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Displaying items by tag: Co Mayo

#WATERFRONT PROPERTY - Ever wanted to own your own island? With Inishturk Beg now on the market, now might be your chance - if you've got a few million to spend!

The 65-acre island property, lying in Clew Bay in Co Mayo, is home to one of Ireland's most luxury developments, comprising a six-bed main residence with five other houses, a pier and a floating marina, among many other features.

The main house - designed by award-winning architect Andrew Wright - is 12,000 sq ft over two floors, and comes with an adjacent leisure complex with a gym, games room, indoor pool and hot tub, a cinema and even a ceili hall.

Other residences on the island include the 1,600 sq ft Pavillion, the 700 sq ft Reef Cottage, the 600 sq ft Yard Cottage and the spacious 3-bed Pier Cottage. There is also a boat house, American-style barns and the island's original pier.

Also available under separate negotiation is Stud Cottage, located on the mainland by at Rosstoughy Harbour, an inlet of Clew Bay, sitting on 25 acres and with additional outbuildings.

Inishturk Beg provides the utmost in luxury and privacy in a sheltered position to the side of Clew Bay providing stunning vistas to match - and is located a mere 10km from Westport and less than 70km from Knock Airport.

The island is on the market for €2,850,000 by private treaty through Knight Frank. Contact Harriet Grant at 01 662 3255 to arrange a viewing, which is strictly by appointment only. Much more details on this property are available HERE.

Published in Waterfront Property

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has recorded another first for the North Atlantic, with evidence showing that killer whales are feeding on ocean sunfish.

Mark Holmes of the Natural History Museum confirmed the presence of parasites unique to the sunfish found within the carcass of a female orca stranded in Doohooma in Co Mayo.

"These parasites did not originate from the whale's stomach, but came from the prey which it had eaten," said the IWDG's Conor Ryan.

"This was confirmed when the partially digested bones in the stomachs were eventually identified as those of a sunfish beak."

The discovery may explain a recent study of UK waters which found sunfish taking unusually deep dives, possibly to avoid cetaceans and other large predators.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has confirmed the sighting of a humpback whale off Achill Island in Co Mayo last weekend.

Surfers off Keel Beach were credited with the discovery, after spotting a large whale of 30-60ft breaking the surface multiple times, lifting its tail fluke vertically.

The sighting is only the fifth validated record of a humpback whale off the coastal area from Galway to Donegal.

"It remains something of a mystery as to why sightings of this species remain such relatively rare events along our west and northwest compared to our south and southwest coasts," says IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.

"This latest sighting is a timely reminder that species such as humpbacks can and do turn up in places that are well outside what we perceive to be the known 'hotspots'."

Humpback whales tend to feed in inshore waters, which should make them increasingly easier for the public to spot from the shore, he added.

The IWDG has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MCIB - The decision to set out in poor weather, coupled with limited safety instruction, led to the tragic death of a Romanian angler on Lough Mask last summer, according to a report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB).

Mircea Ungur drowned after the angling boat he was in capsized in choppy waters brought on by squalling Force 8 winds on the afternoon of 8 May 2011.

Ungur had a tracheostomy tube in his throat resulting from a previous battle against throat cancer, and drowned after taking in water through this tube, the MCIB concluded. It was also found that most of his companions and the guide knew nothing about the tube.

At the time of the incident, Ungur had been on an angling holiday in Co Mayo with five colleagues accompanied by a fishing guide. On the morning of 8 May the group set out from Cappaduff in Tourmakeady on two boats, following a brief discussion about fishing and safe departure from the pier.

Winds were already reaching Force 4-6 when the group departed and sought a sheltered area of the lough to fish. After lunch winds had picked up to Force 8 and the guide signalled for a return to Tourmakeady.

At around 1.5km from the pier at Cappaduff, a wave swamped the leading boat that contained Ungur, a companion and the guide. All three on board, who were wearing buoyancy aids, went into the water.

Ungur was the first taken on board the other boat after some 10 minutes in the water. He was not moving or communicating with the others, and CPR was not administered until the boat reached the shore 20 minutes later. Ungur was pronouced dead just before 3pm.

The report concluded that the group had departed despite reservations among them about the poor weather, which had been correctly forecast that day. There was also little discussion with the anglers about their level of boating experience, the weather, or any disabilities that would affect their safety on the water.

The MCIB recommended that a full safety briefing should be given to all those hiring angling boats. It also urged the enforcement of safety regulations and certification for recreational water craft.

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

Published in MCIB
Described by The Irish Times' Derek Evans as "one of the Great Fishing Houses of Ireland", the Rock House fishery in Co Mayo boasted banner numbers of salmon and sea trout catches this spring and summer.
April started off strong on the Owenduff River in Ballycroy, with three spring salmon weighing between 9.5lb and 12lb landed in the first two weeks.
This was followed by respectable numbers in May of 30 salmon and three sea trout. But June and July were the bumper time for angling, with thundery rain aiding the catch.
Even August proved bountiful despite lacking in fresh grilse, with 12 salmon ad 27 sea trout caught throughout the month.
"Drift netting laws appear to be having a positive effect," said Rock House's Sibylle Geffroy.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Described by The Irish Times' Derek Evans as "one of the Great Fishing Houses of Ireland", the Rock House fishery in Co Mayo boasted banner numbers of salmon and sea trout catches this spring and summer.

April started off strong on the Owenduff River in Ballycroy, with three spring salmon weighing between 9.5lb and 12lb landed in the first two weeks.

This was followed by respectable numbers in May of 30 salmon and three sea trout. But June and July were the bumper time for angling, with thundery rain aiding the catch.

