Where to find Ocean Glass in West Cork, Ireland

On each trip to the sea, I always look for ocean glass (a.k.a. sea glass, Mermaids’ Tears). In County Cork, I got lucky in the town of Schull.

Schull, Ireland

Schull, Ireland

Right next to the ferry port, there is a tiny beach area, and there was a lot of ocean glass among the rocks and pebbles.

A large group of Spaniards, I suppose they were students of English, were lounging around. Then one of the young men helped me in my search. He brought me a new glass shard – he probably thought I was cleaning up the beach area. I politely accepted it.

Ocean glass from Schull, Ireland

Ocean glass from Schull, Ireland

This was the only place, where I could find any ocean glass in West Cork.

48 Hours on Mallorca

We only had exactly 48 hours to spend on Mallorca. We arrived at the hotel on Thursday at 11 a.m. and were picked up again by the hotel’s transfer bus on Saturday at 11 a.m.

I managed to take 145 photos, we walked much both days, and sampled some very fine Spanish cuisine and enjoyed the island’s beauty in sunshine.

the port in Cap Ratjada, Mallorca

There were very few tourists, the temps were in the low 20s, and we had plenty of time to explore the town and coast on foot.

coastal promenade

The water is so clean and so are the streets. The street sweepers were out and about as early as 8.30 a.m. on Saturday morning.

water around Cap Ratjada

Ocean glass

Ocean glass, also known as sea glass or mermaids’ tears, can be found on most beaches. These are glass shards, which sharp edges got smoothed over the years by getting tumbled in water and sand. Their once shiny glass surface becomes frosted-looking after so many years.

For the past six or seven years I have brought back mermaids’ tears from our annual holiday vacations in places such as Virginia/USA, Croatia, Japan, Faroe Islands, Crete, the Azores, and the most recent one, Sicily.

I have always put them in a glass jar, and had one of my children label it (location and date). Over the years, I have come to learn a bit more about these pretty pebbles. As I usually add a couple of stones, snails, shells, etc. to the jar, each jar has taken on its own life in color, smell, and drinking culture.

By far, the Crete jar is smelling the strongest. One dip with the nose and your senses transport you to where the fishing boots are coming in.

The Faroe Islands jar contains mostly brown mermaids’ tears, which reflects their tendency to drink more beer from brown bottles in the Northern European countries.

The most beautiful mermaids’ tears, and best find so far,  are from the Sicilian island of Favignana. This was truly mermaids’ tears heaven as there were so many everywhere and it became clear that beach-combing was not a popular activity on this windy island (snorkeling is, I believe).

A good mermaids’ tear takes between 15 and 60 years of being tumbled around in the ocean. Some beaches might offer mostly premature ones (five-year old glass shards), while others, such as the beaches of  Favignana  offered many overly weathered, hence the most beautiful sea glass. Favignana also offered more white ones than other locations.

Ocean glass floating in the sky

Another thing I learned – while you ask your son to hold up the glass, make sure he does not have an itchy nose. A few tumbled over the fourth floor balcony, a few shattered on the floor. These mermaids’ tears still break like regular glass.

Besides putting them in a jar, you could also try your hands at making jewelry. For a few ideas, visit these websites:

Tears from the Deep and West Coast Sea Glass

The term mermaids’ tears itself is often also referred to in a negative way –  plastic polluting the oceans.

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