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Dublin: 3°C Friday 26 February 2021

Runners and flip flops keep washing up on the west coast of Ireland

The shoes are believed to be from containers that fell off a cargo ship in 2018.

Image: Burren Shores Beachcombing and More.

SINCE THE END of last month, runners and flip-flops have been regularly washing up along the west coast of Ireland. 

The most recent discovery was on Tuesday when three pairs of runners washed up in Quilty, Co Clare.

In 2018, multiple containers fell off a cargo ship that was travelling from Shanghai to North Carolina.

The contents of the lost containers have now made its way towards beaches along Ireland’s west coast as well as hitting a number of European countries.

Donegal, Connemara, Valentia and Fanore are some of the locations in Ireland to have come across the flip-flops and runners while Jersey, Spain, Brest, Cornwall, Brittany and the Azores have also recorded sightings. 

Liam MacNamara who runs the popular Facebook page, Burren Shores, says that none of the runners or flip-flops are in a fit state to be worn, adding that bite marks are evident on the footwear.

According to MacNamara, the items belong to two companies, both of whom “have confirmed that they had a shipment on that boat that lost the containers”.

“They are all very evasive about giving answers, of course, they don’t want to admit to anything really,” MacNamara added. 

runners flip flops fanore 5 Source: Burren Shores

runners flip flops fanore 4 Source: Burren Shores

runners flip flops fanore 6 Source: Burren Shores

Branding belonging to Nike also appeared on runners at Fanore, however they have stated they were not aware of any missing containers.

An artist has expressed an interest in using the runners for a future project but apart from that, the cleanup will be left to volunteers.

MacNamara said, “Generally it’s left to volunteers to just dump and end up in your rubbish bin or left back on the floor when nobody collects it, generally that is what happens.”

In 2015, a number of ink cartridges belonging to Hewlett-Packard washed up in Fanore. The company subsequently made a donation to various environmental agencies and programmes, as well as issuing an envelope to return the ink cartridges.

McNamara said he’s not “holding his breath” that something similar will occur this time. 

About the author:

Páraic McMahon

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