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Latest Environment Stories
Óstan Thóraigh is located right at Tory Island’s main harbour
Brexit uncertainty as well as VAT increases have been cited by the estate agent handling the sale of a Tory Island hotel for its failure to secure a buyer, as The Irish Times reports. Afloat.ie noted in April that the…
Mediterranean slipper lobster (Scyllarides latus) in its usual habitat
Warming waters are bringing more marine wildlife considered unusual for Ireland to our shores, according to a rare fish specialist. The Irish Sun spoke to Dr Kevin Flannery of Dingle Oceanworld who discussed recent arrivals at the Kerry aquarium, including…
The works are being carried out from the AMS Retriever
Geophysical surveys are being undertaken in the Irish Sea in outer Dundalk Bay from this week. The work is required to provide bathymetric and subsurface information for the development of the Oriel Wind Farm project. Survey work was expected to…
Ireland’s Eye just off Howth in North Co Dublin
Howth’s iconic Ireland’s Eye has been purchased by investment group Tetrarch Capital, TheJournal.ie comfirms. The island — which is an important breeding spot for many seabirds — was included in the recent sale of Howth Castle and demesne by the…
Commodore John Kavanagh, formerly Officer Commanding Naval Service. In 1979 as Captain John Kavanagh, he was in command of the LE Deirdre which played a central role in the Fastnet Disaster Rescue and was on station for longer than any other vessel
The significant role played by the Irish Naval Service in the 1979 Fastnet Race Disaster has sometimes been overlooked in the dramatic images of helicopters and lifeboats in direct action writes W Nixon. But in fact the LE Deirdre under…
Nolly, and her apartments ‘Harland’ and ‘Wolff’, berthed at Belfast Harbour Marina
Two chic barge berths at Belfast Harbour Marina are available for bookings for those looking for a different base to explore Northern Ireland. The berths — named ‘Harland’ and ‘Wolff’ after the city’s iconic shipyard — comprise the renovated barge…
Spirtle, with her distinctive skin markings, seen off Fenit in Tralee Bay
Marine wildlife miracle Spirtle appears to have taken up residence off the Kerry coast if the many sightings over recent weeks are anything to go by. Last month the young dolphin was spotted in the area some weeks after she…
Scattery Island, Co Clare, is one of many islands holding events for heritage week.
As part of Heritage Week (17-25 August) the programme includes a selection of lovely islands and a wide range of activities to entice you. From waltzing on Scattery Island, Co Clare or learning about boatbuilding on Bere Island there are…
Native white-clawed crayfish like this one have been threatened by outbreaks of crayfish plague
Crayfish plague has been confirmed in the River Nore in Co Kilkenny, marking the eighth record in Irish rivers since 2015 — and the third detected this year alone, as TheJournal.ie reports. Outbreaks of crayfish plague pose a significant threat…
The All Ireland Whale Watch Day takes place next Saturday 24th August between 2:00-5:00pm, at headlands around the coastline. So join in and so doing, you are supporting Whale and Dolphin conservation in Ireland.
Minke and humpback whales arriving and other species of whales and dolphins along the Irish coast is a good omen for this years All Island Whale Watch day. Organiser of the event, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) invite…
This rescued cygnet sadly died as a result of the Shannon oil slick
The Irish Times says Westmeath County Council is investigating an oil spill on the River Shannon south of Athlone in which a number of fish and birds have died. Efforts were made to contain the spill on the Al River,…
Fáilte Ireland chief Paul Kelly greets Waterways Ireland acting CEO John McDonagh at the latter’s office at Dublin’s Grand Canal Quay
The chief executives of Fáilte Ireland and Waterways Ireland met last week to discuss their new Strategic Partnership Programme to develop tourism along the latter’s network of inland waterways. The agreement is focused on delivering “a programme of works to…
Inis Mór in the Aran Islands
Island life, in all its challenges, also harbours opportunity for the transition to renewable energy — and the people of the Aran Islands are putting that into practice. Juliette Gash reports for RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland from the Galway…
Solar Marine Energy chief executive and co-founder Eamon Howlin.
A Mayo based renewable energy startup Solar MarineEnergy is making plans to build Ireland’s first floating solar energy plant which it proposes to locate in Cork Harbour, writes the Irish Examiner. “We have secured permission from the Port of Cork…
NUI Galway researcher Dr Kathryn Schoenrock diving in a native kelp forest. She is appealing to citizen scientists to help find more examples of the rare golden kelp
Citizen science pinpointed the first samples of a rare kelp in Irish waters, and now NUI Galway researchers are hoping that sea swimmers, divers and kayakers may help to find more writes Lorna Siggins Samples of golden kelp (Laminaria ochroleuca),…
The 29er found on a Co Mayo beach earlier this week
A member of the Ireland 29er Facebook community reported an unusual find on a Mayo beach earlier this week — a dinghy in good condition washed up right by the dunes. Helpfully the ‘mystery’ boat still had its registration badge…

