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Displaying items by tag: tourism

#Seaside - Ireland might not boast the beautiful Victorian-era piers that make Britain's seaside resort towns such an attraction.

But as Tanya Sweeney writes in the Irish Independent, we've got our own coastal getaways that have maintained their appeal across the generations.

Sweeney's top 10 list begins in Tramore, the "perennially popular weekend destination" in Co Waterford where visitors can split their time between the Blue Flag beach and the old-school amusements.

Near the capital, Brittas Bay in Co Wicklow to the south and Skerries and Balbriggan to the north make the grade for the quality of their beaches and proximity to other sites of interest – the former found slap bang in the middle of the Garden of Ireland, while the latter are a short distance from Ardgillan Castle and the restored Skerries Mills.

Independent.ie has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

#Tourism - Where's the best place to go surfing or coastal birdwatching in Northern Ireland? The Belfast Telegraph has got you covered.

Benone Strand was previously highlighted on Afloat.ie as a top 'coastal experience' for surfing kids, and it shows up here again in Portrush surfer Al Mennie's list of recommended spots to hit the waves for locals and visitors alike.

Portrush's East Strand and neighbouring Portstewart also feature in his list that's rounded out by two picks for experienced surfers only: Portballintrae – "by far the vest area for surfing on the north coast" – and the legendary Finn MacCool's big wave at the end of the Giant's Causeway.

The causeway also crops up in Ian McCurley's choice spots for birdwatching across NI, in particular for its "colourful stonechats perches on gorse bushes; fulmars in their cliff nest sites; peregrine falcons and gannets."

Another great seabird spotting site is Strangford Lough, which the National Trust woodland and parklands manager describes as "a unique haven for biodiversity, containing many of our rare and most threatened wildlife."

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#Tourism - Northern Ireland's outgoing tourism chief says the likes of Galway Bay are getting too much exposure at the expense of NI coastal landmarks such as the Giant's Causeway in all-Ireland tourism marketing.

And as the Belfast Telegraph reports, Alan Clarke warns that the situation could get worse if Stormont budget cuts hit tourism funding across the region.

Clarke, who is retiring as head of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, opined that "there has always been a tension there" in his relationship with the cross-border Tourism Ireland.

He also said that Northern Ireland "is paying beyond its share" when "we [Northern Ireland] are putting a third of the money in [to Tourism Ireland] and we are getting around 10-11% of the holidaymakers coming to the island."

The NITB chief said the North "needs to get a return on that, and that return needs a more flexible approach by Tourism Ireland in the marketplace" which could see Northern Ireland marketed more as a distinct destination for tourists.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
Tagged under

#greystones – Greystones Harbour Marina is looking forward to a record year, well surpassing the planned 3,000 visitors it had expected in 2014 and, in the process, bringing much-valued tourism to a thriving town, which last year was voted one of the best places to live in Ireland. (Irish Times June 2013 Readers Survey).

Alan Corr, Harbour Marina Manager says that "our overseas visitors especially, talk favourably about the peaceful surroundings of Greystones and the easy access to a lively town. They love the ambiance, the huge variety of good restaurants, coffee shops, bars and retail outlets, all within an easy stroll of the marina, making it such an attractive place to stay."

David and Jeff Behan, owners of Vino's Restaurant & Café on Church Rd, have seen first-hand the benefits of the new marina to local businesses. David says that "since the beginning of this summer, we have seen an increase in visitors from the marina, browsing the local shops and amenities and popping in to us for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but now it is becoming more the norm that they book ahead. Many of the diners that have come to us from their boats are first-timers to Greystones and all have said that they will be back to visit and hopefully for longer next time."

Jeff Behan said that "they have even requested Loyalty Cards from us, which is a sure sign that they plan on visiting again! There is a huge selection of places to eat in Greystones, and we are the furthest restaurant from the marina, but if visitors fancy fresh seafood alfresco, followed by a cocktail, while listening to live music, then Vino's is the choice for that night".

Alan Corr added that "not only do we see record number of tourists staying in the marina this year but we also see the phenomenon of friends and family visiting these boats during their stay. For every boat in the marina we get between 5 to 8 people either staying on the boat or visiting, not just the marina, but the town and surrounds as well. The tourism success of the marina can be measured by the numbers of boats and people staying for days and weeks at a time, but more importantly on the positive affect it is having on the shops, pubs and restaurants in the town. Our marina visitors are also planning their returns, booking ahead before they leave, as they have grown to appreciate the marina and the wealth of facilities in the area, all within walking distance."

