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Displaying items by tag: Donegal

#MARINE WILDLIFE - For something a little unusual on this Bank Holiday Monday, check out this video of lobsters locked in a duel beneath the waves in Co Donegal.

This clash of crustaceans was captured on video by the Sheephaven Sub Aqua Club earlier this month at Mulroy Bay near Letterkenny.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINAS - The new shore block at Stranraer Marina is the latest project to benefit from the Sail West initiative across western Scotland, Northern Ireland and the northwest coast of Ireland.

As the Galloway Gazette reports, the new waterfront building comprises a permanent harbour office, coastguard base, showers and toilets, as well as a community education room.

“The ongoing development of the marina is key to branding Stranraer as a marine leisure destination," said local councillor Roberta Tuckfield.

"Plans to add more pontoons and another breakwater should bring in additional pleasure craft, increasing tourism numbers benefiting the whole town.”

The marina improvements have been made with the goals of boosting the number of marine leisure users in Stranraer, fitting in with Sail West and its cross-border MalinWaters marine tourism brand across the channel.

Sail West is an international scheme, headed by Donegal County Council and Larne Borough Council, which aims to encourage mariners to enjoy the North Channel coastlines of Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Other projects recently supported under the rubric of the Sail West initiative include the new coastal marina facility at Ballycastle Harbour in north Antrim and this summer's Clipper Festival in Derry.

The Galloway Gazette has more on the story HERE.

Published in Irish Marinas

#DIVING - WorldIrish have done it again with another great video find - this time following a team of divers off Donegal as they explore the wreck of the RMS/HMS Carinthia.

On 6 June 1940, during the Second World War, the transatlantic steam-powered cruise liner turned armed merchant ship was sunk by a German U-boat off Tory Island.

The video above shows some of the sights seen by Michael McVeigh and his diving team, including the ship's bow, the anchor telegraph and its wartime addition 6" gun.

Published in Diving

#SURFING - The Irish Independent reports that the cream of Ireland's lifeguards comepeted at the National Surf Lifesaving Championships at Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal at the weekend.

Some 140 top lifesavers took part in events featuring a combination of surfing, surf-skiing and beach sprinting on the sun-and-surf-splashed strand - part of the preparations for November's World Lifesaving Championships in Australia.

Teams from Co Clare took the men's and over-30s titles - following the county's success at the European Lifesaving Championships in Sweden last month - while the women's top spot went to locals Donegal.

"Surf lifeguards have vital skills and every part of their training was on display," event organiser Seamus O'Neill of Irish Water Safety told the Independent.

Published in Surfing

#COASTGUARD - The Donegal Democrat reports that the northern county may soon lose the cliff rescue service supplied by the Bunbeg coastguard unit.

Irish Coast Guard spokesman Gerard O'Flynn confirmed that the recent Fisher Report commissined by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar "recommends that the Bunbeg unit should just continue as a coastguard boat and search team and no longer offer the cliff rescue element of their operation."

He added: "There has been no decision taken on this. It is only contained in the report, it is at discussion level."

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the same 'value for money' report has recommended the closure of both coastguard radio stations at Malin Head and Valentia Island.

The Bunbeg unit, which comprises 23 volunteers in total, covers much of the county's northwestern coastline from Rosbeg to Horn Head which has become a popular spit for climbers both on the mainland and offshore on the likes of Tory Island and Arranmore.

Published in Coastguard

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Marine researchers off the coast of Donegal were recently treated to a rare dolphin dance by a 50-strong pod, as IrishCentral reports.

The video above captures the same pod witnessed by researchers with the Irish Basking Shark Project, who were in the area off Inishowen to observe basking sharks in the coastal waters when they were surprised by the gregarious dolphin congregation.

A spokesperson for the project confirmed to IrishCentral that such large groupings of dolphins are unusual for the area, which has welcomed more than its fair share of large marine wildlife over recent months.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, one of the first confirmed sightings of killer whales on the Irish coastline was recorded earlier this summer when a family of orcas from the Scottish Hebrides visited the same waters at the mouth of Lough Swilly.

Meanwhile, WorldIrish reports on the heartwarming tale of a Dutch couple who have bonded with Dingle's most famous non-human resident, Fungie the dolphin.

Jeannine Masset and Rudi Schamhart, who now live in Annascaul, have visited the friendly cetacean for 21 years, and their connection has inspired a fanpage on Facebook that has received responses from Fungie fans around the world.

