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Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company is considering how best to proceed with the regeneration of the Carlisle Pier, a major leisure and cultural site that is located between the National Yacht Club and Royal St. George Yacht Club.

The pier is regularly used by both yacht clubs during major internatonal sailing events staged at the port for the the storage of competition boats for the course of a regatta, such as the recent Laser Radial World Championships.

It is currently in use as a car park and short–term berth for shipping for the unloading of some unusual cargoes and also a berth for cruise ships.

The Company now wants to gauge market interest in what it deems a 'significant opportunity'. According to planning guidelines, any development of the site should regenerate and enliven the waterfront, be sensitive to the setting and should include a significant portion of cultural and amenity uses, with public accessibility and permeability to the waterfront paramount.

The National Ports Policy suggests that Dun Laoghaire Harbour will position itself as an exciting marine leisure tourism destination of international calibre; one which elegantly integrates the local town with an historic 200-year old harbour, and which offers a striking blend of modern amenities mixed with a traditional marine ambience in a Dublin Bay setting, making it one of the most beautiful man-made harbours in the world.

The harbour is located in the busy town of Dún Laoghaire, which has two shopping centres along with a great range of restaurants, boutique shops, theatres, a magnificent new library and parks. Key to the town’s attraction is its transport links, DART station and key bus routes.

The N11, M50 and QBC’s provide convenient access to the city (5 miles) and surrounding suburbs. Many well-regarded primary, secondary schools and third level institutions are just a short distance away.

The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Masterplan proposes the regeneration of this major leisure and cultural site on the historic Carlisle Pier. This regeneration initiative could involve approximately 8,000m2 of space in a high amenity / high activity, publicly accessible environment.

The pier and associated lands are in temporary uses and circa 1.1 hectare historic waterfront site is available for imaginative proposals subject to planning.

Planning

Carlisle Pier is zoned Objective W in the County Development Plan 2016 – 2022. Objective W permits a broad range of regeneration combinations. Special Local Objective 16 relates specifically to Carlisle Pier and emphasises the cultural and amenity aspect of any future regeneration of this historic site.

For more details download the Market Consultation Regeneration notice below

Published in Dublin Bay

#DublinBay - An unusual visitor to Dun Laoghaire Harbour is a Dutch patrol vessel not to be confused with their navy but belongs to the coastguard service, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 61m patrol vessel Barend Biesheuvel operated by the Netherlands Coastguard or 'Kustwacht' arrived yesterday from the homeport of Scheveningen.

Barend Biesheuvel berthed at St. Michaels Pier for the weekend and according to the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company will remain in the port until Monday (but will not be open to the public).

The patrol craft however can be easily observed from the public plaza beside the disused ferry terminal. If your taking a stroll on the East Pier, the craft can be seen from beyond the bandstand. 

The word 'Kustwacht' painted amidships on the hull in addition has the customary angled red and white painted strips. This livery scheme is internationally recognised for coastguard and emergency towing vessels (ETV) world-wide.

The Netherlands Coastguard is an independent civil organization with own tasks, competences and responsibilities.

The main three goals of the service are :

- A responsible use of the North Sea;
- To provide services that contribute to safety and security at sea;
- Upholding (inter)national laws and duties.

The work of the Coastguard is to coordinate and carry out (15 operational tasks) for six ministries involved in the Dutch sector of the North Sea. Among the broad remit of the service involves customs monitoring of imports and exports, search and rescue, fishery monitoring and clearing of explosives. 

Barend Biesheuvel cuts a sleek profile from the bow where a stepped superstructure leads to the bridge on the third deck. Immediately aft of the wheelhouse is the work deck where among the machinary is a single forward 6 ton crane and an aft-mounted 15 ton crane to enable a variety of tasks.

Completed in 2001 the vessel is a larger version of a pair of sisters, though they do not feature an aft work deck and associated crane-handling capability.

Asides the patrol craft, the service has at its disposal an ETV, sea-going bouyage tenders and multipurpose vessels.

Published in Dublin Bay

#Beatyard - The Jacksons will play their first ever Irish show as a part of this summer’s Beatyard festival in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, with tickets going on sale next week.

