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Displaying items by tag: Donegal

#SeaKayaking - The East Inishowen Sea Kayak Symposium takes place this weekend from 26-28 April.

Hosted by Just Kayak at the shorefront in Moville, Co Donegal, the weekend costs €130 for all coaching and guides, plus two nights self-catering bed and breakfast plus lunches and an evening meal.

Friday evening will feature a talk from Elaine 'Shooter' Alexander, discussing her epic circumnavigation of Ireland by sea kayak two years ago that we followed here on Afloat.ie.

Saturday will be a full day of coaching and guided trips around the Inishowen peninsula, followed by an evening of talks from guest coaches.

The final day on Sunday features a choice of different coaching sessions - and for something a little different, chef Brian McDermott will give a demonstration of outdoor cooking which might prove handy on your next kayaking trip.

For more details and booking info visit the Just Kayak website.

In other sea kayaking news, a Plymouth couple are hoping to be the first husband-and-wife team to kayak around the British and Irish coasts.

As The Herald in Plymouth reports, Andy and Jane Morton from Bere Alston left Plymouth aboard their double kayak Persey earlier this month beginning their five-month challenge for the RNLI and a local MS charity.

You can follow the couple's progress via their website HERE.

Published in Kayaking

Rathmullan marina is a small marina pontoon at Rathmullan, a village in County Donegal is located on the western shore of Lough Swilly and is part of the Fanad Peninsula, situated roughly 12.5 miles from the Lough's entrance and 34 miles northwest of Londonderry/Derry.

The pontoon is suitable for small vessels to berth alongside at a reasonable fee and where fresh water is laid on.  There is a concrete slipway suitable for dinghy landing. The Lough Swilly ferry also operates from the pier between Rathmullan and Buncrana, a journey of 45 minutes.

Published in Irish Marinas

#RNLI - Two men who embarked on the first RNLI Station to Station challenge between Bundoran and Arranmore last Saturday (6 April) completed the job in just under 12 hours - raising over €2,000 for both lifeboat stations in the process.

As per their plan reported previously on Afloat.ie, Niall Clancy and James McIntyre both set off from Bundoran Lifeboat Station just after 6am on Saturday morning – Clancy running and McIntyre cycling.

Clancy's route took him through Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Donegal town, Mountcharles, Frosses, Glenties, Gweebarra Bridge, Lettermacaward, Dungloe, Burtonport and finally Arranmore Island via a treadmill on the ferry!

He was joined on various legs of the journey by members of the Tir Chonaill Athletic Club who kept his spirits up on the 100km journey from station to station.

Meanwhile, McIntyre and his team from Mullaghmore Triathlon Club and Donegal Bay Cycling Club took off at the same time cycling as far as Lough Eske, where James then made the lonesome journey himself across the Bluestack Mountains, constantly keeping organisers informed of his progress via text message.

Down into Glenties and from there by bike to Portnoo where, with Bundoran RNLI crewman Killian O’Kelly, he kayaked the remaining 22km to Arranmore Island, where both he and Clancy were greeted by the lifeboat crew and the Arranmore Pipe Band.

Speaking on completion of the challenge at Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat Station, Clancy said: "It’s been a long but great day. The weather conditions couldn’t have been any better for both myself and James – though it was very cold this morning leaving Bundoran!

"I’m looking forward to a few weeks off training before I get back into it for the Athlone Half Ironman in August."

McIntyre added: "We’d both like to express our gratitude to everyone who supported us ahead of the challenge and today – particularly those who sponsored us and those who ran and cycled with us today, our support teams, our chefs, the RNLI crews and sponsors Ormston’s Mace Ballyshannon and All Sports Donegal Town."

Shane Smith, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Bundoran RNLI, said: "We are thrilled at the success of the challenge and delighted that over €2,000 has been raised for both stations.

"We are indebted to James and Niall for their selfless support of our charity and would like to thank them sincerely on behalf of both crews."

Elsewhere, a Wexford family who organised a sponsored swim in memory of a loved one and former volunteer have raised a whopping €5,000 for Kilmore Quay RNLI.

The Hayes family presented the cheque to the RNLI at Kilmore Quay lifeboat station recently, funded by a sponsored swim on St Stephen’s Day organised by the family in memory of the late Paddy Hayes, who was a volunteer with the lifeboat.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard has had a busy first few days of the New Year with a number of incidents around the country, including a dramatic search and rescue incident in Donegal.

Carlow man Cormac Nolan was rescued after falling 200 feet and becoming trapped in a crevasse while walking on the Slieve League cliffs on the north west coast of Donegal on Tuesday 1 January.

The cliffs are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe, and combined with the man's precarious position and the weather conditions at the time, the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter was unable to winch the man to safety despite its swift response.

The operation - assisted by the Killybegs coastguard unit, Donegal Mountain Rescue and the Aranmore RNLI lifeboat – proceeded to a cliff descent which itself was hampered due to shingle on the cliffside. 

