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Displaying items by tag: Clare Island

110 years ago Robert Lloyd Praeger brought a group of eminent European scientists to Clare Island to map the flora, fauna, geology and archaeology of the small, exposed Atlantic island off the coast of Mayo. The Royal Irish Academy’s New Survey of Clare Island, a unique multidisciplinary endeavour that together with Praeger’s first Clare Island Survey provides an invaluable body of research informing future conservation of the natural and built heritage of Ireland and Europe.

In a new book, New Survey of Clare Island. Volume 9: Birds, published on Monday, 17 August to celebrate Heritage Week 2020, the editor Tom Kelly traces the story of the birds from Clare Island.

One of the most dramatic changes has been the arrival on Clare Island of the formidable and spectacular seabird the Great Skua—or Bonxie—which now breeds further south in Ireland than it does in Great Britain. This unexpected change—a species moving south rather than vice versa—at a time of global warming remains to be explained.

Great SkuaA Great Skua Photo: Richard T. Mills

Clare Island became separated from Ireland about 8,000 years ago by rising sea levels brought about by the melting of the massive ice sheets that formed during the last Ice Age. Although this dramatic event would have had a minimal impact on the birds that made the island their home.

The Lapland bunting and the snow bunting probably arrived first, followed by more sedentary species including the rock ptarmigan and gyrfalcon as well as many wildfowl and wading bird species.

In the three millennia that followed the formation of Clare Island, mature woodland developed allowing a woodland bird community to develop.

clare island bird bookThe Clare Island survey

Neolithic man arrived about 4,000yBP (years Before Present). Over the succeeding 3,500 years or so, the woodland element was gradually removed and about 400 years ago the modern agricultural landscape was established. The woodland bird community on Clare Island has become mostly extinct probably because its habitat gradually disappeared over the millennia, In addition, the famines of the early to mid-nineteenth century had an impact on the ecology of the inhabited offshore islands. The abandonment of land as a result of famine, and the peoples who occupied that land, is well known to cause the departure of synanthropic bird species.

Nevertheless, agricultural activity and the expansion of grasslands created opportunities for seed-eating species and ground-nesting forms such as the skylark and meadow pipit and migrants such as the northern wheatear and corncrake, and the extraction of peat created opportunities for wetland species. Well-known species such as the house sparrow, European robin, song thrush and perhaps the barn swallow have colonised the island.

Published in Island News

An investment of €525,000 is to be put into four piers and harbours in Co. Mayo.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed announced details of a €3.1m package to assist 10 coastal local authorities undertake and as Afloat previously reported funding to complete 58 developments of harbours repair projects and slipways owned by them.

The package, reports Connaught Telegraph, provides funding for maintenance and repair works in addition to supporting the ongoing development and enhancement of harbour facilities including some marine leisure developments.

The Mayo works announced include Roonagh Pier as Afloat also reported on where provision of a new crane and safety improvement works is to cost €150,000.

For other coastal development works and locations click here. 

Published in Ferry

Clare Island residents and also those on Inishturk, off the west Mayo coastline, are calling on the Irish government for urgent help.

In the past two months 52% (see: January story) of their scheduled ferries have been disrupted due to dangerous conditions at Roonagh Pier, west of Louisburgh.

The pier experiences huge Atlantic swells and can be inaccessible for weeks at a time.

As a result O’Grady’s Clare Island Ferry Co. is forced to sail to Cloughmore in Achill Island, which is a commercial pier, unsuitable for foot passengers.

If the islanders sail to Achill, they then have to travel 50 miles by taxi around Clew Bay to collect their cars which are left at Roonagh.

The situation is causing them huge disruption and unnecessary misery.

More on the story from The Connacht Telegraph.

Published in Ferry

A ferry operator in Co. Mayo has issued a call for break-water and new pier facilities at Roonagh, Louisburgh.

According to The Connaught Telegraph, the Clare Island Ferry Co. (O'Grady) posted a photograph on ts Facebook page of Roonagh (yesterday) with the following statement.

"Goes to show we really need a break water and a new pier with shelter for our island vessels, in order for daily access for passengers, cargo and for our island to survive."

Published in Ferry

One hundred years ago, Irish naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger led a survey of the natural history and cultural heritage of Clare Island in Co Mayo at a level of detail greater than any area of comparable size at that time.

Almost a century later, the Royal Irish Academy set about repeating the exercise with the intention of assessing and evaluating change on the island over the intervening years.

In his new book Clare Island, which launches this Saturday 5 October on the island itself, John Feehan distils the results of the two great surveys with elegance and enthusiasm to shine a spotlight on the richness of life surviving there.

Feehan, a longtime broadcaster on cultural and heritage issues, interweaves the natural and cultural heritage of the island and shares his wider ecological knowledge to help us understand the role each species plays in the life of this remarkable place.

“Few places on Earth, and none elsewhere in Ireland, have yielded such a concentrated inventory of knowledge about the natural world,” says Michael Viney, who has described Feehan as “one of Ireland’s top ecologists and communicators of nature”.

Clare Island by John Feehan is available now from the RIA, priced €40.

Published in Island News

#clareisland – Buoyed by the recent profile received by Clare Island in the Irish Times Best Place to Go Wild in Ireland competition, Clare Island Adventures are planning an exciting new event for the August Bank Holiday weekend. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to put together a water-loving team of four to six people to build a raft and then race it around a 300 metre course in Clew Bay.The organisers are challenging towns, villages, islands, companies and rival sports clubs to take one another on in what promises to be a barrel of laughs for both spectators and participants. They will provide all safety gear and raft-building materials. All you need to do is show up in a swimsuit with a can-do attitude and a determination to complete the course.

