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Rowing Ireland has issued a statement confirming that David McGowan has resigned from his position as High-Performance Coach effective immediately, due to personal reasons.

David took up the position in 2018.

Speaking of his departure, David Mc Gowan said “I would like to thank the whole Rowing Ireland family for their support throughout my coaching time. I was made welcome by the people of Ireland and the family of rowers. Thank you to the athletes, parents and all those who work so hard behind the scenes to support this small rowing organisation to fight well above its weight. The team at Rowing Ireland have become my family and friends over the last three years, and I wish Antonio, the athletes and crews every success in these challenging times”.

Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni said “David has coached, inspired and supported our athletes to deliver their best results. He has the vision and worked tirelessly to achieve it, culminating in our success at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships. He has been my colleague and my friend, and we will hugely miss him as part of the team”.

Published in Rowing
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After three months alone and unassisted at sea, Lia Ditton has set a new women’s world record for rowing solo from San Francisco to Hawaii. The 40-year-old Briton made landfall at 06.10 am 12th September, reaching Waikiki Yacht Club on the island of Oahu in 86 days, 10 hours, 5 minutes and 56 seconds to break Roz Savage’s 2008 record of 100 days. Describing the voyage as “the greatest psychological challenge of my life”, Lia logged approximately 2700nm in total distance rowed and overcame a series of mental and physical challenges, including illness before the start, two capsizes, a shortage of food, and persistent adverse currents and winds.

Lia was greeted by a welcoming group during the final stages through the Ka’iwi Channel, with further company provided by Waikiki Yacht Club members, as she completed the epic voyage to become the fastest woman in history to row solo from the US mainland to Hawaii. She plans to spend the next weeks recuperating before travelling home to her base in San Francisco. Despite the hardships, there were also moments of joy, wonder and encounters with nature, as Lia witnessed spectacular rainbows, nighttime skies, sunsets and sunrises, while sharks, flying fish, yellowfin tuna, seabirds and squid all came close, or onto, her boat at different times.

From the weeks building up to her tentative departure to the final stages of the row, Lia faced several setbacks that tested her resolve, bravery and determination to the limit. First, health concerns from an illness created doubts as preparations were starting to fall into place, forcing Lia to start the journey cautiously and quietly from the Corinthian Yacht Club, Tiburon, San Francisco at 23:00 PDT on 17th June to test how her fitness held up in the first few days. Heading out to sea past the Farallon Islands, she committed fully to the challenge ahead with a message back to shore on 20th June, but the notorious difficulties of the Continental Shelf then almost ended her bid. For days on end, Lia fought current, wind and waves the size of buildings which all thwarted her progress, as she spent her days clawing her way west and away from the California coast to make up miles lost while drifting at night.

Lia had trained and prepared in anticipation that the row would test her mental and physical strength, but some devastating news during the early days of the voyage added another highly emotional factor to the challenge. As she faced her own battles at sea, Lia also had to cope with a message from her shore team on June 22th that fellow rower Angela Madsen had died during her attempt on the same route after 57 days.

With this reminder of the perils of lone ocean rowing in the back of Lia’s mind, her worst fears were realized on day 19 (6th July) when a rogue wave capsized her 21-foot boat and plunged her headfirst into the dark ocean. With instinct taking over, Lia quickly realised the boat was not easily turning itself back upright and climbed onto the boat using all her strength to roll the boat back herself. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, she considered abandoning the boat after a brief conversation with a passing warship, but Lia remained steadfast in her ultimate goal and continued to battle the conditions and her own fears in pursuit of the target. Four weeks later, Lia suffered her second capsize on day 52 (8th August), in mid-ocean and far from potential rescue. Thankfully, the boat righted itself on this occasion, though the negative consequences for her fragile confidence, as well as soaking all clothing, bedding and equipment, were once again debilitating.

