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Displaying items by tag: beaches

The Wild Atlantic Way is a winner when it comes to Lonely Planet’s new list of the 10 best beaches in Ireland.

All but two of travel writer Fionn Davenport’s selections can be found along the breathtaking coastline from Kerry to Donegal.

And the North West especially comes out tops, taking up half the list with renowned beauty spots such as Keem Beach and Trawmore Bay on Achill Island on Co Mayo, Streedagh Strand in Co Sligo, and Trá Mór and Ballymastocker Bay in Co Donegal.

Only two beaches bust the trend. Ballyquin Beach in Co Waterford holds up for the South Coast, and Killiney Beach on Dublin Bay is the only representative for the East Coast.

Find out more about the list on the Lonely Planet website HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
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Ireland is a veritable bounty of beautiful beaches, as TripAdvisor’s latest list of Ireland’s best can attest.

But beyond the most highly rated bathing spots around the Irish coast, there exists a number of hidden gems to attract those seeking something a little more special.

And according to TheJournal’s list of Ireland’s best ‘secret beaches’, they could be “hiding right under your nose”.

Walk a little off the beaten track from some of Ireland’s most popular seaside tourist attractions and you will find breathtaking scenes at Ballyteige Burrow (near Kilmore Quay), Galley Cove (in Crookhaven) and Portally Cove (near Dunmore East).

The islands of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way are a treasure trove of mini paradises such as Furnish Island in south Connemara and Inishbofin’s East End Beach.

And even those closer to the capital have the likes of Wicklow’s Seal Beach and Poolbeg’s Shelly Banks virtually on their doorstep.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
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#TopBeaches - Kerry dominates TripAdvisor’s list of the best Irish beaches for 2019, with the Kingdom taking six of the top 10 places.

Ladies Beach at Ballybunion (9th), Coumeenoole (6th), Derrynane (5th) and Inch Beach (3rd) all make return appearances in the travel website’s selection, with Rossbeigh (8th) making the grade for the first time.

Past favourite Banna Strand is the most popular of the county’s sandy stretches — but this year plays second fiddle to another popular destination for TripAdvisor users, Inchydoney in Co Cork.

Strandhill in Co Sligo at 4th and Lahinch in Co Clare complete the top 10 along with Portmarnock in Co Dublin, the only East Coast entry, as Independent.ie reports.

Published in Coastal Notes
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#TopBeaches - The weather might not agree but summer isn’t over yet, and there’s still plenty of time to explore Joe.ie’s pick of amazing beaches around the Irish coast.

Seaside beauty spots like Inch Beach in Co Kerry (famous for Ryan’s Daughter), Curracloe in Co Wexford (a key location for Saving Private Ryan) and Inchydoney in Co Cork will be familiar to Irish holidaymakers and foreign tourists alike.

But Dog’s Bay — south of Clifden in Connemara, and a standout both for its horseshoe shape and white sand — might be a new addition to your beaches list.

Surfing enthusiasts are also catered for at Ballycastle in Co Antrim and Strandhill in Co Sligo, locations that may see an uptick in wave-seeking visitors as it emerged that Ireland is now the cheapest country in Europe for surf lessons.

Earlier this year, Kerry’s Banna Strand topped TripAdvisor’s list of Ireland’s best beaches.

Published in Coastal Notes
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#TopBeaches - Banna Strand in Co Kerry has topped TripAdvisor’s list of Ireland’s best beaches.

The stretch of sand on Tralee Bay takes the top spot in the annual table from second-placed Inchydoney in Co Cork, which had been the travel website user’s favourite for the last three years running.

West coast beaches dominate the top 10, and the Kingdom claims most of all, taking third (Derrynane), fourth (Inch Beach) and sixth places (Coymeenoole).

But strands in Sligo, Connemara, Donegal and Curracloe in Co Wexford also made the cut, as Independent.ie reports.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
Tagged under

#CoastalNotes - Ireland gets an 'A' for seaside bathing, as 94% of beaches have met the EU's new stricter water quality standards.

And as RTÉ News reports, three out of every four Irish beaches have been rated as 'excellent' on the new scale for levels of microbiological contaminants, which is "twice as strict" as in previous years.

But seven out of 136 bathing places monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2014 still failed the test.

Youghal in Cork, Clifden and Ballyloughane in Galway, Rush's south beach in North Co Dublin, Duncannon in Wexford, Ardmore in Waterford and Liliput on Lough Ennell in the Midlands were all rated 'poor', for the most part due to wastewater discharges.

Ten other popular seaside spots – including Trá na mBan in Spiddal and the beaches at Merrion Strand, Loughshinny and Balbriggan's front strand in Co Dublin - were rated as 'sufficient' as they are still prone to periodic pollution episodes, according to The Irish Times.

But there was good news for the denizens of Trá Inis Oirr in Galway Bay, which scored an 'excellent' rating in its first year on the EPA's list.