Even August proved bountiful despite lacking in fresh grilse, with 12 salmon ad 27 sea trout caught throughout the month. 

"Drift netting laws appear to be having a positive effect," said Rock House's Sibylle Geffroy.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling
Three private islands off Ireland's west coast are now up for sale - with the cheapest being a snip at just €150,000.
Irish Central reports that the three islands are currently offered via the website privateislandonline.com which aims at the rich-and-famous market.
Mannions Island, in west Cork's Dunmanus Bay, is priced less than the average family home in Dublin. For €150,000 the buyer gets a four-acre island that's 60% fertile just 200m from the shore (the catch is that there are no buildings).
Further up the coast at Clew Bay in Co Mayo is Island Mor, a 70-acre gem with views of the Inish Gort lighthouse and Croagh Patrick, which is going for €902,000. The location is a popular one for celebs - John Lennon was once an owner in Clew Bay.
Last but not least is Mutton Island, a mile from Seafield Harbour in Co Clare and just 20 miles south of the Aran Islands. The largest of the three at 185 acres, it also has a storied history, with the first recorded human settlement in 548 AD. Price is available on request.

Three private islands off Ireland's west coast are now up for sale - with the cheapest being a snip at just €150,000.

Irish Central reports that the three islands are currently offered via the website privateislandonline.com which aims at the rich-and-famous market.

Mannions Island, in west Cork's Dunmanus Bay, is priced less than the average family home in Dublin. For €150,000 the buyer gets a four-acre island that's 60% fertile just 200m from the shore (the catch is that there are no buildings).

Further up the coast at Clew Bay in Co Mayo is Island Mor, a 70-acre gem with views of the Inish Gort lighthouse and Croagh Patrick, which is going for €902,000. The location is a popular one for celebs - John Lennon was once an owner in Clew Bay.

Last but not least is Mutton Island, a mile from Seafield Harbour in Co Clare and just 20 miles south of the Aran Islands. The largest of the three at 185 acres, it also has a storied history, with the first recorded human settlement in 548 AD. Price is available on request.

Published in Waterfront Property
New Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has signed off on a key foreshore licence to Shell Ireland, paving the way for the completion of the controversial Corrib gas project.
The Irish Times reports that the licence, subject to conditions, consents for the construction of the final 8km section of pipeline linking the Corrib gas field to Shell's onshore terminal at Ballinaboy. Co Mayo.
The scheme already has approval from An Bord Pleanála, and consents approved by former acting energy minister Pat Carey. But An Taisce has sought a judicial review of the planning decision, due before the High Court on Tuesday.
Still required by the developer before any work can begin are a revised emissions licence from the Environmental Protection Agency and a safety permit from the Commission for Energy Regulation under the Petroleum (Exploration and Extraction) Safety Act 2010.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

New Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has signed off on a key foreshore licence to Shell Ireland, paving the way for the completion of the controversial Corrib gas project.

The Irish Times reports that the licence, subject to conditions, consents for the construction of the final 8km section of pipeline linking the Corrib gas field to Shell's onshore terminal at Ballinaboy. Co Mayo.

The scheme already has approval from An Bord Pleanála, and consents approved by former acting energy minister Pat Carey. But An Taisce has sought a judicial review of the planning decision, due before the High Court on Tuesday.

Still required by the developer before any work can begin are a revised emissions licence from the Environmental Protection Agency and a safety permit from the Commission for Energy Regulation under the Petroleum (Exploration and Extraction) Safety Act 2010.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
The Irish Seal Sanctuary celebrated the release of six grey seal pups from two different locations last weekend.
Dustin, Phoenix and Sean were released from Courtown Harbour, while Buddy Holly, Louise and Cookie were put into the water in Ballyferriter, Co Kerry with help from the Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary.
Sarah Forde, a volunteer at the Dingle sanctuary, told the Irish Independent that Buddy Holly was just 11kg in weight when he was brought in last October.
"Now, three months later, he's a healthy 44kg, the proper weight for a pup his age and in the next two years as he reaches maturity he'll grow to around 300kg," she said.
Louise and Cookie (pictured HERE) were found in a similar condition in beaches in Co Kerry after being abandoned by their mothers.
The Irish Seal Sanctuary's next release will be this Saturday 15 January when Cecil and Snowy, two seal pups rescued in Belmullet and rehabilitated at the sanctuary in Courtown, will be returned to the wild at Falmor Beach, Black Sod, Co Mayo.

The Irish Seal Sanctuary celebrated the release of six grey seal pups from two different locations last weekend.

Dustin, Phoenix and Sean were released from Courtown Harbour, while Buddy Holly, Louise and Cookie were put into the water in Ballyferriter, Co Kerry with help from the Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary.

Sarah Forde, a volunteer at the Dingle sanctuary, told the Irish Independent that Buddy Holly was just 11kg in weight when he was brought in last October.

"Now, three months later, he's a healthy 44kg, the proper weight for a pup his age and in the next two years as he reaches maturity he'll grow to around 300kg," she said.

Louise and Cookie (pictured HERE) were found in a similar condition in beaches in Co Kerry after being abandoned by their mothers.

The Irish Seal Sanctuary's next release will be this Saturday 15 January when Cecil and Snowy, two seal pups rescued in Belmullet and rehabilitated at the sanctuary in Courtown, will be returned to the wild at Falmor Beach, Black Sod, Co Mayo.

Published in Marine Wildlife

A four foot yacht containing goodwill messages from children in the US state of Maine has landed on the west coast of Ireland, more than a year after it was launched. The craft survived at least two hurricanes on its journey of more than 4,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. A farmer stumbled across the unique vessel after it was washed up on a Co Mayo beach. The Irish Independent has the full story HERE.

Published in Offshore

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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