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Displaying items by tag: Coastal Rowing

A beautiful quote from 'The Wind in the Willows' says that 'there is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." Does that apply to rowing imaginary boats as well? St. Michael's Rowing Club of Dun Laoghaire Harbour thinks so writes the club's Simone Sav

Rowing on erg machines may seem artificial at times to those of us accustomed to the sharp wintery sea breeze, the team effort and the dynamic of rowing wooden skiffs or off-shore boats on the Irish sea. But, given the current COVID-19 context, this is the most respectful and considerate activity our rowing club, St. Michaels' of Dun Laoghaire, can engage with.

Caitriona Gallagher and Simone SavCaitriona Gallagher and Simone Sav

We are delighted to have had 10 rowers compete in the National Indoor Rowing Championships on Saturday, the 23rd of January 2021. Five women and five men (Aoife Byrne, Catriona Gallagher, Colm Crilly, David Cullen, Gareth Wittington, Ger Ryan, Martin Dowd, Nicola Fitzgerald, Samatha Nagle, Simone Sav) competed in 11 races and won four medals, along with Personal Best results. This is the fifth major competition that our members engage in within the last four months on national and international level (3rd of October, 24th of October, 21st November 2020 - for national competitions and 5th December 2020 for the British Indoor Rowing Competitions), with 11 medals won overall. Special mention to Niall O'Toole and his online training sessions many of us follow on a weekly basis.

Gareth Whittington and Nicola FitzgeraldGareth Whittington and Nicola Fitzgerald

As an amateur rower, it takes courage to compete against established athletes. Those minutes before the start of a race, when one has to find its breath, remember their strategy, and retain their self-confidence are always tough. But we are delighted, that, somehow, we do. Consistently. Stubbornly so.

Ger RyanGer Ryan

Hilary Lovejoy, Club Chairperson, says: 'Our club, along with many other rowing clubs, has to face the challenge of remaining meaningful to its members when normal activities cannot take place. And with good reason. Staying safe, at home, is a solution recommended by the Government to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which we embrace and uphold. We are delighted that so many of our members signed up for this national competition.'

Aoife ByrneAoife Byrne

'We are a coastal rowing club,' says Gary Byrne, Club Captain. 'In normal circumstances, we would offer winter rowing to our members, which is not possible now, due to the pandemic context. We look forward to being back on the water as allowed by the Government but in the meanwhile, we are delighted with our members' results in the Indoor Championships. Fantastic results and congratulations to all participants.'

Sam NagleSam Nagle

Besides participating in the Indoor Rowing Championships, St. Michael's RC, Dun Laoghaire, will also get involved in providing training sessions on how to read the weather in Dublin Bay for its members in February.

Published in Coastal Rowing

When Fergus Farrell was paralysed after a workplace accident, he may never have imagined he would watch the sunrise as he plied a currach across Galway Bay.

However, the former rugby player did just that with close friend and extreme sports athlete Damian Browne this week, when the pair completed a 40 km (25-mile) row from the Aran islands into Galway city.

Transatlantic Currach Rowers

As Afloat reported previously, The row – which took place the morning after Galway city was embroiled in controversy over a large student gathering at Spanish Arch – was completed in less than nine hours.

The pair aimed to highlight their bid to set a new Guinness world record in an unsupported row some 4,937km across the Atlantic in two years’ time.

The two men from Renmore and Athenry have been friends and players with Connacht and Galwegians Rugby Football Club since they were young.

Farrell was diagnosed with a serious spinal cord injury after a workplace accident in 2018.

Transatlantic Currach Rowers

After treatment in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, he walked 206 km from the place of his accident to the NRH in late October 2019, and raised €70,000  for the hospital.

Browne successfully rowed across the Atlantic solo in late 2017-early 2018, enduring nine-metre high swells, head lacerations, a complete steering system failure, a capsize in a storm and a near-miss from a cargo ship.

He completed the crossing in 63 days, 6 hours and 25 minutes.

He has completed the six day, 257km-long Marathon des Sables across the Sahara, and has climbed five of the seven summits or highest peaks on each continent, with Everest in his sights for next spring.