Tito, Jermaine, Jackie and Marlon will headline on Friday 3 August — the first date of what’s now a three-day festival expected to attract some 30,000 people to Dun Laoghaire’s waterfront over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Other performers over Friday 3, Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August include US jazz sensation Kamasi Washington, Irish electronic duo I Am The Cosmos and hip hop legends the Sugarhill Gang.

That’s not to mention the feasts available at the Eatyard, including the Irish Street Food Awards; fun for families in the Kidsyard and Gamesyard; and a party atmosphere on the waves in the Boatyard.

Tickets for Beatyard 2018 go on sale next Wednesday 7 February at 9am. For more details visit the Beatyard website.

Beatyard features among a host of events at Dun Laoghaire Harbour this summer that also includes the return of the Red Bull Flugtag on Sunday 20 May.

Details are forthcoming on the Flugtag, which drew 100,000 spectators on its last appearance in 2011.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#Seabin - Coastal litter crusader Flossie Donnelly has raised hundreds of euro in a crowdfunding campaign to procure a Seabin water cleaning device for Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The Seabin is simple but remarkably effective, essentially a floating rubbish bin with a pump that traps floating debris — and which has the potential to collect as many as 83,000 plastic bags or 20,000 plastic bottles a year.

Floating rubbish in Dun Laoghaire’s waters and surrounds has been an issue for years, and prompted ambitious Flossie to start a regular beach and harbour clean-ups in South Dublin Bay last summer.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the youngster soon attracted a dedicated group of volunteers inspired by the 10-year-old’s drive.

But more could be done with the help of an automated device like the Seabin, for which Flossie also held a fundraising table quiz in Sandycove last November.

As of this morning (Wednesday 31 January), Flossie has raised €650 towards her €3,000 goal. Find out more about the campaign on its GoFundMe page HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay

#DLHarbour - Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company has issued its first notices to mariners for 2018, superseding all previous marine notices.

Regarding fairway priorities, the harbour fairways and approaches are generally to be kept clear and free. It is prohibited to anchor or lay moorings in these areas as marked on navigational publications and charts.

No race marks, buoys, floats, etc are to be laid in the fairways or the near approaches to Dun Laoghaire Harbour – and no racing shall take place other than by specific written permission from the Harbour Master.

Any lobster/crab pots that are laid shall remain clear of all harbour navigational waters, and slipways.

Large power-driven vessels (cruise liners, ferries, lighthouse and Naval Service vessels) and smaller power-driven vessels with restricted manoeuvrability (such as cruise ship tenders and small passenger ferries) have priority over all other craft, including the area of the harbour limits that extend 600 metres seaward of the harbour mouth.

Large power-driven vessels are to sound a prolonged blast when approaching the harbour mouth from either direction, or the appropriate signal when manoeuvring off, departing or preparing to depart from their berths.

A vessel may also sound a preliminary, prolonged blast, just prior to departure, so as to alert other harbour users of its imminent departure.

Irrespective as to whether or not any such signal is sounded, the obligation remains for small craft togive priority to the large power-driven vessels.

Regarding VHF reporting, all vessels, excluding pleasure craft, are required to call ‘Harbour Office Dun Laoghaire’ on VHF Channel 14 as follows:

  1. ETA at harbour entrance at least two hours in advance, and for any scheduled ferries call at least half an hour in advance.
  2. ETD at least one hour in advance, followed by confirmation five minutes prior to departure.

Unscheduled arrivals should call ‘Harbour Office Dun Laoghaire’ on mobile +353 83 144 3412 (24hr) at least two hours before arrival.

Published in Dublin Bay

A decision on the future governance of Dún Laoghaire harbour needs to be made by government without delay, according to Senator Victor Boyhan a former director of Dún Laoghaire harbour company.

The Independent Senator has called on Minister for Transport Shane Ross, who has overall government responsibly for national ports policy to make a decision on the future governance of Dun Laoghaire harbour.

The national ports policy advanced the idea that Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company would transfer to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, despite protracted talks over the last two years no transfer has taken place. 

The lack of agreement is impacting on the financial and long term strategic planning for the harbour and its real estate according to Senator Victor Boyhan.

