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#MCIB - The death by drowning of a South Dublin boatman may have been avoided had he been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, according to investigators.

The report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) into the death of Aidan Fennell off Dalkey Island on 12 October 2010 found that an epileptic episode could have caused him to fall overboard from his rowboat and become disorientated once in the water.

Fennell, 43, was considered a competent boatman and a strong swimmer used to cold water, though was prone to seizures where he could not control his muscles and lost sense with reality, on occasion becoming unconscious.

On the afternoon of 12 October last year Fennell had launched his boat from Coliemore Harbour in fair conditions, intending to ferry a German family to Dalkey Island. When they pulled out of the trip, Fennell decided to row to the island on his own, with no flotation devices on board.

He was last seen by friend Kevin O'Farrell at 2.50pm. Around half an hour later, O'Farrell became concerned as to Fennell's whereabouts when he had been out of sight for some time.

After notifying the Irish Coast Guard, the Dun Laoghaire lifeboat and coastguard helicopter Rescue 116 were dispatched to search the area. Fennell's boat was located before 4pm washed on the rocks at the southeast end of Dalkey Island, and his body was found in the water close by some 10 minutes later.

No injuries were found on Fennell's body, suggesting that he went into the water before his boat washed up on the rocks.

The report concluded that if he had fallen overboard in normal conditions "it is considered likely that he could have swum to his boat, or clung on to the oars.

"However, if he had suffered an epileptic episode... he would have had great difficulty in staying afloat, in particular without having the buoyancy assistance of a life jacket."

The full report is available to download as a PDF from the MCIB website HERE.

Published in MCIB
#MARINE RESCUE EXERCISE-By coincidence two separate emergency exercise practise drills took place yesterday off Dalkey Island, the first involved a 12,921dwt tanker in broad daylight while the second exercise involved lifeboats under pitch-dark conditions, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The tanker Cumbrian Fisher (PHOTO) had arrived in the afternoon, anchoring unusually close to the island, to the south-east off The Muglins Lighthouse (to read more click HERE). While waiting for a berth in Dublin Port, she engaged in a lifeboat-drill practice which involved launching an orange-coloured fully enclosed lifeboat which was lowered into the water from the vessels' stern cradle-crane.

Crew kitted in similarly bright orange coloured sea safety-survival suits entered the lifeboat before it plunged into the water. The activity was observed through the binocular-scope which overlooks Coliemore Harbour with excellent views across the sound to Dalkey Island, Dublin Bay and Howth Peninsula.

The binocular-scope does not require payment to operate and was unveiled in 2008 in memory of local resident the late Dr. John de Courcy Ireland, the 'father' of maritime Ireland (to read more click HERE). He was for 26 years a honorary secretary of the local RNLI station in Dun Laoghaire and a staunch campaigner of Irish maritime affairs.

Each Monday a routine lifeboat practice is conducted by the 47ft Trent class ALB (all-weather lifeboat) RNLB Anna Livia (info and PHOTO). Last night's drill also involved the new D-class ILB (inshore lifeboat) RNLB Réalt na Mara which was named earlier this year by Kathy Kenny, wife of RTE presenter Pat Kenny.

Under the cover of darkness the crew of the ILB Realt na Mara simulated an 'injured casualty' on the island where the casualty was prepared to be taken off by stretcher from the island's small harbour. From there the casualty was transferred to the larger RNLB Anna Livia which lay offshore. During the exercise, powerful searchlight beams from the ALB provided essential light to assist in the transfer operation.

Asides the lifeboats, there is plenty of wildlife to observe on the rocky outcrops at Maiden Rock, Clare Rock and Lamb Island, which forms the second largest island after the main island of 22-acres, where a resident herd of goats have been part of the local community for over 200 years.

As for the South Korean built Cumbrian Fisher, she too has close connections with these waters as she was named in Dublin Port in 2005. She is a frequent caller to Dublin bringing bulk liquid products from the oil refinery in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire which is a major supplier, serving the demands of the capital.

Dublin Port has two oil jetties which cater for four tankers, where bitumen, chemicals, liquid petroleum gases, molasses and oil are handled on a 41-hectare zone with storage for 330,000 product tonnes to include 6,000 tonnes of LPG. In addition aviation fuel is frequently delivered to the terminal to satisfy the constant demand for aircraft using Dublin Airport.

Cumbrian Fisher alongside her sister Clyde Fisher where built for James Fisher & Sons and in recent years they have tended to take anchorage off Dalkey Island and off the Nose of Howth. In comparison the vast majority of vessels anchor in Dublin Bay which is divided into quadrants for the purposes of anchorage allocation.

