Ireland, Landscapes, Photography, photojournalism

Storm Surges at Kilmore Quay

The fishing village of Kilmore Quay is taking a real hammering lately. In fact, coastal towns all along the South and West coast of Ireland are suffering the effects of winter storms and huge swells that seem to be timing their arrival in synchronisation with spring tides. The result: Amazing display of the power of mother nature.




I knew a set of big waves was coming in but I was too busy trying to get a good photograph. This one gave me a good soaking.


SB_20140205_0060_webThe surges were so powerful that I couldn’t help but think of the Tsunami footage from Thailand in 2006.


A local fisherman watches, and waits.SB_20140205_0094_web

Never before have I seen such powerful torrents inside the harbour. Huge amounts of water swirled and flowed, while the boats and ropes heaved and groaned.


SB_20140205_0187_cropThe image above is a 100% crop of the previous image. The small Saltee Island lies approximately 4km offshore. I don’t know the height of its peak, but the breaking wave looks to be at least equal to the height of the Island, which I’m guessing is around 50-100m high. The wave in the foreground is probably around 5m high.

We are due another storm this weekend. Batten down the hatches….


11 thoughts on “Storm Surges at Kilmore Quay

  1. Gerard says:

    Well, the Atlantic was sure rockin this year.
    My brother lives in Troon Scotland. During one of those storms, the wind blew in his front window.
    He said
    he was sitting there reading enjoying his tea, when the window shattered. Then, the outside was inside his place. Wind and rain. All he could do was grab his valuables, his dog, and close the door and tape it shut.
    I spent about a month in Red Castle. In January 82 I think it was. I found a lot of surf. I never did see any surfers. My Uncles farm. Just a wonderful place. Very quiet. It is away up a hill far from the public roads.But all of Europe took a beating this year. I was wondering when it was going to stop. Of course, Ireland sticks out into the ocean more than anywhere over there. The island of
    Madeira off of Spain probably got smacked pretty good.
    Here in Monterey Calif. not a lot of big swells this year. I guess the energy shifted over to the Atlantic this year. Well, next time the polar vortex shifts and punishes the East Coast of the US, You’ll know what’s coming.
    Be well, stay safe and warm.
    I knew Ireland had surf.
    I had no idea it got over 50ft and pumped.

    • Hi Gerard,
      Thanks for your comments. Great story.
      I would love to visit Monterey CA and catch a few waves. The whole west coast of USA is calling me!
      The biggest wave recorded this year in Ireland was 25m – A new record – even if it was waay offshore. Check out Mullaghmore for big wave surfing in Ireland.
      Thanks for taking the time to visit.

      • Gerard says:

        You’re very welcome. I’ve been surfing since I was a child of about 6,7 or 8. It was a long time ago. Viet Nam was in full swing. The new shortboard came in at 7’11”. Just under 8′.. I’m 56 now. I’ve surfed from Cabo San Lucas Mexico, up to the border with Oregon. I surf more in Baja nowadays. It’s warmer. I built a small house out on the East Cape region on the tip of Baja. I like winter water temps down there. 75ish. Hawaii was nice. Tons of great waves there. But it’s too small of a place for my liking. It doesn’t bother some folks. It bugs me. I drove around Oahu in 4 hrs. I like to drive. It takes me roughly 3 days to get to Cabo. There is plenty of surf down there. All year round. Monterey gets a lot of surf. It can range from anywhere around head high, to 50 ft. Sometimes bigger.
        I’ve been watching Mullaghmore for probably 3 or 4 years now. We have Ghost Tree. There are many more around these parts. Go north of San Francisco…and it’s wide open. There are still a lot of surf spots that haven’t been named yet here. They’re just waves. And people ride them. In Donegal, out in front of Loch Foyle, the ocean inlet that goes down to Derry. There’s an A frame type peak out there. I could see it from my uncles living room. It had to have been at least 25 to 30ft. It has to get bigger than that. Because it was completely under control and very rideable looking. I could look up the coast of Northern Ireland , and see miles and miles of empty beach. And there certainly were waves on them. I could write about surf adventures , so many I could fill a book.
        And I’m not done yet. The one thing that bothers me nowadays is the great white sharks. I lost my best friend to one. 20 feet long. It bit him from armpit to hip. Almost severed him in half. It killed him very quickly. I know 4 other guys who have been bitten, they survived. Most got around 300 staples and stitches. Then there’s almost every surfer here that I know has either seen them, or been chased out of the water by them. Then there’s the divers. They have their own list of people who didn’t make it. We have a saying here, When you get in the water here, you get into the food chain. If you’re on facebook, come by and say hi. I’ll send you some photos of waves down by my house in Mex. One year, long ago, I counted 21 perfect right point breaks down there. I didn’t see a soul that day. The air was 95 and the water was 90. I kid you not. Plus, I’ll send some shots of around Monterey. I have a few of my best friends knee board with the giant bite out of it. The board sat in his parents rafters in the garage for 30 years. No one touched it. They called me and asked me to come get it. I did. It took me a year to find a place for it. A memorial. It’s a long story.
        Well, Ireland is certainly on the map now as a big wave destination. Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it. Surfers are a somewhat crazy bunch. Anyone who gets whipped into a wave that is so massive, and actually rides it, has to be a tad on the bent side. Mistakes are costly. The big wave in Portugal? It just a big face. Mullaghmore? That wave throws out. In a Vey Very Big Way.
        If I don’t see ya sooner, I’ll see ya later.

  2. Hi Gerard,
    Mexico sounds like heaven. I was there in ’98 on the Caribbean side: No surfing, but loads of snorkelling. Can’t say I like the thought of sharks though – I think I’m still traumatised by the first time I watched Jaws.

    • Gerard says:

      We’re expecting a storm tonight and for the next several days. This is the first big one this winter. Once it hits that polar vortex that’s dipped down into the US, it’ll gather a lot of snow,ice and power. Then it’ll hit the eastern coast of the US. I expect it to cause some mayhem . Then, it’s on it’s way to you. They named this storm Titan. I’ve never seen them name a winter storm here before. Southern Calif is expected to get 3-5 inches of rain. That’s a lot for So Cal. The place is a desert. Us folks in Central Calif, we’re expecting 2-4 inches. Not big deal for us.
      But this storm should fire up once it hits the Atlantic. So I dare say , you’re gonna get another round of swell. This morning, on my way to work, I could see the point. It looked probably 12 -15 ft. Tomorrow most likely will be bigger.
      Good luck.

  3. Pingback: Coastal Protection Works at Bastardstown, Kilmore | Simon Bates Photography

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