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Displaying items by tag: Wexford

A group of sea urchins which died together on the seafloor almost 350 million years ago have been found in fossilised form at Hook Head, Co Wexford, by a team of scientists.

"Experts from University of Galway’s school of natural scientists led the team which recorded the fine, described as “one of the most important in Irish palaeontology in recent times”.

Sea urchins, or echinoids, are a group of marine animals, related to starfish, the scientists explain.

They have globular plated bodies covered by numerous defensive spines, which fall away after the urchin dies.

The scientists say that over 200 complete fossil echinoids are preserved in exquisite detail on a limestone surface, in an area of just one square metre.

Detailed view of fossil sea urchins, with their spines still attached, preserved on limestone surface at Hook Head, Wexford (2 Euro coin for scale). Image courtesy of the Royal Irish AcademyDetailed view of fossil sea urchins, with their spines still attached, preserved on limestone surface at Hook Head, Wexford (2 Euro coin for scale). Photo: courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy

“All of the Hook Head specimens have their spines still attached, and they apparently died together on the seafloor almost 350 million years ago - a dramatic moment now frozen in time on the rock surface on the coast of south-east Ireland,” they say.

“The limestone layer containing the fossil urchins was in danger of being lost to coastal erosion, so the scientific team mounted a rescue operation to save it,” they state.

Lead author in the study, palaeontologist Dr Nidia Álvarez-Armada, said she initially discovered the fossil sea urchins on a rocky coastal outcrop when surveying the geology of Hook Head peninsula for her undergraduate Bachelor of Science thesis at University of Galway.

“ When I first noticed the echinoids on the limestone surface, I was completely astonished by both the sheer number of fossil specimens present and also their exceptional preservation,” she said.

“The significance of the find was instantly apparent, and I immediately began mapping and recording the shape, size and position of each individual urchin on the rock surface,” she said.

“ This work took several weeks to complete, but it was important to carefully document the fossil find in as much detail as possible.”

As the Hook Head is protected under law, approval for the recovery was granted by several State agencies and the local landowner.

 Rescue and recovery of the limestone slab containing the fossil sea urchins at Hook Head, Wexford. Credit: Dr Sarah Gatley, Geological Survey Ireland Rescue and recovery of the limestone slab containing the fossil sea urchins at Hook Head, Wexford. Photos: Dr Sarah Gatley, Geological Survey Ireland

Following successful removal, the team said it “immediately entrusted the fossil-bearing slab to the National Museum of Ireland for conservation and further study”.

The discovery and recovery of the hundreds of fossil sea urchins were recently reported in the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, published by the Royal Irish Academy.

The Hook Head fossil find is said to have the potential to reveal important information about the nature of seafloor communities during the Carboniferous - a time period that occurred “long before dinosaurs ever walked on land, when the marine realm was very different to today”.

University of Galway school of natural scientists expert Dr John Murray, who co-authored the paper and supervised the original project, said that is “quite exceptional to find Carboniferous fossil sea urchins so perfectly preserved and in such large numbers like this”.

“In life, these particular echinoids had very flexible plated bodies, covered with many spines, which usually disarticulated and dispersed rapidly after death, leaving little trace of them behind,” he said.

“ The Hook Head urchins must have been buried quite quickly after they died, with little or no post-mortem disturbance; however, it remains unclear why they congregated in such large numbers at this location on that ancient seafloor,” he said.

“The significance of this discovery was such that all of the members of the rescue team willingly volunteered their time and expertise to travel to Hook Head to help salvage the fossil-bearing slab,”Dr Murray added.

“We consciously chose to leave this important fossil find in the care of the National Museum of Ireland immediately - I guess it was our way of giving this piece of priceless geoheritage back to the people of Ireland,” he said.

The full study in The Irish Journal of Earth Sciences can be read here

Published in Marine Science
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Fethard RNLI joined Kilmore Quay’s coastguard unit in a multi-agency operation to rescue local residents trapped in their homes by heavy flooding on Christmas Day, according to RTÉ News.

It’s reported that a number of people in the village of Bridgetown were safely removed by lifeboat, while motorists who were either cut off by the flooding or trapped in the water were also assisted.

Wexford Civil Defence and Wexford Fire Service also joined in the rescue effort on Saturday 25 December, as Kilmore Quay Coast Guard acknowledged on social media.