Boyhan said officials from Minister Ross’s department had met both sides on a number of occasions to facilitate talks for a transfer, despite these intense talks no agreement has been reached.

“Dun Laoghaire Harbour is facing challenging financial and operating difficulties, and has no ferry service currently operating out of the port. Stena Line’s decision to end its ferry service from the harbour has added to the financial challenges facing harbour revenue.”

“The financial impact on the port is significant and it is very clear that the company faces a very difficult operating environment,’’ he said.

According to Senator Boyhan; “the proposed giant cruise terminal plan is ‘dead in the water’, after local planning and legal objections, the Badeschiff Open Sea Baths for the harbour failed to get sufficient commercial backing to materialise.”

Boyhan said; “there is huge uncertainty about the harbour’s future, its direction, long-term plans and governance. New sources of income need to be identified to maintain the heritage elements of the harbour which are designated Protected Structures.”

“I am calling on the Minister Ross to meet with the executive and councillors of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council early in the new year, to advance a final decision about the future governance and management of the harbour – a decision needs to be made in the interest of protecting the future of the harbours assets, its employees, real estate, marine leisure and marine-related tourism,” said Boyhan

Published in Dublin Bay

Storm Brian's strong north–westerly winds, gusting over 40–knots, left both a training group of Optimist sailors and at least one moored cruiser on Dun Laoghaire harbour wall this lunch time.

Eyewitness reports say that four Optimist dinghies were 'abandoned' in the squall at the East Pier. The eyewitnesses say the junior sailors involved are safe and accounted for. 

In a separate incident, in what appears to be case of broken ground tackle, a sailing cruiser ended up on the West Pier earlier this morning.

cruiser on pierA launch attends to a sailing cruiser lying up against the West Pier wall at Dun Laoghaire

The incidents have prompted a statement regarding today's on the water activities from the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School Chief Instructor & Director, Kenneth Rumball:

'The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School cancelled most of it on the water activities due to the adverse weather forecast for Saturday the 21st October 2017.

We had a small number of our brightly colored craft on the water for a very short period of time on Saturday morning.

A small number of powerboat clients were operating in a very well sheltered area of the inner harbour for a time also this morning.

Knowing the weather was due to hit later that morning, all clients, staff and personnel were off the water once the worst of the westerly winds started to hit.

None of the craft in the videos and pictures circulating the internet from Dun Laoghaire Harbour are craft belonging to the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School'.

Update here.

Published in Dublin Bay

Other cities are developing their waterways in imaginative ways but Dublin still can’t get it right writes David O'Brien

Take the DART out to Dun Laoghaire today and on arrival at the station, the Iarnród Éireann announcer says: 'Dun Laoghaire - change here for ferry services.' Except from 2011 only a seasonal car ferry operated around Christmas time, and from 2015 there has been no car ferry at all. It's a small detail that reveals how disconnected the harbour has become.

Back in 2011, an artist's impression envisaged a regenerated Dun Laoghaire harbour with a cruise berth, an urban beach and a 'flotel'.

dunaoghaireharbourplanAn Artist's impression of the harbour published by the Harbour Company in 2011

Six years later, many say such fanciful notions are all washed up. The harbour remains empty of commercial shipping. The new harbour owners, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, are dragging their feet on what's next. Hardly befitting of the harbour town's bicentenary year, is it?

What's more, as if to symbolise how bereft of marine ideas the State harbour company has become, last month's latest attempt to cash in on the country's housing crisis with – wait for it – waterborne homes is set to run foul of existing harbour users.

But that latest slip-up is a drop in the ocean compared to the overall problems facing the great granite harbour. Dun Laoghaire's waterfront is a national monument but also a monumental challenge.

The hope, of course, it that the just-released plan of converting the old ferry terminal into office space can at least bring some life to the port.

Two Dublin-based businessmen are reported to be investing up to €20 million in the former ferry terminal to create 'a hub for technology, marine and design businesses'. It shows a new and enlightened approach by the Dun Laoghaie Harbour Company to using the vacant space which, it is claimed, could bring up to 1,000 people into the harbour area.

Creating office space is one thing; stimulating the market to create marine jobs is quite another.