Lia’s blog detailed the incident, writing: “There is an almighty crash and my body is thrown against the wall. I rip my eye mask off and scramble to get up but am met by a torrent of water pouring in through the hatch. 'Get out! Get out!' the voice in my head screams. The boat is upside down, the roof in the water. Then the boat tumbles right side up again. She self-rights.”

Lia rose to the challenge again, demonstrating the practical skills and single-mindedness that have driven her career as an ocean rower and professional sailor. To prevent another capsize, she added water ballast, flooding the cockpit bilge and sea anchor locker, but creating a heavier boat, or ‘rowing the Pacific across the Pacific’, as Lia commented in her blog. She also made a number of maintenance repairs, including changing the oarlock height after the base cracked, and conquered one of her greatest fears by twice leaving the boat to get in the water to remove barnacles.

On August 20th, she wrote: “This voyage continues to be the greatest psychological challenge of my life - rowing the boat from which I was thrown into the sea, the boat in which I woke upside down water gushing in through the exit door. I spend my days climbing out of a mental hole, only to find myself back in the hole the next morning. When wind, wave and current conditions are favourable, I am buoyant. When they're not, everything feels futile. 'Why are you still out here? 'Why didn't you get off when you had the chance?' The voice in my head is insidious. My body ignores my mind. My body just rows.”

With her initial aim of challenging the all-time record of 52 days (set by Rob Eustace in 2014) discounted, Lia set her sights on breaking Roz Savage’s mark. However, with only 75 days’ worth of food, plus some extras, she had to contend with stretching her supplies out to last at least 90 days. Lia also made the decision in the final weeks to continue to Oahu, instead of Hilo, on the big island and the first harbour when approaching from the east. She had knowledge of the new landfall, after sailing there in 2007, and was stationed at Waikiki Beach while awaiting the arrival of the rowers, as Safety Officer in the Great Pacific Race in 2016.

As the miles ticked down, Lia’s final days at sea were finally aided by favourable conditions as she logged impressive daily mileage totals, with encouragement from her land-based team which helped throughout the row with weather routing, medical support and safety, as well as keeping friends and supporters updated on her progress.

This row, which Lia calls the half marathon, is viewed by Lia as training. Her main target is to row 5,500 miles from Japan to San Francisco in spring 2021, bidding to succeed where 19 other attempts have failed. To maintain her mission to become the first solo rower to cross the North Pacific, Lia relies on the generosity of her supporters through her crowdfunding campaign. Anyone who would like to add any amount to contribute to the cause can visit The RowLiaRow ‘Family of Believers’ are entitled to exclusive blog content and updates.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Rowing Ireland has an opportunity for a male athlete attempt to qualify a boat for Tokyo 2021 and to begin the preparation for The Paris 2024 qualification cycle.

Rowing Ireland is currently looking for a male in the PR2 classification to be part of a mixed double scull. World Rowing defines the PR2 class as: “Rowers who have trunk and arm movement, who are unable to use their legs to propel the sliding seat”.

The successful candidate will compete alongside High-Performance athlete, Katie O’Brien. The aim is to qualify for the 2021 Paralympics. Katie won the Bronze Medal at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz. Katie has become a huge success in her field and previously finished 6th place in the A Final in the World Rowing Cup in 2013 in Eton. Katie has also won Gold at the Henley Women’s Regatta and the Home International Regatta.

If you think you might qualify as PR2, are of a competitive nature, ideally involved in high-level sport, with a strong upper body and decreased/no use/mobility of their legs and are prepared to commit to this exciting High-Performance programme initiative, please email  [email protected] by the 14 September, with a brief overview of your sporting experience to date and for further details and requirements.

Successful applicants will then be invited for further testing.

Published in Rowing
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Ireland sent eight crews to compete in the 2020 European Rowing U23 Championships in Duisburg over the weekend. We are delighted to say that Ireland is coming back with 5 medals - 2 Gold, 1 Silver, and 2 Bronze.

