The Loughs Agency has organised two morning seminars around the theme of maritime heritage in the Foyle and Carlingford areas later this month.
The first will take place at Greencastle Golf Club next Friday 22 November from 9.30am to 12.30pm, while Carlingford Marina will host its seminar the following Friday 29 November at the same times.
Both events will include contributions from Patrick Fitzgerald, a professional historian with a long career in researching genealogy and uncovering the story of migration through the centuries, who will take attendees on a journey of migration through the Foyle and Carlingford loughs.
The Greencastle seminar will also hear from Gerald Crawford, former secretary of the Foyle Fisheries Commission, who will tell the story of commercial salmon fishing across two decades Fishing for Salmon in the Foyle.
Retired mariner Seamus Bovaird will be presenting on paddle steamers on Lough Foyle, while Edward Montgomery, secretary of The Honourable The Irish Society, will speak about the society and the Foyle fisheries, and Wes Forsythe, a career archaeologist with an interest in the Foyle area, will presenting on ;Salt and the Sea;.
In Carlingford, Brendan McSherry, Louth County Council’s heritage officer with a passionate awareness of Carlingford Lough, its shores, hinterland and communities, will present on Carlingford Lough, a barrier or a highway?
Kirstin Lemon, geologist by profession with a broader intent to inform communities about their geology and the influence on their culture, will speak about ‘Mountains, Myths and Maritime: a UNESCO Global Geopark in Mourne Gullion Strangford’.
Finally, Liam Campbell, a researcher with an intense interest in exploring the development of cultures within distinct catchments, will present on the ‘Culture of the Catchment – Source to Sea’.
In other heritage news, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has published its report on the public and sectoral meetings held earlier this year on Heritage Ireland 2030, Ireland’s national heritage plan.
Among the issues raised at the sessions in Kilkenny and Galway in February were a lack of joined-up thinking across Government departments with relation to heritage issues, and a recognition of the need to understand heritage in a holistic sense encompassing everything from regional traditions to built heritage and wildlife.
Collective work between scientists and the angling community for the survival of salmon in the cross-border catchments of Foyle and Carlingford was to the fore at the recent conference in Omagh hosted by the Loughs Agency.
Stark warnings over the decline of the species were heard along with presentations from the likes of Dr Diego Del Villar, who discussed the new SeaMonitor project that is currently studying the seas around Ireland, Northern Ireland and western Scotland, and will in time help produce a salmon management plan for the River Foyle.
The Loughs Agency says it will soon launch a public consultation to gauge the views of the public in managing the salmon fishery.
John McCartney, Loughs Agency director of conservation and protection, said: “We value the input and opinion of the public when reviewing our salmon management programme. I would encourage everyone take time to consider and respond to the questions.”
MPs on the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee have written to fisheries secretary Michael Gove for solutions to “the crushing shortage of labour, illegal oyster farming in Lough Foyle and Ireland’s continued suspension of fishing rights under the Voisinage Arrangement.”
The Voisinage Arrangement has existed since the mid 1960s and allowed for mutual access to vessels from the Republic and Northern Ireland up to six miles off the coast of each country.
But the arrangements was suspended in the Republic in 2016 after the Supreme Court ruled that it had not been properly incorporated into Irish law.
The committee have also demanded immediate “timescales” to resolve territorial claims on Lough Foyle, which have not been a practical issue since both countries have been EU member states.
The News Letter has more on the story HERE.
The estuary between the counties of Donegal and Derry remains a point of contention as Brexit looms, with both the UK and Irish governments claiming dominion over its waters.
As a result, there has been a proliferation of unregulated oyster farming that could be worth £20 million or €22.89 million each year, according to the Loughs Agency.
The Belfast Telegraph has more on this story HERE.
#boatyards – A Donegal boatbuilder, repairer and refurbishment company, Mooney Boats of Killybegs Harbour has completed works on a tug whose operator has offices based on both sides of Lough Foyle, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The tug Tregeagle operated by Foyle & Marine Dredging has its main office in Claudy, Derry and also in Moville and Letterkenny across the border in Donegal. Among the works carried out on the 15 bollard tons tug were repairs to a single shaft propeller blades, new anodes fitted and stainless steel vents on deck for diesel tanks.