Yet harbour stakeholders should do all they can to support what sounds like a positive move, because until now the only thing to show for the doomed 'master plan' is the removal of the sheds on Carlisle Pier, a cruise line debacle that has pit neighbour against neighbour and run up an estimated €2 million in consultancy fees. What is arguably the town's biggest asset is still being treated as a white elephant. After all the money spent on the masterplan, not one sod of turf has been turned.

The best suggestion that the harbour's primary users can come up with is hardly adequate, either. In the absence of a suitable paying tenant, boaters are saying the State will just have to foot the bill for harbour maintenance, 'just like they do for the Phoenix Park'.

Others have mooted, is that a bill worth footing? The purpose for which Dun Laoghaire Harbour was built is no longer required, so would it be cheaper to knock it down than maintain it? That's just one of the outlandish comments circulating in the south Dublin town due to the state of flux at Ireland's biggest boating centre

Bizarre things have happened before. For example, in 1995, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company filled in over 15 acres of the harbour to facilitate the construction of a new berth for the 'revolutionary' Stena HSS ferry. It was a move that gave the Swedish ferry company a monopoly in the port because no other ship could use the specially constructed mooring. Today, just 25 years later, Stena is gone, the HSS is gone, the berth is gone – but 15 acres of the harbour's precious waterspace remain filled in.  

Dun Laoghaire Harbour hey dayDun Laoghaire Harbour in its heyday, a vibrant ferry port. For more than 170 years a 'mail boat' service travelled between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead in Wales. Even during World War I the mail boat sailed, and it continued uninterrupted service until the mid 1970s. The new car ferry terminal was completed in 1969 and the ferry service, boosted in the 1990s by the HSS fast ferry, operated here until 2015

It’s obvious to all now that there's no silver bullet for Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Any hope rests, as it always did, in marine-related projects that can take advantage of the giant structure’s original intention. It needs someone with the gravitas, business nous, but most of all passion for the harbour that can turn the tide on its future.

Sounds like a tall order? Yes indeed, except that exact scenario is already playing out at another port in Ireland.

No viable plan for harbour's future

One of the problems is that the State is looking at the harbour only as built infrastructure: a site to cash in on, rather than a place with massive amenity value.

Public representatives have roundly criticised the harbour company on many fronts, but equally, is it not unfair to ask that company to produce an amenity plan when it is not charged to do so?

With 1.5 million people living on its doorstep, resulting in significant demand for marine leisure facilities, it is to our shame that there is no viable plan for Dun Laoghaire Harbour's future.

Dublin's proud boast is that it now offers not one but two world-class sports arenas in Croke Park and the Aviva Stadium. For decades to come, millions of fans will be entertained in the facilities, a tribute to the vision of the men and women who pushed for their development.

But these are not the biggest sports arenas in Dublin. That distinction goes to another site that now needs a generous amount of vision and development: Dublin Bay.

dun laoghaire harbour aerial 2Dun Laoghaire Harbour is the gateway to the city's playground, Dublin Bay. The seaside town comes complete with a unique harbour, world-class yacht clubs and transport links, all just six miles from Grafton Street. Photo: Michael Chester

Dublin's stadiums normally feature 30 people on the field of play. In Dublin Bay, that number runs into the thousands. Dun Laoghaire Harbour is, in effect, the gateway to the city's largest sports ground.

Every weekend, the area of water between Howth Head and Dalkey is filled with sailors, divers, swimmers and fishermen, to say nothing of the hordes that simply run or walk by its shores. This resource is unique: no other European capital has this kind of natural sports amphitheatre on its doorstep.

But Dun Laoghaire, one of the world's largest man-made harbours. now faces a massive challenge. And how it is addressed may well hold the key to whether or not Dublin becomes a true capital of sport.

The harbour could be a major European marine activity centre, encompassing a variety of marine activity both commercial and leisure, including maritime research and oceanography. What's required is a vision to shape this harbour for the next 200 years and let the people of Dublin push the boat out.

People should be able to use the harbour as an active facility, and it must be possible for them to do more than just walk on its piers.

Dun Laoghaire harbour marinaThe high cost of pleasure craft berth rental rates paid to the harbour company are crippling marine leisure growth at Dun Laoghaire marina, the country's biggest boating centre

Amazingly, however, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company offers almost no maritime activity that engages the general public, even though it is landlord to the country's largest marina – a state-of-the-art facility – and collects rent from 500 private boat owners.