Medal Results

Lydia Heaphy and Cliodhna Nolan secured a Gold Medal in the A Final of the BLW2 - on Sunday afternoon. Nolan and Heaphy held off the competition from Germany and Italy to secure Gold. Lydia Heaphy, said to World Rowing, "The race was very tight for the first 1000m, and we managed to pull away from the pack. Down the stretch, we executed pretty well and are quite happy with the result.

The BM2x Crew of Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch also finished 1st in the A Final. They have been consistent from the very beginning winning first in their heat and the semi-final. The BM2x crew beat out the Belarus boat for gold, by 3.93 seconds.

The BLW2x- crew of Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey finished 2nd in the A Final, staying consistent throughout the entire race. The crew remained ahead of Germany (Bronze) from the beginning, finishing with a time difference of 6.78 seconds.

The BM4+ crew of Alex Byrne, Ross Corrigan, Jack Dorney, John Kearney and Leah O’Regan finished 3rd in the A Final taking home the Bronze Medal, the crew raced strongly from the start and there was only .64 of a second between second and third..

The BW2- crew of Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty also finished 3rd in their A Final, beating out Czech Republic (4th) by 3.35 seconds! They won the Bronze medal finishing behind the Romanian and Greek crews!

Rowing Ireland's High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni said, "We are delighted with the results from our crews at the 2020 European Rowing U23 Championships. Winning two Gold, one Silver and two Bronze medals is an excellent result for Irish Rowing this weekend. We entered eight crews, and all of our athletes represented Ireland proudly throughout the weekend. We had seven crews progress to the A Final in their categories, and this is a testament to the effort that was put in during training in the National Rowing Centre by the athletes over the last few weeks.

We have continued the success of 2019 with winning five medals this weekend. Congratulations to Cliodhna, Lydia, Ronan, Daire, Aoife, Margaret, Tara, Emily, Alex, Ross, Jack, John and Leah on winning Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals.

I want to thank all the athletes, coaches and support staff for all their hard work in preparation for this weekend. I also want to thank all the National Team Athlete's clubs for their support in coaching and helping these young rowers and also all the parents for their patience and passion. We now look forward to continuing this journey at the European Rowing Junior Championships at the end of the month and at the Senior European Rowing Championships in October.

Other Results

BW1X- Claire Feerick: Finished Fourth in the A Final with a time of 08:00.86

BLM4X- Hugh Sutton, Hugh Moore, Eoin Gaffney, and Will Ronayne: Finished Fifth in the A Final with a time of 06:13.31

BLM1x- Samuel O'Neill: Finished Second in the C Final Result with a time of 07:27.25

Published in Rowing
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The European Rowing U23 Championships takes place in Duisburg, Germany on the 5th and 6th of September. A record number of 650 competitors have been entered from 32 nations with Ireland sending 20 athletes.

Last year, there was a lot of success at Under 23 and Junior competitions from the team. Tara Hanlon, Emily Hegarty, and Claire Feerick won a Silver Medal in the Women’s Four and Eoin Gaffney and Hugh Sutton won Bronze in the Lightweight Men’s Quad at the 2019 World Rowing U23 Championships in Sarasota. Aoife Casey and Cliodhna finished 4th in the A Final, just missing out on the Bronze. Also in the squad, Matthew Gallagher, Jack Dorney, John Kearney and Leah O’Regan finished fourth in the A Final at the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships in Tokyo.

The Irish team competing is:

Men’s Coxed Four (BM4+) Ross Corrigan (Queens) John Kearney (Cork BC) Jack Dorney (Shandon) Alex Byrne (UCC) Cox: Leah O’Regan (Shandon)Men’s Coxed Four (BM4+) Ross Corrigan (Queens) John Kearney (Cork BC) Jack Dorney (Shandon) Alex Byrne (UCC) Cox: Leah O’Regan (Shandon)

Men’s Coxed Four (BM4+)

  • Ross Corrigan (Queens)
  • John Kearney (Cork BC)
  • Jack Dorney (Shandon)
  • Alex Byrne (UCC)
  • Cox: Leah O’Regan (Shandon)

