Cork beach finds international fame following rare occurrence captured by local photographer

Cork beach finds international fame following rare occurrence captured by local photographer
Dean Linehan and Shenelle Twomey from Douglas watching the bioluminescence glowing in the water on Fountainstown Beach, Co. Cork on ionday night. Photo Joleen Cronin

Fountainstown has found international fame this week after photos of waves on the beach, lit up by bioluminescence, made BBC’s world news.

Images of the unique phenomenon on Cork beach were captured by local photographer Joleen Cronin on Sunday night, close to midnight.

Joleen, who has friends living opposite the beach, heard about the rare occurrence through the locals and took a trip to the area to see it for herself.

Paddy Quinlan, Funkytown Adenture Centre, Caroline Burgess, Turlough (aged 1) and Denis Cronin, Cronin's Pub, Crosshaven wading the bioluminescence glowing in the water on Fountainstown Beach, Co. Cork on ionday night. Photo Joleen Cronin
Paddy Quinlan, Funkytown Adenture Centre, Caroline Burgess, Turlough (aged 1) and Denis Cronin, Cronin's Pub, Crosshaven wading the bioluminescence glowing in the water on Fountainstown Beach, Co. Cork on ionday night. Photo Joleen Cronin

“It was amazing. When I heard, I said I would take a wander down, but i was not expecting to see what i saw. It was fairly spectacular.” 

Bioluminescent plankton give off a light that can be seen at night. The little creatures, reacting to the movement of the waves were emitting a light and the sheer volume of the plankton meant the almost the entire tide was fluorescent.

Joleen said the conditions were perfect on the night. “There was long gentle waves and it was a dark cloudy night, it was pitch dark.” 

Dean Linehan from Douglas watching the bioluminescence glowing in the water on Fountainstown Beach, Co. Cork on ionday night. Photo Joleen Cronin
Dean Linehan from Douglas watching the bioluminescence glowing in the water on Fountainstown Beach, Co. Cork on ionday night. Photo Joleen Cronin

Speaking about the experience, Joleen said it was quite humbling. “It was a real privilege to witness something so special and so close to my doorstep too. It really makes you appreciate Cork and all it has to offer. We have amazing incredible beauty at our doorstep.” The photographer said that on the night, everyone on the beach was giddy from the special event unfolding before them.

Joleen took the photos on Sunday night and said by Tuesday morning she was inundated with calls from various news outlets and she also did a Skype interview on BBC World News.

“I didn’t expect the response I got, it’s been unbelievable.” 

Joleen said she has seen bioluminescence a number of times before, but never to the extent of what she witnessed on Sunday night.

“It was like a disco. I’d love to see it again, but I appreciate that I have had the opportunity to have seen it also.”

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