It has lost its anchor tenant and has not replaced it. It is about to be taken over under new legislation and run by the local county council. Whatever official structure eventually lays claim to it will require marine expertise to properly engage with its original intention: marine use.

Instead of looking at the harbour as a site to be exploited commercially (for which, read ‘apartments’) those in charge should look for new ideas by creating a waterfront forum, with the local yacht clubs and the existing commercial operators, to promote the harbour's massive potential for high-yield marine tourism, at the very least.

There are real benefits in this, particularly for the neighbourhood. For example, the country's largest sailing event, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, held in the harbour biennially since 2005, generates €3 million in revenues for the town. But it's not just a regatta, it's a rolling manifesto of what Dun laoghaire sailing could achieve if it pulled together.

It has been a long-standing criticism that the town centre is physically disconnected from the harbour by the railway line that runs in front of it. The council is completing cover-over sections of the line, a move to encourage more people down to see what's happening on the water, and this cannot come soon enough.

With such investment, it should be possible for local retailers – a sector in decline in the town, which, in recent times, has seen one in five shops boarded up – to pitch at the needs of the harbour and visiting ships. That was always the hope if plans to attract cruise liners had come off, but what's also required is to develop the sort of jobs that cannot be shipped abroad.

Think of the Pfizer plant in Dun Laoghaire; the cost to the Exchequer of each of those 210 or so jobs and the ease with which they upped and left. For a similar investment, we could have developed 200 jobs that would stick to Dun Laoghaire like limpets because this is where their natural advantage would exist.

These employers would not be in the old-style hunter-gatherer lifestyles (eg inshore or sea fishing) but in activity tourism and niche manufacturing and services.

As a working 'for instance', a sail making firm was established in Crosshaven, Co Cork in 1974. It's still there, a thriving small Irish business that designs and exports sails all over the world. It grew thanks to the enterprise of a local initiative by Royal Cork Yacht Club to develop festivals and events such as the world-renowned Cork Week regatta.

Dun Laoghaire has no such marine cluster. Derelict harbour buildings could be used as incubators for sailmakers, riggers, marine electronics and mechanical workshops. These businesses already exist but in a small way, currently employing up to 100 people, most of whom work out of vans without proper premises.

Dun Laoghaire is falling behind

In spite of Dun Laoghaire Harbour's position as the largest boating centre, it is now falling way behind other Irish ports. Dun Laoghaire sailing interests also need to set out a stall for the future.

The East Pier is a golden opportunity for a regulated commercial activity, but this potential is limited by the absence of services on the pier such as adequate water supply and power outlets. Major work was carried out on this pier in the past few years, but services were ignored.

Another opportunity is an adequate landing stage. The experience of other ports with cruise liner traffic is that once the big ships arrive, smaller ones usually follow. There is a market for super yacht/mega yacht boats. These were calling and using the Dublin City Mooring facility on the River Liffey until it was closed, and have now mostly stopped calling to the East Coast altogether.

A suitable landing stage could also be used for events such as boat shows, all centred around the Carlisle Pier.

In addition, there are currently no opportunities for the general public to try sailing or boating without having to take a sailing course or join a club. The French system of publicly owned boats available to hire at a small cost allows easy sailing opportunities for schools and the general public.

And it's a system that could be successfully transferred to Dun Laoghaire because, against the odds, a commercial sailing school manages to operate in the harbour without any State support and many obstacles.

Research, and the experience in France and elsewhere, points to the need to establish a maritime activity centre as hub to nurture new marine businesses.

Investing in the harbour in this way could allow Dun Laoghaire to provide an ideal base for tall ships to winter and do regular maintenance. There is only one small area given over to boat yard activities in Dun Laoghaire, yet there are over 1,000 boats based in the harbour.

By allowing the expansion of yard facilities, a fully-functioning boat yard could provide full-time employment for a large number of people.

In the move from commercial port to leisure harbour, the combined marine leisure groups – such as the well-established yacht clubs with over 5,000 sailors, the maritime museum, marine trade and other users – could band together and move forward as a united users group rather than competing interests.