In order to carry out such works, a 600 syncrolift facility which is adjacent to the Killybegs yard at Castle Point is where vessels mostly from the fishing industry are lifted out of the water for the purpose of dry-docking.
The 131 gross tonnage tug has accommodation on the main deck for the master, as for the engineer there is a single cabin and a pair of double berth cabins for the crew located elsewhere. In addition to toilets and a shower along with a galley and mess room.
On completion of the drydocking, Tregeagle departed Donegal to UK waters and is currently off the Kyle of Lochalsh, in west Scotland. The tug has also in recent years been trading in the Shetland Islands, where a recent BBC crime detective drama 'Shetland' was set in the archipelago.
Tregeagle has been in Lough Foyle since 2013 when Fowey Harbour Commissioners sold the tug to Foyle & Marine Dredging, formerly known as McCormick Transport. The fleet of this company consist of six vessels, varying from dredging craft to tugs, among them Ada Dorothy that is employed at Dublin Port.
Afloat has monitored in recent months this 8 ton bollard pull tug working in Alexandra Basin where a major redevelopment of this part of the docks is underway as part of the port’s masterplan.
Returning to Tregeagle, the veteran tug dating to 1964 was completed as Flying Demon at J. Lewis and Sons, Aberdeen as Yard No. 344 for clients Clyde Shipping Co Ltd at Glasgow. In 1978 they were restyled to Clyde Shipping Tugs Ltd.
In December 1965, as part of the Clyde Shipping towage fleet, Flying Demon assisted Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth. The Cunarder was then the world’s largest liner which was on the Clyde for refitting at the dry dock at Inchgreen.
During the decades of the tug's career, there have been several change of ownerships and consequently renamings. This led to operating in the North Sea out of Grangemouth and also on the English Channel from Fowey.
Tregeagle’s longest career spell has been in the Cornish port, where the tug spent over 20 years working for Fowey Harbour Commissioners. This involved assisting cargoships, cruiseships and naval vessels trhoughout the various berths along the Fowey estuary.
The veteran Tregeagle given its vintage, has a resemblance to a former Dublin Port & Docks Board (now Dublin Port Co) tug, the Coliemore (see posting) which took its name from the coastal harbour and road in Dalkey, a suburb of the capital along Dublin Bay.
Launched just two years previously to Flying Demon in 1962 was the Appelsider at Richard Dunston (Hessle) Ltd in Yorkshire, however a decade later as Coliemore the tug joined the DP&DB fleet of work vessels.
The 162 gross tonnage tug loyaly served the port until disposal in 1998, however despite been sold, the tug remained lanquished in Cork Dockyard, Rushbrooke near Cobh. The tug having remained there for over a decade was eventually scrapped at the facility in 2011.
#MaritimeMuseum - A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council has confirmed to Afloat that plans for creation of a Maritime Museum and Archive Centre is currently at the development stage.
The project is being taken forward by Derry City and Strabane District Council in conjunction with Heritage Lottery Fund, Tourism NI and the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers.
Once the new Maritime Museum and Archive Centre is up and running it will celebrate the city, region and Lough Foyle’s unique maritime importance over the centuries with details and exhibitions on the Foyle’s role as a vital naval base during and after the Second World War to be a pivotal feature.
Current proposals situate the museum and archive centre at the recently transformed Ebrington Square in the Waterside area of the city, in Buildings no 45, 46 and 49. The Ebrington Site was launched on 14th February 2012, features a 19th century star fort and is connected to the historic walled city by the iconic Peace Bridge.
As the city has a rich maritime heritage, there is a wealth of resources available for the planned exhibitions with an extensive archive to inspire and explore those visiting the centre. Plans for the centre include the installation of exhibition galleries, archival reading rooms, dedicated learning spaces as well as a café, shop and other visitor facilities.
Derry City and Strabane District Council is unique in Northern Ireland, in that it holds the largest and most significant public archive outside of the Public Record Office NI. Council’s Archive and Genealogy Service holds a combined resource of over 400 years of archives alongside over one million family history records.
A Reserved Matters application for the Maritime Museum was submitted to the Department of Infrastructure Ref: LA11/2016/0937/RM in November 2016. The Council is currently processing the Listed Building Consent application for the development Ref LA11/2016/1035/LBC, submitted in December 2016.
