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Displaying items by tag: Shannon Estuary

The Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland at Kilrush on the Shannon Estuary opened its sailing season with a ‘Splash & Sail’ day of celebration to launch the dinghy sailing fleet and club kayaks.

The event was attended by many members, particularly the junior section eager to try out the brand new fleet of Topper Topaz training dinghies.

Club Treasurer, Monica Roche, welcomed everyone to the occasion and spoke briefly about plans for the coming season.

The event was attended by Clare County Councillors, Gabriel Keating and Ian Lynch, who spoke about his delight to see the legacy of past sailors being continued in Kilrush and complimented the club and especially the junior sailors and wished them well in the coming season.

Fr. Pat Larkin officiated over the Blessing of the Boats with a short service which was also attended by the Kilrush RNLI and he walked through the dinghy park and the marina to bless all the boats.

The club are very grateful for the Government Sports Capital Grant which assisted the club immensely by providing grant funding for six new topaz training dinghies and a Whaly boat, and Clare County Council who assisted with a grant for six new kayaks.

Published in Shannon Estuary

Estuary operator, Shannon Ferries have been forced to cancel sailings due to a stranded passenger ferry operating from Tarbert to Killimer.

An incident at Tarbert Pier saw the ferry, Shannon Dolphin become stuck at low tide on Sunday afternoon (3 April).

According to individuals at the scene, “The tide went out as the ferry was pulling in and it had to let a coach off” at which point the boat stuck at the Pier.

This resulted in lengthy delays for some ferry passengers of up to four hours and the cancellation of other services.

Clare passengers among the waiting crowds were among those impacted with some turning their cars around and travelling by road instead.

The Clare Echo reports more including a statement from the ferry operator.

Published in Ferry

There was great excitement at Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary for the return of their SRL Frostbite Open Dinghy Series, after a two-year hiatus writes FYC Dinghy Class Captain, Mary McCormack

Six races were held over four weekends. Conditions were somewhat perfect throughout apart from the second weekend where racing was abandoned due to a lack of wind.

Dylan Reidy led the Series through with picture-perfect results. Dylan was challenged by another local laser sailor Christopher McDaid and Killaloe’s RS400 with Govan Berridge and David Coleman on board, and his younger brother Killian and Conor Daly on their Topaz Omega. Other boats battled further down the fleet.

Class 2 was led by Kate O’Regan followed closely by Ivan Joyce in his Skipper 14, which unfortunately was demasted during week 3, as well as her younger brother Brendan and another local sailor Abbie Fitzgerald.

The month brought fantastic racing as well as fantastic fun and club spirit which was sorely missed over the two-year break due to covid.

The Series could not have taken place without Sponsors SRL Refrigeration Ltd, OODs Donal McCormack and Raymond McGibney, the club members, volunteers, both on the water and onshore, as well as the competitors, especially travelling boats.

Results

Class 1
Dylan Reidy - FYC - Laser
Govan Berridge & David Coleman - KSC - RS400
Killian Reidy & Conor Daly - FYC - Topaz Omega

Class 2
Kate O’Regan - FYC - Topaz
Ivan Joyce - FYC - Skipper 14
Brendan O’Regan - FYC - Oppie

Published in Shannon Estuary

The Shannon Estuary's RWYCI October Series concluded this weekend on the 30th of October. The series had scheduled races over the first four Sundays and the final Saturday in October.

Racing was cancelled due to bad weather on the first weekend, the series got underway on week two in sunshine and light north-westerly winds of 6-10 knots, under the excellent race management of Aoife Lyons and David Vinnell.

The on-the-water team got in three races in each class with windward-leeward courses for the spinnaker fleet and triangular courses for the white sails fleet.

In the spinnaker fleet, it was Tadhg O'Loingsigh and crew on their J24, Janx Spirit topping the spinnaker fleet in both ECHO and IRC. In white sails the very impressive traditional sailing craft, Sally O'Keeffe, built by Steve Morris and operated by Seol Sionna, won race one, and race three was won by Pat O'Shea's Malo 36, Amergin, however, Elaine O'Mahoney & Simon McGibney's newly acquired First 265 lead the class after week one with a 2nd – 1st – 2nd.

