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Displaying items by tag: Valentia

Valentia RNLI volunteers in county Kerry launched their all-weather lifeboat yesterday (Saturday 05 June) to assist a 43ft fishing vessel with three people on board, which required assistance.

At 08.55 am the Valentia Coast Guard requested Valentia RNLI’s volunteer crew to launch the all-weather lifeboat and to go to the aid of three people on board the fishing vessel, with a fouled propeller close to the rocks at the Blasket Islands. Weather conditions at the time were described as good visibility, a two-metre swell with a force two to three southerly wind.

At the location, the RNLI crew came alongside the vessel to assess the situation and moved the vessel to a safer location. The crew ensured all occupants on board were safe. After initially trying to defoul the vessel it was decided the best option was to set up a tow. The vessel was then towed safely back to Valentia Marina.

The Valentia RNLI lifeboat towing the fishing vessel to Valentia MarinaThe Valentia RNLI lifeboat towing the fishing vessel to Valentia Marina

Speaking following the call out, Colum O’Connell Valentia RNLI Lifeboat Operational Manager said: Although the crew on board the fishing vessel were experienced, they knew it was the right decision to call for help to prevent the situation from getting worse'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Valentia Island Lighthouse has announced the launch of a new visitor experience, ‘Leading Lights at Cromwell Point’ and the re-opening for the 2021 season.

‘Leading Lights at Cromwell Point’ will deliver a whole new experience to the visitors, a journey through time and history, featuring the bronze age standing stone, the 17th century well preserved Cromwellian fort, the Lightkeeper’s House with a 1920’s feel, and the Lighthouse Tower with fantastic 360-degree views of the area and across the Atlantic Ocean. The visitors will learn about how life was for people living on the edge of Europe and in particular what was like for a lightkeeper to live at the Lighthouse with his family. The rich history of the area is also presented at the Lighthouse from early Christianity until modern days. There is also a new Eco-room that displays information about marine life in the area and raises awareness about our seas. The new Interpretation project covers a vast spectrum of information and it is very appealing for visitors with different areas of interest.

The Lighthouse Project is managed by Valentia Island Development Company, a community group established by volunteers from Valentia Island.

The Lighthouse Project is managed by a community group established by volunteers from Valentia Island The Lighthouse Project is managed by a community group established by volunteers from Valentia Island

Speaking about the new visitor experience, Lucian Horvat, Manager at Valentia Island Lighthouse said:

“Despite these unprecedented times, the Lighthouse Committee and Management were determined to deliver the project in time for the return of domestic tourism in line with Government guidelines. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Fáilte Ireland for their vital support and guidance, the South Kerry Development Partnership who have supported us since Valentia Island Lighthouse opened to the public in 2013, the Great Lighthouses of Ireland group, an initiative of Irish Lights, and Mirador Media who worked around the clock to implement our vision for the historical site at Valentia Island Lighthouse. ‘Leading Lights at Cromwell Point’ is a great example of collaboration between agencies, stakeholders and local community groups.”

The ‘Leading Lights at Cromwell Point’ visitor experience was developed through Fáilte Ireland’s ‘New Horizons on the Wild Atlantic Way’ Grants Scheme. Wild Atlantic Way Manager at Fáilte Ireland, Josephine O’Driscoll, said: “The Visitor Experience Development Plan for the Skelligs Coast, which was developed in consultation with local stakeholders, tourism businesses and the community, identified a number of development projects to bring local experiences along the Skellig Coast to life to help drive and sustain tourism in the area. Following the launch of the plan, we invested in a number of projects including €120,000 in the development of ‘Leading Lights at Cromwell Point’ at Valentia Island Lighthouse and it is fantastic to see the project come to fruition just in time for the summer season. Innovative visitor experiences such as this are hugely important in attracting visitors and encouraging them to stay longer in the area and will be critical as we look towards the recovery of the tourism sector.”

Brian Morgan – Director VIDC and Lighthouse Committee Chairperson said: “Best wishes to Lucian and our team on the re-opening of the Lighthouse for the season 2021. Tremendous work has been done to create a new experience at the lighthouse. The visitor will see for themselves what life must have been like for the lighthouse keeper and his family, to live in such an isolated place under harsh conditions. The new and improved visitor attraction is looking forward to welcoming even more visitors this year.”

Published in Lighthouses
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Using green hydrogen to supply island energy needs is the theme of several projects which Irish offshore communities and universities are involved in.

