Bay and marsh, there is lot to be said about Cuskinny, but the first thing that you must know is that the “Bay” is under the Special Protection Area of Cork Harbour and the “Marsh” is privately owned. Both are easily accessible though and if you just want to view them, you just have to stop at the car park on the road to Ballymore for Cuskinny Bay and at the surrounding side road and swan feeding area for Cuskinny Marsh.
As for the cohabitation of water source, they both feed each other with freshwater outflow from Ballyleary Stream and Cuskinny Marsh and vise versa with the bay water sluicing to the marsh. And even though they share this natural harbour water from Cork Harbour, there are differences on biodiversity that can be found on the bay and the marsh.
The other thing that you must know is that Cuskinny Bay is a recreational beach. This is a favorite swimming spot for locals. People of all ages, mostly seniors, dip into this cool sometimes frigid water to do their exercise and therapy all year round. Kayakers, canoers and paddle boarders navigate this area too as this is more tranquil than the busy harbour waters in town.
The seashore is a carpet of colorful stones. There’s a distinctive beachy crunch when you step into them at the shore. There’s too many of these that through a council and community iniative, a large amount of these stones were removed from the bay to create a sandy beach bottom. For those interested on the geology of Cuskinny, it would interest you to know that there are varied colors of sandstone and siltstone here.
Depending on where you are located at the bay, there are always aquatic life, birds, mammals and flora to watch. You probably have to go to the deeper end and if you are lucky you can have a seal, dolphin or even a whale sighting.
There is an opening under the small bridge on the road that connects the bay to the marsh. The tides can carry marine life like fishes, crabs, eels, vegetations and others. If you are looking from the bridge, you would find a bed of shells at the mouth of the marsh and then it become flatter and muddier towards the heart of the reserve.
The side of the road lookout or swan feeding area can be approached by car or by walking from the Cuskinny car park. The nature reserve can be further classified by as lagoon and woodlands. The whole area has a rich 20 hectares of land.
Birdwatch Ireland manages the nature reserve. Avid birdwatchers visit the area and sometimes set up camp here. Education is one of the main purposes for setting up and designating the place. Students have activities like monitoring the nest boxes and water levels.
The woodland section of the reserve holds a distinctive habitat on its own. There are willows and alders with lichens looking down on an open swamp with reeds and other tall herb vegetations.
Here are a few FAQs and tips to make your visit enjoyable and stress free.
- No toilet on site.
- No lifeguard on Cuskinny bay.
- No wheelchair access on swan feeding area.
- Dogs are prohibited on premise.
- No water based activities on reserve.
- No fishing and hunting on reserve.
- Please take a litter when you are in the area.
- Credit and more info from their website here.
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