The Aran Islands beach was added in the same year that nearby Trá gCaorach became a first-time winner in the National Green Coast Awards.

The EPA's Splash website maps out the latest bathing quality ratings for beaches around and throughout Ireland. The agency's report on bathing quality in 2014 can be found HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#OnTheWater - This week's unseasonably fine weather saw thousands flock outside to enjoy the sunshine - and many of them headed to Ireland's finest beaches, some of which were highlighted by JOE.ie.

Among the most beautiful stretches of sand selected by the website include Brittas Bay – a perennial favourite in Dublin and Wicklow alike – as well as Inchydoney in West Cork, surfers' choice Tullan Strand in Bundoran, and the sheltered calm of Keem Beach on Achill Island.

All are recommended for their relaxing potential and arresting views as much as for swimming.

But one place where swimming is definitely not recommended is at Dublin's Docklands, where young people were seen leaping from a quayside roof into the River Liffey yesterday (Friday 10 April).

TheJournal.ie has an image of the group jumping from the roof of a restaurant on North Wall Quay just west of the Samuel Beckett Bridge, flying over the heads of unsuspecting passers-by on the footpath below.

The Irish Coast Guard has reiterated previous warnings "not to engage in this particular type of activity" which amounts to "literally jumping into the unknown".

Published in Coastal Notes

#Beaches - And the title of Ireland's best beach goes to... Inchydoney in West Cork, as TheJournal.ie reports.

This marks the second year in a row that the Clonakilty strand took the top spot in TripAdvisor's annual ranking of Ireland's beaches, as chosen by visitors and tourists giving their ratings on the site.

It couldn't come at a better time for Inchydoney, as next month signals the start of the best period of the year to make the most of its peaceful atmosphere.

Elsewhere on the top ten list, Kerry places the most with four beaches making the grade - including Derrynane and Inch at numbers two and three respectively.

But the east coast also gets a look-in, with Curracloe in Wexford placing sixth, and Portmarnock in North Co Dublin rounding out the list at number 10.

TheJournal.ie has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#BathingBan - Following the news of swimming bans at Killiney and Sandycove Harbour, The Irish Times reports on similar advisories on more beaches on the east coast coming after last weekend's heavy rain.

Elevated bacteria levels have been detected this week at Bettystown in Co Meath, Clogherhead and Templetown in Co Louth, Dollymount Strand on Bull Island, Howth's Claremont Beach and Loughshinny Beach between Rush and Skerries.

All locations have been retested with results awaited within the next few days. Contamination from floodwaters is suspected to be the most probable cause.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#WaterSafety - RNLI lifeguards will provide Easter cover for the first time on three of the most popular family beaches in Northern Ireland.

For the second year running, lifeguards will be patrolling Tyrella Beach in Co Down, and for the third year will be ready to offer safety advice and assistance on Benone Strand on the north coast.



In addition this Easter, lifeguards will also be patrolling Portstewart Strand, Portrush East Strand and Whiterocks beach, all of which are located along the Causeway Coast.



The cover commences on Good Friday 29 March and will run throughout Easter week until Sunday 7 April.



Despite the unseasonal weather, the charity’s highly trained lifeguards will be ready to assist visitors who brave the elements and take a trip to the seaside over the Easter break. 



The lifeguards will operate on Benone, Portstewart, East Strand and Whiterocks from 11am to 7pm, and from 10am to 6pm on Tyrella Beach.



RNLI regional lifeguard manager Mike Grocott said: "Our highly trained lifeguards spot potential dangers before they develop, and are on hand to give appropriate safety advice and respond immediately if anyone gets into difficulty.

"Because our lifeguards work closely alongside our volunteer lifeboat crews, it means the RNLI offers beachgoers and water-users a seamless rescue service from beach to open sea."

The RNLI started providing lifeguard cover on Northern Ireland beaches in 2011, working with Coleraine Borough Council, Limavady Borough Council and the National Trust - and going into its third season now has lifeguards on 10 beaches.



Last year, lifeguards in the areas of Newry and Mourne District Council, Down District Council and the Causeway Coast together responded to 158 incidents and assisted 176 people.



Speaking ahead of the Easter holidays, RNLI lifeguard supervisor Tim Doran encouraged anyone planning a trip to the beach to keep safe.

"Always swim at a lifeguarded beach. Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas and check tide times before you go," he said. "If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard."



The RNLI is also encouraging anyone planning a trip to the seaside this year to download its ‘Beach Finder’ mobile app.

The handy app makes it easy to find the nearest lifeguarded beach, and gives users a wealth of beach safety information at their fingertips.



Real-time weather information and a five-day forecast for each location is also included with the app – ideal for anyone wondering whether they’ll need to pack their suncream or waterproofs!



The app is available to download free of charge on both Android and iOS devices from www.rnli.org/beach.

Published in Water Safety
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

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

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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