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Displaying items by tag: tourism

#ANGLING - Plans to bring forward the estuary draft net season "would have a detrimental effect" on spring salmon stocks, writes Derek Evans in The Irish Times today.

Evans was responding to proposals before Minister of State for Natural Resources Fergus O'Dowd to extend the draft net season from its current start date of 12 May to mid-April.

"At a time when we are beginning to see the benefits of the 2006 drift net closure coming to fruition in terms of salmon returning to our lakes and rivers," he writes, "is it not absolutely unreasonable to even consider such an application?"

He referred to anglers who have "played their part" by sticking to a "suite of regulations" introduced by the State in an effort to conserve river stocks, which include a doubling of the salmon licence fee and an annual bag limit restricted to 10 fish.

Spring salmon angling is also a significant attraction for tourism, he suggests, and any threat could damage that business.

The minister's office has issued a statement saying there no proposal currently under consideration to bring forward the start date.

Published in Angling

#COASTAL NOTES - Bantry Bay has reached its capacity for salmon farming, says the committee formed to oppose a proposed new facility at Shot Head.

Save Bantry Bay has called a public meeting for supporters tonight (24 March) at Eccles Hotel in Glengarrif, Co Cork, starting at 8.15pm - where chairman Kieran O'Shea will give a presentation on the group's "wide-ranging objections", as The Fish Site reports.

Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney is currently considering the licence application for Marine Harvet's proposed salmon farm at Shot Head in Adrigole.

Concerns among the committee's members include the potential spoiling of the area's natural beauty having a knock-on effect on tourism, and the environmental consequences of algae blooms from nitrogen and phosphorous waste.

Local fisherman fear that a fish farm of more than 100 acres would see the closing off of part of an "important ground for shrimp and prawn".

Possible infection of wild salmon in local river systems by sea lice from farmed salmon is also an issue, with the Environmental Impact Statement for Shot Head highlighting an outbreak of lice at Marine Harvest's facility in Roancarrig two years ago.

The Fish Site has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#TITANIC - The Independent's Simon Calder reports on his special preview of Titanic Belfast, the £97 million (€116.3 million) tribute to the ill-fated ship on Belfast Lough.

"For once, the term 'of Titanic proportions' applies literally." he writes. "The top of the five-storey building is exactly as high as the tip of Titanic when the transatlantic liner was completed at the Harland and Wolff yard a century ago."

The monument is not only intended as a tribute to the tragedy, but also as a beacon to attract tourists to the "open, friendly city" of Belfast that has emerged after decades of the Troubles.

The travel writer compares the city's plans to the renaissance of Bilbao in northern Spain - like Belfast, a former shipbuilding centre damaged by terrorism that has become "a vibrant, elegant city that stands alongside Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin" thanks in part to the bold architecture of the Guggenheim museum.

Calder adds: "Almost every aspect of Titanic Belfast chimes with the city beyond the structure's metal jacket and big windows. And as with Titanic herself, the fitting out is designed to impress."

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Titanic Belfast will be one of the largest employers in Northern Ireland’s tourism industry, as well as one of the North’s largest recruiters, when it opens later this month.

The Independent has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Titanic

#CRUISE LINERS - TV host and funnyman Graham Norton recounts his breathtaking experiences on a cruise to Alaska for the Mail on Sunday.

"Until Alaska, my own serious nautical experience was crossing the Irish Sea on a car ferry," writes the Cork native best known for his BBC chat show.

But the remoteness of the Alaskan coastline - as seen from the decks of the Crystal Symphony - struck him with a special kind of awe.

"Enjoying Alaska's natural wonders It's hard not to be amazed as you cruise into wilderness areas such as Glacier Bay because they're so jaw-droppingly spectacular. It's absolutely beautiful," he says.

"The highlights were the glaciers and the whale-watching. The ship sails right up to the wall of the glacier and you sit there watching large blocks of ice breaking off calving, I think it's called, and it's just stunning."

Norton was especially surprised by his excitement at seeing the whales.

"They're brilliant. Watching them popping out of the sea was really, really, really good! So good, in fact, you kind of think I mustn't go whale-watching again because I'll only be disappointed next time. It was quite an emotional experience. You feel privileged to see these creatures."

Perhaps next time he takes a break in West Cork he might take a look out to sea and witness some of those magnificent creatures a lot closer to home!

