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#RNLI - Clifden RNLI has carried out two medical evacuations from the island of Inishbofin off Connemara since Friday (23 June).

The pagers first sounded at 11.15am on Friday in response to a call for the medevac of an elderly woman in need of hospital treatment.

Clifden's D Class inshore lifeboat and crew were already on the water in Clifden Bay carrying out a scheduled exercise when they were called to transfer to the Atlantic 85, helmed by Joe Acton, that arrived at the island before the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118, which was also tasked.

Lifeboat crew member Sinead Pryce assisted the casualty, and the lifeboat and helicopter worked together to ensure a seamless transfer.

The following morning (Saturday 24 June), pagers once again sounded shortly after 7.15am after a woman on Inishbofin had become suddenly unwell.

The all-weather boat Fisherman’s Friend was requested to respond and a crew was assembled including coxswain Alan Pryce, mechanic Robert King, navigator Owen Hayes and crew Brian Ward and Neil Gallery.

The casualty was transferred to the all-weather boat by the crew and island nurse and taken to Cleggan Pier where an ambulance was waiting.

Speaking following the callouts, Clifden RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Brittain said: “It has been a busy summer week for the Clifden lifeboats with three launches taking place involving our different boats in different scenarios.

“I want to thank the crew for responding to their pagers promptly in these cases so that we can continue to carry out this vital service in our local community.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Currach - The first of four new community-built currachs launches from Inishbofin this afternoon (Sunday 30 April), as Galway Bay FM reports.

Young people from the Connemara island have been heavily involved in the traditional boat-building project, funded via the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund for voluntary groups.

And they will see the fruit of their hard work take to the water from the Old Pier at 1pm today, coinciding with the final day of this year’s Inishbofin Arts Festival.

Published in Historic Boats

#Inishbofin - Archaeologists say a decorated stone found recently on Inishbofin was once part of a 'lost' castle stronghold of Connemara's 'pirate queen' Grace O'Malley, as The Irish Times reports.

References to two castles held by the O'Malley clan on the island off Connemara in the Middle Ages -- part of a string of fortifications along the coast -- have been confirmed only by minor traces, such as a window fragment at Dún Gráinne.

But the doorway stone recently identified within the 100-year-old boundary wall of Daly's pub is said to be the strongest evidence yet of a castle last recorded on 19th-century maps of the island.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#Inishbofin - Inishbofin has become the first Irish island to be recognised for its sustainable tourism efforts in an international awards scheme.

As The Irish Times reports, a number of the Connemara island's residents and local organisations will share in the Ecotourism award sanctioned by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Angling, sailing and stand-up paddle boarding are some of the aquatic activities that helped clinch the accolade that's already gone to sustainable seaside attractions in Spiddal and Clifden.

In other news, county councillors are mooting a programme of safety works on slipways across Galway, according to Galway Bay FM.

The move follows the controversial restriction of access to the slipway at Galway Docks last month in the wake of the Buncrana tragedy in March.

Published in Galway Harbour

#RNLI - Clifden RNLI carried out its first medical evacuation off Inishbofin island today (Thursday 21 May).

In what was the fourth callout this week for the station, the volunteer lifeboat crew was paged shortly after 11.30am following a report that a casualty required assistance.

The inshore Atlantic 85 lifeboat helmed by Bernard Whelan and the all-weather Mersey class lifeboat under coxswain John Mullan launched immediately and made their way to the scene. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 from Shannon was also tasked.

Weather conditions at the time were foggy and visibility was poor. There was a Force 4-5 south westerly wind and a heavy swell.

The Atlantic 85 with crew members James Mullan, Daniel Whelan and Dermot Clancy onboard arrived on scene first. Mullan, a first aider with Clifden RNLI, went ashore and assisted the island nurse who was attending to the casualty.

When the all-weather lifeboat arrived at 1pm, the casualty was transferred to this lifeboat and brought to the mainland at Cleggan Pier where there was an ambulance waiting.

Speaking following the callout, Mullan said: "We have assisted with many medical evacuations in the past but today was the first time that our crew transported someone from Inishbofin island and brought them safely to the mainland.

"Both lifeboat crews worked well together today and we were happy to assist the island nurse in bringing this person to safety."

This was the fourth callout for Clifden RNLI this week. The crew assisted with two other medical evacuations and also went to the assistance of a yacht which got into difficulty on the shore.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Diving - The Irish Underwater Council's national diving officer says the diving community has been "devastated" by the "unprecedented" number of diving deaths in recent weeks.

Dermot Moynihan's comments in The Irish Times come after an incident this past Monday (14 July) in which a 55-year-old man got into difficulty after a controlled ascent from a 40-minute dive off Inishbofin in Co Galway.

