THE village of Ring, home to an All Ireland winning rowing club, is in danger of being cut off from the sea with calls for the urgent rebuilding of a sea wall, which has been damaged by storms.
David Edwards, who runs a boat charter business from the village, told The Southern Star that the pier is completely dry at low tide.
‘It is not just commercial businesses that have been affected, but sporting and leisure interests too, including Ring Rowing Club, which is really concerned about the silting-up of the harbour over the last three years, causing it to become a safety hazard.’
David explained that for centuries vessels from all around the world have used Ring because it was once a busy trading port.
Until the last century vessels were able to go as far as Clonakilty to load and unload their wares – such as linen, grain and ore – but as sea trade diminished, the dredging of the estuary stopped.
Farmers – using horse and carts – were also allowed to draw sand to help with their land, and this helped to keep the channel clear for several more decades.
In 1924, he said a wall – a half-tide groyne – was built from Inchydoney Island across into the estuary to divert the tidal flow and ensure the three piers at Ring were kept clear of sand.
In the early 1970s, this wall was breached in a storm and local families – the Wycherleys and the Harringtons – led the way in filling the gap and this helped the water back to the piers.
That system continued to work until the winter of 2014 when another storm caused a small breach in the wall. Local people approached Cork County Council but they were redirected to the Department of Marine, who in turn, redirected them back to the Council.
In the intervening months and years, the hole in the wall got much larger, causing the flow of water to be taken away from the piers, to the point where today the public pier at Ring has no water at low tide.
‘Three years ago,’ David Edwards said, ‘the public pier at Ring would have had 8ft of water at low tide, but now it dries out completely.
‘Unless something is done very quickly to rebuild the Council sea wall – from Inchydoney towards Ring – then access to all the piers will be lost,’ he said.
David confirmed that he has had to cancel trips planned for this summer because there is no access.
At a Western Committee meeting held in Castletownbere recently, Cllrs Paul Hayes (SF) and Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) said the situation is ‘serious’ and that the lack of access – due to the build-up of silt – presented a threat to life and limb.
They said the Council’s budget to clear the built-up of silt in places like Courtmacsherry and Ring was insufficient.
David also made the point that instead of focusing on dredging, the Council should rebuild the sea wall because that will, in his opinion, resolve the problem.
‘The Council doesn’t need a licence for that,’ he added, ‘because it involves rebuilding an existing structure that was paid for by the local authority in the 1920s.’