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Displaying items by tag: Athlone

#Festivals - The River Shannon will come alive with the Athlone River Festival later this month.

The Shannon has long been the base for festivals in the midlands centre, from the original Athlone People’s Regatta in the 1920s to the Athlone River Festival in the 1990s that was revived in recent years.

And this year, over the weekend of 30 June and 1 July, festival fever will be hitting Athlone once again thanks to Waterways Ireland and with the support of Westmeath County Council and Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat volunteers.

“Lough Ree RNLI has received huge support from the communities around Lough Ree and we would like to repay the community with a fun-filled water-based weekend for all to enjoy,” said lifeboat volunteer Damien Delaney.

Saturday 30 June will see the IWAI motor cruiser flotilla sail-past and arrival into the town, prior to the start of the TriAthlone.

On Sunday 1 July, activities start at 10.00 am with the very popular junior fishing competition organised by Athlone anglers, followed by a variety of activities including a sailing demonstration, rowing races, sub-aqua demonstration, flyboarding and the main event, the RNLI raft races — which this year come with a new junior category.

A full timetable and further information, including entry details for the raft race and contacts for interested sponsors, can be found on the Athlone RNLI River Festival Facebook page.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#RNLI - Lough Ree RNLI was requested to launch its inshore lifeboat at 6.56pm yesterday evening (Wednesday 23 May) following reports of a swimmer in difficulty at the Golden Mile south of the motorway bridge in Athlone.

Inshore lifeboat The Eric Rowse, helmed by Stan Bradbury and with crew members Tom Bradbury and Kieran Scullion, launched and was on scene at 7.18pm to search for the swimmer, assisted by members of the public nearby.

Weather conditions were clear and bright with a slight breeze.

The lifeboat crew quickly located the swimmer and with the assistance of Athlone Sub-Aqua Club, she was brought onboard the lifeboat for casualty care at the clubhouse until an ambulance crew arrived to take over.

The swimmer was then transferred to the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118, which brought her to University Hospital Galway for further treatment.

“All at Lough Ree RNLI would like to extend their best wishes to the swimmer for a speedy recovery,” said Sarah Bradbury, Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer.

“While we may be experiencing some warmer weather at the moment, we would remind everyone planning on enjoying the River Shannon and Lough Ree that the water temperature is still very cold.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Ree  RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew conducted a search of the River Shannon yesterday morning (Saturday 28 April) after a report of someone entering the water.

The Irish Coast Guard alerted the lifeboat station at 5.14am after a report from a member of the public to the possibility of someone entering the River Shannon in Athlone town.

The volunteer crew of lifeboat The Eric Rowse were quick to respond and were soon conducting a search above and below the weir in the centre of Athlone town. Conditions were very calm as dawn turned into a clear bright morning.

After searching a large area of the river and with regular communication with the Irish Coast Guard at Malin Head, the decision was made to stand down the search at 6.54am and the crew returned to station.

Speaking after the callout, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tony McCarth said: “If you suspect you have seen someone fall into the river, throw one of the many life rings that are along the river banks to them with the end of the safety rope secured so doesn’t end up in the river too, then pull them back to the shore and call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland and the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland will host the World Canals Conference 2018 in Athlone next September on the shores of Ireland’s longest waterway, the River Shannon.

‘Restoring, regenerating, re-imagining’ is the theme of the three-day conference from 10-12 September at the Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone that will feature various tours and sessions designed to inspire and connect delegates from all over the globe.

Register soon for to take advantage of the early bird rates ranging from €345 to €385. Some conference tours also have limited numbers so book early to secure your preferred tour and discount.

Special prices are also available for accommodation on board a luxury hire cruiser before, during and after the conference.

Cruisers can be booked for four to 14 nights, with four nights’ free mooring at the full service marina adjacent to the conference venue for the first 10 bookings.

For prospective conference speakers, the organisers are inviting abstract submissions till 28 February 2018 within the remit of the theme across the engineering, tourism, recreation, health and well-being, communications, technology, and arts and heritage sectors.

For more on the event, visit the World Canals Conference 2018 website or sign up for the newsletter for regular updates.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Shannon - A teenage boy has died after getting into difficulty while swimming in the River Shannon in Athlone yesterday (Wednesday 10 June), as RTÉ News reports.

The 14-year-old was recovered from the water near the Athlone Sub Aqua Club after a short search by club members and Coosan Point lifeboat volunteers.

But he later died in hospital after being transferred from Portincula to Temple Street.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#ROWING: Sam McKeown of Portadown won the intermediate single sculls, beating Damien Kelly of Garda, at Limerick Regatta today. The St Michael’s men’s senior pair came out on top and Portora won both the junior 18 and junior 16 men’s eights. Patrick Munnelly of Athlone won the final of the men’s junior 18 single sculls. The event had to be delayed for over an hour because of inclement weather and junior 14 events were cancelled. However, a meeting at the venue decided that the Irish Schools Regatta on Sunday will go ahead.

Limerick Regatta, O’Brien’s Bridge, Selected Results:

Men

Eight – Junior 18: 1 Portora, 2 St Joseph’s, 3 St Michael’s.

Junior 16: 1 Portora, 2 Col Iognáid, 3 St Joseph’s. Masters: St Michael’s.

Four – Senior: 1 Skibbereen, 2 St Michael’s.

Pair – Senior: 1 St Michael’s, 2 Neptune, 3 Shannon.

Sculling – Quadruple – Club Two: 1 Cork B, 2 Shandon, 3 Cork A. Junior 15, coxed, Final One: 1 Shandon A, 2 St Michael’s, 3 Killorglin. Final Two: Castleconnell.

