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Displaying items by tag: Lough Derg

#barge – It is to take up a new berth in Lough Derg next week, but the history of a barge docked at Customs House Quay as a performance theatre is every bit as colourful and exciting as the play it's hosted over the past three weeks writes Andrew Carey.

The 80–foot barge "Spera in Deo" (Trust in God) or "T82" was built in Holland in 1895 and although used as a cargo vessel, the records show she was originally a sailing ship.

Converted to a mussel dredger in 1924 by the Blommaert family in Zierikzee, the boat remained in Holland until 1983 when it was brought to Kerry where it operated for a number of years. It left the southern shores for Greencastle in Donegal where it became one of the first dredgers to fish mussels on the River Foyle.

A major overhaul of the historic vessel was undertaken by a Donegal entrepreneur who used it for recreational purposes for a number for years before a fire destroyed the engine and caused extensive smoke and fire damage.

She lay stricken, afloat and for sale before the keen mariner's eye of Robert McGrath from Achill Island saw the vessel and with it an opportunity to transform it into something special.

Emma D'Arcy, co-owner of the historic barge, said that as the insurance company had paid a six figure sum to the previous owner, it was to be sold as a hull.

"Robert loved it and over the course of a week decided that the best thing to do was to go back up to Donegal to see if he could get it going. Hours of labour and meticulous work led to the engine spluttering back life.

Over eight months later, the barge was seaworthy enough to navigate up the Shannon estuary.

"Rob had to wait patiently for good weather before he could make the perilous journey from Donegal down the west coast to Foynes and eventually into Limerick. It took several weeks for a 48 hour weather window that would allow the crew to make the journey.

In the meantime, Limerick playwright Helena Enright, who was putting the finishing touches to 'The River', a multi-sensory theatrical experience about the river Shannon, had heard that the barge was en route.

"She approached us to see if we would be interested in letting her use the barge for a couple of weeks to stage her play about the river and its effects on its inhabitants over the years", Emma explained.

"Helena was thrilled as there are actually very few vessels in Limerick itself and anything she found was too small, sunk, or had people living onboard".

Moored in Limerick as a floating theatre, Spera in Deo will begin the next phase of its colourful history when it moves to Dromineer next week.

Published in Inland Waterways

#RNLI - At 7.25pm on Saturday evening (16 August) Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to launch to assist five people on board a vessel reported broken down soon after setting out from Garrykennedy Harbour to Mountshannon Harbour.

The lifeboat launched at 7.35pm with helm Eleanor Hooker, David Moore and Jason Freeman on board. Winds were southwestly Force 6 and visibility was good.

At 7.50pm the lifeboat located the casualty vessel between Parker Point and Garrykennedy, and found all on board – four adults and a child – to be safe and wearing their lifejackets.

An RNLI crewmember was transferred across, where he reassured the passengers before setting up a tow. The lifeboat then towed the boat back to Garrykennedy, where it was safely tied up alongside at 8.10pm.

The skipper of the cruiser thanked the RNLI crew for their speedy assistance. He said that he had raised the alarm "as with the worsening weather and no boats visible to offer him assistance, I was getting very concerned." 

The lifeboat crew assured him that he had done the correct thing in calling for help.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI – Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat launched to assist five people on board a 28ft boat with reported engine failure by Ryan's Point on Lough Derg.

At 7.25pm on Wednesday evening, August 13, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat to launch to assist five people, four adults and a young child, on board a vessel reported broken down and drifting near Ryan's Point on Lough Derg.

The lifeboat launched at 7.37pm with Helm Eleanor Hooker, Lian Knight and Dom Sharkey on board. Winds were westsouthwest; Force 4, visibility was very good.

The lifeboat located the casualty vessel in Dromineer Bay, where all on board were found to be safe and wearing their lifejackets. The lifeboat transferred an RNLI crewmember across to the boat, where he reassured some of the passengers who were quite anxious, before setting up a tow.

The lifeboat towed the boat, with her passengers and an RNLI volunteer on board, to their berth in Dromineer, where it was safely tied up alongside at 8.17pm.

The skipper of the cruiser thanked the RNLI crew for their assistance. He was reassured that he had done the correct thing in promptly calling the lifeboat, especially considering the drift of the boat since their engine had failed.

The Lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 8.40pm.i

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#rnli – At 4pm on Friday afternoon, August 8, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat to launch to assist a family of five on board a vessel aground inside the Mountaineer Buoy at Ryan's Point on Lough Derg.