Heats will take place on Sunday morning with the final taking place in the early afternoon and finish in time to watch the Mayo match which kicks off at 4pm. There will be prizes awarded to the top 3 places, plus a Best Fancy Dress team prize. Entry is €60 per team.

And weather permitting the music will be pumping and the barbecue will be smoking, making it a fun day out for spectators and participants alike. To encourage you to make a weekend out of it, there's an all-in deal on offer of two nights B&B in the hostel, return ferry and raft-building entry for €74 per person.

Families looking for entertainment for the whole weekend are also encouraged to come a day early with a family fun day taking place on the blue flag beach on Saturday afternoon. Kayaking, snorkelling and beach games will all be on offer.

Those planning to visit the island for the bank holiday, or any time in July or August, will also be interested to know that there is a new shuttle bus service operating between Westport and Roonagh five days a week. It departs from Westport Adventure Hub, James Street, where tickets for bus and ferry can be purchased together. Leaving Westport at 10.15am and Roonagh at 5.15pm.
For more information check here. To enter a team in the raft building championships email them on [email protected] or phone 087 3467713.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#MaritimeFestivals - If you’re looking for a buzzing destination to spend the August bank holiday weekend, consider Clare Island in Co Mayo for the first Raft Building Championships, which promises seaside festival fun for all ages.

The organisers at Clare Island Adventures are challenging towns, villages, islands, companies and rival sports clubs to put together teams of four to six people to build a raft, then take one another around a 300-metre course in Clew Bay in what's expected to be a barrel of laughs for both spectators and participants alike.

Clare Island Adventures will provide all safety gear and raft-building materials. All you need to do is show up in a swimsuit with a can-do attitude and a determination to complete the course.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three places, as well as for the best dressed team – so the team theme is just as important as how you perform on the course!

Back on dry land, meanwhile, the music will be pumping and the barbecue will be smoking (weather permitting, of course).

Heats will take place on Sunday morning with the final taking place in the afternoon at approximately 4.30pm, allowing time for teams and spectators to get the ferry back to the mainland if they’re not staying on the island for the night.

To encourage you to make a weekend out of it, there’s an all-in deal on offer of two nights B&B in the hostel, return ferry and raft-building entry for €74 per person.

Families looking for entertainment for the whole weekend are also encouraged to come a day early with a family fun day taking place on the Blue Flag beach on Saturday afternoon. Kayaking, snorkelling and beach games will all be on offer.

Those planning to visit the island for the bank holiday, or any time in July or August, will also be interested to know that there is a new shuttle bus service operating between Westport and Roonagh five days a week.

The bus departs from Westport Adventure Hub on James Street, where tickets for bus and ferry can be purchased together. Buses leave Westport at 10.15am and Roonagh at 5.15pm.

For more information on the Raft Building Championships check out www.clareislandadventures.ie. To enter a team (the entry fee is €60 per team), contact 087 346 7713 or [email protected]

Published in Maritime Festivals

#IslandFerry – The Government have issued a tender for an operator to run over a five-year contract period a cargo-ferry service between Inishturk, Clare Island Co. Mayo and the mainland.

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is seeking expressions of interest for the west coast-islands service starting 1 August 2013 to 31 July 2018.

For further details of the tendering process they can viewed HERE in addition to www.etenders.gov.ie April 2013

 

Published in Ferry

#Lifeboats - TheJournal.ie reports that RNLI lifeboat crews from Dunmore East and Fethard rescued two fishermen from their vessel off the Waterford coast yesterday (14 January 2013).

Rescuers sped to the scene after the 10-metre fishing boat got into difficulty and grounded close to the shore north of Loftus Hall.

Despite the receding tide, the lifeboats managed to tow the vessel carefully off the rocks "without any major damage", according to a spokesperson. The two crew were uninjured in the incident.

It marked the third major call-out in a week off the Waterford coast - following a similar rescue effort last Tuesday, and just days after the tragic loss of a local fisherman on Thursday morning on the sixth anniversary of the sinking of Dunmore East trawler the Pere Charles.

Meanwhile, on Sunday afternoon volunteers with Achill Island RNLI went to the assistance of an injured fisherman off the Mayo coast.

The lifeboat station received the distress call around noon to go to the assistance of a fishing party north of Clare Island, where the crew removed a man from the vessel who had suffered an eye injury from a fishing hook.

He was subsequently transported on the lifeboat to Kildavnet, where a local doctor examined his injury before referring him to Castlebar General Hospital for further attention.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#MCIB - The bodies of two fishermen missing off Co Clare have been recovered, as The Irish Times reports.

Local divers found the remains shortly before lunchtime yesterday near Spanish Point as coastguard teams searched for a missing fishing boat.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Lady Eileen - with two crew on board - was due to return to Quilty on Monday evening.

Searchers discovered debris and diesel in the water near Spanish Point in the early stages of the search on Monday night.

Meanwhile, the body of a father-of-three from Clare Island in Co Mayo was recovered from the sea by local fishermen last night.

The man - whose name is being withheld till all relations have been informed - was reported missing by a relative after he failed to return from a fishing trip in his currach.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) is expected to open investigations into both incidents, as well as the death of John O'Leary of Allihies in West Cork, who lost his life after the Enterprise dinghy he was sailing with his son capsized off the Beara Peninsula on Monday.

Published in MCIB
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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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