Both the applications are currently under consideration.
#TerritorialWaters - Marine minister Michael Creed writes The Irish Times faces a clash with the influential Donegal supertrawler fleet following his decision to review the share-out of the lucrative mackerel fishery.
Mr Creed has also said he was committed to legislation allowing northern and southern fishing vessels reciprocal fishing rights within the island’s territorial waters, in spite of opposition within the industry.
He has also warned of a “very real problem” if Westminster “puts a ring around its territorial waters” when it leaves the EU, given that 38 per cent of Irish catches are in British waters.
The Cork North-West TD secured a 6 per cent overall increase in Irish fish quotas for this year in Brussels last month, including an additional mackerel allocation valued at about €10 million.
Mackerel is Ireland’s most important commercial fishery, with a value of €64 million last year for the Irish fleet, according to Bord Iascaigh Mhara.
Mr Creed conceded to a request from the Irish South and West Fishermen’s Organisation to review the share-out of an additional quota.
The move has been criticised by the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, representing the Donegal-based fleet that pioneered the hunt for the valuable migratory stock –and which has held up to 87 per cent of the annual share-out.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland had a lot more than maritime matters on his mind this past week…. So he probably wasn’t giving a lot of thought to Lough Foyle as the Northern Assembly collapsed.
Neither, I suggest, was the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, when she announced how the UK will perform its Brexit from the EU.
I don’t think our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, was either and probably not our Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan.
But, they should give Lough Foyle a lot of thought…
James Brokenshire claims that the whole of Lough Foyle is within the UK…. And as Secretary for Northern Ireland that’s an important claim…..
The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs says that Ireland does not accept that claim.
The Northern Ireland Office, under UK administrative control, cites a 1662 Charter of Charles the Second which included “the waters and bed, as well as the fisheries” of the Lough as part of County Londonderry….
Derry, of course, if you see it with Irish Nationalistic eyes…..
Lough Foyle is the estuary of the River Foyle separating Northern Ireland from the Republic, but the British claim to the entire Lough could take its rights up to the shores of the Republic and what will that do for such as the fisheries, for example, when the UK intends to take control of those back from the EU during its Brexit….
The Good Friday Agreement created the Loughs Agency as a cross-Border body for the Foyle.. so where does it stand in the context of Brexit?
Just though I’d mention it in the context, of course, of the past week…
#FerryDiplomacy – Former Celtic Link Ferries first ship that in another guise took part in the Falklands Conflict, had ended her Irish career in 2010 laid-up in Waterford is where at the exact berth is docked since last week a Lough Foyle ferry, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Celtic Link Rosslare-Cherbourg ro-ro freight-ferry, Diplomat (1978/16,766grt) had vehicle decks for around 82 freight-units. In addition to carrying around 80 passengers. CLF acquired the joint passenger-freight service from P&O European Ferries when they closed their Rosslare-Cherbourg route 12 years ago in December 2004.
P&O's European Diplomat (originally launched as Stena Trader) was renamed by CLF that was owned by the O’Flaherty Brothers of Kilmore Quay. For more on their fish /shipping connected business click here. It was pleasing to see an Irish owned ferry company competing with the established continental serving operators.
Almost full circle as Stena Line acquired CLF in 2011 whom previously deployed Diplomat (see report photo at Waterford) on charter in the Caribbean and replaced by chartered Norman Voyager. A second charter replacement followed in the form of Celtic Horizon (see final voyage report here) since renamed Stena Horizon.
The Italian built ropax Stena Horizon recently underwent a refurbishment upgrade to closer match level of passenger facilities found elsewhere in the Stena fleet. In recent years refurbishments were applied to sisters Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey serving Belfast-Birkenhead (Liverpool). The pair were introduced as newbuilds more than a decade ago for NorseMerchant Ferries.
Diplomat as previously mentioned was the Stena Trader built in 1978 for Stena Rederi as one of 11 successful ‘Searunner’ South Korean class freight-ferry sisters. She was soon renamed Stena Transporter and from thereon a chequered career involving many charters and names changes. Most notably was her historic role in the Falklands Island ‘conflict’ war with Argentina in 1982.
