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Following a two-year break, Arklow RNLI’s Hurry to the Curry fundraiser returns on Friday 27 January at the Arklow Bay Hotel from 8pm.

Also known as Dan’s Lifeboat Special, the event has gone from strength to strength and continues to be one of the most enjoyable and well supported nights out in the events calendar, the lifeboat station says.

Culinary masterpieces prepared by Anne and her team of volunteers range from hot curry dishes and a wonderful array of fresh sea food — prawns, lobster, crab, monkfish and salmon— to cold-meat platters, vegetarian dishes and salads of all kinds.

Advice is to come to the bash good and hungry: “It’s the best value meal you’ll have had since [the last] event and quite simply the best craic to be had on the east coast.”

There are spot prizes galore and some lovely raffle and auction items. Music will be provided by the Joe Dolan Experience followed by a DJ till late. There might even be some special guests.

Arklow RNLI’s crew are pulling out all the stops to ensure a magical night is had by all. Lifeboat press officer Mark Corcoran says: “Without volunteers like our fundraising team and our lifeboat crew who still to this day give of their own time, our lifeboat couldn’t function and continue to be rescue ready. We would love to see everybody at the Arklow Bay Hotel on Friday 27 January.”

Tickets are €20 and are available from the Arklow Bay Hotel and Arklow RNLI Fundraising committee members, or you can email [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Arklow RNLI launched on Sunday evening (11 September) to assist two people on 39ft yacht which had lost propulsion and was adrift off the Co Wexford town.

The volunteer crew made their way to the lifeboat station around 7pm and within minutes of the request were aboard the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr and en route to the reported location.

Once afloat, the lifeboat travelled the half mile to the vessel at Arklow’s South Beach.

In wet conditions with light fading and southerly winds with wave heights of around two-and-a-half metres, the vessel had lost propulsion and tried to anchor as it drifted onto a lee shore some 50 yards from the beach.

Following an assessment by the lifeboat crew, it was decided to establish a tow to bring the vessel to safety.

A lifeboat volunteer boarded the casualty vessel to assist with rigging a tow. Once it was established, the casualty vessel was able to have its anchor hauled up and proceed with the tow back to the nearest safe port at Arklow.

Following the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Mark Corcoran said: “Our teams dedication and training for these scenarios really paid off this evening. Thankfully the crew on the sailing vessel had done all the right things which allowed us to get there and be able to assist.”

Arklow RNLI’s crew on this callout were coxswain Ned Dillon, John Bermingham, Eddie McElheron, Craig O’Reilly, Sinead Myler, Jimmy Myler and Dave Molloy.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Arklow RNLI launched to the aid of five people on Wednesday evening (13 July) after their sailing vessel got into difficulty.

Volunteers were paged at 8.45pm after reports that a vessel had become entangled in fishing gear close to shore near the harbour in Arklow Bay.

The all-weather lifeboat launched shortly thereafter in calm seas with slack winds, quickly locating the casualty vessel with five people onboard.

Upon arrival, a lifeboat crew member was put aboard the vessel to assist with freeing the entanglement. Once this had been cleared, the yacht was towed back into Arklow Harbour where everybody came ashore safely.

Speaking later, Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI community safety officer said: “Our volunteers are always on call — huge thanks to them and their families for the amazing work they do in our community.”

The crew for this callout were coxswain Ned Dillon, Brendan Dillon, John Bermingham, Craig O’Reilly and Geoff Kearnes.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Arklow RNLI launched yesterday morning (9 June) at around 6.30am to a request to assist two people on a fishing vessel which had lost propulsion north of the Co Wicklow town.

The volunteer crew made their way to the lifeboat station and within minutes of the request were aboard the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr and en route to the reported location.

In a fresh southerly breeze with moderate seas, the lifeboat made its way to the reported position five miles north of Arklow. Once on scene, the casualty vessel was quickly located and it was confirmed that it had lost propulsion.

A tow line was established and the casualty vessel was towed back to the nearest safe port at Arklow, where all hands came ashore at approximately 8am.

Following the callout, Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI press officer said: “Thanks to our volunteer crew who at a moment’s notice go to sea to assist others. Please remember to respect the water.”

Arklow RNLI’s crew on this callout were coxswain Ned Dillon, John Tyrrell, Jimmy Myler, Sinead Myler, Craig O’Reilly and station mechanic James Russell.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Arklow RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew were paged by the Irish Coast Guard on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon (4 June) following a report of person in the water.

The all-weather lifeboat, under coxswain Ned Dillon with crew Geoff Kearnes, James Russell, Craig O’Reilly, Austin Gaffney, Jimmy Myler and Eddie McElheron, launched shortly after 2.20pm and made their way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were described as good with a calm sea, light wind and good visibility.

Upon arrival at the nearby Roadstone jetty south of the Co Wicklow town, the lifeboat crew spotted two kayaks in the water, almost under the jetty.

