. But normally ‘Rain stopped play’ is a regular comment to cricket matches at this time of the year.

However, rain was not going to deter the small number of swimmers, surfboarders and beach-walkers in Ballybunion this afternoon who decided to take advantage of the incoming tide and the rolling waves.

A walk on the beach in Ballybunion this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017; click on image for full-screen view)

Our enthusiasm was undampened as we explored some of the caves in the cliffs and walked along the sandy beaches, divided by the cliff top and the ruined castle. Traditionally, these are known as the ‘Men’s Beach’ and the ‘Ladies Beach,’ because in the past men swam on a separate beach from women and children.

Soaked and wet, we thought the end-of-season atmosphere meant there was little chance of finding a late lunch. So it was a delight to find Lizzie’s Little Kitchen, a pop-up on the Main Street that opened two years ago.

It was a surprising place to find such good food and healthy eating. We warmed ourselves up with chickpea and beetroot curry and one of the best double espressos I have tasted so far in Co Kerry.

Autumn colours on the cliffs above the beach in Ballybunion this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

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