Diarmuid O'Donovan's J/24 Yachtzee crew were the IRC winners of the Royal Western Yacht Club October Series winnersSeries organiser Simon McGibney (left) with Diarmuid O'Donovan's J/24 Yachtzee crew, the IRC winners of the Royal Western Yacht Club October Series 

On the third Sunday of racing, OOD's Aoife Lyons and David Vinnell, ran two races in beautiful sunshine with a southerly 10-12 knots. In the spinnaker fleet Janx Spirit continued their great form with a further two wins in IRC while Rob Allen's Corby 25 lead the spinnaker fleet in ECHO. In white sails, Adrian O'Connell on his modified Seawolf 26 claimed two wins to put pressure on the leaders.

With another weekend cancelled due to weather, the final weekend of racing took place on the last Saturday of the month, in this enjoyable series. There was plenty of wind from the south-west and luckily the rain held off during the mid-afternoons racing. White sails completed their full schedule of races with another two races, both won by Fintan Keating's Halberg Rassy, Passade, who enjoyed the heavier winds. The spinnaker fleet added three more races to their series with two wins for the Corby 25, Smile and a race win for Ray McGibney's J24, Lady J in ECHO and two wins for Diarmuid O'Donovan's J/24 Yachtzee, with Smile taking the final race win in IRC.

At the overall prize-giving event on Saturday evening event organiser, Simon McGibney thanked all the volunteers especially the OOD's David and Aoife for superb racecourses and efficient running of races each week. 

Overall results:

  • Spinnaker IRC: 1st Yachtzee, 2nd Janx Spirit, 3rd Smile
  • Spinnaker ECHO: 1st Smile, 2nd Yachtzee, 3rd Janx Spirit
  • White Sails: 1st Lucita, 2nd Sally O'Keeffe, 3rd Amergin

Full results here

Published in Shannon Estuary

Wildlife service staff released 21 white-tailed sea eagle chicks to the wild over the weekend at four sites in Munster, including Lough Derg and the Shannon estuary.

Chicks were also released in Waterford and Killarney National Park as part of the second phase of the State’s re-introduction programme.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) said the chicks had been kept in purpose-built enclosures at the four locations while they “grew, matured, and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight”.

“They were carefully monitored and tagged by NPWS staff leading the collaborative reintroduction programme, which began in 2007,” the NPWS said.

Satellite tagging facilitates monitoring of their progress and their integration into the existing Irish breeding population, it said.

The chicks were collected under licence in June of this year from nests throughout the Trondheim area of west-central Norway by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

The white-tailed sea eagle once bred on the Irish coastline and near large freshwater lakes, living on fish, waterbirds and dead animals, until driven to extinction in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Twenty-one Norwegian-born White Tailed Eagle chicks were released into the wild at the four Munster sites - on the Shannon Estuary, Lough Derg, Waterford and in Killarney National Park (pictured). It is hoped they will bolster Ireland’s existing White-Tailed Eagle population. Overseeing the Release in Killarney National Park, from left, Regional Manager National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dr Allan Mee, Advisor, White Tailed Eagle Project Phase 1, Danny O'Keeffe, National Parks and Wildlife Service district conservation officer, Philip Buckley, Project Site Manager, Shannon Esturary. The chicks have been kept in purpose-built enclosures at the four locations while they grew, matured, and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight. They will continue to be carefully monitored and by NPWS staff leading the collaborative reintroduction programme, which began in 2007. The satellite tags will allow the project to monitor their progress and their integration into the existing Irish breeding population. Photo: Valerie O’SullivanOverseeing the Release of the chicks in Killarney National Park, from left, Regional Manager National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dr Allan Mee, Advisor, White Tailed Eagle Project Phase 1, Danny O'Keeffe, National Parks and Wildlife Service district conservation officer, Philip Buckley, Project Site Manager, Shannon Esturary. The chicks have been kept in purpose-built enclosures at the four locations while they grew, matured, and developed the feathers and muscles necessary for flight. They will continue to be carefully monitored and by NPWS staff leading the collaborative reintroduction programme, which began in 2007. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

The birds are particularly vulnerable to illness and poison in winter when they rely more heavily on carrion.

