Thousands visit beauty sites before closures

Thousands visit beauty sites before closures

25 March 2020

THE weekend spring sunshine attracted thousands of people to local beauty spots.

Local beaches and parks were inundated with visitors of all ages, including young families.

The National Trust briefly opened its parks and gardens for free, but on Saturday evening the organisation reversed its stance and announced that all of its properties would close.

Ahead of the closure announcement the Recorder visited Murlough beach and nature reserve, near Newcastle, which is operated by the Trust.

Although there were many people there, nearly everyone we talked to said they were concerned about the coronavirus outbreak and were observing social distancing with other groups.

Deirdre McLarnon, from Seaforde, was there with her daughter Michelle McCaul and grandchildren Amy, Sophie and Daniel.

She said she was acutely aware of the need to keep her distance from other people. “We need to be very careful,” she said.

Alistair and Stephanie Brown, from Belfast, said they had come to Murlough to exercise their dog and get some fresh air, but were “keeping themselves to themselves”.

“The coronavirus is affecting our lifestyle,” Mr Brown said. “We are staying in at night and heeding the advice.”

Ronan O Scollaín, also from Belfast, who was there with his son, Feilimi, said he could not believe how many people were on the beach. “We came here to get out of the house. We’ve been cooped up,” he remarked.

Mum Leanne Borthwick was with her children, Tristen, Dawson and Benny. “The children needed to get out of the house and away from the TV and Xboxes,” she said.

Also there and very much keeping their distance were Robert Vaughan, his partner, Seaneen Molloy, and their young son, Oisín. “I am concerned, but we had to get out of the house,” said Seaneen.

Jonathan Chambers, who was with his partner, Sarah McClean, and their two year-old son, Max, said he visited Murlough around three or four times a year. “You need to get a bit of time out,” he remarked.