The lifeboat launched at 4.13pm with Helm Eleanor Hooker, Robbie Garland and Jason Freeman on board. Winds were southwesterly; Force 4, visibility was very good.

The lifeboat was alongside the casualty vessel at 4.20pm, where they found all on board to be safe and wearing their lifejackets. The lifeboat transferred an RNLI crewmember across to the boat, where he reassured everyone, before going to check for damage and any ingress of water under the floorboards, or into the engine. When he was satisfied that the hull was not holed, he set up for a tow. Whilst he was doing that, the lifeboat took soundings in the immediate area of the casualty boat, in order to establish the safest route back to deep water.

At 4.46pm, with her passengers and an RNLI volunteer on board, the lifeboat took the boat off the rocks and out to deep water. The engine, steering and props were found to be in proper working order. An RNLI crewman helmed the cruiser to the safety of Garrykennedy Harbour, where it was tied alongside at 4.57pm

The skipper of the cruiser thanked the RNLI crew for their prompt and efficient response to their distress, saying they 'were aground for ten minutes when they saw the lifeboat coming around the headland to help them'.

The Lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 5.28pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Lough Derg RNLI located three people reported overdue on Friday evening (1 August) after an excursion to Holy Island on Lough Derg.

At 7.20pm on Friday, Valentia Coast Guard requested the Lough Derg lifeboat to launch to locate three people reported overdue by their family.

The three had set out three hours earlier for Holy Island in Scarriff Bay, two rowing a wooden dinghy and a third in a kayak, and were thought to be returning via the Scilly Islands.

The lifeboat launched at 7.30pm with helm Eleanor Hooker, Gerry O’Neill and David Moore on board. Winds were northerly Force 3 and visibility was poor, down to half mile.

The lifeboat circumnavigated the Scillly Islands and at 7.52pm located the three missing people north of the islands. All were wearing their lifejackets and were in good spirits.

The lifeboat accompanied the three back to shore, where they were met by their family.

Peter Kennedy, Lough Derg RNLI deputy launching authority, advised all boat users to "check weather conditions before setting out, and carry a reliable means of communication with shore."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#rnli – Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat launched to assist two people and their dog on board a 32ft cruiser, aground on Sandy Bottom in Dromineer Bay last night.

At 8.05pm on Thursday evening, July 31, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat to launch to assist two people and their dog on board a cruiser aground at Sandy Bottom, close to the lifeboat station, in Dromineer Bay.

The lifeboat launched at 8.12pm with Helm Eleanor Hooker, Ger Egan and Keith Brennan on board. Winds were south westerly, Force 4, visibility was good.

The lifeboat came alongside at 8.13pm and transferred an RNLI crew member to the boat. The two people and their dog were safe and unharmed. The boat was checked for damage and found not to be taking water. The engine was in good working order. An attempt to take the boat off the sandy bank by running its engines astern was unsuccessful. The Lifeboat took the cruiser under tow and out to open water, where further checks found that the steering was not working. The cruiser was towed to Dromineer Harbour and tied safely alongside at 8.45pm.

Lifeboat Helm Eleanor Hooker advises all boat users to 'study your charts and plan your passage before setting out from port, and to know the navigation buoys on the lake.'

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Derg RNLI's lifeboat launched last night (Saturday 26 July) to assist two people on board a cruiser aground at Drominagh, at the northern end of Lough Derg.

Valentia Coast Guard requested the launch at 9.45pm and the lifeboat left station at 9.55pm with helm Peter Clarke, Ger Egan and David Moore on board.

Winds were south westerly, Force 2 to 3, and visibility was good but with nightfall approaching.

When the lifeboat arrived on scene, it found the two people on the cruiser to be safe and unharmed, and wearing their lifejackets. An RNLI volunteer checked the boat for damage and, when he was satisfied it was not holed, he set up a tow.

The lifeboat took the cruiser off the rocks and out to safe water, where the engine, props and steering were found to be in working order.

The cruiser, under her own steam, and with an RNLI crew member still on board, made way to Terryglass Harbour. The lifeboat remained alongside and helped to secure the boat in Terryglass.

Clarke praised the crew of the boat for remaining calm and calling for assistance as soon as they recognised they had a problem.

He also advised "all boat users to study their charts before setting out, and to stay within the navigation buoys on the lake."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

#LoughDerg - RTÉ News reports on the death of a 69-year-old woman after an accident at Dromineer Marina on Lough Derg late on Saturday night.

