If you blind folded me, spun me around a few times and then placed me on a beach I would instinctively know if I was on the Atlantic ocean or the Irish sea.
I am very fussy about my beaches
But before you label me a beach snob let me explain what I do not need from them.
I do not need my beaches palmed fringed no matter how white the sand.
I do not require umbrellas and sunbeds (no matter how colourful the umbrella or bespoke the bed).
I have no wish for thatched beach bar huts no matter how tempting the cocktails.
I do not need my beaches sun scorched with sand too hot to walk on barefoot.
(Though some sunny days would not go amiss, I am also partial to the odd stormy wild one)
And though I like clear water, I do not require shoals of exotic coloured fish
Six foot waves do not appeal even when decorated with handsome surfer lads.
I do not require a nearby car park (I will be arriving mostly by bicycle)
I find long flat beaches boring even though they say they are good for walking.
Give me the unexpected beach.
The one I come upon by chance when cycling grassy boreens or crossing green fields.
The distant spotted ‘wonder how the hell I get to it’ beach.
The hard earned beach
with white seaweed strewn sand.
And coloured shells
And crops of rocks containing clear pools filled with sea anemones and sea urchins
and shrimps caught by the tide.
The ‘mountains in the distance’ beach
The ‘windswept hat snatching with rocks to shelter behind’ beach
The beach that stops me in my stride as I watch its perfect curling waves
Or when my eye is caught by a seal who is following my progress.
or a diving gannet or noisy terns,
a lone oyster-catcher,
a pod of dolphins (if I’m lucky).
a flock of Sanderlings who lift and wheel seaward at my approach. only to swing around and land noisily behind me again
A beach whose crystal water entices me to more than paddle no matter what the season.
A west of Ireland beach
A wild Atlantic Beach.