For all you need on the Marine Environment - covering the latest news and updates on marine science and wildlife, weather and climate, power from the sea and Ireland's coastal regions and communities - the place to be is Afloat.ie.

Coastal Notes

The Coastal Notes category covers a broad range of stories, events and developments that have an impact on Ireland's coastal regions and communities, whose lives and livelihoods are directly linked with the sea and Ireland's coastal waters.

Topics covered in Coastal Notes can be as varied as the rare finding of sea-life creatures, an historic shipwreck with secrets to tell, or even a trawler's net caught hauling much more than just fish.

Other angles focusing the attention of Coastal Notes are Ireland's maritime museums, which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of our nautical heritage, and those who harvest the sea using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety pose an issue, plying their trade along the rugged wild western seaboard.

Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied as the environment they come from, and which shape people's interaction with the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

Marine Wildlife

One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with Marine Wildlife. It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. And as boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify, even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat. Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse, it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to our location in the North Atlantic, there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe. From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals, the Marine Wildlife category documents the most interesting accounts around our shores. And we're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and video clips, too!

Also valuable is the unique perspective of all those who go afloat, from coastal sailing to sea angling to inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing, as what they encounter can be of great importance to organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Thanks to their work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. But as impressive as the list is, the experts believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves, keep a sharp look out!

Weather

As an island in the North Atlantic, Ireland's fate is decided by Weather more so than many other European countries. When storm-force winds race across the Irish Sea, ferry and shipping services are cut off, disrupting our economy. When swollen waves crash on our shores, communities are flooded and fishermen brace for impact - both to their vessels and to their livelihoods.

Keeping abreast of the weather, therefore, is as important to leisure cruisers and fishing crews alike - for whom a small craft warning can mean the difference between life and death - as it is to the communities lining the coast, where timely weather alerts can help protect homes and lives.

Weather affects us all, and Afloat.ie will keep you informed on the hows and the whys.

Marine Science

Perhaps it's the work of the Irish research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of Marine Science for the future growth of Ireland's emerging 'blue economy'.

From marine research to development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. Whether it's Wavebob ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration, the Marine Science category documents the work of Irish marine scientists and researchers and how they have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

Power From The Sea

The message from the experts is clear: offshore wind and wave energy is the future. And as Ireland looks towards the potential of the renewable energy sector, generating Power From The Sea will become a greater priority in the State's 'blue growth' strategy.

Developments and activities in existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector, and those of the energy exploration industry, point to the future of energy requirements for the whole world, not just in Ireland. And that's not to mention the supplementary industries that sea power projects can support in coastal communities.

Irish ports are already in a good position to capitalise on investments in offshore renewable energy services. And Power From The Sea can even be good for marine wildlife if done properly.

Aside from the green sector, our coastal waters also hold a wealth of oil and gas resources that numerous prospectors are hoping to exploit, even if people in coastal and island areas are as yet unsure of the potential benefits or pitfalls for their communities.

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