One of the casualties had slipped from their kayak into the water and was not able to recover back onto the craft, while the second person had stayed on the kayak alongside the casualty but was unable to assist.

The casualty was recovered from the water to the lifeboat and once they were safely aboard, the second person was recovered along with both of the kayaks. The casualty was given first aid and was cold and fatigued but uninjured.

The lifeboat returned to station and both kayakers were given refreshments and warmed up before they left.

Speaking following the callout, Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI community safety officer said: “Thankfully we were able to assist these kayakers safely back to shore.

“Given the good weather there are a lot more people around and on the water, we would like to share the message that if you are going on or in the water: always carry a means of calling for help, always wear a lifejacket and other appropriate protection, always check the weather and tides before going to sea and please respect the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Arklow RNLI came to the aid of two people yesterday (Monday 21 March) following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to assist a vessel which had lost propulsion.

Within minutes, the volunteer crew were aboard the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr and en route to the reported location south of Arklow in fair seas with a light easterly breeze.

A crew transfer vessel from the local offshore wind farm also went to render assistance.

Once on scene, the casualty vessel with two people aboard was located, and it was confirmed that the vessel had suffered engine failure.

A tow line was set up and the casualty vessel was towed back to the nearest safe port at Arklow where all hands came ashore safely.

Following the callout, Mark Corcoran, volunteer lifeboat press officer at Arklow RNLI said: “Thanks once again to our volunteer crew who at a moment’s notice go to sea to assist others. Whether day or night, we would encourage people to please remember to respect the water.”

Arklow RNLI’s crew on this callout were coxswain Ned Dillon, James Russell, Jimmy Myler, Sinead Myler and Craig O’Reilly.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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It’s said that when the experimentally-minded William Petty, the compiler of the Down Survey in Ireland in the 1660s, decided to build his very innovative Simon & Jude catamaran in 1663 for testing in Dublin Bay, the decidedly odd vessel was actually constructed in Arklow. This meant the machine’s debut at Dublin – when she conspicuously outperformed a couple of notably high-performing craft – came as a complete surprise. But if she’d been built in Dublin, it would have become part of the fashionable social round in the city to go and observe the work in progress – an unwelcome distraction.

The success of the original Simon & Jude was replicated to everyone’s satisfaction in Dublin Bay by Hal Sisk in 1991 in a timely reminder that William Petty was a man of many parts. And there’s no doubt that he was also one very smart operator. His land surveys revealed that there was a very choice area in the far southwest of Ireland around a place known as Neidin – The Little Nest – which Petty promptly claimed as his own, and re-named it Kenmare after the Kenmare Bay, as it’s at the head of that inlet.

A model of the hugely-innovative catamaran Simon & Jude of 1663.A model of the hugely-innovative catamaran Simon & Jude of 1663.

But while he was at it, he re-named the inlet the Kenmare River. This meant that he now owned all the fishing rights the whole way down to the Atlantic, whereas if it had continued to be officially recorded as Kenmare Bay, he would only have owned the fisheries close along each shore. 

Originally it was called Kenmare Bay, but by ensuring that it was officially re-named (by himself) as the Kenmare River, William Petty secured excusive fisheries rights all the way to the AtlanticOriginally it was called Kenmare Bay, but by ensuring that it was officially re-named (by himself) as the Kenmare River, William Petty secured excusive fisheries rights all the way to the Atlantic

So the fact that he may have used Arklow to have his Simon & Jude built shows that even in the 1660s, when Arklow harbour was little more than the shallow and shifting sandy estuary of the Avoca River, the place already had a notable boat-building tradition that continues to capture the maritime imagination, and manifests itself in a complex spider’s web of weird associations today.

Thus when marine historian and record-keeper Ian Whittaker in Scotland enquired the other day in search of photos and images of some Tyrrell built-boats including the 1954-built 31ft Bermudan sloop Sinloo of Arklow and the 1935-built 35ft gaff yawl Failte II, it sent the linkup wheels spinning.

The attractively robust Jack Tyrrell-designed and built yawl Failte II of 1935. She was last reported in France some years ago under the name of TideripThe attractively robust Jack Tyrrell-designed and built yawl Failte II of 1935. She was last reported in France some years ago under the name of Tiderip

For Sinloo is currently a restoration project of which we hope to carry a more detailed update shortly, while Failte II – an attractively robust vessel built for that noted muscular Christian the Reverend Vandelaur (Kilrush links of course) - was last reported in France under the name of Tiderip.

But once you let connections start to take over, you’re trapped. For although Sinloo was built for the Horsman family of County Wicklow, by the 1960s she was owned by Professor John Kinmonth, and in a cruise of southwest Ireland in 1966, he mentions in his log that between Union Hall and Knightstown, the crew included his schoolboy son Fred.