Single – Intermediate: 1 Portadown (S McKeown), 2 Garda (D Kelly), 3 St Michael’s (D O’Connor). Junior 18: 1 Athlone (P Munnelly), 2 Graiguenamanagh (A Lennon), 3 Castleconnell (N Meehan).

Women

Eight – Junior 18: 1 Portora, 2 St Michael’s, 3 Galway.

Sculling, Quadruple – Junior 18: 1 Lee, 2 Fermoy, 3 Offaly.

Double – Junior 15: 1 Workmans, 2 Fermoy, 3 Lee A.

Published in Rowing

#Drowning - The Irish Times reports that the body of a man who fell into the River Shannon while on a night out in Athlone has been recovered.

The victim, in his 50s, was with friends when he apparently slipped off the wall of Town Bridge late last night (7 September). A postmortem is due and Gardaí are investigating the incident.

Published in News Update

#RNLI - It was a busy June bank holiday weekend around the country for RNLI lifeboats in West Cork, Mayo and the Midlands.

On Sunday afternoon, Baltimore RNLI assisted four people after their yacht got into difficulty a mile south of Mizen Head.

The 32ft yacht with four people on board had been propped by a pot buoy immobilising her in the water. The alarm was raised at 10.41am and lifeboat the Alan Massey was launched minutes later.

A local RIB, which had commenced towing, passed the tow to the lifeboat and the yacht was then taken to the safety of Crookhaven Pier.

This was the second call out this week for Baltimore RNLI. On Thursday last three men were rescued when their punt overturned near Horse Island.

Later on Sunday, Achill Island RNLI in Co Mayo brought a distressed fishing vessel with seven people on board to safety.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch at 4.50pm to assist a small fishing vessel in the vicinity of Clew Bay and close to Clare Island. The vessel had encountered engine problems and was unable to return to port.

The boat and its crew of seven were subsequently towed safely to Curraun harbour by the Achill Island RNLI lifeboat.

Speaking after, Achill Island RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tom Honeyman said: "The presence of thick fog surrounding the vessel meant that great care was needed in the rescue and the fishing party of the vessel were delighted to return empty handed for a change."

Meanwhile in the Midlands, Lough Ree RNLI brought five people to safety in two call-outs over the weekend.

On Friday 31 May the volunteer crew was requested to launch around 5pm following a report that a cruiser had ran aground north of Quaker Island.

A local fisherman raised the alarm after spotting the cruiser on the rocks at the island located in the north end of Lough Ree raised the alarm.

The lifeboat crew managed to establish contact with the person on board the cruiser via mobile phone and he had confirmed that he had got lost and had ran aground. He reported that there was no water entering his boat. He was on his own but not injured.

The inshore lifeboat was launched and the crew was on scene at 5.30pm. It took the lifeboat 10 minutes to safely navigate its way through the rocky area to reach the casualty. The person on board the cruiser was taken to shore and arrangements were made for a specialist company to attend the scene to recover the cruiser.

Lough Ree RNLI was then launched on Sunday evening to assist a 26ft cruiser which had ran aground east of Green Island after sustaining engine failure.

The small cruiser with a family of four on board had lost engine power and had ran aground on the south east side of Lough Ree.

A crew launched the lifeboat at 8.40pm and arrived on scene 10 minutes later. After one of the lifeboat crew had carried out an assessment of the causality vessel, the decision was made to make an attempt to pull the vessel from the rocks, which the lifeboat was successfully able to complete.

Once the lifeboat had the vessel in deep water, a tow was set up and the casualty vessel was taken to Quigleys Marina in Athlone.

It marked the continuation of a dramatic week for the Lough Ree crew, after six were rescued from a sinking cruiser on the lough last Tuesday 28 May.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The  lifeboat crew with Lough Ree RNLI launched today (Tuesday 28 May) at 12.08pm to a sinking cruiser south of Athlone, with six men onboard.

The vessel was reported to have struck an object under the water and was holed and taking in water.  When the lifeboat arrived on scene they moved quickly to take the six men, believed to be in their twenties, off the sinking cruiser.

The lifeboat crew took the first three men off the vessel and brought them the short distance to Athlone before returning to take the remaining three off the vessel.  With all six men safely ashore the lifeboat crew returned to the scene and observed that the vessel was submerged with only the bow visible out of the water.

They alerted the Coast Guard and Waterways Ireland to issue a warning to other marine traffic in the area before returning to the lifeboat station.

Commenting on the callout Lough Ree RNLI Operations Manager Damien Delaney said, "I am relieved that all six people onboard the cruiser were recovered safely as the water was coming in quickly. All the men remained calm and listened to the instruction of the lifeboat crews, which resulted in a safe and speedy evacuation with nobody injured.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Diving - The Irish Underwater Council (CFT) reports the "huge success" of the 22nd annual Dive Ireland expo in Athlone at the weekend.

The two-day event at the Hodson Bay Hotel welcomed "speakers from near and far as well as photography workshops and a fully loaded international trade fair" - not to mention the CFT National Dive Conference and AGM.

Ahead of the expo, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan commented on the role of SCUBA clubs and diving centres in Ireland's national tourism infrastructure in promoting this country's dive sites.

In the foreword to the recently published Warships, U-boats and Liners, he also wrote of the Government's commitment to developing its archive of wrecks in Irish waters.

“With the support of responsible dive centres and local dive clubs ... these wrecks can be explored now and into the distant future by visitors from home and abroad.”

According to the CFT, local authorities are also starting to recognise the importance of developing aquatic activities to encourage tourism.

One example is Mayo County Council's Blue Ways list of swimming and snorkelling sites along the county's coast, which complements its Green Ways walking trails.

The council also highlighted the importance of heritage among Ireland's diving community, and their role in discoveries such as the Viking-era swords retrieved from the River Shannon near Banagher last autumn, as the Offaly Independent reports.

Published in Diving
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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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