Oranmore Heritage Shore Walk took place on Sunday 22nd August 2010 at 11am. All the participants met at the Astroturf pitch in the village and we made our way up Castle Road to the shore, some going over the stile on the pier, others going through the gate to the left of the castle.
We were fortunate that one of the group had some knowledge of botany and was able to identify some of the flora on the foreshore, part of it being a section of blue sea aster then in bloom.
Another member talked knowledgably about the importance of seaweed harvested by the hundreds of tons on this stretch of shore. It was used as fertiliser when no artificial manure was available. As well as local farmers, others came from as far away as Turloughmore and Ballyglunin to cut seaweed here and haul it home in horse carts. Indeed to this day, the deep indentations made on the rocks in the cart track by the iron-shod wheels of the cart can be clearly seen. He spoke of how the acres of shore were allocated – in Renville West there were acre stones to mark out each acre but we could not find any here.
There were often disagreements about boundaries that ended up in fistfights. On this stretch of shore there wasn’t much evidence of shellfish though many of the rocks were covered with limpets. The limpets were a source of food for the seaweed cutters if they could get them off the rocks. If they didn’t get them off with the first blow, they would have smash the shell. They were very tough to eat.
We walked south toward Oran Point passing the now wrecked causeway at the back of Bluebell Woods and headed towards the bathing house. This is the ruin of a domestic dwelling that the Presentation Nuns used as a changing room when they went bathing on a small bit of sandy beach adjacent to it. It is shown on the ordnance survey maps.
We progressed toward Oran Point to view a beautiful sea of shimmering blue water with the marine institute on the extreme end of the bay on the south side and the black island, Roscam Point and a view all the way to Barna on the north side. We sat and rested at this very peaceful spot and soaked up the sites.
The shoreline of Roscam and Cartron was visible and we could see St. Mary’s Quay just off the coast road near the village.
Having rested, we set out for home via Oran Island. On our left, just inside Clocan na Mallact, is a sheltered tidal pond frequented by a variety of sea birds most of which we didn’t recognise. Next time we will have to take an ornithologist.
The journey took just under two hours and all agreed it was a worthwhile experience.