One example of this is the staging of a national maritime festival along the lines of SeaFest, first staged in Cork Harbour in 2015 and now an annual fixture in Galway. 

In July 2010, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council spent over €1m on the Festival of World Cultures. The budget figure overran by €400,000. If this level of funding is available, surely the town's maritime culture could feature, too? After all, this is the council that found €36m to build a library to overlook the harbour in the teeth of recession. 

It would be an ideal opportunity to put to good use the new 8,500 sqm space presented by Carlisle Pier, the country's only exhibition space in the middle of the sea.

If that sounds like pie in the sky, it really shouldn't seem so far out of reach, as it’s this kind of thinking that’s going on elsewhere in the country.

In Cork Harbour, a politician there who can see the potential in the blue economy has been pushing buttons to promote maritime interests.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, a sailor and a former Minister for the Marine, has been instrumental in securing significant marine funding to develop the €20 million Beaufort Centre. It’s the final piece of a jigsaw that makes Cork Harbour a world-renowned marine research and development location, helping to unlock Ireland's maritime and energy potential.

It's been the same in Galway, where the Marine Institute is based and has developed world-class marine expertise. These efforts have come about under the stewardship of John Killeen, chair of the institute and an experienced sailor.

Coveney and Killeen are 'harbour czars', passionately and cleverly pushing the maritime agenda because they can see how it can benefit the local and national economies.

So where is Dun Laoghaire Harbour's world class marine research centre? Where is Dun Laoghaire Harbour's slice of the Government marine budget pie? Where is Dun Laoghaire Harbour's czar?

Published in Dublin Bay

#Superyachts - All indications show the superyacht market is turning around — and as it expands, it’s important to note that more and more of these vessels are eschewing crowded Mediterranean spots and cruising instead in Northern European waters.

Typically these luxury craft, many greater than 50 metres in length, are heading to northern destinations such as the Orkney IslandsNorway and Sweden that are already popular with cruise liners.

On the way, they’re transiting the Irish Sea — and seeking opportunities for safe and convenient berths close to transport links in the UK and Ireland alike. Dun Laoghaire is perfectly positioned to capitalise on this market.

Super yacht Dublin cityThe completion of the Samuel Beckett Bridge across the River Liffey in Dublin City effectively meant the demise of the Dublin City Mooring facility in 2010 as large craft could no longer transit the river. During their relatively short period of operation, the modest Dublin City Mooring pontoons in the heart of Dublin was able to attract a number of superyachts (like the Triple 7 above) to berth on their pontoon which was located conveniently in the heart of Dublin. This is no longer possible and has effectively ended Dublin as a destination for visiting superyachts but these superyachts still want to come here

Above and beyond the local spend on overnight berths, and victualling these superyachts, there are significant opportunities to target high net worth individuals in the luxury tourism market. And Dublin is a recognised go-to destination.

dun laoghaire harbour aerialThe Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company is currently marketing the harbour as a cruise ship destination in competition to the existing location of Dublin Port. It is seeking to establish the harbour as a stop over for small to medium sized cruise ships and has identified the Carlisle Pier for this purpose. Super yachts can also be accomodated in this plan. Photo: Michael Chester

Many of these superyachts are the size of small ships, weighing over 250 tonnes. It means they’re too big for Dun Laoghaire’s 800–berth yachting marina, but they represent a welcome boon for a harbour vacant since the loss of the Stena HSS ferry service. One recent arrival into Dun Laoghaire was the magnificent Atlantic schooner from America in August. Read Aflaot.ie's article on the Atlantic's visit here.

Arcadia yachtThe 35.80m Arcadia berthed in Dun Laoghaire in September 2014. Not only does the impressive 'Arcadia' have gorgeous lines but as the 159th vessel to transit the Northwest Passage, she's also a serious long distance expedition motor yacht too

SY ChristopherEven seasoned observers were gobsmacked at the sheer size of the 46–metre (150–foot) Superyacht Christopher berthed at Dun Laoghaire marina in 2014, dwarfing all 500 local craft in the harbour. Christopher represents the upper limit of craft permitted at the marina due to weight and draft restrictions. In fact Christoper could only be facilitated in the marina due to the fact she has a lifting keel

What's more thanks to the Failte Ireland accredited marina, it has the type of 'concierge' facilities to deal with visiting superyachts: everything from car hire to hotel bookings.

