The Maghera beach and caves is a very popular scenic and leisure destination for families today. It may suprise you to learn that this beautiful beach has been attracting visitors since the Neolithic era, and possibly prior to this. Archaeologists have revealed remenants of habitation in the Maghera beach sand-dunes. Several hearth-sites were discovered, split-stones, hammer-stones, flint implements, sea-food shells, together with broken and split bones.
Coastal habitation sites and areas of kitchen midden material are known in many parts of Ireland but seem to be particularly common in Donegal. They are often located in shifting sand dunes, and new sites frequently come to light. It's clear from the artifacts found that they extend over a long period of time and sometimes as far back as the Mesolithic period.Like many such sites, Maghera's coastal habitation was probably of a temporary or seasonal basis. It is common, with these ancient habitation sites, to find hearths, sometimes with settings of stones. In Maghera, such hearths can also be found that are only as old as a week, month, or year ... as well as those that are many, many years older in origin!
The predominant material of the middens usually consists of sea-food shells. To the right of the image above we can see that the beach extends further up the bay. Cockels (small shellfish) are still to be found. Oysters and clams are cultivated further up the bay and are often on sale.
Depending on the weather, waves are caught with suft boards, kayaks, sail boards, body boards, as well yachts, now and again. As you can see above, a calmer area is also usually present at the fore of the beach. This may be more suitable for relaxing pursuits - for toddlers, and more inexperienced swimmers, or those who simply prefer to relax. One can also swim on the left of the beach in a large naturally forming pool, and along the width of the bay.
As with all beaches, take care not to swim too close to rocks. A long strip of water flows from the left of the beach up the bay. This a channel and is therefore not suitable for swimming - channels have strong currents caused by the flow of water up the bay and returning water coming back down to the sea. And, of course, don't forget not to swim after eating.
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