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Fountainstown beach illuminated by plankton

Unusual: bioluminescent plankton lights up a beach in County Cork, Ireland!

Date 19 August 2020
The phenomenon made the beach glow for several hours!


Have you ever seen a beach glow in the dark? That’s what happened at Fountainstown beach, a beach in County Cork, Ireland, on Sunday night from Sunday to Monday. This beach was overgrown with bioluminescent plankton… which made the beach glow at night! As a result, the water turned an astonishing, almost abnormal, bright blue colour. An unusual spectacle that attracted many people to the place!

When plankton illuminates a beach at night…

A show all in light, 100% natural!

The phenomenon is rather rare, but completely normal. Don’t look here for human intervention: the explanation is 100% natural.

If Fountainstown beach has been adorned with fluorescent blue colours, it is above all thanks to bioluminescent marine plankton. This is a microscopic organism, living in suspension in the sea and the ocean.

The latter has the strange characteristic of self-lighting when it is in motion. Thus, as it moves, it adorns itself with bright and magical colours. This provokes an extraordinary show, where each wave brings its share of light!

It really was an incredible show,” said photographer Joleen Cronin, who was present at the event at the time.

Fountainstown beach illuminated by plankton

Fountainstown beach illuminated by plankton

Many locals have travelled for the occasion, even going to take a dip to better enjoy the phenomenon. For many, seeing those bright blue sparks coming towards them was a unique experience.

And we understand them!

Unfortunately, the phenomenon was short-lived: it only occurred during the night from Sunday to Monday. Since then, some locals have been watching the shoreline in the evening… But it seems that the plankton have deserted the area… Nevertheless, the phenomenon could well happen again: you’ll have to be patient and go to the beach at the first sign if you want to experience an unusual moment like this!



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