A consortium of Irish islands led by Kerry’s Valentia Island Co-op and Rathlin, Co Antrim is examining the feasibility of combining offshore wind with electrolyser technology to convert water to hydrogen.

The Aran islands are involved in this and several parallel projects, including work at NUI Galway (NUIG).

Researchers at the NUIG Ryan Institute Energy Research Institute are collaborating in a five-year project that will generate, distribute and use at least 300 tonnes of hydrogen per year produced from solar energy on the Balearic island of Mallorca.

The NUIG team involving Dr Pau Farràs Costa, Dr Rory Monaghan and Dr Thomas van Rensburg say it will reduce CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year.

The project will embed green hydrogen in the island’s whole energy system, from solar power generators which will produce the hydrogen, to gas grid operators which will distribute it and to bus operators, vehicle rental firms, homes, businesses and hotels using it for power, heat and mobility, they state.

The NUIG team will assess the economic impacts of the green hydrogen on Mallorca, as well as on other island communities involved in the project, including the Aran Islands.

“Green Hysland will be the first opportunity to demonstrate how green hydrogen holds the key to island decarbonisation and energy independence,” Dr Farràs Costa, of NUIG’s School of Chemistry, said.

Green Hysland - Deployment of a hydrogen ecosystem on the island of Mallorca is being supported with €10 million of European Commission funding, along with investments by partners of up to €50 million.

Published in Island News
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Valentia RNLI volunteers, family and friends gathered last Saturday 23 November to honour two outstanding volunteers.

The Kerry lifeboat station team honoured and thanked Richard Foran for his 20 years of dedicated voluntary service to Valentia RNLI. Richard took up the role of Honorary Secretary in 1999 with the station, later becoming the what is now known as the Lifeboat Operations Manager.

It was a night of double celebrations as the station also honoured Timothy Lyne for his 37 years of service. Timothy took up the role of Deputy Launching Authority in 1982 and later taking up the role of Treasurer in 1999.

Both gentlemen surrounded by family and friends were presented with a personalised craved Valentia Slate plaque in appreciation of their service to the Valentia RNLI.

Leo Houlihan, Valentia RNLI Mechanic, said on the night: ‘On behalf of everyone in the station we would like to thank you both for the support and dedication you provided to the station as Lifeboat Operations Manager, Deputy Launching Authority and Treasurer. These two men will be greatly missed at the station.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#Buoys - After more than two decades of service as part of the Marine Institute’s national weather buoy network, the affectionately named ‘Bob the Buoy’ will see out his retirement as a permanent resident at Valentia Lighthouse.

Bob withstood countless storms over the years, reporting hourly weather observations to Met Éireann and European partners.

Now visitors to Valentia Island in Co Kerry can check out Bob’s new home at Cromwell Point and get a closer insight into Ireland’s marine navigation and safeguarding history.

“Weather buoys are a fundamental aspect of our maritime history, and it is our hope that Bob will emphasise this in his new location here, on Valentia, the most extreme south-westerly point of Europe,” said Paul Duff, member of the lighthouse committee which worked closely with the Marine Institute on the buoy’s relocation.

“It is fitting that he should be placed here, and we look forward to incorporating him into our visitor experience,” Duff added.

Lighthouse committee chair Brian Morgan said: “This is such a fantastic artefact. It is our hope that we can reinstate Bob, a working retirement if you like, in order for us to provide a weather feed which we can share through our community, and lighthouse network, utilising the available technology, but we will let him settle in first.”

Dr Guy Westbrook from the Marine Institute said he and his colleagues are delighted that Bob has a new home at Valentia to educate the public about the weather buoy network.

“Designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland, the buoy network provides vital data for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research,” Dr Westbrook added.

In other news, the large marker buoy found adrift by Clifden RNLI in late July has been removed from the Connemara coast.

Harry Duggan of the Commissioners of Irish Lights says the buoy, which originated in Canadian waters, was as of yesterday (Friday 10 August) on its way to CIL headquarters in Dun Laoghaire.

The CIL recommends caution around any and all aids to navigation around the Irish coast.

Published in Marine Science

#RNLI - RNLI lifeguards and the inshore lifeboat crew from Portrush RNLI rescued a swimmer who got into difficulty off Portrush East Strand on Wednesday evening (27 June).

The lifeguards who patrol the Causeway Coast beaches daily between 11am and 7pm were finishing up for the day when a member of the public raised the alarm.

