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Displaying items by tag: Galway

A crew of nine were rescued by Galway RNLI last night (Tuesday 24 August) after their RIB ran aground in Ballyvaughan Bay.

With the boat’s propeller and engine damaged, the crew used VHF communications to alert the Irish Coast Guard who immediately sought the assistance of Galway RNLI's inshore lifeboat.

The lifeboat launched from Galway Docks at about 10pm. Conditions were calm and dark when the lifeboat crew located the stricken vessel some 20 minutes later.

All nine crew on board the 6.5m boat were wearing lifejackets and did not need any medical assistance.

Galway RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crew of helm Brian Nilan, James Rhattigan, Dave McGrath and Cathal Bryne took the boat in tow to Parkmore Pier near Kinvara.

Galway RNLI deputy launching authority Seán Óg Leydon said: “The crew of the vessel acted quickly by dropping anchor straight away and contacting the Irish Coast Guard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Galway City Council has welcomed An Bord Pleanála’s approval for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge adjacent to the Salmon Weir Bridge over the River Corrib.

The council’s chief executive said the new bridge is a part of its Galway Transport Strategy, which aims to “enhance sustainable travel within the city centre and reduce dependency on the private motor vehicle, in line with national transport and planning policies”.

Brendan McGrath added: “This decision to approve the project is great news, and now allows us to progress it to the next stage.

“This significant development will tie in closely with other projects such as BusConnects Galway, public realm improvements on Newtownsmith and the creation of a civic plaza at the cathedral/Gaol Road.

“These will all work together to create safer spaces for pedestrians and cyclists as they move through the city, as well as a more enjoyable public realm for all.”

The bridge will be co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund with matched funding from the National Transport Authority.

A public consultation on the bridge plans ran last summer via virtual ‘information rooms’ to compensate for the lack of in-person events due to the pandemic.

Following completion of design documents, the construction contract will be opened to tender early next year, the council says.

Published in Inland Waterways
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A local community in eastern Co Mayo rallied to attempt to save as many as 13 common dolphins that live-stranded near Blacksod on Friday (13 August).

As Mayo IWDG’s Facebook reports, the family group comprising 13 dolphins — mainly mothers and calves with a large male — stranded at Tarmon Beach with the tide dropping.

Sadly three of the dolphins died before they could be helped, but the rest responded to being cooled with buckets of seawater by local volunteers assisting the area’s Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) members.

As the tide was still dropping for over an hour, it was quickly decided to move the dolphins 2km by road to the slipway at Blacksod where they could be more easily immersed and cared for.

The local IWDG team used their new wheeled dolphin stretcher to transport the larger marine wildlife to a horse box, while the juveniles were carried in beach towels.

Once carefully released back into the water, all were seen to swim quickly and without obvious distress, and by 9pm the pod had left the area.

“Tarmon and the surrounding beaches on the east side of the Mullet Peninsula are notorious for common dolphins live-stranding due to the topography of the beaches,” Mayo IWDG said.

“The beaches are large flat expanses so during spring tides especially, the water can level can drop uniformly and recede up to 1km in parts. Common dolphins being an offshore dolphin species often get caught out on such difficult-to-navigate shallow terrain.

“When a dolphin live-strands it puts immense pressure on their bodies. They can become very disorientated and have muscle spasms from the stranding event making it difficult to swim, which is why this group were given recovery time at Blacksod before being released.

“Thanks again to everyone who helped out today; it was so humbling to see everyone work together to get this pod back to the sea.”

Juvenile dolphins cooled down with wet towels and seaweed were given recovery time with their pod before release | Credit: Mayo IWDG/FacebookJuvenile dolphins cooled down with wet towels and seaweed were given recovery time with their pod before release | Credit: Mayo IWDG/Facebook

Elsewhere, the IWDG reports on two separate strandings of Sowerby’s beaked whales in Co Galway. The first was found washed up on Inisbofin at the end of the week while the second was reported yesterday (Saturday 14 August) across the water in Cleggan.

Commenting on the former report, the IWDG said: “Beaked whales are not stranded that frequently but this individual had evidence of rope marks on its body.

“As [they are] an offshore deep-diving species we don’t expect beaked whales to get entangled in fishing gear or interact with offshore activity.

“Maybe these rope marks were not from fishing but some other source. Hard to tell, but without a full post-mortem examination the cause of death will remain speculative.”

Published in Marine Wildlife

Irish Water has been asked to explain why the Connemara harbour of Roundstone may end up with two wastewater treatment plants in a bid to meet EU water quality standards.

As The Times Ireland edition reports, Bord Pleanála has queried why Irish Water would not work with the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) on its plans for a treatment plant instead of opting for its own separate location.