The record of 55 days and 13 hours for an Atlantic crossing from New York to the Scilly Isles was set in 1896 by George Harboe and Frank Samuelsen. They had none of the satellite communications and safety equipment available now for such ventures.

Transatlantic Currach Rowers

Some 11 pairs have attempted to break that record but failed, with six of the 11 completing the crossing.

There have been 52 previous attempted crossings in an unsupported row, with 18 successfully making land in some part of Europe.

Browne and Farrell’s transatlantic bid is named Project Empower, and their ocean rowing boat will be built by master builder Justin Adkin of Seasabre, who also constructed Browne’s vessel for his solo crossing.

Website here: http://www.projectempower.ie/

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Bray Rowing Club said goodbye to its founding member and legend Mr Noel Walsh yesterday (Tuesday, September 16) writes club member Mick O'Toole

Noel, we thank you for your years of commitment and selfless dedication to Bray Rowing Club. A true community man, gone but never forgotten. We will make sure that your years of service to the club will not be in vain and strive to continue the high standards you have set. There is no doubt that the rowing club would not be where it is today without you. You have paved the way for rowing in Bray for generations to come. We are forever grateful.

The sea stood still and the sun shone through for your send-off, something we always pray for on regatta day.

We would like to thank everyone who came to give Noel the send-off he deserved, the turnout was overwhelming and no doubt he was looking down on it a very proud man.

A special thanks to the other clubs on the east coast for making the long journey to show support for Noel. The east coast rowing community stood tall yesterday and it was a testament to the character of the people in the rowing community.

We send our condolences to Anne, John and the extended family.

Rest in Peace Noel, till we meet again my friend.

Published in Coastal Rowing

An inaugural coastal rowing event on August 22nd between Bray Rowing Club and Greystones Rowing Club will feature a traditional skiff rowing challenge along the coastline of Bray and Greystones in County Wicklow.

Spectator viewing will be possible all along the cliff walk from 7 am until the teams reach a distance of 500kms.

The event is to raise funds for a safety boat and to encourage participation in rowing. All of sports Ireland safety guidelines are being followed regarding Covid-19 and social distance.

The Challenge is for each club to row 250 km culminating in a total rowing distance of 500 km. Multiple crews will row legs of the journey starting in Bray and Greystones.

Both clubs would like to be able to increase their youth membership and continue to offer all adult rowers an opportunity to improve their physical and mental well-being. Crews will be made up of all club members from 14 years old to senior rowers working together to achieve a common purpose.

Bray Rowing Club urgently need funds to facilitate its growing membership. The funds raised during the 'Braystones' event will be used to purchase a safety boat.

The purchase of this boat is essential for the clubs continued participation in the regatta series.

A GoFundMe page is available for donations has been set up here.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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An unusual visitor to Glenarm Marina in County Antrim recently was the rowing boat of the GB Row Challenge. After what must have been an uncomfortable time lying in the open in Glenarm Harbour in a north-westerly, the GB Row Challenge berthed alongside a pontoon, permissible for safety reasons.

This event is the ultimate rowing challenge and covers about 2000 miles. Complex tides and very changeable weather mean good navigation skills are required, as well as the tactical ability to make the most of weather and sea conditions, which can be as important as a team’s strength, stamina, and endurance. The race is organised by rowers who have been there themselves, meaning GB Row’s priority is to ensure teams have an enjoyable and safe race round the spectacular British coastline.

Making up the team are skipper Charles Bromhead (21), Oliver Daw-Lane (21) Harry Lidgley ( 22) and Arthur Chatto (20). In these COVID 19 times, they have been living together and as a result are able to race. The money raised will be split between two great causes; The British Red Cross to help with the Covid-19 efforts and Just One Ocean who are committed to preserving the ocean for future generations. The team have been taking water samples for plastics and carrying out acoustic recordings to test sound pollution in the sea. The acoustic recordings will be analysed by RS Aqua and Portsmouth University and it is expected that the water sample testing will be done there too.

They are also aiming to beat the current Guinness World Record for a UK team rowing unaided around Great Britain which was previously also set by a team led by Will de Laszlo in 2005 at 21 days, 21 hours and 14 minutes.