Visitors to the marina also have easy access to the airport via the Aircoach service and to Dublin city via the DART and bus, and can also avail of a great car rental service by Enterprise Rent-A-Car as they pick up and drop off back to the Marina when you are finished with your car. Alan said that "we had one family spend a week with us and used their new Greystones base to tour around the south of Ireland for a few days."

Published in Greystones Harbour

#Tourism - A Baltimore maritime group says Fáilte Ireland's commitment to coastal tourism "rings very hollow" in light of its proposed sale of the former Glenans sail training school premises in the West Cork town.

Last September Afloat.ie reported on the decision by the French sail training group, one of the biggest such operators in Ireland, to close its bases at Collanmore and Baltimore.

The Baltimore location had operated since 1969 in a redbrick building that was once the southern terminus of the Skibbereen branch line, according to The Irish Times.

But Fáilte Ireland, which took over ownership of the waterfront property from Cork-Kerry Tourism, is "determined to put the station and allied facilities ... on the open market" for sale to to the "highest bidder", says Micheál O'Meara, chair of the Baltimore Maritime Centre/Glenua sail training group.

O'Meara adds that the decision flies in the face of Fáilte Ireland's commitment to the Wild Atlantic Way initiative, as the Old Station House "is a key anchor of the project" with potential to provide maritime education and training alongside sailing courses.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#InlandWaters - Food producers and restaurant owners surrounding Lough Derg have joined forces in an effort to promote the Lakelands region as a food tourism destination.

A Taste of Lough Derg 2014 is the brand for the pilot initiative that features 13 separate food events taking place in villages and towns along the shores of Lough Derg in counties Clare, Galway and Tipperary from this month till September.

Things gets started tomorrow 13 July in Portumna, right at the top of Lough Derg, when local food producers Sunny Meadow Farm and Killeen Cheese team up for a BBQ and cheese tasting event.

That's followed in the coming days by a 'taste and make' chocolate day at Wilde Irish Chocolates in Tuamgraney, Co Clare, a 'pizza picnic' at River Run House, where the Shannon meets Lough Derg in Terryglass, Co Tipperary, and much more to come.

A brochure with much more about the initiative and planned events over the summer is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#CoastalNotes - Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly has announced the development of a major new and world-class greenway as part of a national €11 million funding for cycling infrastructure.

The centrepiece of the funding will go towards construction of one of the world’s most dramatically scenic greenways – running along an old railway line, over viaducts through mountainous tunnels overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Ring of Kerry.

Minister Kelly has allocated €3.4 million which will go towards construction of 26km of greenway from Glenbeigh to Cahirciveen along the old Great Southern Railway - tying in with the new Wild Atlantic Way scheme that recently received additional funding.

The minister predicts this will bring cycling tourists and visitors from all over the world to the Ring of Kerry, contributing in the region of 80 jobs between construction and increased visitor numbers.

His department says the Glenbeigh-to-Cahirciveen greenway "will open up the outstanding natural beauty of the coastline between these two towns offering an exceptional and unique visitor attraction in the southwest."

Minister Kelly himself commented: “The natural beauty combined with the history of the old railway tunnels and the viaduct will make this one of the most beautiful cycling holiday destinations in the world."

He added: “I see many families, guests, adventurers, casual cyclists and all manner of people making use of this greenway. It will be constructed over the next two years and follows our experience of the Great Western Greenway in Mayo.

"An economic assessment carried out on the Mayo project estimated that about 40 jobs were created, with another 50 retained in the local economy as a result of investing in the greenway. I expect similar progress to happen in Kerry.”

The Ring of Kerry Greenway is one of three projects awarded funding under the Government’s National Cycle Network programme. A further greenway will also be developed in Co Waterford, running from Clonea along the coast to Durrow.

Local authorities submitted 38 applications to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. Separately, nine towns will receive investment to improve the cycling infrastructure within their towns.

Some €6.5 million will be allocated across nine towns as part of the Active Travel Town’s programme. The programme is a multi-annual funding support programme to support the strategic development of walking and cycling in towns outside the Greater Dublin Area. This funding will enable the delivery of local cycling and walking strategies, including new cycle lanes, provision of walkways and behavioural change initiatives in local schools and workplaces to encourage people to switch their transport modes.

Funding under both the Active Travel Towns and National Cycle Network programmes will, according to the department, "enhance both the experience and attractiveness of walking and cycling across the country and brings to €25m the investment made by this Government as part of our agreed commitment to invest €65m in sustainable transport agenda to 2016."