Lightweight Men’s Single Scull (BLM1x) Sam O’Neill (NUIG)

Lightweight Men’s Single Scull (BLM1x)

  • Sam O’Neill (NUIG)

Lightweight Women’s Pair (BLW2-) Cliodhna Nolan (NUIG)  Lydia Heaphy (UCC)Lightweight Women’s Pair (BLW2-) Cliodhna Nolan (NUIG) Lydia Heaphy (UCC)

Lightweight Women’s Pair (BLW2-)

  • Cliodhna Nolan (NUIG)
  • Lydia Heaphy (UCC)

Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Sculls (BLM4x)  Will Ronayne (UCC) Hugh Sutton (UCC)  Hugh Moore (Queens) Eoin Gaffney (Shandon)

Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Sculls (BLM4x)

  • Will Ronayne (UCC)
  • Hugh Sutton (UCC)
  • Hugh Moore (Queens)
  • Eoin Gaffney (Shandon)

Women’s Single Scull (BW1x) Claire Feerick (Neptune)Women’s Single Scull (BW1x) Claire Feerick (Neptune)

Women’s Single Scull (BW1x)

  • Claire Feerick (Neptune)

Men’s Single Scull (BM2x) Ronan Byrne (UCC) Daire Lynch (Clonmel)Men’s Single Scull (BM2x) Ronan Byrne (UCC) Daire Lynch (Clonmel)

Men’s Single Scull (BM2x)

  • Ronan Byrne (UCC)
  • Daire Lynch (Clonmel)

Women’s Pair (BW2-) Tara Hanlon (UCC) Emily Hegarty (UCC)Women’s Pair (BW2-) Tara Hanlon (UCC) Emily Hegarty (UCC)

Women’s Pair (BW2-)

  • Tara Hanlon (UCC)
  • Emily Hegarty (UCC)

Lightweight Women’s Double Scull (BLW2x) Aoife Casey (UCC) Margaret Cremen (UCC)Lightweight Women’s Double Scull (BLW2x) Aoife Casey (UCC) Margaret Cremen (UCC)

Lightweight Women’s Double Scull (BLW2x)

  • Aoife Casey (UCC)
  • Margaret Cremen (UCC)

There is also a lot of experience at Senior level with Lydia Heaphy, Aoife Casey, Hugh Sutton, Claire Feerick, Tara Hanlon, Emily Hegarty and Ronan Byrne all competed at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz. Ronan Byrne will be competing in the Men’s Double Scull with Daire Lynch, Ronan returns to the U23s European Championships after winning Gold in the men’s single sculls in Greece last year and winning Silver in the 2019 World Rowing Championships.

The athletes have all been training hard at the Kinetica National Rowing Centre in Cork and we want to continue the success of 2019. This is a great experience for many of the athletes that have previously competed at the Juniors World and Europeans last year. We look forward to what we hope will be a successful competition for Ireland.

Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni said, “We are delighted that the first International Regatta of this year is going ahead as planned. It has been a very tough year for everybody and we are excited to get the team back on the water and compete at the U23 European Championships.

The athletes have all been training hard at the Kinetica National Rowing Centre in Cork and there has been a positive atmosphere among the entire team. This is a great experience for many of the athletes that have previously competed at the Juniors World and Europeans last year. We want to continue the success of 2019 and look forward to what we hope will be a successful competition for Ireland.

Follow the racing

There will be live video streaming available on World Rowing’s YouTube Channel,

Keep track of results on

Published in Rowing
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The Rowing Ireland COVID-19 Working Group met today and assessed guidelines issued by the Irish Government yesterday evening, 4th August 2020. The Working Group worked tirelessly to create contingency options for our members since the outbreak of this devastating pandemic. A Rowing Ireland spokesman said "Our core strategy at Rowing Ireland is to support our clubs and our athletes, however, Public Health takes precedent. Therefore, in line with yesterday’s recommendations, Rowing Ireland has decided that no licenced events will take place in August 2020".