Heavy rainfall delayed the arrival of the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 — and was also responsible for the erosion of bridges near Enniscorthy due to the swelling of the River Borough (Boro), a tributary of the River Slaney.

In a statement, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said his department “will provide full support for Wexford County Council and other councils as they address and repair the damage caused by the flash floods”.

Published in Rescue

Volunteering for the RNLI is truly a family affair for lifeboat crews in Co Wexford.

While Robbie Connolly is looking forward to his first Christmas on call since becoming a helm at Wexford RNLI earlier this year, his father-in-law Eugene Kehoe — a seasoned coxswain at Kilmore Quay — will also be ready to answer the call if there is an emergency at sea.

As the lifesaving charity continues its Christmas Appeal, Robbie and Eugene will skip their dinner for the difficult seas of winter should their pagers sound.

And they are urging people across Wexford — home to five stations at Courtown, Wexford, Kilmore Quay, Rosslare Harbour and Fethard — to help their crews, and the thousands of other volunteer crews on call over the Christmas period, to continue their lifesaving work.

“I am 10 years on the lifeboat crew at Wexford RNLI,” says Robbie, who is an engineer by day. “I have always had a love for the sea but when I finished college and started working alongside crew members and a deputy launching authority, I was encouraged to join, and I am delighted to be involved.”

As a helm, Robbie is responsible for the inshore lifeboat and his fellow crew during the launch of the lifeboat and while at sea.

“I have had one callout as helm so far and it was to a yacht with three people onboard that had got into difficulty on a falling tide and ran aground as it was coming into Wexford Harbour.

“Where our station is located, there are shifting sands and the channel is changing regularly so time was of the essence and with the callout happening at night, there was the added challenge of working in the dark. But thankfully, we had a safe and successful outcome.

“There are a few differences in being a helm,” he adds, “you are more conscious of looking after your own crew as well as those you are going to rescue and the conditions at sea.

“However, what my helm’s training taught me was to have more confidence in my decision making and skills ability and I suppose in that sense it is about having self-belief and making your 10 years of training and experience become second nature when responding to a callout.”

Shane Crawford joins his brother Colum on the Aran Islands RNLI crew | Credit: RNLIShane Crawford joins his brother Colum on the Aran Islands RNLI crew | Credit: RNLI

Elsewhere, Aran Islands RNLI will have two new volunteer lifeboat crew on call, ready to drop everything and help launch the lifeboat to save those in trouble at sea.

Fisherman and father-of-five Georgie Gillan and NUIG student Shane Crawford are the most recent recruits to join the lifeboat.

Georgie says: “I’ve grown up around the sea and I’ve seen its power and its potential. I’m enjoying the training, and learning a different set of skills, all based around search and rescue and saving others.

“Being out on the lifeboat, you’re part of a team, the feeling of giving back is a great one. The standard of the kit and the training is so high and the support we get to do this job is amazing. I’m grateful to the people who support the work of the lifeboats and keep them at sea all year round.”

Meanwhile, Shane — a first year Arts student at NUIG Galway — knew from an early age that he would wear a lifeboat pager, as helping others is in his DNA.

His mother is the local community nurse and his father served with the local fire service for many years. Shane's older brother Colum is also a member of the Aran Islands RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew and is currently studying to become a paramedic.

Adding his support to the RNLI Christmas Appeal, Shane says: “It has been a dream for me to be on the lifeboat crew ever since I was very young. I feel very at home onboard the lifeboat even though I’m still new to it.

“The communication between the crew when we are out at sea is incredible and you can see the training and commitment of everyone involved. Every piece of kit has a purpose, and the RNLI are always looking to evolve and improve the equipment. It’s maintained to the highest standard and we are aware of the responsibility that comes with that.

“When the pagers goes, no lifeboat volunteer hesitates to answer the call, and these rescues would not be possible without the donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round. Thank you to everyone who supports the appeal this Christmas.”

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, visit RNLI.org/Xmas

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Wexford RNLI launched this morning (Wednesday 25 August) to rescue three people after their powerboat suffered engine failure.

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 10.12am and arrived at the scene to assess the situation five minutes later.

All three on board the powerboat were found to be in good health.

The lifeboat crew set up a tow and the three people were safely brought ashore at 10.27am with no injuries.

Weather conditions at the time were calm, with a Force 2 north-easterly wind and good visibility.

Speaking following the callout, Wexford RNLI press officer Lorraine Galvin said: “We would advise water users to ensure your boat equipment and engine are in good working order and to always carry a means of communication.