On board is 35 days’ worth of food and they started on 5th July from London’s Tower Bridge. At the time of writing (9th Aug), they are off the Firth of Forth on the East Coast of Scotland so might have to go easy on the rations or do a bit of fishing!

From Tower Bridge, they headed west down the English Channel and encountered very heavy weather before rounding the Lizard to head across the Bristol Channel and up the Irish Sea. From Glenarm, they continued up the North Channel past the stunning Antrim Coast with its impressive headlands and strong tides, round the most northerly point of the British mainland at Dunnet Head and through the Pentland Firth. Now it’s a southerly passage and you can track the boat at undefined

Event owner of GB Row Challenge Ltd., William de Laszlo is keen to encourage interest in the challenge. He says “You can be any nationality, men or women and can sign up. Entries for 2021, 2022 and 2023 are now being accepted”.

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With 22km winds howling around Cork Harbour last Saturday morning, the Ocean to City team should have been in a frenzy reorganising the race routes, but instead, they were online in the middle of launching their Ocean to City Virtual Challenge. From the comfort of their homes the organisers did a countdown for over a hundred participants, from all over the world, who were getting ready to row Ocean to City on their rowing machines.

At 10.30 am the Zoom screens were filled with participants from Ireland, UK, Portugal, USA, Australia, Germany and Lebanon. Race Director Donagh MacArtain began the event talking about the difficult decision to cancel this year’s race and thanking those who supported and continue to support the Cork Harbour Festival: Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, Fáilte Ireland and many more who have ensured the future of the festival and Ocean to City. Lord Mayor of Cork City, Cllr. John Sheehan joined in the Zoom meeting to formally welcome all participants. The Lord Mayor spoke on the importance of a collective in these strange times and how vital it is to bring people together. He remembered starting his term as Lord Mayor launching the Lee Swim and how apt it was to finish it with the Ocean to City.

The event had two categories to choose from, the Rowing Machine Challenge – where participants rowed the equivalent time to either the Ocean Course (2hr23min39sec) or the Monkstown Course (1hr1mins12secs). The furthest distance rowed within the time limit would win. The second category was the Fun Time challenge – where participants had to record their most creative rowing or paddling training on land. The event was also joined by UK runner Lawrence Washington who ran for the full Ocean Course time limit, from his home to the town of Porthmadog and back.

The race began at 11am and stayed live on Facebook and Zoom where spectators could watch the efforts of the participants in the rowing challenge. Along with the rowing challenge, participants were asked to send in videos of their creative home training and the submissions were fantastic! All submitted videos are available on oceantocity.com along with the full results on the day.

The 16th Ocean to City was a very different day but thankfully the day and the ethos of this wonderful race was marked, as a community of like-minded people who have a love of the water, of Cork and the spirit to adapt to new circumstances.

Ocean to City – An Rás Mór, the flagship event of Cork Harbour Festival is organised by Meitheal Mara, the community boatyard, training centre and charity located in the heart of Cork City. The event is sponsored by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, Fáilte Ireland and made possible with the help of dozens of Event Partners and hundreds of volunteers.

Cork Harbour Festival will be back next year 5-13 June 2021 with the flagship Ocean to City – An Rás Mór taking place on Saturday 5 June 2021.

Published in Cork Harbour

Portmagee Rowing Club was one of the first coastal rowing clubs in Ireland back on the water on Monday morning. The restrictions were lifted to allow single sculling to begin while using set precautions and observing distancing. Portmagee owns a coastal single scull and the junior members were delighted to be back in action. Portmagee owns several sets of new oars which were purchased under the sports grants last year thus allowing each member to use one specific set preventing cross-contamination and the scull is wiped down with sanitiser after each session. Water, soap and sanitizers are also available at the slip where training takes place.

Portmagee crews usually train on the rowing machines and do gym work during the winter and then move into the crew boats as the weather improves in the spring. Speaking to the athletes at training today, Aoife Murphy (who is also the club PRO) said that it’s been nine weeks since they were last on the water. She found it difficult to keep training at home on the erg and doing circuits as its hard to train on your own, but now is delighted to have all that work done for the coming season. She found a routine at home that allowed her to train daily and is looking forward to the highlight of the season, the Irish Coastal Rowing Championships, later on in the year. She feels that training will be more intense due to the shorter season and is really looking forward to it.