Roundstone’s existing sewerage scheme dates from 1929, discharging wastewater directly into the sea at three locations.

As Afloat reported in March, Irish Water told residents at an information meeting two years ago that treatment would stop the discharge of the equivalent of “645 wheelie bins” daily of wastewater into the bay.

It explained that a proposed plant designed for a population of 1,000 people would comply with the Urban Wastewater Treatment directive.

Irish Water then sought compulsory acquisition of private land to the north of the village, overlooking inner Roundstone Bay.

An oral hearing on this acquisition application was held by An Bord Pleanála in March of this year.

The State body said if its application for the land was approved, it would then seeking planning permission with a target completion date for construction of 2024.

The King family, who are opposing the compulsory acquisition of their property, have accused Irish Water of a lack of transparency.

Some residents have questioned why Irish Water could not cooperate with the IDA on its plans for a treatment plant on State land to the south of the village.

The residents argue that inner bay site is unsuitable, citing data showing a projected increase in sewage discharge from 86 to 106 cubic metres per day - as in a 23% increase.

Local fisherman Pat Conneely has said that the IDA location would be more suitable on an environmental basis than the proposed inner bay location, given that the latter is tidal.

Roundstone Community Council, which has been campaigning for a treatment plant for 20 years, has said it supports the democratic right of local people to object to the choice of location.

In an eight-page letter to Irish Water, An Bord Pleanála refers to an“inconsistency” in its approach and seeks detailed answers to a series of technical questions which must be received by July 7th.

Bord Pleanála notes that Roundstone is on the Wild Atlantic Way - attracting the second-highest landscape rating in the Galway County development plan - and asks Irish Water to comment on “the potential for alternative sites”.

It also asks Irish Water to comment on a recommendation by RPS Consultants that a site to the south of the village – where the IDA has land – is the “only viable” option.

Irish Water confirmed it had “received a number of queries from An Bord Pleanála” and said “the project team are currently reviewing these queries and will submit detailed responses in the coming months in accordance with the timeline requested”.

Read The Times here

Published in Coastal Notes
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The Limerick Trading ketch Ilen has reached Galway in the first stage of a programme which will eventually see her call at all the Irish ports which, in Mediaeval times, were a remarkable mixture of defensive walled towns and actively-functioning seaports. The Irish Walled Towns Network, a grouping operated through the Heritage Council, seeks to emphasise the aspects are shared by those historical port, and the voyage of the Ilen round Ireland, coupled with a wide variety of events at the ports visited, will be tangible evidence of this ancient reality, with the mayor of Limerick, Councillor Michael Collins, aboard Ilen to be greeted on arrive by Galway’s Deputy Mayor, Councillor Colette Connolly.

The Mayor of Limerick, Councillor Michael Collins, links up with Galway’s Deputy Mayor Colette Connolly at the Ilen in the Port of Galway with Ilen Marine School Director Gary Mac Mahon.   The Mayor of Limerick, Councillor Michael Collins, links up with Galway’s Deputy Mayor Colette Connolly at the Ilen in the Port of Galway with Ilen Marine School Director Gary Mac Mahon.

Ilen is a fine sight on Galway Bay. Photo: Deirdre PowerIlen is a fine sight on Galway Bay. Photo: Deirdre Power

Published in Ilen
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Weather permitting, a flotilla of wooden-built Galway hookers will escort an aluminium-built passenger ferry out on the first leg of its maiden voyage between Galway city and the Aran islands this morning.

Several gleoiteogs with Galway Hooker Sailing Club aim to accompany the new Aran Island Ferries fast ship out past Mutton island.

As Afloat reported previously, Named Saoirse na Farraige (freedom of the sea), the 400-seat passenger ferry was built in Hong Kong for Aran Island Ferries, the company run by the O’Brien family of An Cheathrú Rua, Co Galway.

It offers a longer sea trip but faster overall journey west from Galway city to Inis Mor.

It is almost 40 years since the O’Briens took their first passengers in the Galway hooker, An Tonaí, and then purchased their first passenger ferry named the Dún Aengus in 1983.

The family company now has a fleet of five-passenger ferries, and their routes between Ros-a-Mhíl and the three Aran islands will be complemented by the new 40-metre ship on the Galway city- Inis Mór route.

The vessel built in Cheoy Lee Shipyards in Hong Kong has a speed of 20 knots, and its master is Donegal man and former pelagic fisherman Shane McCole.

It has a capacity for 394 passengers – as in a 306 passengers on the main deck, divided into two seating areas, and a semi-covered space for 88 passengers on the top deck.

