shockwaves | 

Locals describe popular Dublin beach where teenage boy tragically drowned as ‘lethal’

The news of his death has sent shockwaves through the local community.

Burrow Beach, Sutton, Co Dublin.


People enjoying the balmy conditions at Sutton’s Burrow Beach this lunchtime remarked how quiet it was today, with wide open strand space as far as the eye could see, compared to yesterday when a young man tragically drowned.

The teenage boy was taken from the water by gardaí and emergency services at approximately 7.30pm on Monday evening and later died in Dublin’s Temple Street Hospital.

The news of his death has sent shockwaves through the local community.

Several experienced swimmers who bathe at the Burrow Beach regularly, said it has become increasingly busy in recent years and most visitors do not realise ‘how dangerous it can be’.

Luke Tobin (72) has lived in nearby Offington for most of his life and he said the area to the right of the lifeguard hut on the beach is especially treacherous.

Mr Tobin said he swims at the beach all year around and while the shallow section between both entrances is “safe”, care is still needed.

"There’s a little jetty up there, but it’s broken and when the tide is coming in, there’s a ferocious pull there,” he said.

“There’s loads of rough, jagged rocks by the jetty and two years ago I was caught there and my leg got all ripped. Last year I was swimming with my son. I spotted a seal and lost track of where I was and all of a sudden, I couldn’t get out of this current. My son was gone and he couldn’t understand why I was taking so long because it was January,” he said.

“It took me about 10 minutes to get two metre against the current. There’s just such a strong current against the rocks and yesterday the tide was coming in. It is very dangerous as the tide is coming in.”

Hide tide at the strand on Monday evening was just before 10.30pm.

There is one manned lifeguard hut located at the Sutton entrance to the beach, but Mr Tobin argued more supervision is needed, particularly during the busy summer months.

“If you go to Belgium or some place, there’s lifeguards on a beach like this; they’re on the sand, right at the water’s edge and they’re posted everywhere. If you turn around for a few seconds, somebody could be gone,” he added.

As you walk onto the beach from the Howth side, the first thing you see is a sign which reads: “Strong currents, dangerous currents.”

Paula Smith said she is visiting the area, from the UK, and she has swum at the beach many times over the years.

“Yesterday evening there were huge numbers of people coming down from the Dart Station in their droves,” she said.

“Yesterday morning funnily, somebody said to me ‘the current is very strong, don’t go out to far’. The thing is it’s quite shallow, so you have to go out a bit far to get out of your depth... It’s just shocking.”

A woman who was swimming with Ms Smith this afternoon and who has swum at the beach for many decades described it as “lethal”.

“I’ve never felt safe there,” she added.

Tony O’Sullivan (86) and his wife Kay cycle to the Burrow Beach from their home in Drumcondra regularly.

“It’s the speed of the current, the speed that it goes out that make it really dangerous. We’ve been coming here for years and we’ve seen people getting into trouble before. It’s a strange beach because the tide goes out kind of northwards and little islands appear. You can see from here the current that’s created,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“It’s the only sad thing about the good weather that sometimes tragedies can happen,” Mrs O’Sullivan added.

In a April last year, a 26-year-old a Saudi Arabian national, who was living in area, also drowned after he got into difficulty while swimming off Whitewater Brook beach near the Baily lighthouse in Howth.

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