The male swimmer had been seen entering the water 300-400m west of the patrol zone, towards Whiterocks, when he got into difficulty and was struggling to stay afloat.

Lifeguards Josh McCaw, Albert Dallas, Marcus McKeag and Nicola McIlroy immediately ran with their boards up the beach in the direction of the casualty.

Portrush RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helmed by Ben Wilson, was on exercise at the time when the crew spotted the lifeguards and immediately made their way to the scene.

The casualty was taken onboard the lifeboat and then transferred into the care of the lifeguards.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor Karl O’Neill said the situation could have been different minutes later. “Firstly, we would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm when they spotted someone in difficulty and we would like to wish the swimmer well after his ordeal.

“We want to remind everyone that while our lifeguards are busy patrolling our beaches daily, it is important to remember and adhere to our key safety advice both in and outside the patrol time of 11am-7pm.

“We were fortunate yesterday evening to be still on the beach when this incident happened and thankfully it resulted in a good outcome.

“We want to encourage people that when you plan a trip to the beach to check weather and tide times before you go and if planning to go into the water, to swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags.

“We want everyone to enjoy this beautiful weather and to come to our beaches but we want everyone to do that with safety in mind knowing to always respect the water and to remain vigilant. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Elsewhere, Valentia RNLI volunteers launched their all-weather lifeboat yesterday afternoon (Thursday 28 June) to assist a 30ft motor cruiser with two people onboard, which had suffered mechanical failure.

At 2.37pm, Valentia Coast Guard requested Valentia RNLI's all-weather lifeboat to launch to the cruiser one mile south of Skellig Rock Little, Co Kerry. Weather conditions at the time were described as good with clear visibility.

Arriving on scene, a volunteer crew member was transferred to the casualty vessel to assist with setting up a tow, and the cruiser was towed safely back into Knightstown Harbour.

Speaking following the callout, Valentia RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer Michelle Curran said: “With this stunning weather more people are taking to the water, we urge everyone to respect the water, always carry a means for calling for help and ensure all onboard know how to use it.”

Published in Rescue

#RNLI - Derry Clarke, owner and chef at the renowned L’Ecrivain restaurant, turned Valentia Lifeboat Station in Kerry into one of the country’s top dining sports on Friday (29 September) as he treated the volunteer lifeboat crew to a delicious Fish Supper to promote the RNLI’s latest fundraising initiative.

Clarke, who is also star of RTE’s Lords and Ladles, is supporting the RNLI’s Fish Supper campaign for 2017 from 13-15 October — and is calling on people across Ireland to sink their teeth into a delicious fish dish to raise vital funds for the lifesaving charity.

The menu for the lifeboat crew comprised a number of mouth-watering seafood dishes including cured salmon with cucumber, apple and dill; seafood chowder; Flaggy Shore oysters and Lambay Island scallops with cauliflower and raisins.

Local hotel and restaurant The Royal also got involved when chef Ryan Walsh added a surprise extra course of fish gratin.

Speaking while cooking al fresco at the lifeboat station, Clarke said: “It is an absolute pleasure to cook for the Valentia lifeboat crew. I love cooking for the RNLI, and seafood dishes are always a crowd pleaser.

“I do an annual BBQ for the RNLI with my wife Sallyanne on Sherkin Island and at Courtown in Wexford, so it’s about time I got out to the West Coast. The only issue is that you never know if you have enough food as lifeboat crew are always hungry.”

Clarke also urged anyone who hasn’t tried cooking with fish to give it a try and impress your friends and family while raising vital funds for the RNLI’s brave lifeboat crews.

“We are lucky enough to live on an island with a beautiful array of fish on our doorstep. It’s a wonderful idea for a fundraiser.”

The occasion was captured by photographer Jack Lowe, who is travelling around the UK and Ireland photographing RNLI lifeboat volunteers through a Victorian process that captures the stunning images on glass. Jack’s visit to Valentia RNLI marked his 100th lifeboat station.

Valentia RNLI coxswain Richard Quigley added: “Our pagers can go off at any time and many a meal has been interrupted for a lifeboat launch. Holding a fish supper is a great way for people to support us. They can sign up for a free fundraising pack and then enjoy hosting a fun evening with friends and family.

“If like us, you’re not Derry Clarke in the kitchen, then you can always serve up something simple like a fish finger sandwich or fish and chips. We really don’t mind.”