But this isn't an overture for billionaires who have no place to park their superyacht. There's a business case to say that Dun Laoghaire town can easily take advantage of this.

Atlantic superyacht dun laoghaireThe two-year-old 185–ft three-masted schooner Atlantic alongside at Dun laoghaire Harbour in August. The replica that was too big for the yachting marina stayed for a week at a secure but somewhat neglected (below) berth No.4 alongside at the abandoned ferry terminal. Photos: TwitterAtlantic superyacht dun laoghaireThe facilities required to operate a Super yacht berth amenity are relatively few. A serviced, heavy duty linear concrete pontoon of approximately 80–100m length with shore access via a bridge. Secure access by crew, guests and staff only. Crew facilities could be located in the ferry terminal and be accessible 24 hours to include toilet and shower facilities and wifi access. There is an existing level of security infrastructure which would be utilised including CCTV and Harbour Police to give added assurance to crew and guests that their boat will be secure at all times

At a time when nothing seems to be going right for Dun Laoghaire, these boats could be an important part in the mix of rejuvenating the harbour, bringing much needed revenues — and a splash of glamour.

They’re coming here already, but more could be done to market Dun Laoghaire as a superyacht destination that could even see the harbour as a winter lay-up hub, too.

To attract them would not need consultants, planning permission, investment, tenders — just the space they need. And that’s already available in Dun Laoghaire, which has four vacant ship berths capable of accommodating such vessels.

The question isn’t whether Dun Laoghaire can attract this lucrative superyacht business — the question is, who in the harbour will take the initiative?

super yacht graphicSource: Towergate Insurance

Published in Dublin Bay

Out of the mist and rain came waterborne Vikings to battle on Dun Laoghaire's East Pier yesterday afternoon. The Irish National Sailing School (INSS) co-ordinated a free and family–friendly event that featured battles, longboats and a Viking village from 12-5pm.

Like a thousand years ago, the marauding did not commence on time. Downpours, however, did not deter an impressive crowd of hundreds, huddled together at the town's bandstand. By battle–time there was a steady stream of people on the pier's top level. Some locals even took it upon themselves to intercourse with invaders. Others were more focussed on the fight.

INSS Vikings crowds 1801Local forces take shelter Photo: Afloat.ie

INSS Vikings 1938Taking time for some Viking selfies before battle commences Photo: Afloat.ie

INSS Vikings 1938The Norsemen soon set up shop Photo: Afloat.ie

INSS Vikings 1938Some were friendly....Photo: Afloat.ieINSS Vikings 1938others maybe not so much...Photo: Afloat.ie

INSS Vikings 1938INSS's Alistair Rumball prepares for battle as Viking longships approach from the harbour mouth Photo: Afloat.ie

INSS's Alistair Rumball, who provides Marine Film Location Services to the hit TV series Vikings, has been blamed for the Norse incursion. 

His unlikely alliance with harbour forces including, King of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Gerry Dunne, led to the pitting of seafarers versus townspeople on the occasion of the harbour's bicentenary.

INSS Vikings 1938The Irish summer was no deterrent to the planned invasion Photo: Afloat.ie

INSS Vikings 1913Not even the local lifeboat could stop it...Photo: Afloat.ie

The onset of bad weather though, meant the Vikings, who approached under oar and sail, arrived early at the harbour mouth (Battle of Clontarf, here we go again) and Chief Rumball decreed battle should commence by 2pm. 

Dun Laoghaire viking battleMaking the press: Dun Laoghaire's Viking battle hit the headlines, including this fine photograph in this morning's Irish Times

The battle was shorter than in Clontarf's sunrise to sunset exaggerated affair, but ended all the same in a rout of the Leinster forces that was witnessed by the High Chief of Leinster, Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD, Minister of State at the Department of Education. 

The Viking contingent led by Sigurd Stena Line of Orkney and Brodir Irish Ferries of Mann were soon back in charge of the Piers – to the relief of many.

Published in INSS
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W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
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