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Displaying items by tag: River Liffey

The histories, life and culture of five port towns in Ireland and Wales as Afloat previously reported, will feature in a film and exhibition in Dublin during Heritage Week 2022.

These events have been produced by Aberystwyth University and the University of Wales Trinity Saint Davids as part of Ports, Past and Present, an international project led by University College Cork (UCC) which explores the history and cultural heritage of the ports.

Project leader Professor Claire Connolly from University College Cork said: “The Ports, Past and Present project frames voices, images and stories from across the five ports, enabling new forms of engagement with a shared past.”

The film, 'At the Water’s Edge: Stories of the Irish Sea’, showcases stunning views of the landscapes and wildlife of the Irish Sea coast. Through stories told by local people, it explores the interconnected history of the ports of Dublin and Rosslare Harbour in Ireland, and of Fishguard, Holyhead and Pembroke Dock in Wales, as well as the three ferry routes connecting them. Stories include those of dock workers and kayakers, local historians, and wildlife lovers.

Dublin residents Gary Brown, Shane O’Doherty, Audrey Mac Cready, Jenny Kilbride, John Hawkins, Séan Potts, Mick Foran, and Kay Foran are among those who feature in the film, sharing their stories of living and working in the area. Shane O’Doherty describes the links between the landscape and history in Dublin Bay, while Kay Foran shares her memorable stories of signing up as a rare female dockworker.

The film screens at the Port Centre, Dublin Port, at 5 pm on Saturday, August 13. Email Rita Singer to request a free ticket to the screening: [email protected]

With thanks to Dublin Port Company for their support of this event.

Meanwhile, the ‘Creative Connections’ exhibition showcases inspiring works by 12 creative practitioners who have worked with communities across the five ferry ports to present their unique heritage stories through storytelling, community art, photography, film and a radio play. This work is led by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

The exhibition will be launched at a special reception at 6 pm on Tuesday, August 16 in EPIC’s Liffey Corner gallery space, at the CHQ building. Tuesday’s reception will include readings and a short film showing. The exhibition runs from August 13 to August 21, with further events scheduled throughout the week.

To sign up for the Creative Connections exhibition launch reception and related events, visit here

The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Co-operation Programme. The project is led by UCC in partnership with Aberystwyth University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and Wexford County Council.

Published in Dublin Port
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There was a Lffeyside handover on Friday of the 'All in a Row' cheque of €13,000 raised in aid of the Irish Refugee Council at the Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club in Ringsend, Dublin.

The much-needed funds raised came from May's Charity Concert featuring Phelim Drew and House Band and will go towards the needs of Ukrainian children who sadly arrived in Ireland without parents this year.

Published in River Liffey

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland, took to the waters of Dublin Bay to take part in the annual ‘Casting of the Spear’ ceremony, the first time the tradition has been observed since before the pandemic.

The ‘Casting of the Spear’ is a tradition dating back 531 years for the incumbent Lord Mayor, who becomes Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port. The title of Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port has been bestowed on the Lord Mayor of Dublin for over 20 years.

Historical records show that the maritime tradition of the Casting the Spear dates back to 1488 when Thomas Mayler, who was then Lord Mayor of Dublin, rode out on horseback and cast a spear as far as he could into the sea – this was to mark the city’s boundaries eastwards. Centuries later, the re-enactment ceremony reminds us of Dublin’s role as a port city in medieval times and highlights Dublin Port’s remarkable history since its establishment as a trading post some 1,200 years ago.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland said: ''I am absolutely thrilled to have had the honour of Casting of the Spear and marking the eastern boundary of our City. I feel privileged being the Honorary Admiral of the Port for the duration of my term of office.

This ancient tradition of marking the City's maritime boundary with a spear has always fascinated me. It also highlights the strategic economic importance of Dublin Port to our City and indeed our country and how it has grown and developed over the centuries.''

Dublin Port CEO Eamonn O’Reilly commented at the ceremony: “I would like to thank Lord Mayor Gilliland for her participation in this year’s annual Casting of the Spear ceremony as we celebrate our heritage as a port city. It is heartening to be able to return to these time-honoured traditions after the disruption of the last few years. Looking back, now more than 530 years, it is extraordinary to think that our city’s boundaries were established by Thomas Mayler’s spear in the waters of medieval Dublin. Today’s re-enactment symbolises Dublin Port’s continued commitment to preserving an understanding of the history that binds the port and the city together.”

Published in River Liffey

The Dublin Bay Old Gaffers (DBOGA) two-day regatta at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey was also a casualty of the weekend's nor'easter.

Disappointingly, the planned Parade of Sail on the capital's river had to be cancelled in the gusty winds. 