However, the ferry will be carrying reduced capacity to meet with Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.

Passengers leaving for Inis Mór at 9.30am from Galway docks will have the option of a return journey via the Cliffs of Moher in Clare.

The Doolin2Aran Ferries company in Doolin, Co Clare, also offers cruises below the sea cliffs from Doolin pier.

Saoirse na Farraige claims to have “ the cleanest exhaust emission” of any ferry on Irish waters.

It is fitted leather seating, charging points and plasma screens – earning it the local nickname of “GoBus” at sea – and it has a wheelchair lift.

The O’Briens say the new route will create 15 new jobs, after what has been “a tough year for all involved in tourism”.

The Port of Galway has welcomed the first passenger ferry service from the city to the Aran Islands since 2005.

The combined Aran Island Ferries fleet of six vessels has a total facility for 1,420 passengers when at full capacity.

Ticket prices for a return journey on Saoirse na Farraige from Galway docks will be:

Adult: €49, Student/Senior: €44, Child: €25

Published in Ferry
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Galway RNLI Lifeboat recovered a casualty from the Seaweed Point causeway off Blackrock, Salthill tonight.

The alert was raised after a member of the public contacted the authorities at about 5 pm.

The caller reported seeing a casualty at Seaweed point, off Blackrock, while out walking in the area.

The Irish Coast Guard requested the assistance of Galway RNLI Lifeboat and a member of the shore crew drove to the scene. Members of Galway Fire Service also assisted.

The lifeboat launched from Galway Docks a short time later and two crew members together with the Fire Service crew went ashore and carried the casualty on to the vessel.

He was transported back to the lifeboat station at Galway docks, where Gardai and the RNLI lifeboat medical officer assisted.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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What started as a small fundraiser for Galway RNLI and Cancer Care West has turned into something spectacular as the players and members of Galway Corinthians RFC have raised over €8,500 for both organisations through two fundraising efforts.

The first featured the senior players in the club with Jack Noone and Kenneth Casburn behind the organisation of ‘Movember’ where players, management and committee members grew facial hair of some kind for the month of November.

The second featured the mercurial talents of club president Kieran Faherty.

Known fondly as ‘Flash’, Kieran is an accomplished artist and he generously provided one of his paintings known as ‘Brewing Up A Storm’, a stunning view of Galway Bay that has proved very popular with prints and cards selling out quickly.

But what inspired the painting? “I am often asked that,” Kieran says. “Pretty much my signature pieces are all about colour, and Connemara is my inspiration for many.

“As a kid I only saw greyness in the Connemara landscape, but age opens your eyes. Now I embrace all the wonderful changing coloured landscape that the mountains, bogs and lakes give up to us.”

He added: “I think my inspiration for this piece is the challenges it offers, as it sits in stormy waters, and I think appropriately it is raising funds for a charity that lives in stormy waters with their incredible brave crew.”

The fundraising has been warmly welcomed by both organisations, with Mike Swan, Galway RNLI lifeboat operations manager, saying: “I wanted to express my personal gratitude for the effort of the members of Corinthians Rugby Club and thank them for their very generous donation, of which will be put to good use saving lives at sea.

“Given the year that’s in it, the crew are overwhelmed with the support from the people of Galway.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

In Galway city, the RNLI inshore lifeboat rescued a man caught in rising tide while out walking at Ballyloughane beach near Renmore.

A member of the public spotted the man who had taken refuge on Hare island at about 11 am, and the alarm was raised with the Irish Coast Guard.

Galway lifeboat launched within minutes and took the man safely on board at Hare island, bringing him back to Galway docks. He did not require medical attention.

Galway lifeboat launch authority Mike Swan urged the public “ to be aware of the tide times and to take extra care when out walking any of the coastal areas around the bay so as not to get caught out”.

“Thankfully this ended well,” he said.

The Galway RNLI crew on the callout were helmsman Declan Killilea, with Stefanie Carr, Greg Cullen and Olivia Byrne.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Improving stocks of wild salmon and trout in the West of Ireland in the goal of a new initiative launched by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Derek Evans writes in The Irish Times about IFI’s partnership with Co Galway angling federation Cairde an Chláir to restore a near kilometre-long stretch of the Abbert River, a tributary of the River Clare.

Earlier this year the two groups signed a memorandum of understanding on the conservation and development of brown trout and salmon and their habitat, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

While the coronavirus pandemic slowed progress over the year, IFI says the project is now at the stage where work on the river can begin — while a similar scheme to restore 8km of nursery streams such as the River Nanny is already under way.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling
Page 1 of 32

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.

©Afloat 2020

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