The Irish Rowing Championship Committee met this evening and has reluctantly decided in light of the latest Public Health guidelines that it is no longer possible to safely run this year’s event. Contingency planning was based on the premise that we would be moving to Phase 5 next Monday. However, the Public Health guidelines have not proceeded beyond Phase 3 and consequently, the Championship Committee concluded that it is not possible to hold the event in line with current Public Health guidelines. The decision while taken with a heavy heart was made tonight to be fair to all our athletes and coaches and to bring some certainty for the coming weeks.

As the Irish Coastal Rowing Championships due to be held on 29th August fall within the Public Health Phase 3 restrictions which limit attendance to 200, the Committee has concluded that they have no option but to cancel the event. Consideration was given to postponing the event until later in the hope that the number of attendees allowed would increase but it was felt that there was no guarantee this would happen and the committee wished to bring certainty to all concerned. In addition, many of our younger rowers will have returned to school at the end of the month.

The Irish Offshore Rowing Championship Committee met this evening to discuss the latest guidelines issued by the Irish Government yesterday evening. As the event is scheduled for the weekend of 26th September, the Committee agreed that there is no need to make any changes to the regatta preparations and planning will continue with a view to running the event in a safe manner in accordance with Public Health guidelines.

President of Rowing Ireland Eamonn Colclough said “We are all disappointed with the cancellation of the Irish Rowing Championships, Irish Coastal Rowing Championships and other events. Around the country, we know that our athletes along with their coaches have been training hard and their club committees have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of our members.

We always knew that our contingency plan would be subject to Public Health guidelines. We encourage clubs to continue to think outside the box when staging local events. As a sport, we can continue to row and compete subject to 200 person limits”.

Published in Rowing
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Following the recent selection trials at the National Rowing Centre, Rowing Ireland has announced the following selections for the Junior, U23 and Senior 2020 European Championship events to be held this autumn.

The selections were made by Ireland's High-Performance Director Antonio Maurogiovanni, who commented "We have seen very strong performances across all the grades, especially considering the challenging season we have experienced"

Maurogiovanni believes he has a strong team that can compete at each level but just as importantly build for the future success of our sport on the international stage.

Rowing Ireland High Performance Director Antonio Maurogiovanni Rowing Ireland High Performance Director Antonio Maurogiovanni

U23 European Rowing Championships (Duisburg, Germany - 5-6 September)

▪ Ronan Byrne (UCC)
▪ Daire Lynch (Clonmel)
▪ John Kearney (Cork)
▪ Margaret Cremen (UCC)
▪ Aoife Casey (UCC)
▪ Tara Hanlon (UCC)
▪ Emily Hegarty (UCC)
BW1x/W2- reserve
▪ Claire Feerick (Neptune)
▪ Alex Byrne (UCC)
▪ Jack Dorney (Shandon)
▪ Matthew Gallagher (St Josephs)
▪ Ross Corrigan (Queens)
▪ Cox: Leah O’ Regan (Shandon)
▪ Eoin Gaffney (Shandon)
▪ Hugh Moore (Queens)
▪ Will Ronayne (UCC)
▪ Hugh Sutton (UCC)
▪ Sam O’ Neill (NUIG)
▪ Lydia Heaphy (UCC)
▪ Cliodhna Nolan (NUIG)
Junior European Rowing Championships (Belgrade, Serbia - 26-27 September)
▪ Molly Curry (CGS)
▪ Aoife Moloney (Commercial)
▪ Andrew Sheehan (Lee)
▪ Tom Kelly (Kenmare)
▪ Adam Murphy (Shandon)
▪ Brian Colsh (Sligo)
JW1x squad (TBC)
▪ Holly Davis (Lee Valley)
▪ Alison Bergin (Fermoy)

European Rowing Championships (Poznan, Poland – 9-11 October)