Published in Cruise Liners

#INLAND WATERWAYS - A new study on the River Barrow and its environs recommends the development of "activity hubs, tourist trails and new angling and boat facilities", The Irish Times reports.

Waterways Ireland and Fáilte Ireland commissioned the Barrow Corridor Recreational, Tourism and Commercial Identification Survey to find ways to exploit the area's "undeveloped potential" for tourism.

The survey covered the river itself as well as its estuary and the Barrow branch of the Grand Canal. Its findings pointed to a number of areas where development is already being actioned, such as in boating and cruising, nature and wildlife, and angling.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan, who launched the study in Carlow yesterday, hailed the co-operation of the agencies and county councils involved.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#TITANIC - Belfast's Titanic Festival is set for 31 March to 22 April, with lectures, concerts, plays, city tours and exhibitions among the events lined up to recognise the centenary.

The centrepiece will be a wreath laying ceremony at the Titanic Monument at Belfast City Hall, in remembrance of the 112 Ulster natives who died when the ill-fated ship went down on 12 April 1912.

Visitors to the city during the festival can take part in various walking tours, both solo - using a portable 'Node Explorer' available from the Belfast Tourist Bureau - and escorted, with most having the memorial as their starting point.

The National's Kevin Pilley follows one tour guide, former soldier Pat, on his two-hour Titanic-themed tour around the city.

Pat has a specific connection to the TItanic, as his grandfather Danny died in the tragedy - but little does he know Pilley's own connection to that fateful day.

The National has more on the story HERE.

Published in Titanic

#SURFING - One of Germany's top surfers was in Ireland last week to sample some of Ireland's biggest waves, InsideIreland.ie reports.

Sebastian Steudtner was in Sligo to films a series of online views for Tourism Ireland in Frankfurt to pique the interest of German surfers and holidaymakers.

As well as mountain biking at Knocknarea and Union Woods, Steudtner took on the monster swells at Mullaghmore Head - made popular among the world's big wave surfers by the Tow-In Surf Session that's now in its second year.

The 'teaser' videos for a larger TV and online project will be premiered next week at the Berlin International Film Festival before hitting the web later in spring.

Kristina Gauges of Tourism Ireland said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the world-class surfing and adventure product available in this part of Ireland to a niche audience in Germany."

InsideIreland.com has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

#LIGHTHOUSES - Loop Head Lighthouse in Co Clare, is set to re-open to the public later this year following a successful trial scheme last summer.

As The Irish Times reports, Clare County Council opened the lighthouse for an 11-week trial period last July with the support of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, Shannon Development and Loop Head Tourism.

Some 17,000 people took up the invitation to visit the 23-metre beacon, which is still in use as a navigational aid, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The consortium is now looking for consultants to help expand tourism the facility with an exhibition and interpretation plan.

Published in Lighthouses

#LARNE LOUGH - Larne Council has looked into the concerns of local residents over a proposed £250 million (€300 million) natural gas plant at Larne Lough, the Larne Times reports.

Islandmagee Storage Limited (IMSL) has applied for planning permission for a 500 million cubic metre natural gas storage facility in Permian salt beds almost a mile beneath the lough, which is claimed would satisfy the North's peak demand for gas for over 60 days.

But locals have spoken out with their fears over noise levels, health and safety, pollution and the potential effect on tourism in the area.

Larne Council’s environmental health department carried out its own research into the proposed facility, taking these concerns into consideration.

It found that there was "no huge issue in terms of noise levels" where similar facilities are established throughout the UK and that the effect on tourism would be negligable.

However the department was “not yet happy” with data supplied by IMSL regarding noise levels and would be seeking more detailed information.

The Larne Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#SURFING - Rachel Collins writes in The Irish Times recently of her experiences learning to surf in Portugal's sunny Algarve.

"Thousands of hardy souls follow the waves around the Irish coastline," she writes, "but for rookies sacrificing themselves to the sea, the warmth of the Algarve makes it the perfect place to learn."

The "friendly, welcoming atmosphere" at Lagos, near Faro - with direct daily flights from Dublin - will surely put any surfing beginner at ease, as well as making for "a welcome break from the cold Irish winter".

And with plenty of other activities on offer, from the nightlife, shopping, fine dining and relaxing sandy beaches to kitesurfing, wakeboarding, mountain biking and rock climbing, there's something for all interests.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing
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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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