"Fungie has enriched our lives and we want to give something back to him by offering our friendship and companionship to him," said Jeannine, "and he lets us know over and over again that he really appreciates it."

Published in Marine Wildlife

#RESCUE - The Irish Times reports on the rescue of a swimmer in distress off the Donegal coast thanks to the help of a woman with binoculars.

And the RNLI has paid tribute to the Malin Head coastguard unit for its knowledge of the area which was instrumental to the postive turn-out.

The man had been swimming off Five Fingers strand in Inishowen on Friday afternoon when he was washed out more than one-and-a-half miles into the sea.

The Malin Head unit of the Irish Coast Guard immediately co-ordinated the rescue effort, which saw both the Sligo coastguard helicopter and Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat dispatched to the scene.

In an echo of June's 'miracle rescue' of a man in Cork Harbour after he was spotted by telescope, rescuers were assisted by a woman with an elevated view on the shore who spotted the swimmer and guided them to his location.

The man was quickly airlifted to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry for treatment. He was said to be very traumatised after the incident.

“The outcome could have been different but for the local knowledge these guys have,” said Lough Swilly lifeboat spokesman Joe Joyce.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the coastguard radio stations at Malin Head and Valentia are both under threat of closure following a 'value for money' review of the State's marine rescue services.

Published in Rescue

#MARINE WILDLIFE - An algal bloom off the west coast of Ireland is responsible for significant fish and shellfish kills from Galway to Donegal, according to the Marine Institute.

As The Irish Times reports, as much as 80% of stocks have been affected on Donegal oyster farms, and the bloom is also impacting negatively on angling tourism in the west and northwest.

The algae responsible, karenia mikimotai, occurs naturally in Ireland's coastal waters during the summer months and his harmless to humans, but contains a "toxic irritant" that damages the gills of fish, shellfish and other marine species.

Low-level samples were first detected in May but in the last two weeks it has grown into a dense bloom from Donegal to Mayo, with high levels now being recorded in Galway Bay, according to the Marine Institute's Joe Silke.

"In Donegal the bloom was so dense that there were many reports of discoloured red or brown water in some areas and several areas have reported dead marine life washing up on the shoreline, requiring local authorities to close certain beaches,” he said.

"The bloom affects species that live on or near the sea bed so we are seeing flatfish, lugworms and some shellfish getting washed up on the beaches."

The image evokes memories of the notorious 'red tide' that killed wild fish and shellfish along the west coast in 2005.

Meanwhile, the Marine Insitute said there are "some indications" that the bloom may be moving back out to sea, as observed in the latest satellite images and modelling data.

"However, cell counts of samples analysed in the Marine Institute... show that the bloom is still of the same density in the Donegal and Sligo regions as it was last week."

Published in Marine Wildlife

#NEWS UPDATE - A Donegal TD is encouraging the county's marine stakeholders to submit suggestions for the Government's upcoming Integrated Marine Plan, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The plan, which will be published in the summer, "will be a national agenda for developing our country’s marine potential, across tourism, shipping, leisure, fisheries and other sectors," said Joe McHugh TD.

The Dáil deputy noted "it is significant" that Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney are "dealing with this personally" as "previous Governments did not give this type of prioritisation to the industry".

He added: “I encourage Donegal marine stakeholders who see potential for national development in the fisheries industry, sea tourism, marine leisure, oil production, renewable energy production, deep sea fisheries and in various other areas to make submissions to the Integrated Marine Plan."

More information on the Integrated Marine Plan can be found at www.oceanwealth.ie.

Published in News Update

#KAYAKING - A father-and-son duo from north Co Dublin will shortly embark on an epic kayak paddle from Dublin to Donegal, the Fingal Independent reports.

Dermot Higgins and his son Fionn, from Rush, will attempt to kayak from Dublin Port to the Atlantic Ocean at Ballyshannon - a distance of some 330km - by way of the Royal Canal, the River Shannon and Lough Erne.

The Higgins' - who believe they are the first to attempt such a feat - will be completely self-sufficuent for the duration of the challenge, which is hoped to raised funds for the Rush Open Organisation for Transition Status (ROOTS), a charity that intends to help communities reduce their carbon footprint and face up to environmental challenges by encouraging sustainability.

The Fingal Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Kayaking
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