Sinloo of Arklow, designed & built by Jack Tyrell in 1953-54, is currently under restorationSinloo of Arklow, designed & built by Jack Tyrell in 1953-54, is currently under restoration

That same Fred Kinmonth is now a corporate lawyer in Hong Kong, where he has been noted as the campaigner of some very hot offshore racers called Mandrake. But he has maintained his links to West Cork, and it is he who has commissioned the building of a replica of Conor O’Brien’s world-girdling Saoirse, which - all being well - will be launched by Liam Hegarty and his team from Oldcourt Boatyard for her build Centenary this year.

Jack Tyrrell’s profile plan of the 1954 Arklow-built SinlooJack Tyrrell’s profile plan of the 1954 Arklow-built Sinloo

And just to close the circle in the meantime, when Conor O’Brien was pressed for the inspiration for the archaic yet effective shape of his design for Saoirse’s hull, he said that it was partially based on a noted fishing ketch of the 1860s which had taken his fancy. That ketch was of course a creation of Tyrrell of Arklow.

Conor O’Brien’s Saoirse – while largely based on his own ideas, he did admit that he drew some inspiraton from the lines of a renowned Arklow fishing ketch of the 1860sConor O’Brien’s Saoirse – while largely based on his own ideas, he did admit that he drew some inspiraton from the lines of a renowned Arklow fishing ketch of the 1860s

Published in Boatyards
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Members of Courtown/Arklow Coast Guard were recently presented with medals of tenure, as the Gorey Guardian reports.

And chief among them was Benjamin Murphy, who was recognised for his 40 years’ service prior to his recent retirement.

“Pulling off 40 years of service is nearly impossible to do and it’s a massive achievement as a volunteer,” David Swinburne of Courtown/Arklow Coast Guard said.

The Gorey Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

Arklow RNLI launched swiftly on Sunday (1 August) to assist a support vessel that lost propulsion during a sailing regatta off the Co Wicklow town.

Most of the volunteer crew were already close to the station when they received the request to launch just after 11am, and the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tighclearr was soon under way with coxswain Ned Dillon at the helm.

Once on scene, about a quarter-mile north-east of the Arklow Harbour entrance, it was established that the 10.5ft motor cruiser with two crew aboard had become entangled in fishing gear.

An RNLI volunteer went aboard the cruiser to assist but after efforts to clear the props failed, it was decided to tow the vessel — which had been acting as a support boat as part of the local Sailing Regatta — back into the safety of the harbour.

Following the callout, Arklow RNLI’s community safety officer Mark Corcoran said: “Thankfully we had a positive result this morning. This callout shows that anybody can become entangled in fishing gear; indeed I have myself as have other members of our own crew.

“I’m delighted the time and effort we spend on delivery of our community safety plan and our interactions with all of the groups and clubs who use the harbours and river keep the water safety message to the fore in people’s minds.”

The crew alongside Dillon on this callout were station mechanic James Russell, Craig O’Reilly, Geoff Kearnes, Eddie McElheron and Jimmy Myler.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Larne RNLI’s volunteers launched to the aid of three people in difficulty off the Antrim coast between late Monday evening (17 May) and early Tuesday morning (18 May).

Both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats were requested to launch around 11pm following a report that a man had fallen on rocks and sustained possible wrist and head injuries in the Ballygally area of the East Antrim coast.

The all-weather lifeboat Dr John McSparron went alongside providing support and helping to illuminate the area for the Larne Coastguard and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service crews already on scene.

With the location of the casualty presenting access issues, he was moved to the inshore lifeboat in a basket stretcher and ferried to the slipway near Ballygally beach where he was transferred to the waiting ambulance.

Just a couple of hours later, the lifeboat crew were called out again to assist two sailors on a 35ft yacht on passage from Argyll with reported engine failure some 15 nautical miles off Larne Harbour.

After checking both sailors were safe and well, the volunteers set up a tow for the vessel to its destination of Carrickfergus Marina, where it was secured for maintenance.

Larne RNLI’s deputy launching authority Philip Ford-Hutchinson described the night as a busy one “with little rest between callouts”.

He added: “The first call demonstrated great teamwork between the RNLI, Larne Coastguard and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

“Callouts like these are something that our volunteer crew regularly train for and the skill and professionalism was evident last night. We wish the gentleman a speedy recovery.”

Arklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat takes a stricken fishing vessel under tow on Friday 14 MayArklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat takes a stricken fishing vessel under tow on Friday 14 May | Credit: RNLI/Arklow

Elsewhere, Arklow RNLI and Courtown RNLI launched their respective all-weather and inshore lifeboats to reports of a fishing vessel in danger of sinking near Courtown last Friday morning (14 May).

As the Courtown crew arrived on scene, they found a number of other fishing boats attempting to tow the stricken vessel to safety as its crew managed to stem the flow of water on board.

Arklow RNLI then set up their own tow to bring the casualty vessel into Arklow Harbour amid calm seas.

Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI community safety sfficer, said: ”It’s great to see all of the various agencies working together helping to save lives at sea and in our communities.

“Thankfully this callout became lower risk due to the actions of the vessel’s own crew.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

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