Search teams eventually reached the casualty after 10:30pm and began the slow process of bringing him back up the cliff, finally doing so around midnight. 

The 28-year-old - who discussed his ordeal on RTÉ Radio's News at One this afternoon - was transported by coastguard helicopter to Sligo General Hospital but no serious injuries were reported.

The Donegal incident was just one of a number of search and rescue taskings received by the Irish Coast Guard over the New Year period, coming after news that the coastguard saved 161 lives last year.

Other incidents included searches for missing persons in Wicklow and Dublin and dispatches to reports of persons in the water in Waterford, Limerick and Louth.

Speaking yesterday, Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds said: “Last year was the busiest ever for the Irish Coast Guard and already in the early days of 2013 we have provided assistance in a number of incidents. 

"I am appealing again to the public that they heed local advice and be aware of weather conditions if walking or hiking along our coastline, particularly during winter time.”

Reynolds continued: “There is safety in numbers, so never be alone while walking along cliff paths if possible. Let somebody know when and where you are going and what time you will be back. Stay well away from the cliff edge, both top and bottom. Don’t attempt to rescue people or pets if they fall over the edge.

"If assistance is required dial 112 and ask for the coastguard. Advice as always from the coastguard is if you do see someone in difficulty in the sea, on the shore, cliffs, lakes or rivers, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in Coastguard

#Angling - Judgement in the first module of a High Court trial over a long-running dispute between Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and local anglers at the Gweebarra fishery has been found in favour of the fisheries agency.

Ms Justice Laffoy delivered her judgement on Wednesday 19 November in the first part of a modular trial sought by IFI "to allow key issues to be determined in this first module with the objective of saving court time and costs".

The first module related to what IFI said are the most important sections of the Donegal fishery (both State and privately owned) that it manages - such as the well-known 'Mayo Pool'.

A key claim by defendants Peadar O'Baoill and others - who are opposed to changes in fishing arrangements introduced by IFI (then the Northern Regional Fisheries Board) in 2007 - was that they had acquired rights to fish freely without permits at the Gweebarra fishery by virtue of angling freely there for many years prior to the regulation changes five years ago.

IFI argued that if such rights were upheld, it would have made the 2007 arrangements "unworkable" as the rod management plan central to the changes was dependent on regulation by issue of permits.

However Ms Justice Laffoy rejected the defendants' claim in this regard, saying: “The reality is that the defendants have not established any right, public, or otherwise, to fish in the freshwater part of the Gweebarra River, including the part thereof the subject of this module.”

The court also determined conclusively that IFI has the right to manage, control and regulate both the State-owned and privately held freshwater sections of the Gweebarra fishery.

In her concluding remarks, the judge urged both parties to resolve their remaining dispute locally and out of court.

Commenting after the trial, IFI repeated its "previously stated position that it has absolutely no wish to be involved in proceedings of this nature and remains committed to the protection of the Gweebarra fishery in its entirety, the public portion of which is a state asset.

"It welcomes any initiative which will allow for sustainable management of the fishery into the future. It is happy therefore to seek to resolve the remainder of the dispute, but such would have to be found in the context of existing legal agreements with other stakeholders."

Published in Angling

#MarineWildlife - Recent hijinks by a group of Irish surfers in 'shark-infested waters' off Donegal have been making the rounds online - but they're not all what they seem.

IrishCentral reports on the video, apparently posted by surfers from Rossnowlagh, which shows the group on a RIB pushing one of their own overboard into the path of an oncoming shark.

Yet despite their reactions, they were never in any danger, as the shark was one of Ireland's harmless giants - a basking shark - who clearly attempts to dodge the dinghy as it approaches.

Indeed, the shark may even have been in more danger from the surfers than they were from it, as the marine species is designated as protected under EU law, which makes it illegal to disturb or harass them.

As reported on Afloat.ie earlier this year, the UK's Shark Trust has published a code of conduct for anyone encountering basking sharks in British or Irish waters - and pushing someone overboard on top of one is definitely absent from the list.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#RNLI - After 43 years working with the ESB, a Co Donegal man has donated €700 – money in lieu of retirement presents – to Bundoran RNLI.

Ballyshannon’s Brendan 'Mannix' Gallagher held his retirement party last Friday 30 November at the Allingham Arms in Bundoran but opted not for presents for himself but donations to Bundoran RNLI.


A crowd of well over 200 people attended the festivities on the night and all were delighted to make a donation to the local volunteer lifeboat service.

Brendan is well known in the area for his fundraising so it came as no surprise to the party goers that he requested donations to the RNLI.

Tony McGowan, Bundoran RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: "We are very grateful to Brendan and his wife Joan for this thoughtful and generous method of donating to the lifeboat.

"The gesture has raised over €700 for Bundoran RNLI and will go towards the training of our volunteer crew to continue to save lives at sea."