Most of the birds re-introduced to Ireland over the past 13 years – in a programme pioneered by the Golden Eagle Trust - have remained, while some were reported in Northern Ireland and at least seven birds were identified in Britain.

At least ten white-tailed eagle pairs held territory across four counties last year - in Kerry (7 pairs), Galway (1), Tipperary (1) and Cork (1).

A white tailed sea eagle chick Photo: Valerie O'SullivanA white tailed sea eagle chick Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

The NPWS says at least nine pairs laid eggs in Kerry (6 pairs), Cork (1), Tipperary (1) and Galway (1).

The NPWS says that “restoring this lost flagship species to Irish skies will be a significant step in restoring Ireland’s natural heritage and will bring great benefit to Irish biodiversity”.

It says the project “underlines in practical terms Ireland’s commitment to implementing the UN Convention on Biological Diversity”.

Published in Marine Wildlife

In the decidedly unsettled weather of this 2021 Spring and early Summer, the restored 56ft trading ketch Ilen of Limerick is acquiring the reputation of being a lucky ship in finding gentler conditions when sea work has to be done in periods of storms. Thus although we're currently in three or four days of meteorological mayhem, as recently as Tuesday Ilen found idyllic conditions in her Community & Cargo Programme to get from her berth at Foynes up to Limerick for the collection of barrels of Thomond Gate Distillery's Limerick Whiskey for delivery to Cappa, the all-tide quay for Kilrush in County Clare. And then a sunny evening westerly swept her back up the Estuary to Foynes and further cargo discharging. Skipper Gary Mac Mahon takes up the story.

Westward bound – the whiskey for West Clare on Steamboat Quay. Photo: Ivan O'RiordanWestward bound – the whiskey for West Clare on Steamboat Quay. Photo: Ivan O'Riordan

Focus of attention – Ilen at Steamboat Quay in Limerick. The quay is so called because the passenger & freight steamships serving the Shannon Estuary berthed here at high water to take on people and cargo for prompt departure towards ports down the estuary as the ebb started to make. Limerick's very big tides mean that ships wishing to stay longer have to go through the sea lock into what is now the Ted Russell Dock. Photo: Ivan O'RiordanFocus of attention – Ilen at Steamboat Quay in Limerick. The quay is so called because the passenger & freight steamships serving the Shannon Estuary berthed here at high water to take on people and cargo for prompt departure towards ports down the estuary as the ebb started to make. Limerick's very big tides mean that ships wishing to stay longer have to go through the sea lock into what is now the Ted Russell Dock. Photo: Ivan O'Riordan

"The elemental pull of a favourable tidal current is a motive power source a lively sailor will never let slip by his ship. And on Tuesday, the spritely Ilen on a cargo voyage took the Lower Shannon tidal current of two floods and one ebb to sail east and west for a logged distance of ninety nautical miles.

Tuesday's Lower Shannon Cargo Voyage enjoyed many cultural and historical synchronicities;

  • 100 years since a cargo of whiskey was loaded on a vessel 
in the city to be sent downriver towards a West Clare bonded stores.
  • 50 years since a commercial vessel got loaded at Steamboat Quay, Limerick.
  • 70 years since the last Lower Shannon cargo sailing vessel 'Alzina' sailed west from 
Limerick, never to return.


And it was all done by Ireland's only surviving wooden sailing trading Ketch 'Ilen'. 
In the early morning, Ilen slipped her lines at the Port of Foynes and - with a tidal flood - made her way to Limerick City, arriving at high water-noon. At Steamboat Quay, Limerick City, she firstly discharged her cargo from Foynes - a cultural gift to Limerick.