Published in Coastal Notes

#WildAtlanticWay - TheJournal.ie reports that an additional €1.4 million in State funding will be winging its way to the new Wild Atlantic Way scheme.

Earlier this year Kinsale Yacht Club was announced as the starting point of the 2.500km coastal tourism route that was first launched almost a year ago.

Presented to 300 top overseas tour operators attending Meitheal 2013 - Ireland’s largest tourism trade fair - by Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring and Fáilte Ireland, the ambitious project constitutes Ireland’s first long-distance driving route winding from Cork to the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal.

The latest funding injection will provide for the completion of the Galway Greenway walking and cycling trail - itself a phase of a long-term scheme to connect the City of the Tribes to the capital along the route of the Royal Canal.

Downpatrick Head in Mayo will also receive funds for a visitor centre connected to its famous blowhole Poll na Seantainne. And Kinsale will get money to help restore the Signal Tower at the Old Head of Kinsale.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#CliffsOfMoher - The visitor centre at the Cliffs of Moher, one of the most high profile and best known discovery points along the newly launched Wild Atlantic Way, is to benefit from significant upgrade works during the coming weeks.

Management at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience in Co Clare have announced a €550,000 plan to upgrade the existing public car park, provide additional coach parking, and upgrade the centre's exhibition.

Contracts have already been awarded for the coach parking and exhibition upgrades, with works due to commence shortly, while a planning application has been submitted in respect of the proposed car park improvements.

Mayor of Clare Cllr Joe Arkins welcomed the announcement, saucing: "The Wild Atlantic Way presents significant opportunities for tourism development right along the western seaboard of Ireland with Clare prominently featured as part of the new touring route that stretches from Donegal to West Cork.

"The proposed upgrade works at the Cliffs of Moher will complement what is already a high quality visitor attraction and will enable management at the cliffs to build on the impressive visitor number increases experienced during the past three years."

Visitor numbers at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience were up 10% during 2013. Some 960,134 people visited the world famous tourist attraction last year compared to 873,988 during the previous year.

It is the third successive increase in visitor numbers to the Cliffs of Moher with year-on-year increases of 12% and 8% being achieved during 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Commenting on the proposed works, cliffs director Katherine Webster said: "The upgrades to the coach park and car park will provide an improved experience for our group and car based customers with increased capacity and a better layout including e-car charging points, additional disabled parking and improved pedestrian flow. 

"The new exhibition content will bring fresh exciting new experiences and greater visitor interactivity to the Cliffs Exhibition. The upgrade is being provided by Dublin-based Rockbrook Engineering, and we’re delighted with how their proposals will bring some of the outdoor experience of the cliffs inside into the dome area."

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is one of three Signature Discovery Points in Co Clare along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way, the others being the Bridges of Ross and Loop Head Lighthouse.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Angling - Attending the Salon de la Pêche at Clermont-Ferrand in central France last weekend, Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd lent his support to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), the Loughs Agency, Northern Ireland's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and industry partners in promoting the island of Ireland an as an angling destination.

For the first time the three agencies came together under the ‘Angling in Ireland’ (or ‘Pêche en Irlande’) banner and hosted angling industry partners in a co-ordinated approach to attract greater numbers of French anglers to Ireland at the Clermont-Ferrand show - the largest angling show in France, attracting 30,000 visitors annually, and this year celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Minister O’Dowd and IFI chief Dr Ciaran Byrne were welcomed to the show by manager Clement Posada who hosted a lunch for the guests, sponsors and various national presidents of the main French angling federations.

Claude Roustan, president of the National Federation of Angling in France, welcomed the minister and announced that they were honored by the visit from Ireland where he himself had enjoyed many wonderful angling holidays.

The minister welcomed the close ties between French anglers and Ireland, stating that "some of the best of Ireland’s angling products are being promoted here today. It is our intention to attract more French anglers to come to Ireland to enjoy the wonderful fishing, scenery and hospitality that Ireland has to offer." 

Commending the joint approach of IFI, DCAL and the Loughs Agency, he noted that "both Minister O Chuilin and I are delighted to see this whole of Ireland approach to angling marketing and we look forward to increased tourism angling and the associated economic benefits which will undoubtedly follow."

Dr Byrne, meanwhile, referred to last summer's socio-economic study that put the value of angling to the Irish economy at more than €750 million.

"I would like to thank the many French anglers that return to Ireland regularly to enjoy their sport and of course the Irish welcome, we look forward to welcoming you and all of your friends again in the future," he added.

Published in Angling
Tagged under
Page 6 of 16

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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