Millisle Sea Pool, Co Down

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Arriving at the beach car park, I followed the drive on round to the sea pool.  A lovely, old-style open pool with a low wall snaking around, separating the bathing area from the open sea.   Along this wall, I met some children fishing for crabs, keen to show me their bounty and explain their successful fishing technique.  Red Belly crabs they informed me, and looking closely at the patterns on their shells, I saw how intricate and pretty they could be.

From the sea wall behind, two older boys were jumping into the clear waters, although with the tide on its way out, play was soon halted.  The boys then joined the group at the pool and I was given the task of judging their dives. 

Then it was my turn to brave the water, a little warmer than the open sea, with clear water and a sandy floor.  The climb out onto the wall for diving was not my most elegant moment with the steep sides slippery, and no little concern for whether the local crabs would take a fancy to my toes!  Clearly not, as I had no more encounters with the creatures until the boys were finished fishing and threw the whole bucketful back into the pool! 

The pool has a clean sandy beach area and shelves very gently, giving a large, safe bathing area, ideal for families.  At the seaward, right corner, the pool is at its deepest, and when the tide is in, deep enough to dive.  The pool stretches approximately 100m along this wall, allowing swimmers ample room to stretch out and enjoy.

Well used by locals and holidaymakers alike, small children playing in the shallows, running in and out, older youths exploring the deeper areas, floating in inflatable dingies and playing on body boards, and the first group I met catching crabs and even the odd small dogfish, showing the life in the pool is abundant.

Houses behind the pool area enjoy the double benefits of easy access from their back gardens and a fabulous view over the swimming area and then on out to sea.

Millisle, in 2010, was awarded the Seaside Award for bathing quality and facilities and as well as this great pool area, there is a long strand with good bathing off the beach itself.

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