A pet day and reflections galore….Ilen approaching Limerick from Foynes in the morning calmA pet day and reflections galore….Ilen approaching Limerick from Foynes in the morning calm. Photo: Dermot Lynch  

With the ebb well made at Cappa, an extending forklift was a help in getting the valuable cargo ashore. Photo: Ian Riordan   With the ebb well made at Cappa, an extending forklift was a help in getting the valuable cargo ashore. Photo: Ian Riordan  

Skipper Gary Mac Mahon looking thoughtful – "You'd look thoughtful if you'd seven thousand euros-worth of whiskey swinging around aloft…" Photo: Ian Riordan   Skipper Gary Mac Mahon looking thoughtful – "You'd look thoughtful if you'd seven thousand euros-worth of whiskey swinging around aloft…" Photo: Ian Riordan  

Loading a cask of whiskey and cargo boxes for discharge at Cappa Quay, West Clare, was an efficient process delaying Ilen no more than 20 minutes. 
Soon she was making downriver toward the west on a Lower Shannon ebb - coming alongside Cappa Quay at 4.30 pm. With crew efficiency matching that displayed at Limerick City, the whiskey cask and cargo boxes were soon discharged onto the magnificent 1830 extension to Cappa Quay, a living relic of the great days of the Shannon steamers.


The final run - Cappa to Foynes, some 20 nautical miles, was covered with a soldiers breeze from west, and tide making east, rounding out a gloriously long and fulfilling day concluding with an evening cargo discharge at Foynes.

Published in Ilen
Tagged under

Most people’s memories of the already pandemic-constricted Bank Holiday Weekend will be of Monday's wet and windy storm. But the training crew on the restored Conor O’Brien ketch Ilen of Limerick have only pleasant memories, as a fair weather passage around Ireland's magnificent southwestern seaboard from Winter Quarters in Kinsale saw them well ahead of the bad weather when they came into port at lunchtime Sunday, having rested until the tide made fair with the by-now traditional stopover at Carrigaholt.

The brief feeling of it being high summer already was emphasised by a Women’s Four racing shell from St Michael’s Rowing Club heading downriver with a welcoming eave from the cox. And by the time the storm struck, Ilen was safely and snugly in dock, and the racing shell was comfortably back in the boathouse. With Ilen now positioned in her home port, she is strategically located to swing into further action as soon as the easing of restrictions permits a further broadening of her activities.

Published in Ilen

Global circumnavigator and sailing ship designer Conor O’Brien (1880-1952) inevitably saw his most noted vessels, the 42ft world-girdler Saoirse and the 56ft trading ketch Ilen, being closely associated by the rest of the world with their birthplace in Baltimore. But much and all as he liked West Cork, he always insisted that ultimately his heart was in the Shannon Estuary on Foynes Island, where he was living when designed both vessels, and so he made a point of ensuring that they spent some time in the Foynes anchorage before going off on their great voyages. Thus although Saoirse’s pioneering cruise round the world south of the great Capes is generally thought to have started from Dun Laoghaire on June 20th 1923, O’Brien secretly reckoned it had got going from Foynes some weeks earlier. And equally, while the official records show that Ilen’s voyage to the Falkland Islands started from Avonmouth near Bristol on the 26th August 1926, as far as her skipper was concerned, the voyage had got under way from Foynes on the 28th July 1926.

There’s charming proof of this in the Foynes Harbour Master’s personal log from the 1920s. At the time, the HM was Hugh O’Brien, who was Conor O’Brien’s brother-in-law through marriage to one of the voyager’s sisters, while sharing his surname through being distantly related as a de Vere O’Brien of Curragh Chase. As Harbour Master, Hugh O’Brien was wont to embellish his records book with drawings of visiting vessels of special interest, and naturally, the new Ilen got the complete treatment in July 1926, resulting in very tangible evidence of Conor O’Brien’s assertion that this was the ship’s spiritual home port.

Now that Ilen has passed her biennial Department of Transport survey (as recently reported in Afloat.ie), the coming easing of pandemic restrictions means that plans are being firmed up for her programme in May, and she will shortly leave her winter berth in Kinsale to make the familiar passage round Ireland’s majestic southwestern seaboard towards Foynes, where Foynes Yacht Club have generously allocated a berth. This will enable the Ilen Marine School to implement as full a programme as the regulations at the time will permit, and the fact that it will see Ilen spend a longer period at her spiritual home than she ever has in her 95 years of existence will be a salute to the faithfully-kept records of Hugh O’Brien.