“If anyone sees anyone in difficulty on or near the water, ring 999/112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Skerries RNLI approaching a small sailing vessel adrift off Lambay Island on Monday 23 August | Credit: RNLI/Gerry CanningSkerries RNLI approaching a small sailing vessel adrift off Lambay Island on Monday 23 August | Credit: RNLI/Gerry Canning

Elsewhere on the East Coast, Skerries RNLI were tasked on Monday morning (23 August) to investigate reports of a raft adrift near Lambay island.

The raft reported by a fishing vessel in the area turned out to be a small sailing dinghy that had come adrift from a mooring somewhere.

With patches of heavy fog in the area, the boat presented a collision hazard to other vessels in the area so the decision was taken to bring it back to Skerries.

Speaking about the callout, Skerries RNLI press officer Gerry Canning said: “Thankfully there was nobody in trouble in this instance. However, the fishing vessel made the right call contacting the coastguard to report it.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

The remains of a whale washed up on a Co Wexford beach are likely to be those of a minke whale, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says.

According to The Irish Times, the dead whale was discovered on Blackhall Strand in southwest Wexford yesterday morning, Sunday 13 June.

Going by its description, IWDG sightings officer Pádraig Whooley said it was most likely a minke whale. Wexford County Council said it was appraising the situation, and The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Meanwhile, the IWDG has just published a new guide on what to do when encountering a live-stranded whale, dolphin or porpoise.

Along with details on how to assess and care for the animal, Face to Face with a Beached Whale also includes practical information on dealing with other marine wildlife including turtles, seals, otters and seabirds.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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A unique whale-shaped mosaic which is set for permanent public display aims to connect present-day Wexford with its storied maritime past, as RTÉ News reports.

With the help of artist Helen McLean, Wexford Arts Centre has been creating the patterned artwork from shards of Staffordshire pottery — known as ‘chanies’ — collected from the shore at Rosslare over many decades by local woman Ann Borg.

Many of these shards are believed to originate from the wreck of a US-bound ship that went down in Moran’s Bay in the 1850s.

They have now been used to create an impression of the blue whale that famously beached in Wexford in the 1890s — the skeleton of which now hangs inside the entrance of London’s Natural History Museum.

RTÉ News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

RNLI lifeboat crews from Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour were requested to launch yesterday (Tuesday 20 October) after reports that a 4,000-tonne cargo vessel, the Lily B, had lost all power and was in danger of hitting rocks south of Hook Head in Wexford. The cargo vessel with a crew of nine onboard, was carrying coal when it lost power and came within a half a nautical mile of coming ashore on the Hook.

As Afloat reported yesterday, the call for help came in around 3pm when the Irish Coast Guard in Dublin requested lifeboats from Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare launch to the scene, just south of Hook Head in Wexford. The Coast Guard helicopter from Waterford, Rescue 117 was also tasked, monitoring from overhead and ready to assist with evacuation of the crew if needed.

The Lily B cargo vessel had no power - Battling strong waves over six metres high, the three lifeboat crews worked together to ensure the cargo vessel stayed away from the rocksThe Lily B cargo vessel had no power - Battling strong waves over six metres high, the three lifeboat crews worked together to ensure the cargo vessel stayed away from the rocks. See vid below.

In force eight conditions, Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay RNLI established tow lines onto the drifting vessel which was then very close to the rocks. The two lifeboats maintained the tow and kept the cargo ship away from shore while a tug was en route from Waterford. Rosslare RNLI stood by.

Battling strong waves over six metres high, the three lifeboat crews worked together to ensure the cargo vessel stayed away from the rocks until the tow was passed to the tug on its arrival at 5.40pm. Escorting the vessels until they reached the calmer waters of Waterford Harbour in the early hours of Wednesday (21 October) the lifeboat crews were eventually stood down and returned to station.

Speaking on the callout Rosslare RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager David Maloney said, ‘ If it wasn’t for the work of the three lifeboat crews out in force eight conditions I fear the vessel would have hit the rocks and there could have been a serious loss of life. The 4,000-tonne vessel came within a half a mile of the shore and Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay lifeboat crews had an incredibly difficult job in keeping it away from the rocks.