▪ Sanita Puspure (OC)
▪ Ronan Byrne (UCC)
▪ Daire Lynch (Clonmel)
M1x/M2x Reserve
▪ John Kearney (Cork)
▪ Fiona Murtagh (NUIG)
▪ Aileen Crowley (OC)
▪ Eimear Lambe (OC)
▪ Aifric Keogh (UCC)
▪ Tara Hanlon (UCC)
▪ Emily Hegarty (UCC)

▪ Fintan McCarthy (Skibbereen)
▪ Margaret Cremen (UCC)
▪ Aoife Casey (UCC)

Published in Rowing
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As part of the COVID-19 Back to Rowing protocol, the Cork rowing clubs, Shandon Boat Club, Lee Rowing Club and Cork Boat Club, have organised the Shanty Sprints, a series of events for single scullers.

The initial race is a time trial in order to rank the scullers, which will be followed by a series of four lane side by side racing, taking place over the summer months every two weeks.

The course is 1000 metres from the railings to the Powder Quay on the Marina.

A set of results is downloadable below as a PDF.

Published in Rowing
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Rowing Ireland has released a statement supporting the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s appeal on elite Athletes return to training.

As Afloat reported earlier, the OFI is using the example of how its Olympic Rowing team is denied access to the water due to COVID-19 travel restrictions as part of a plea for a number of 'straightforward measures' to be put in place to support prospective Olympic and Paralympic athletes preparing for Tokyo 2021.

The Rowing Ireland statement says: We have been working closely with Sport Ireland and the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport on the return to rowing for our clubs and members. They have worked very hard to request minor exemptions for Olympic and Paralympic athletes but unfortunately, there has been no green light to their requests to date for the return of our HP athletes.

Our High-Performance Athletes are currently unable to train at the National Rowing Centre due to the 5km travel restriction.

Our Clubs and High-Performance athletes are our priority. In line with this, we are supporting a special dispensation for our Elite athletes to be able to return to the National Rowing Centre and return to training and resume their preparations for the Olympics in 15 months’ time. Their plans and dreams have already been derailed due to the outbreak of COVID 19 and the postponement of the Olympic Games.

Our High-Performance athletes are exceptionally vigilant about their health and wellbeing. They remain on high alert and are adhering to public health guidelines and recommendations.

The benefits of High-Performance sport to the country are significant and our potential Olympic success. Sport lifts a nation and shows fundamental unity which after this time will be vital in the year ahead.

Published in Rowing
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The Olympic Federation of Ireland is using the example of how its Olympic Rowing team is denied access to the water due to COVID-19 travel restrictions as part of a plea for a number of 'straightforward measures' to be put in place to support prospective Olympic and Paralympic athletes preparing for Tokyo 2021.

The OFI called today for measures to be put in place to support athletes during the current crisis. Sport Ireland, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the relevant Ministers have all been working very hard to request minor exemptions for Olympic and Paralympic athletes but unfortunately, there has been no green light to their requests to date.

Not all Olympic sports are affected, however, as Olympic sailing team members returned to training at Irish Sailing's Dun Laoghaire Harbour High-Performance Centre on May 18 as Afloat reported here with Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy getting back training after 55 days in lockdown.

The measures are being requested for a very small number of prospective Tokyo athletes (approx. 200 across Ireland) in line with medically reviewed, internationally accepted health protocols The situation is becoming increasingly difficult as more and more competitor nations return to training, putting Irish athletes at a significant disadvantage that may soon become too big to breach.

Peter Sherrard, Olympic Federation of Ireland CEO explains, “To take one sport as an example, we have a situation at the moment where rowing clubs for recreational users in Ireland are open in line with government protocols, yet our Olympic rowers can’t access the water in line with those same protocols because they are living outside the permitted kilometre radius from their national training centre. The solution is a simple waiver from the relevant Health authorities for this small number of athletes so that they can travel the required distance to train, just as their competitors internationally have been granted weeks ago. Frustrations of this nature are being experienced by elite athletes from a variety of sports.