Published in Ilen

The good ship Ilen, the 56ft Trading Ketch of Limerick, has been in the slipway cradle at Liam Hegarty's boatyard in Oldcourt upriver of Baltimore in West Cork this week, enjoying the relatively dry weather and the attention of her crew as they brush on fresh-smelling paint. And she returns to the salty sea on Saturday, confident in the renewal of her Departmental Certificate.

Even with the best-maintained vessels such as Ilen, the annual inspection can bring its challenges. And on Wednesday evening, after very thoroughly spending a day going through the ship, the Department of Transport surveyor descended the ship's ladder to speak softly with the crew.

But it was good news. Ilen, he stated, had passed survey with just the remediation of a few minor matters. Under the Department's Passenger 5 Licence, she can now resume operations for 2021. This survey outcome is directly attributable to her crew's dedicated annual maintenance programme. Considering the severe limitations to travel this year and last, it really is excellent news.

Ilen in the slipway cradle at Oldcourt this week, where she has passed her annual Certification with flying coloursIlen in the slipway cradle at Oldcourt this week, where she has passed her annual Certification with flying colours. Photo: Gary Mac Maho

Ilen makes for the Lower Shannon Estuary in April under the Ilen Marine School's developing community educational Kingship Programme, which takes its name and logo inspiration from the fact that King John's Castle is the most venerable feature of the Limerick riverfront, while King's Island is at the heart of the ancient city.

Subject to variations in pandemic restrictions, the following six weeks of operations await her during Aril and early May:

  • Ilen familiarisation courses
  • Ilen will sail the Lower Shannon on experimental community voyaging.
  • May Weekend sailing demonstration just west of Shannon Bridge, Limerick City.
  • Onboard the Ilen, a marine survey of the tidal Shannon from Loop Head to Thomas Island will also unfold. This schools survey, both actual and online, will - among other areas - focus on water quality, measurements of salinity, and plastic pollution. Ilen is getting fully equipped for such marine surveys.
  • Traditional rigging courses.
  • A navigation course on the Lower Shannon will also unfold.
  • As part of Ilen Marine Schools 2021 Kingship Community Educational Programme, carefully monitored community sailing days on the Lower Shannon will be part of the schedule.

All of the above courses and activities will be delivered, without charge to the communities and individuals who participate, and interest is high.

The Ilen Marine Schools' Kingship Programme symbol draws its inspiration from the city's historic interaction with the River Shannon.The Ilen Marine Schools' Kingship Programme symbol draws its inspiration from the city's historic interaction with the River Shannon

Foynes Yacht Club and Shannon Foynes Port Company are generously collaborating to provide Ilen with berths at the head of the Estuary in Limerick City, and down towards the sea at Foynes in County Limerick on the Shannon Estuary's southern shore.

The remaining season is still at the planning stage in view of the "unknowables" inherent in the emergence from the pandemic restrictions, but all being well the newly-certificated Ilen's 2021 season will be a very active one, built on experience gained with a necessarily limited but successful programme in 2020.

Published in Ilen
Tagged under

The Shannon Estuary has the potential to become a global hub for floating offshore wind according to a major new study.

If such a project were to be progressed, writes the Limerick Leader, it could attract up to 12 billion in investment and lead to the creation of up to 30,000 jobs over the next 20 years.

The Offshore Wind Potential Study (download)- commissioned by Shannon Foynes Port Company - by specialist geotechnical engineering consultancy Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions identifies the potential, through capitalising on the unique wind resource and deep-water port in Foynes to turn the State into an exporter of energy and generate unprecedented job creation in the process.

It finds that Shannon Foynes is best placed to service the future offshore floating wind market due to the proximity to resource and market; availability of the deepest watercourse in Ireland and one of the deepest and most sheltered estuaries in the world; extensive future landbank availability; and the existence of Shannon Foynes Port Company as a statutory authority with National Tier 1 port status.

The fact that the port also has European Commission, Trans European Transport Network core corridor status on North/South and East/West corridors and the existing 1.6 GW connectivity to our own national grid were also key findings of the report.

For further reading click the newpaper here.

Published in Power From the Sea
Page 1 of 16

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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