Northern Ireland news

Coastal erosion puts future of famous golf club at risk

Wooden poles are being used to prop up the perimeter of the Ballyliffin golf club.
Seamus McKinney

CO Donegal's famous Ballyliffin golf club, which hosted the Irish Open just two years ago, could be wiped out within 50 years because of coastal erosion, members have warned.

The club, one of Ireland's most popular, became the focus of international golfing attention when it played host to the Irish Open in 2018, attracting some of the biggest stars of the game. Established in 1947, it has been described as “a must-play” on any golf trip to Ireland by Rory McElroy.

However, Ballyliffin is one of a number of areas in Inishowen – including Lagg Beach near Malin - requiring urgent action to prevent serious damage through coastal erosion.

Severe winter storms in recent years have gradually eaten away the coastline, exposing dune systems. According to manager at Ballyliffin, John Farren, the problem has now become so acute that a number of holes at the famous club are already at risk and the entire future of the club is in danger..

“It is the whole complex which is at risk. Given modern thinking and trends, 90 metres of the coast could be eroded in the next 50 years, putting the entire club in danger,” he said.

With increasingly higher tides and winds shifting a shingle beach at Pollan Strand, sand dunes which have protected the club are being eroded. This has led to the destruction of a perimeter pathway, forcing people further onto the dunes system. This in turn causes even greater damage, Mr Farren said.

The Inishowen man said that other areas of the peninsula were also at risk with up to 10 acres eroded near Five Finger Strand and damage to the shore at Lisfannon Strand.

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