“Our Olympic Sports have all prepared very detailed protocols which have been reviewed medically for a return to the venues like the Sport Ireland Campus, the Sport Ireland Institute and the National Aquatic Centre and National Rowing Centre, in advance of, and in isolation from the general public, as is happening in other European countries.

“Irish sport and Irish athletes have been incredibly respectful throughout lockdown and will continue to support all the measures that need to be implemented. While phased plans have been agreed for a recreational return to sport, we believe that the Olympic and Paralympic athletes who represent us internationally need prioritisation to return without delay.

“As a group, the athletes of Team Ireland have shown true resilience and have been role models to us all throughout this crisis, but the longer they are away from their high-performance training environments, the harder it will be for them to return to optimum fitness and their peak performance in time for next year’s Games.”

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Page 10 of 85

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

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!


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 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.

Changing Ocean Climate

Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked - the ocean plays a crucial role in the global climate system in a number of ways. These include absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere and absorbing 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity. But our marine ecosystems are coming under increasing pressure due to climate change.

The Marine Institute, with its national and international partners, works to observe and understand how our ocean is changing and analyses, models and projects the impacts of our changing oceans. Advice and forecasting projections of our changing oceans and climate are essential to create effective policies and management decisions to safeguard our ocean.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, “Our ocean is fundamental to life on earth and affects so many facets of our everyday activities. One of the greatest challenges we face as a society is that of our changing climate. The strong international collaborations that the Marine Institute has built up over decades facilitates a shared focusing on our changing ocean climate and developing new and enhanced ways of monitoring it and tracking changes over time.

“Our knowledge and services help us to observe these patterns of change and identify the steps to safeguard our marine ecosystems for future generations.”

The Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate research survey, which has been running since 2004, facilitates long term monitoring of the deep water environment to the west of Ireland. This repeat survey, which takes place on board RV Celtic Explorer, enables scientists to establish baseline oceanic conditions in Irish waters that can be used as a benchmark for future changes.

Scientists collect data on temperature, salinity, water currents, oxygen and carbon dioxide in the Atlantic Ocean. This high quality oceanographic data contributes to the Atlantic Ocean Observing System. Physical oceanographic data from the survey is submitted to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and, in addition, the survey contributes to national research such as the VOCAB ocean acidification and biogeochemistry project, the ‘Clean Atlantic’ project on marine litter and the A4 marine climate change project.

Dr Caroline Cusack, who co-ordinates scientific activities on board the RV Celtic Explorer for the annual survey, said, “The generation of long-term series to monitor ocean climate is vital to allow us understand the likely impact of future changes in ocean climate on ecosystems and other marine resources.”

Other activities during the survey in 2019 included the deployment of oceanographic gliders, two Argo floats (Ireland’s contribution to EuroArgo) and four surface drifters (Interreg Atlantic Area Clean Atlantic project). The new Argo floats have the capacity to measure dissolved ocean and biogeochemical parameters from the ocean surface down to a depth of 2,000 metres continuously for up to four years, providing important information as to the health of our oceans.

During the 2019 survey, the RV Celtic Explorer retrieved a string of oceanographic sensors from the deep ocean at an adjacent subsurface moored station and deployed a replacement M6 weather buoy, as part of the Irish Marine Data Buoy Observation Network (IMDBON).

Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the IMDBON is managed by the Marine Institute in collaboration with Met Éireann and is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The data buoys have instruments which collect weather and ocean data including wind speed and direction, pressure, air and sea surface temperature and wave statistics. This data provides vital information for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research.

“It is only in the last 20 years, meteorologists and climatologists have really began to understood the pivotal role the ocean plays in determining our climate and weather,” said Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann. “The real-time information provided by the Irish data buoy network is particularly important for our mariners and rescue services. The M6 data buoy in the Atlantic provides vital information on swell waves generated by Atlantic storms. Even though the weather and winds may be calm around our shores, there could be some very high swells coming in from Atlantic storms.”