Brendan’s retirement party is not the only local fundraiser for Bundoran RNLI at the moment. Shoppers at Sweeny Todds in Market Square Shopping Centre can purchase their Christmas cards there, and with every sale from the selected range a 50 cent donation will be made to Bundoran RNLI.

Next Sunday 16 December, the Pier Head Hotel in Mullaghmore will hold a charity wax in aid of Bundoran RNLI as part of their Christmas Family Fun Day. And the annual Bundoran Lifeboat Dinner Dance will take place at the Great Northern Hotel on Friday 1 February 2013. Tickets are on sale now from all crew members.

Bundoran RNLI also reminds the public that these are the only fundraisers at present, after reports of a 'bogus Santa' charity collector seen in Bundoran last month.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Swilly RNLI rescued five people onboard a 50ft fishing boat yesterday evening (Sunday 2 December) after the vessel’s engine broke down in Co Donegal.

During what was a nine-hour callout in tough weather conditions, Portrush RNLI also launched to assist the stricken Mary Ellen.



Volunteer crew members from Lough Swilly had been attending a commemoration in Portsalon when they were requested to launch to the boat that had broken down some 10 miles further on, a mile-and-a -half from Fannad Lighthouse.



The all-weather Tyne class lifeboat arrived on scene at 3.15pm where the crew observed a steel crabber with five men onboard. The fishing boat was carrying a load of crab.



Weather conditions at the time were described as blowing gusts of between gale force 5 and 6 up the lough.



The crew pursued to establish a towline and commence the return journey to shore. After towing the vessel for a couple of hours into the dark, the tide began to turn, making the pull more difficult. A relief lifeboat from Lough Swilly and Portrush RNLI were requested to launch to assist.



Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 was also on scene in the event that the stricken vessel’s crew would need to be evacuated.



As the boat was being towed up the lough it lost all power and VHF was transferred from the lifeboat for communication.



When Portrush RNLI arrived on scene, the crew assisted with the tow while the Lough Swilly relief lifeboat stood by.



The stricken vessel’s mechanic managed to restart the engine during the tow and the vessel made its way into Rathmullan while the Lough Swilly lifeboat stood by in case it required further assistance.



John McCarter, Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat operations manager, paid tribute to the lifeboat crew who arrived back at the station in the early hours of Monday morning.

"This was a long callout in difficult weather conditions and we are glad that we were able to assist this vessel and her crew in making it to shore safely,: he said. 

"This was a testament of the commitment, skill and selfless nature of our volunteers who are always willing to give their time and readily leave the comfort of their homes to face challenging conditions to help people who find themselves in difficulty at sea."

Joe Joyce from the lifeboat crew told BBC News that the nine-hour operation was "an unpleasant experience" but reported that "everybody was safe and well".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#DIVING - Diver Gus O'Driscoll and four members of the Delta Specialist Diving Club are currently searching the bed of Lough Salt in Donegal for a number of golf balls driven into the water more than 100 years ago by the legendary Old Tom Morris.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that 20 of the golfer's own rubber balls were hit into the lake during an exhibition in 1891. Though worth a shilling a piece at the time, today they are worth a whopping €20,000 each.

The only obstacle in the path of the intrepid divers is the mountain of golf balls they have to sift through to find the exceedingly rare 'gutta perches'.

"There are literally thousands of balls at the bottom of Lough Salt because stopping off to hit golf balls there has been a tradition going back to Morris's time," said O'Driscoll.

If they do strike it lucky, the divers plan to donate their finds to the nearby Rosapenna Golf Club, whose course was designed by Old Tom himself.

Published in Diving

#MCIB - Bilge alarms in compartments below the water line have been recommended for fishing vessels in the official report into the sinking of the FV Amy Jane off Donegal last year.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the six-man crew of the crabber were rescued by coastguard helicopter some 13 miles off Malin Head on the morning of 7 October 2011 after the boat began taking on water overnight.

The vessel had left Greencastle Harbour in the early hours headed out to haul pots from the crab grounds off Malin Head when the crew discovered that the boat was down by the head. The pot store was found to be full of water, and attempts to pump it out made little difference.

The alarm was raised via radio with Malin Head Coast Guard before 9am and Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 was tasked to the scene, lifting all six crew from the stricken vessel by 10.30am.

The report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that corrosion within the Vivier tank system - used to preserve the boat's catch - was the likely source of the breach that led to the vessel taking on water.

Though an unusual thump or bump was noticed by the skipper on watch around 3am, nothing obvious was discovered, and neither the listing at the boat's head nor the flooding of the pot store - which had no bilge alarm - were noticed till after sunrise.

Aside from recommending the installation of bilge alarms for all compartments below the water line on fishing vessels, the report also called for consideration to include survey guidelines for Vivier systems, which are exposed to the same environment as the hull.

The full report on the Amy Jane incident is available to download via the link below.

Published in MCIB
Page 9 of 13

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