The woman apparently slipped and fell into the water when she was returning to a boat moored at the marina.

A male companion who was unable to get her out of the water raised the alarm, and she was retrieved by RNLI volunteers - but was sadly pronounced dead after arriving at University Hospital Limerick.

Elsewhere, a man is stable in hospital after he fell into the Bloody Bridge river in Newcastle, Co Down, according to BBC News.

The man fell from Bloody Bridge before 3am early on Sunday morning, and was arlifted to Daisy Hill Hospital by Irish Coast Guard helicopter.

Published in News Update
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#InlandWaters - Food producers and restaurant owners surrounding Lough Derg have joined forces in an effort to promote the Lakelands region as a food tourism destination.

A Taste of Lough Derg 2014 is the brand for the pilot initiative that features 13 separate food events taking place in villages and towns along the shores of Lough Derg in counties Clare, Galway and Tipperary from this month till September.

Things gets started tomorrow 13 July in Portumna, right at the top of Lough Derg, when local food producers Sunny Meadow Farm and Killeen Cheese team up for a BBQ and cheese tasting event.

That's followed in the coming days by a 'taste and make' chocolate day at Wilde Irish Chocolates in Tuamgraney, Co Clare, a 'pizza picnic' at River Run House, where the Shannon meets Lough Derg in Terryglass, Co Tipperary, and much more to come.

A brochure with much more about the initiative and planned events over the summer is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#seaeagle – It is now possible to observe one of the first White Tailed Sea Eagles born in Ireland in over a century courtesy of a new marine wildlife viewing and Iinformation point that has been officially opened on the shores of Lough Derg in County Clare.

Located at Mountshannon Pier and operated by Mountshannon Community Council, the Golden Eagle Trust and Clare County Council, the new Viewing Point features telescopes and information and displays about the White Tailed Sea Eagles. The facility will remain open until the end of September.

Norway's Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Roald Næss joined Mayor of Clare Cllr. John Crowe in Mountshannon today in recognition of his country's close links with the Golden Eagle Trust's programme to reintroduce the bird to Ireland.

The Mountshannon breeding pair, a six-year-old male and five-year-old female, were collected as chicks on the island of Frøya off the west coast of Norway by the Golden Eagle Trust. The birds were released in Killarney National Park before relocating to Lough Derg in 2011. The pair, named Saoirse and Caimin, created history in 2013 when they reared the first chicks to fly from a nest in Ireland in 110 years. The pair successfully hatched another chick in late April of this year.

Mayor of Clare Cllr. John Crowe welcomed the introduction of the Viewing Point which he said provides the general public with "a unique opportunity to view the birds at close quarters without disturbing them".

He added: "The breeding success of the Mountshannon pair is in no small part down to the wonderful work of the Golden Eagle Trust, Clare County Council and Mountshannon Community Council, as well as the goodwill and support shown by the local community. This Viewing & Information Point will help to further safeguard these impressive birds and their nesting activities, as well as to promote their ecology and conservation."

Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Roald Næss described the increase in the number of nesting pairs of White Tailed Sea Eagles in Ireland as "encouraging" and expressed his delight that Norway has played a central role in the reintroduction programme.

He continued: "Norway is home to one of the largest White Tailed Sea Eagle populations in the world and has been instrumental in helping organisations such as the Golden Eagle Trust to reintroduce the species to countries where the bird once flourished but is no longer found. Being able to view this breeding pair thrive here in County Clare is a tribute to everyone concerned and I hope the people who visit this Viewing Point truly value what is happening here."

Welcoming the official opening of the Viewing & Information Point, Dr. Allan Mee, White Tailed Sea Eagle project manager, commented: "We are very conscious of the risk of disturbing the birds especially during nesting periods, so we warmly welcome this structure which is purpose built and designed specifically for the purposes as a Bird Viewing and Information Point. It will help put Mountshannon on the map as the destination to come and enjoy perhaps Ireland's largest and most spectacular breeding bird. To have a nesting pair of eagles here on our doorstep is a unique and one that the local community in Mountshannon will I'm sure help nurture into the future".

The Viewing Point will be maintained by Mountshannon Community Council, whose Chair John Harvey said: "Since the White Tailed Sea Eagles first arrived here three years ago, members of the local community have given tremendous support to the Golden Eagle Trust to ensure the birds were given every possible opportunity to thrive. The Community Council looks forward to welcoming people to the village and the Viewing Point, which we regard as a wonderful addition to the local tourism infrastructure."

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 10 of 17

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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