Away Weekend of diving and snorkeling in Mullaghmore
Mullaghmore – the Gullies. ‘The Present is the Key to the Past
Uniformitarianism. The principle that geological processes that operated in the past continue to operate in the present. This principle was first enunciated in the late 18th century by James Hutton, developed by John Playfair and popularised by Charles Lyell in Principles of Geology in 1830. The practical implication of the principle is that by studying how processes operate now, when you see evidence of the same processes in rocks from the past, you can make reasonably valid assumptions about the type of environment that prevailed.
So what? Compare tthe following two photos.
The first is of ripples in sandstone rock of Carboniferous age in Mullaghmore that are about 290 million years old. The one on the left is from Mullaghmore at present in about 6 metres of water and can be seen from a shore dive at the Gullies. The ones from the Carboniferous are about 500 metres from the ones underwater. I am not particularly religious but I do have a sneaking regard for Ecclesiastes 1:9
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
In this instance, and because of the principle of Uniformitarianism, the ripples in the sandstone rock suggest that they were formed in relatively shallow water in the sea thus allowing interpretation of the environment in which the rocks were formed.
‘The Gullies’ refers to that part of Mullaghmore Head where a series of roughly north west-south east gullies provide both boat and shore diving opportunities. At low tide the Gullies are particularly obvious as seen here with the ‘gullies’ in the middle distance approached by a short walk over gently shelving rocks, a short snorkel followed by heaven on earth (and I said I was not particularly religious).
This shore dive is really easy peasy. Park at Mullaghmore Head whereever the view in the above picture appears. Kit up and walk down the rocks to the shore (watch out for slippery sea weed at low tide). Enter the water and snorkel out until you are about 10 to 20 metres from the reef facing you in the middle distance. Submerge, hang a left and fin along the wall following it until it opens out into a gully that descends to about 25 metres. If you have a large bottle or small lungs you can head north east and pick up the next gully and return to the sheltered water in the middle distance. If not head back the way you came and when the gully peters out head roughly south east until you have to surface.
Allthe best ofwest of Ireland diving is found here, shellfish, anemones, hydroids and lots more. On a recent dive two buddies and I were played with by dolphins on a safety stop.
As you enjoy the dive spare a thought for the recent tragic history of Mullaghmore that includes the assassination of Lord Mountbatten and tragic drownings in the mid 1990s when youngsters on the forshore were overcome by large waves. The bench near where you have changed is a reminder of their plight. The shore dive starts at 54.472531,-8.456604.