Jane O’Connor found no difficulty getting back into the boat after a nine-week layoff. She also found it hard to remain motivated training on your own as opposed to group training. She finds crew rowing better as you push yourself more during training with others and is also looking forward to the National Championships.

Also during a conversation with our neighbours, Cahersiveen Rowing Club this morning, they revealed that they are preparing to get back on the water with their junior crews in the coming weeks. Cahersiveen has always been recognised as a proud, traditional club that is very passionate about preserving the traditions of our sport for future generations. They have done a massive refurbishment job this winter on their seine boat, the Liberator. The Liberator was built in 1969 by the legendary boat builder, Johnny Mahony of Ardcost, and has been winning races ever since. With a crew ready to go and a boat nearly ready, here’s another club only delighted to be finally able to get back on the water.

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County Down has become an important centre for coastal rowing with clubs dotted around Strangford Lough and the Ards Peninsula. This is very much a community-based activity with skiffs active at Strangford, Portaferry, Portavogie, Donaghadee, Dundrum, Killyleagh, Sketrick, Strangford, and Kircubbin. There is also rowing at Ardglass and Ballywalter.

Down Coastal Rowing Association was set up in 2014 by the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership (SLLP) working with the PSNI to revive traditional boatbuilding and coastal rowing as part of a wider effort to regenerate communities through their maritime heritage. It was approved by the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP) as part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas, supported by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and Down District and Ards Borough Councils.

This revival of an old sport has been a phenomenal success with community boats built, virtually all St Ayles skiffs, and clubs established. The St Ayles class has spread very quickly with numbers growing all the time. A key player in the construction of the boats is Jeremy Duffin of Strangford.

Northern Ireland coastal rowingNorthern Ireland coastal rowing

Strangers become friends and teamworking has forged relationships across and between communities. There is also healthy competition and each community holds training and competitive activities all year round.

"Teamwork has forged relationships across and between communities"

The rowing has also brought people into contact with the area's landscape and wildlife and they, in turn, have helped to look after it, taking care not to disturb seals and birds and taking part in shore clean-ups. This is important because Strangford Lough is an Area of Special Scientific Importance.

The World Championships, (Skiffie Worlds) were held in Strangford Lough in 2016, hosted by Strangford Lough & Lecale Partnership (SLLP) working closely with the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA), and with the support of local councils and communities along the County Down Coast. Last year Stranraer hosted the World Championships in which the Dundrum team were the overall winners.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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St. Patrick’s Rowing Club Ringsend has received a national IPB Pride of Place award for their commitment to the community.

The 17th Annual All-Ireland Pride of Place Gala Awards Ceremony was held in the Lyrath Hotel in Kilkenny last Saturday night the 30th November 2019.

The purpose of the IPB competition is to acknowledge the work being done every day by communities all over the island of Ireland. Since the competition commenced the IPB judges
have met hundreds of thousands of people, all of whom are proud of their place. St Patrick’s Rowing Club won the best Urban Neighbourhood project in an area with a population of
between 1,000 – 2,000 category.

The judges were particularly impressed with St. Patrick’s Rowing Club with its role as a “key community energiser in their area, which actively involves community, influences well-being and cares for the vulnerable in its area.”

Eimear McCormack Public Relations Officer for St. Patrick’s Rowing Club said: “This award showcases our club at a national level and credits those who volunteer to keep our club
going year on year”. She went on to say “however, we can’t forget past members to laid the foundations of the club and set the community ethos of the club we are today. This is a
fantastic achievement and one we will celebrate for a long time”.

St. Patrick’s Rowing Club is no stranger to awards, last year the club won “Dublin’s Best Sports Club” awarded by the listeners of 98FM and this year they were highly commended
by Dublin City Council for the upkeep of their club area.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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The World Coastal Rowing Championships were a big success.

The Hong Kong sights provided a spectacular backdrop for a huge event. Ireland sent a big team, with multiple A Finalists, five in the solo women’s class: our top two, Sionna Healy of Arklow and Miriam Sheehan of Castletownbere, placed seventh and eighth.

Here are some striking images which recall this memorable occasion:

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

© Afloat 2020