The UK Ministry of Defence having requisitioned the ship then named Baltic Ferry. The Townsend Thoresen North Sea serving ferry became part of the Falkland Islands Task Force that included HMS Illustrious. In recent weeks the final ‘Invincible’ class aircraft carrier bade her homeport of Portsmouth Naval Base farewell. This saw HMS Illustrious under tow bound for a Turkish scrapyard.
The deployment of Baltic Ferry saw her upper vehicle freight deck (see photo above of Diplomat) modified with a pair of helicopter pads. In addition it was from this deck that the ship saw action by Royal Air Force Harrier Jump-Jets using the aircraft's unique vertical take-off lift (VTOL) capability.
In addition Baltic Ferry on the deployment delivery voyage had on board troops with replenishment at sea equipment prior to the long distance voyage to the South Atlantic. She set sail along with sister Nordic Ferry to the far flung colonial outpost. The ship was service in San Carlos waters of the Falklands and later was stationed in the capital of Port Stanley as a stores ship.
A plaque in recognition of the freight-ferry’s role in the war was noted during my port visit.
A Diplomatic Voyage
An opportunity arose in 2008 having requested CLF to conduct a first ever interview with a captain and that on board a ship. Another reason for the request was Diplomat’s unique Ireland-France ‘freight-ferry service’ days were numbered given the ageing vessel.
The freight-ferry departed Rosslare though the interview took place in the busy English Channel. This all added to the experience of interviewing the master, Captain Ivan Walsh published Ships Monthly, November 2009. The interview also allowed for photography having joined the procession of the eastbound traffic shipping lane before veering off for Cherbourg.
Upon arrival at Cherbourg, a speedy disembarkation was required to make a train connection to another Normandy port, Caen (Oustreham). This was to enable English Channel crossings with Brittany Ferries. They involved sailing to Portsmouth on Normandie but returning to France out of Poole on Barfleur for Cherbourg. All forming part of a three-route ‘working’ holiday.
In reflecting on the Diplomat interview now it is noted that Captain Walsh early career cadetships was that with the former Bell Lines. The Irish based lo-lo container operator whose Waterford Port terminal at Frank Cassin Wharf is where Diplomat had spent the layup. On completion of the Carribean charter Diplomat was sold and renamed Pavilon for scrapping at Alang, India in 2011.
As for the Foyle Venture as mentioned in the introduction she is berthed at the exact berth of Diplomat. This is along the underused city quays lining the River Suir.
A second on board interview regarded the final leg to Ireland with Irish Ferries cruiseferry Oscar Wilde. This was published in Ships Monthly, August 2009. The interview was conducted with master, Captain John Grace who talked about the ship’s continental service and the role of his crew and working patterns.
Ironically both masters would later be working together in the early days of Fastnet Line’s Julia on the Cork-Swansea route. Afloat had an opportunity to make a round-trip in the first year of the short-lived service but at that stage another master was in command.
Incidentally, Oscar Wilde features on the new owner's website of the Passage East Ferry Company, which Afloat covered the sale to Fraser Ferries earlier this year. The promotional video showcases the tourism attractions of the sunny south-east.
Only last week was where the Waterford Estuary service saw Lough Foyle Ferry Company’s Foyle Venture carrying out ‘berthing’ trials.
This took place in tandem of the River Suir’s routine ferry FBD Tintarn (1978/325grt). The former German ferry shuttles between Passage East, Co. Waterford and Ballyhack, Co. Wexford.
As Afloat covered the issue of Brexit that raised dormant territorial dispute between Britain and Ireland over the ownership of Lough Foyle.
The estuary between Counties Donegal and Derry is under the auspices of the cross-border Loughs Agency since the Good Friday Agreement.
In addition there is also uncertainty on Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough between counties Louth and Down over fishing rights as the UK prepares to leave the EU and the Common Fisheries Policy.
On a related note to ferry developments, Fraser Ferries was given the go-ahead in 2015 for a new Carlingford ferry route despite local objections.
Leinster House has rejected a claim by Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire that the UK includes the whole of the estuary between Counties Donegal and Derry, which has been under the auspices of the cross-border Loughs Agency since the Good Friday Agreement.
Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough, between Counties Louth and Down, are both matters of dispute between Dublin and London which have only intensified with the uncertainly over fishing rights as the UK prepares to leave the EU and the Common Fisheries Policy.
The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.