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Displaying items by tag: Kerry

A trio of dolphins who surrounded a swimmer rescued after hours at sea off the Kerry coast earlier this week have been identified as a group from Scottish waters more than 1,000km away.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the swimmer was recovered by Fenit RNLI north of the Dingle Peninsula after a 12-hour ordeal on Sunday evening when rescuers spotted dolphins circling around him.

It soon emerged that the casualty was well-known Northern Ireland entertainer Ruairí McSorley, who shot to fame in his school days as ‘Frostbit Boy’ when a video clip from a TV voxpop went viral online.

Already an incredible story, it took another astounding turn when the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) identified the so-called ‘Fenit 3’ dolphins that helped alert rescuers as belonging to a population from the Moray Firth in the north-east of Scotland.

But the IWDG says this is not an unprecedented occurrence, as they come from the same marine wildlife group as miracle dolphin Spirtle who spent the summer of 2019 off the South West Coast.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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The swimmer rescued off the Kerry coast on Sunday (22 August) after a lifeboat crew spotted him surrounded by a pod of dolphins is the star of a popular online video, it’s emerged.

As Independent.ie reports, Ruairí McSorley shot to internet stardom as ‘Frostbit Boy’ when a clip from a TV vox pop as he walked to school in the snow took off with millions of views in a matter of days.

He’s since applied his quirky mannerisms into a career as a cruise ship entertainer. But with that industry grounded amid the coronavirus pandemic, he relocated to the Dingle Peninsula from his home near Derry.

McSorley had been at sea for at least 12 hours when he was recovered by the crew of Fenit RNLI on Sunday evening and was rushed to hospital for treatment for hypothermia.

Now making his recovery at University Hospital Kerry, the 24-year-old explained how he made the spur-of-the-moment decision to drop his things on the beach at Castlegregory and swim out — one that’s never recommended in any water safety advice.

“I just jumped in, and that was it,” he said. “I saw Fenit lighthouse out in the water, and I said, right I’m going towards it. I wouldn’t have got in to start with if I didn’t know I was going to be grand.”

The Irish Independent has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue
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Eccentric boat designer O'Brien Kennedy's picaresque life story attracted fascinated attention when we ran a Sailing on Saturday feature on it ten days ago. But for Professor Felix Muller of Berlin, it was like stumbling on an unexpected oasis in the midst of the desert when he happened on it last weekend.

The Professor had been renewing his until-then frustrating search for more detailed material about a Kennedy-design Kerry Mark II which he bought last summer in the Baltic, a necessary task as the 42-year-old boat came with nothing remotely resembling an owner's manual. However, the little Leitrim-built classic (of which 26 were built in the beamier mainly GRP Mark II version) had passed her survey with flying colours, such that Felix and his crew want to up-grade the boat to pristine condition, and ideally they'd like to have a complete set of plans to do this, or at the very least a fairly detailed original sales brochure.

He has concluded that he owns probably the only Kerry in the entire Baltic, though you'd think there'd probably be one or two others elsewhere in Germany. However, there doesn't seem to be anything like an active Kerry Class Owners Association anywhere, though there are dozens of organisations and products which have the evocative name.

Yet many of these have precious little direct association with the great Kingdom of Kerry that might provide any economic benefit to the citizens thereof, so perhaps this goes some way to explain their sometimes disgruntled attitude towards the people of Ireland in particular, and the rest of the world in general.

And come to think of it, the Kerry 6-tonner fits precisely into this category, so maybe we'd better take this line of thought no further. But meanwhile, in semi-locked-down Berlin, there's a Professor being sustained by thoughts of getting to work on his beloved Kerry down at the old Hanseatic port-town of Stralsund just as soon as possible, and if in the meantime we can forward him further detailed information about the Kerry, it will be a good deed in this wicked world.

If any Kerry 6-tonner owner reading this can help, do please let us know - it will all be done electronically, so you won't lose any precious original documents. Thank you.

Advertisement for the Kerry Mark II in the April 1972 Afloat Magazine. The boat referred to at bottom right as being available for trial sails on Belfast Lough was completed from a bare hull by Frank Smyth at Bangor Shipyard, and was last reported as being based at Oban on the West Coast of ScotlandAdvertisement for the Kerry Mark II in the April 1972 Afloat Magazine. The boat referred to at bottom right as being available for trial sails on Belfast Lough was completed from a bare hull by Frank Smyth at Bangor Shipyard, and was last reported as being based at Oban on the West Coast of Scotland

Published in Historic Boats

Today’s Sunday Independent reports that Government ministers have shot down proposals for a seal cull by rifle from boats off Cork and Kerry.

Internal emails show that Minister of State Malcolm Noonan rejected the suggestion as being “politically unacceptable”.

And both he and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien shared the view that a compensation scheme for fishermen who say seal predation on fish stocks has harmed their livelihoods “would be a better approach”.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, inshore fishermen in Kerry have argued that the depletion of fishery stocks and damage to nets in and around the Blasket Islands is “unsustainable”.

But suggestions that fishermen be given the green light to cull seals from their vessels with high-powered rifles were branded as “insane” by a conservation expert.

The Sunday Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Plans to allow for the culling of seals by fishermen with high-powered rifles have been branded as “insane” by a conservation expert.