Despite the best efforts of a local nurse and doctor on scene, the man was pronounced dead after transfer to Mayo General Hospital.

His death marks the sixth diving fatality around the Irish coast since 14 June, when a Limerick man died while diving near Roches Point in Cork Harbour.

The following day, a Polish national died after a rapid ascent from a dive off Malin Head in Co Donegal, and a fortnight later two men in their 60s lost their lives after a diving incident at a wreck site off the Baltimore in West Cork.

The latest tragedy comes just two days after 57-year-old Presbyterian minister Rev Dr Stewart Jones died in a diving-related accident off the Donegal coast, when he was struck by a 'freak wave' on the surface following an ascent from a combination dive - a highly technical practice only for experienced divers.

Earlier this week Irish Water Safety chief John Leech called on divers to ensure they are well trained and "diving fit", highlighting the risks that even normal dives present.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Diving

#NewsUpdate - Galway Bay FM reports that a postmortem will be carried out today on the body of a fisherman taken recovered the sea off Inishbofin early this morning (Friday 11 October).

The man, from Cill Chiaráin in Co Galway, is believed to have fallen into the water from his fishing boat at some point between 2.30am and 3.30am. Attempts by emergency crews to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Published in News Update

#RNLI - Clifden RNLI‘s Atlantic 75 lifeboat launched on Thursday afternoon 6 June in response to a coastguard request to assist in the transfer of a casualty from Inishbofin Island in Co Galway to the mainland.

A 61-year-old man, who was visiting the island, had sustained significant facial injuries following a fall from a bicycle. Clifden RNLI lifeboat helm James Mullen, a full-time paramedic, was able to assess the casualty’s injuries on arrival.

Having checked him over, he and the other voluntary crew members transported the man quickly and safely to Cleggan pier and an awaiting ambulance, which then transferred him to University College Hospital Galway for further treatment.

Mullen said of the launch: “I was glad to be available to assist on this callout to Inishbofin today. Our swift launch and recovery time is vital regarding our local islands, and while the casualty’s injuries were not life threatening, they were certainly serious enough to warrant urgent medical attention.”

Inishbofin Island is located five miles off the Connemara coast and is a popular summer holiday destination.

The Clifden RNLI lifeboats have undertaken many launches to and exercises around the island, including with the island’s main ferry. And as previously reported on Afloat.ie, the station was recently chosen to trial the new Mersey class all-weather lifebo

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Pat Carey, T.D., has announced the launch of a report on the employment needs and the economic development potential of the islands. The economic consultants, FGS Consulting, were commissioned by the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs to compile the report under the direction of a steering committee made up of representatives from Comhar na nOileán, Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Department itself.  The report's recommendations relate to the following areas:

  • Issues related to the cost of living and to improving the islands' infrastructure;
  • Cost factors that prevent the establishment and operation of commercial enterprises on the islands;
  • The islands' development potential and the employment needs of island communities;
  • Recommendations regarding further targeted support measures which would be aimed at the promotion of sustainable development and job creation; and
  • The costs and advantages relating to any of the new measures recommended to support investment.

Minister Carey said that the Department would use the report as a basis for the development of further policies in relation to the islands in the coming years and that he hoped that some of the recommendations could be put in place in the short term at very little cost. He said, "We now intend to carry out a further examination of the various recommendations made in the report in consultation with other relevant Departments and state agencies to establish the most practical method of implementation."

A copy of the complete study is available on the Department's website www.pobail.ie.

Further Information:

The following is a list of the islands which were included in the study:

Island                                                 County                                   Population

Toraigh                                                Donegal                                   142

Árainn Mhór                                       Donegal                                   522

Clare Island                                         Mayo                                       136

Inishturk Island                                   Mayo                                       58

Inishbofin                                            Galway                                    199

Árainn                                                 Galway                                    824

Inis Meáin                                           Galway                                    154

Inis Oírr                                              Galway                                    247

Bear Island                                          Cork                                        187

Sherkin Island                                    Cork                                        106

Cléire                                                   Cork                                        125

Published in Coastal Notes

Two men died in a boating accident off the coast of Inishbofin in Co. Galway early this morning.

The pair, aged in their late 50's and early 60's had arrived on the island yesterday on a 40ft motor cruiser and it is understood, through local lifeboat sources, the accident appears to have happened as the two men returned to the cruiser by dinghy on Saturday night.

Both men were wearing lifejackets.

One of the bodies was washed ashore, while another was located inside the upturned dinghy around 11 o'clock this morning.

The bodies were airlifted by the Sligo-based Coastguard helicopter to Galway University Hospital.

Post-mortem examinations will be carried out to determine the exact cause of death.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

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