To receive a free Fish Supper fundraising pack, and to see some mouth-watering recipe inspiration, visit RNLI.org/FishSupper.

RNLI lifeboat crews across Ireland launched 1,136 times in 2016, rescuing 1,649 people. Kerry lifeboat stations launched 38 times and rescued 47 people in that same period, spending a total of 393 hours at sea on service.

Last year, chef Clodagh McKenna visited Howth RNLI to support the charity, which relies on donations from the public to continue its lifesaving service.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Valentia RNLI volunteers launched their all-weather lifeboat on Saturday morning (12 August) to assist three people onboard a fishing vessel with mechanical failure.

At 9.23am, Valentia Coast Guard requested the local lifeboat station to assist the vessel one mile south of Lemon Rock, near Skellig Michael.

Weather conditions at the time were described as fresh, with a north-westerly Force 5 wind.

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew were informed the fishing vessel was unable to return to harbour due to mechanical failure.

The volunteers checked that the three crew onboard the fishing boat were safe and well before setting up a tow to bring the fishing vessel safely back into Portmagee Harbour.

Speaking following the callout, Valentia RNLI lifeboat crew member Con O’Shea said: “The fishermen did the right thing calling for assistance. We urge anyone taking to the sea to always wear a lifejacket and carry a means of calling for help.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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I reported in detail the two battles which the people of Valentia fought against the Department of Transport and the Coast Guard to prevent the closure of the Coastal Radio Station on the Kerry island.
Valentia is fortunate to be linked by a bridge to the mainland, but has still suffered from emigration and deprivation which neglect by the State can cause to isolated communities.
I have a great respect for island people. They have to overcome difficulties and obstacles in their daily lives that those living ashore will not encounter.
Those battles and, at the same time, that of the people of Malin at the other end of the country, to prevent the closure of the Malin Head Coastal Radio Station came to my mind in the context of a technological development which changed the world and started in Valentia.
The Department, of which the Coast Guard is part - an indication of the unfortunate dispersal of maritime matters amongst too many Government Departments in Ireland - wanted to centralise operations in Dublin. In the course of my reportage, I discovered that their proposed location was in the constituency of their then Minister. Curious! Another proposed retrenchment from the regions into Dublin. There was little to justify the plan.
The people of Valentia mounted a particularly strong case against the proposal, backed by research and technological facts. Malin also produced a strong case. I wonder about the attitude of officials based in Dublin who come up with proposals like this.

These topics came up for discussion again when I attended the 150th anniversary of the laying of the first successful TransAtlantic communications cable from Valentia to Newfoundland. The laying of the cable began on July 13, 1886 when the biggest ship in existence at the time, the Great Eastern, sailed from Valentia. It arrived in Newfoundland on July 27, 1886 having laid 2,000 miles of cable weighing 9,800 tons across the Atlantic.
“The Valentia cable of 1866 changed the world,” writes Dr. Donard de Cogan in his book - ‘They talk along the deep,’ the story of cable history which was launched at the island ‘cable festival.’ “To put a cable across the ocean in the 19th century was cutting edge. These people were stretching beyond the technology of that time.” So says Bernard S.Finn. Curator Emeritus of the Electricity Collections at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, Washington D.C.
In this edition of my programme, I talk to Anthony O’Connell, Director of Valentia Island Development Company, about the island community’s attempts to gain UNESCO recognition for the island as a World Heritage Site, a case based on the technological breakthrough which started there. Ireland has only two out of 1,000 World Heritage Sites in Europe. England, Spain and Italy have between 30 to 40 World Heritage sites each! It is a revelation to hear of the extensive research and campaign work done by the people of Valentia.
On reflection, the Department of Transport and Coast Guard were unwise to take on the people of Valentia!
• Listen to the programme above

Published in Island Nation
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#RNLI - Valentia RNLI launched on Monday afternoon (27 June) to a 10m fishing vessel going aground off Bolus Head in Co Kerry after fouling its propeller.

The call for assistance came from Valentia Coast Guard at 3.44pm with Ballinskelligs inshore rescue and the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 also tasked to respond.

Ballinskelligs CRBI provided a tow to the vessel to remove it to safer water, where the Valentia lifeboat took over the tow for a short distance to free the obstruction from its propeller.

The skipper was then able to control the boat assistance and the tow was parted. The fishing vessel continued on without incident and Valentia RNLI returned to station.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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