According to the Irish Examiner, the Government is looking into the granting of licences that would permit fishermen to shoot seals in order to protect their catches.

The move follows claims by local fishermen in Kerry that seal colonies in the Blasket Islands — a Special Area of Conservation — and elsewhere are largely responsible for depleted fish stocks and damage to nets, a situation which they say is “unsustainable”, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

While a licence for the Blaskets was refused, one of four others this year has been approved, and the rest — across Kerry and Cork — are being considered by Local Government Minister Darragh O’Brien.

“There are concerns about this approach to seal management, given the potential safety concerns arising from using high-powered rifles on moving platforms,” the minister said in a written response to Kerry TD Micael Healy-Rae.

"Nonetheless, my department is examining the potential for a pilot scheme which would test this approach and determine its efficacy in protecting fishermen’s catches.”

However, Irish Wildlife Trust’s Pádraic Fogarty said the idea of “shooting seals with rifles from boats is insane”, and suggested that chronic overfishing and bottom trawling have had a greater impact on available catches.

His comments echoed those of the Irish Seal Sanctuary earlier this year. Its co-founder Brendan Price told RTÉ that culling seals by gun is “essentially wasting a bullet, it’s futile”.

The Irish Examiner has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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Independent.ie reports that a major search and rescue operation was launched last night (Wednesday 26 August) for a sea angler on the Kerry coast.

The man reportedly fell into the water while fishing at Kerry Head.

His angling partner entered the water after him to attempt a rescue, but got into difficulty and was recovered shortly after.

Elsewhere, the body of a fisherman who went missing from his boat of Teelin in Co Donegal just hours before was found late last night.

And a young man has spoken of his role in a ‘terrifying’ rescue of a 10-year-0d boy in difficulty in the water off Com Dhíneol in West Kerry yesterday afternoon.

Twenty-two-year-old Mícheál Keogh sprang into action with another man, Dan Sullivan, to assist the boy’s two uncles in retrieving the youngster amid the strong current.

“It’s a very dangerous place to swim,” Keogh told RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland. “None of them could swim so it was mad altogether but we were able to get them out.”

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue
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It was a most unusual callout for Fenit RNLI yesterday evening (Tuesday 25 August) as they were tasked to a dolphin in the shallows near Fenit Pier in Co Kerry.

Locals out for a stroll in blustery conditions that trailed Storm Francis spotted the solo cetacean, and the local lifeboat crew sought help from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) as for how to proceed.

Their advice was to encourage the dolphin into deeper water if possible, and Fenit RNLI went into action, assisted by local sea vessels in the area the time.

Thanks to their joint effort, the dolphin was gently steered in the direction of open water — and its hoped the marine mammal is now safety swimming at sea.

Lifeboat press officer Jackie Murphy said: “This is an opportunity to remember that the lifeboat crews are volunteers and this is one of the rare occasions where Fenit RNLI experience saving an animal.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Irish Seal Sanctuary has said a seal cull is not the answer to the woes of Dingle Peninsula fishermen, who claim a booming population of the protected marine wildlife is putting their livelihood at risk.

Sanctuary co-founder Brendan Price told RTÉ News that “you’re essentially wasting a bullet, it’s futile” as “an apex predator such as a seal is controlled by the available food source”.

Late last year, inshore fishermen who work around the Blaskets, which is a Special Area of Conservation, blamed the local seal colonies for depleted fish stocks and damage to their nets, arguing the situation was “unsustainable”.

Now the fishermen say they are “at breaking point”, with one claiming that seals actively follow their boats to target their catch.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

Depleted fish stocks and damage to nets in and around the Blaskets are “unsustainable”, argue local fishermen who have called for a cull of the area’s seal population, as the Irish Examiner reports.

The inshore fishermen allege that colonies of grey and common seals in the Blaskets — both protected marine wildlife species in the EU and within a Special Area of Conservation — are responsible for depleted pollock stocks, among others, which it is said is forcing smaller fishermen out of the industry over winter or even permanently.

Fisherman Adam Flannery told a public meeting in Dingle before Christmas: “We are looking for a cull. Because if we do not get a cull in six to eight months, within a few years there won’t be any inshore boat in Dingle.”

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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Marine wildlife miracle Spirtle appears to have taken up residence off the Kerry coast if the many sightings over recent weeks are anything to go by.

Last month the young dolphin was spotted in the area some weeks after she was seen off the East Coast, headed south from her usual haunt off the west of Scotland.

Indeed, it was there where she live stranded in 2016 and suffered severe sunburn, which left her with her distinctive markings.

Despite fears that she wouldn’t survive her ordeal, Spirtle returned to fine health and is now part of a small pod regularly feeding off Feit in Tralee Bay, and which includes a juvenile, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

Researchers are now trying to establish if Spirtle became part of this group after her long travels, or whether they swam with her from Scotland.

Initial evidence suggests at least two of her pod are Scottish regulars, including Spirtle’s own mother Porridge.

“We have documented movements of individual bottlenose dolphins between Ireland and Scotland before, but we do not know how often this occurs or whether it is typical behaviour,” the IWDG said.

“We hope to continue to monitor the presence of this famous ‘Scottish’ dolphin and see if she stays or travels further,” the group added.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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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.

©Afloat 2020

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