Before the completion of the South Wall in Dublin Port, which considerably improved safer access of vessels entering the River Liffey, it was the relative deeper and sheltered waters of Dalkey Sound which were used instead as Dalkey acted as the principle port for Dublin between 14-17th centuries.

Vessels would convey cargoes which were taken to and fro by lighter to the coast where it was carried by horse and cart to nearby Dalkey before onward travel across the exposed plains to Dublin City.

To learn more about Dalkey's medieval maritime heritage with its relationship with the capital of Dublin in addition the use of Dalkey Quarry in the construction of (Kingstown) Dun Laoghaire Harbour, visit the Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre.  To read more go to www.dalkeycastle.com in addition to further information about Dalkey including the local community council newsletters click HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
Coliemore, a former Dublin Port tug named after Coliemore Harbour in Dalkey, Co. Dublin is undergoing scrapping this week at Cork Dockyard, writes Jehan Ashmore.
For over a decade the veteran tug built in 1962 by Richard Dunston (Hessle) Ltd, in Yorkshire has been languishing at the dockyard ship repair facility in Rushbrooke, Cork Harbour.

The 162 gross tonnes tug had served a career of nearly three decades in Dublin Port, after entering service in 1972. Prior to working in Irish waters the 100ft tug spent the previous decade operating in the UK as Appelsider for Lawson-Batey Tugs Ltd who chartered her to Tyne Tugs Ltd. For historical record and photos click HERE.

In 1998 the Dublin Port Company disposed of the Coliemore alongside her running mate Clontarf (1963/178grt) the former Cluain Tarbh, also built from the same Yorkshire shipyard on the banks of the River Humber.

Initially they were towed to Liverpool but they later appeared at Cork Dockyard in 1999. The Clontarf remained there for a year until she was sold to Barcazas Dominicia SA, Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. For photo of the tug in far distant waters click HERE. It was intended Coliemore would follow her Caribbean counterpart but her sale fell-through.

The vessel's ownership eventually transferred to Cork Dockyard where her scrap value will pay for her long-term berthing fees. The tug recently made her final short journey under tow from her berth at the former Verolme Cork Dockyard (VCD) to the facilities slipway where work to break-up the vessel began.

Coliemore and her fleet-mates were given the traditional naming theme of Dublin Bay coastal suburbs spelt in Irish. The naming policy was used by the Dublin Ports & Docks Board (DP&DB) which operated the fleet remained until transferred to the Dublin Port Company established in 1997.

The last tugs to carry the traditional names, Ben Eadar (Howth), Cluain Tarbh (Clontarf) and Deilginis (Dalkey) are now up laid-up awaiting to be sold, to read more click HERE.

Between the 14-16th centuries Dalkey Sound became increasingly important as larger vessels with deeper drafts could no longer enter the port in Dublin due to the dangers of constantly shifting sandbanks and swallow channels in Dublin Bay.

The nearest alternative was for vessels to anchor off Dalkey Island and in the relative shelter of Dalkey Sound where cargoes for the capital where transferred to and fro by lighters to the coastline along Dalkey at Coliemore, which became the principle port for Dublin. Some of the cargo was stored temporally in the medieval castles in Dalkey, otherwise it was directly transported by horse and cart across the plateau to the city.

It was not until the 17th century that the issue of accessing the port of Dublin was resolved, with the completion of the harbour walls that enabled shipping to return on a frequent basis. Captain Bligh of the 'Mutiny on the Bounty' completed mapping Dublin Bay in 1803 which became the most accurate chart at the time and this aided to the safety of mariners.

The fortunes of Dublin's shipping trade increased due to the combination of an easier and safer navigational channel and deeper depths along the quaysides. This led to the eventual demise of shipping using Dalkey. The present-day harbour structure at Coliemore Harbour was constructed in 1868 and is home to a humble fleet of recreational boats and a passenger-ferry service to the island.

Published in Cork Harbour

This year's charity swim across the sound from Dalkey Island to Coliemore Harbour took place on Sunday 15 August writes Jehan Ashmore.
The event raised a total of €5,000 with the proceeds benefitting the Kisiizi Hospital in south-western Uganda. The padraetric hospital is planning to install a new theatre.

During glorious summer sunshine, around twenty participants swam the sound with RIB-boat tenders from the Royal St. George Yacht Club (RSGYC) in attendence and also keeping a viligant eye was Dun Laoghaire's new RNLI inshore lifeboat, Realt Na Mara (D-731), a type IBI-1 craft. The event is held every August on a Sunday with swimmers paying a pre-registration fee as part of the fund-raising effort.

For several years, Kisiizi hospital has received the support of the organisers of the charity swim and assistance from St. Pauls Church, Glenageary. For further information on the fundraising swim; contact Peter Craven (01) 2855543

dalkeyswimmer

Published in Sea Swim
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