As regular Afloat readers know, the strong winds also cancelled the entire Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Saturday Programme at Dun Laoghaire. The big seas on Saturday led to a reduced start for the annual Lambay Race but nevertheless vintage edition as part of the successful staging of the three day Wave Regatta at Howth Yacht Club. 

Afloat understands plans are now afoot to incorporate the cancelled DBOGA Poolbeg event into September's Howth DBOGA Round the Island (for the Leinster Plate) outing in early September. 

Meanwhile, the season will now see a cruising emphasis for PYBC with members heading off on summer cruises. The PBYC yacht Paradiso has already departed for Norway via the Faroes.

Published in Dublin Bay Old Gaffers

Dave Kelly's All in a Row River Liffey Currach group are running a benefit music gig this Friday in Ringsend in aid of Ukraine for the Irish Refugee Council. 

Doors open at 7:30 pm for the gig this Friday (27th of May) at St Patrick's Church in Ringsend in Dublin. The tickets are €15. 

The gig features the Drew House Band with Phelim Drew performing their show "Remembering Ronnie."

All funds will go directly to the Irish Refugee Council's fund for women and children arriving in Ireland, helping them with books, clothes and uniforms, says Kelly. 

The link for tickets is here.

Published in River Liffey
Tagged under

The Airport Police & Fire Service Rowing Club has thanked River Liffey-based St. Patrick’s Rowing Club in Dublin city for the loan of its quad boat to train for this year’s ‘challenging’ club charity event.

‘Endeavoar 2022’ is a 250-kilometre coastal row along the West Coast of Ireland in aid of the three Dublin Airport Authority staff charities which are, St. Francis Hospice, Feed our Homeless and The Mater Foundation.

Part of the challenge will be to climb Sceilg Mhíchíl and then continue north passing The Blasket Islands, The Cliffs of Moher, The Burren and finally into Galway Bay.

The club says this “three-day event will be one of the most challenging and spectacular we have ever attempted”.

Unfortunately, strong winds thwarted plans for the scheduled May 19th start but it is hoped to make the attempt again in September.

“Thanks to St. Patrick's Rowing Club for allowing us to train using their boat and to Portmagee Rowing Club for giving us their offshore quad during the event. Without their kindness we could not attempt this challenge”, the club ytold followers on social media.

Thanks to St. Patrick's Rowing Club for allowing us to train using their boat

The donate page is here

Published in Coastal Rowing

The 'mystery' to local observers of just who was behind the impressive 15-boat strong RIB raid fleet powering across Dublin Bay last Sunday morning was answered this week on social media when it emerged the boats, ranging from 5 to 8 metres in length, were freshwater visitors from the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) Powerboat Branch.

The River Shannon ribbers, which included three jet skis, took in a River Liffey spin via Grand Canal Dock in the city centre as well as heading out into the Bay to Dun Laoghaire Harbour, followed by a 12km run in some bumpy southerly conditions down to Greystones Harbour in County Wicklow.

"We waited so long to do our first RIB run with the IWAI Powerboat Branch, and it was FANTASTIC! After seeing Dun Laoghaire, Greystones and Dublin city from these new perspectives, I wouldn't wish to live anywhere else but beautiful Éire", said one of the RIB crews online.

Published in RIBs
Tagged under

Three currachs were successfully launched on the River Liffey yesterday to the sound of traditional music tunes and the boats were blessed in a ceremony at Poolbeg in Dublin city.

As Afloat reported earlier, the boats were launched by the Draíocht na Life rowing group.

Traditional Boats of Ireland Editor Criostoir Mac Cartaigh officiated at the proceedings, saying that it's not every day you see three currachs being launched on the same day, especially in Dublin.

The three currachs are launched at the slipway next to Stella Maris Rowing Club Photo: AfloatThe three currachs are launched at the slipway next to Stella Maris Rowing Club Photo: Afloat

One currach is a racing version, built in Connemara and used on the Liffey.

'Cairde' was recently restored by Micheál Ó Maoilchiaráin from Carna in Conamara who took off the old canvas in favour of fibreglass.

A revamp of a Conamara racer, named 'Cairde', from left to right;  Peter Carey and Tom Jordan Photo: AfloatA revamp of a Conamara racer, named 'Cairde', from left to right;  Peter Carey and Tom Jordan Photo: Afloat

New hardwood and pins alongside a nice new paint job finished off the job.

'Sáile', a two-seater and a three seater, 'Faoileán', were built by Ed Tuthill, a Liffey rower, and both were put together in Clane, Co Kildare.

The three-seater was built during the lockdown.

A two seater currach, named Saile, meaning 'woods salted by the sea' from left to right;  Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Frank Tate Photo: AfloatA two seater currach, named Saile, meaning 'woods salted by the sea' from left to right;  Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Frank Tate Photo: Afloat

Mac Cartaigh praised the skill, passion and bravery of the builders who have contributed a huge amount to currach building and getting people out rowing on the Liffey.

