Recent Evolution of the Southeast Barrier Coast of Ireland


  • Marie-Helene Ruz


Barrier beach, barrier spit, beach forms, beach ridges, coastal retreat, gravel spit, longshore drift


The shoreline of southeast Ireland is low and includes various sand or mixed send-gravel spits and barriers enclosing lagoons and estuaries more or less completely. The evolution of each particular feature depends on sediment supply, which is quite limited, and on littoral drift derived from the efficient swells. Each beach forms a distinct sedimentary compartment which is a closed longshore drift system. Along the south coast, overwash processes dominate the dynamics of the barriers. At the extremity of spits, eolian crestal accretion of wave-formed beach ridges is a significant mechanism of recurved spit development. The comparison of the shoreline found on old maps (1840 and 1925) with the present time points to a general coastal retreat. This contemporaneous evolution is, for a large part, due to human activities for more than one century in the area.

Author Biography

Marie-Helene Ruz