The powerless Lily B was caught in big waves and came within half a mile of the Wexford shoreThe powerless Lily B was caught in big waves and came within half a mile of the Wexford shore

‘The seas were huge, and it would not have been pleasant for anyone out there in those conditions. The lifeboat crews were out for over twelve hours in a callout that involved serious skill and concentration and I am tremendously proud of all three lifeboat crews involved. Thankfully we did not have a tragedy today.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Wexford RNLI came to the rescue of five people on Monday afternoon (15 June) after the jet ski they were on lost power and began to sink.

The four teenagers and an adult had managed to get on top of a nearby pontoon on the River Slaney between Ferrycarrig Bridge and Killurin Bridge, where they then raised the alarm with the Irish Coast Guard.

Wexford RNLI volunteers were paged just before 3pm and launched the inshore lifeboat with three crew on board within 12 minutes.

Once on scene before 3.30pm, the crew took the four teenagers on board the lifeboat and brought them safely ashore at Killurin.

The lifeboat then returned to the scene for the adult and jet ski. Conditions at the time were good with no swell and a falling tide.

Speaking following the callout, Wexford RNLI helm Damien Foley said: “Everyone was wearing lifejackets and did the right thing by calling for help to the coastguard when they could.”

The volunteer crew of Damien Foley, Ger Doran and David Marskell, all of who were working at the time, were back at Wexford Lifeboat Station at 4.30pm. It was also the first rescue for volunteer crew member David Marskell.

Elsewhere on Monday, Aran Islands RNLI responded to two medevac shouts, on Inis Oírr and Inis Mór respectively, bringing two women to the mainland for treatment — one for a suspected broken arm.

Aran Islands lifeboat coxswain Declan Brannigan said: “Our volunteers didn't hesitate to answer both calls today and we would like to wish both women a speedy recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Wexford County Council has issued public notice of its application for a foreshore lease “for the purpose of land-based developments, a marina and a bridge/boardwalk”.

The newspaper advertisement published yesterday provides the location in Irish Transverse Mercator co-ordinates, which translate to Trinity Wharf on Wexford town’s waterfront.

Supporting documents propose a mixed-use urban quarter development totally 5.5 hectares and including the development of a 3.6 hectare brownfield site, a floating boom marina, sea wall and rock armour development, a bridge/boardwalk, a new access road and junction to Trinity Street, and ancillary works.

A copy of the application and relevant maps, plans and drawings are available for inspection for the next 20 working days, free of charge, at Wexford Garda Station on Mulgannon Road.

The advertisement also provides an incorrect link (as of this morning, Wednesday 26 June) to access the same documentation on the website for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. The correct link is HERE.

Submissions will be received until close of business on Monday 22 July.

Published in Irish Marinas
Tagged under

#CoastalRowing: The good results kept coming for Kerry clubs on the second day of the All Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships in Wexford. Flesk Valley won the senior men’s championship, while Workmen’s took the senior women’s crown. A Donegal club did break into the winning ranks. Cumann Rámhaíochta Chloich Cheann Fhaola (Cloughaneely CCF) had wins in women’s, men’s and mixed classes.

ICRF All Ireland Coastal Championships (Selected Results; winners):

Saturday

Men

Open Classic: Cloughaneely CCF

Celtic Longboats: Vartry A

Heritage: St Patrick’s. Under-18: Cromane

East Coast Skiffs: St Patrick’s. Under-16: Stella Maris

Under-21: Flesk Valley

Under-16: Fossa

Intermediate: Workmen’s.

Pre Veterans: Commercial, Killarney

Masters: Glenarm

Women

Celtic Longboats: Vartry

Heritage: St Patrick’s A. Under-18 Heritage: Cromane

Open Classic: Cloughaneely CCF

East Coast Skiffs: St Michael’s. Novice: Fingal

Under-21: Workmen’s

Intermediate: Workmen’s

Pre Veterans: Workmen’s

Mixed

Veteran: Workmen’s A

Sunday

Men

Senior: Flesk Valley

Currach: Cloughaneely CCF

Novice: Flesk Valley

Junior: Vartry

Under 18: Workmen’s

Veteran: Commercial, Killarney

Women

Senior: Workmen’s

Currach: Fergus

Novice: Cloughaneely CCF

Junior: Workmen’s

Under 18: Workmen’s

Under 16: Flesk Valley

Veteran: Sneem

Mixed

Senior: Vartry

Currach: Cloughaneely CCF

Pre-Vet: Workmen’s

Masters: Templenoe

Published in Coastal Rowing
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