The currachs were blessed by Fr Ivan Tonge from Ringsend.

The Draíocht na Life rowing group was formed around 15 years ago by Liffey currach rower and owner, Dave Kelly.

Tunes were played ashore by Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Frank Tate and Fionn O hAlmhain. 

TG4 were there to capture the event in the stern of Cairde and the launch was aired on Nuacht TG4 at 7 pmAs well as Afloat, TG4 were there to capture the event in the stern of Cairde and the launch was aired on Nuacht TG4 at 7 pm Photo: Afloat

Next Saturday crews from Kerry to Donegal and from Conamara to Warrenpoint will take part in the first currach races of the season in Dublin. 

Currach Launching on the Liffey Photo Gallery 

Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

The possibility that stellar jockey Rachael Blackmore, the winner of the Grand National in 2021 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year, might just be descended from a noted Dublin nautical family has emerged from traditional boat enthusiast and maritime historian Cormac Lowth’s research into the development of the Ringsend fishing community. He reveals these intriguing insights from time to time to several organisations, including fellow members of the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association at their gatherings in the hospitable Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, one of the focal points of modern Ringsend’s friendly interaction with Dublin Port.

Two hundred years and more ago, with the ending of the Napoleonic Wars, the seas of western Europe were becoming safer for fishing fleets to go about their trade. And the port of Brixham in southwest England was the Silicon Valley of fishing development in its day, leading the way in the speedy improvement of boats and equipment to enable a rapid expansion of its fishing areas from 1818 onwards.

Brixham today is mainly for tourists, but 200 years ago it was a developmental powerhouse of the fishing industryBrixham today is mainly for tourists, but 200 years ago it was a developmental powerhouse of the fishing industry

This soon brought the new state-of-the-art Brixham trawlers into the Irish Sea, where they needed a base, and it was Ringsend at the rivermouth of Dublin’s River Liffey that proved most hospitable. So much so, in fact, that many of the Brixham fisherman – the all-powerful skippers and ordinary crewmen alike – married into Ringsend families to add new surnames and fresh vitality to the community. 


This interaction and regular connection between Ringsend and Brixham lasted for around a hundred years, ended by World War I in 1914 and the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922. But by then, those distinctive Devon surnames like Biddulph, Ebbs, Upham and Blackmore were very much thought of as pure Ringsend, even if in the bigger picture - with Ringsend developing its own fishing industry with boat-building attached – the Murphy family had become dominant, with their mighty Ringsend-built fishing cutter St Patrick of the 1887 being possibly the largest vessel of the Brixham type ever built.

The Murphy family’s St Patrick at Ringsend in 1889. Possibly the largest vessel ever built of the Brixham type, she was constructed by the Murphy family and successfully fished by them for many years.The Murphy family’s St Patrick at Ringsend in 1889. Possibly the largest vessel ever built of the Brixham type, she was constructed by the Murphy family and successfully fished by them for many years.

But while Murphy is Ireland’s most frequent surname, Blackmore ranks something like 3,500th, which makes anyone thus named very special indeed. Nevertheless, there seems to have been a small but strong strain of Blackmores in Tipperary for some time, so Rachael Blackmore’s people may have got there by some means other than the Brixham-Ringsend route.


Either way, it is exactly the kind of topic for discussion enjoyed by traditional boat enthusiasts when they get together to talk of this and that, and on the evening of Friday, May 6th it’s going to be open house at Poolbeg Y&BC as the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association and their friends gather for the public presentation to Paul Keogh (an “Sailor of the Month” in January) of the international Jolie Brise Trophy for his 25 years of selfless devotion to keeping the community-owned Clondalkin-built Galway Hooker Naomh Cronan in good order and in full action afloat.

This return to normal life (after a remarkable two years-plus period in which the DBOGA have been Zoom-meeting pathfinders) will continue in the June Bank Holiday Weekend, with the three day DBOGA Regatta (aka The Liffey Regatta) at Poolbeg from June 3rd-5th, a remarkable festival in a working port.

The “City Haven” – Poolbeg YC & BC in Ringsend with its marina contrasting with the modern curves o the Aviva StadiumThe “City Haven” – Poolbeg YC & BC in Ringsend with its marina contrasting with the modern curves o the Aviva Stadium

Published in River Liffey

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has confirmed the sighting of a common dolphin in the River Liffey at the weekend.

According to, the marine mammal was spotted swimming near the Poolbeg power plant on Saturday morning (12 March) before it headed out further into Dublin Bay.

IWDG sightings officer Padraig Whooley told “This is only the second time IWDG has confirmed a sighting of a common dolphin in the Liffey system, so it is an unusual record.”

Previously a common dolphin wowed early morning city-goers when it swam up the Liffey as far as the Loopline Bridge in November 2018, as reported on

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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