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Displaying items by tag: Omey Island

Cleggan Coast Guard team were tasked earlier in the week to a collapsed horse on Omey Island off Claddaghduff in western Connemara.

The fallen horse was in grave danger with a fast incoming tide, so the coastguard team members worked quickly with assistance and guidance from two vets from Western Veterinary and the owner to bring the horse safely ashore.

Cleggan Coast Guard later commented on social media: “Thankfully the horse is doing well. We’re delighted to be part of this unusual rescue.”

Also this week, Cleggan Coast Guard welcomed Minister of State and Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton to its base in north-western Co Galway.

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton is presented with a locally made miniature model currach by Cleggan Coast GuardMinister of State Hildegarde Naughton is presented with a locally made miniature model currach by Cleggan Coast Guard

During her visit, the minister was shown the range of services and facilities the volunteers at Cleggan provide for Connemara, including a demonstration by the unit's drone search team.

In honour of her visit and in light of the minister’s Department of Transport leadership of the Irish Coast Guard, Minister Naughton was presented with a locally made miniature model currach.

Officer in Charge Michael Murray commenting on the visit said: “It’s great to see the minister make such an effort to get out and meet the people who volunteer their time. We are so proud that she is a TD for our constituency as well.”

Published in Coastguard

Relatives of Omey islanders have renewed their appeal for a return of bones taken by the State in an emergency excavation three decades ago.

As The Sunday Times reports, a professor of archaeology has been contacted about human remains removed from Omey off Claddaghduff in Connemara in 1992, which residents have campaigned for years to be returned.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage said last week that it had approached Tadhg O’Keeffe, a University College Dublin professor, to discuss his excavation on the Co Galway tidal island and “the matter of the burials in the context of the local interest”.

It told the newspapers it has received “a suite of technical reports” from O’Keeffe. The documents will be reviewed by the National Monuments Service and National Museum of Ireland.

The department said the remains analysed so far dated from the early medieval period and Bronze Age, “not to recent burials”.

Maggie Coohill, whose father was born on Omey, said: “Islanders were told in the early 1990s that these bones would be returned. They didn’t expect they would still be waiting 30 years later.”

Conservation expert Deirdre McDermott said she had been asked to pursue the issue on behalf of Cleggan Claddaghduff Community Council.

She is a local resident and former president of the Irish national committee of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and involved in its working group on rights-based approaches.

“Omey is an important site, with burials there straddling two millennia, but the local community supported an emergency archaeological dig and removal in good faith, on the understanding the bones would be reinterred in due course,” she said.

“Even as recently as 2019, the UNESCO World Heritage Operational Guidelines were changed to acknowledge community participation, and rights,”McDermott said.

Prof O’Keeffe said the return of the material was in the hands of the State’s chief archaeologist Michael McDonagh.

O’Keeffe also said that the first paper in a planned series of five articles outlining the results of the research had been published in the Journal of the Galway Historical and Archaeological Society.

Asked if the community had been informed, he said both he and McDonagh had discussed producing a small booklet on the island’s archaeology when the last or second last scientific paper has been published.

Read more in The Sunday Times here

Published in Island News
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Clifden RNLI came to the aid of two walkers who got cut off by the tide yesterday evening (Sunday 11 April).

The volunteer crew were requested to launch the lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 5.50 pm following a report that two people were stranded on Omey Island.

The inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat helmed by Kenny Flaherty and with three crew members onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a northerly Force 5 wind.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew checked that the two people were safe and well before proceeding to transfer them on to the lifeboat and bring them back to shore at Claddaghduff.

Speaking following the call out, John Brittain, Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘The two walkers were not in any immediate danger and we were happy to help and bring them safely back to shore.

‘We would remind locals and visitors to always check tide times and heights before venturing out and to always make sure you have enough time to return safely.

‘If you do get cut off by the tide, it is important to stay where you are and not attempt a return to shore on your own as that may be when the danger presents and you get into difficulty. Always carry a means of communication and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On the eve of Connemara’s Omey island races, relatives of islanders have initiated a petition seeking the urgent return of bones removed during an archaeological excavation writes Lorna Siggins

Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan has also been urged to intervene to ensure that the bones, excavated in the 1990s, can be brought back for a Christian burial.

Ms Maggie Coohill, whose father was born in Omey, says she has spent the last five years seeking action and has now initiated the petition.

“Islanders were promised 30 years ago that these bones of their relatives would be returned,” she said.

Omey, a tidal island off Claddaghduff, lost its last full-time resident when stuntman Pascal Whelan died in 2017. Poet Richard Murphy built a hexagonal granite studio on the island.

Its annual Omey island races across the strand at low tide take place this Sunday from 1 pm

The island has evidence of occupation from the Bronze Age, up to 2000 BC, up to the Great Famine, when there were 400 residents. Its monastic site dating from about the 6th century is named after its founder, St Feichín.

The medieval site, which included one of the few reported burials of a woman within monastic ground, was excavated in the 1990s by Prof Tadhg O’Keeffe of University College, Dublin (UCD) after concerns that rabbits and erosion were causing damage.

The site was one of a number of west coast archaeological features damaged during severe winter storms of January 2014.

Ms Coohill said she was on holidays on Omey with her father when the excavation began on the north side of the island.

“My uncle, my dad and other locals were not in favour of the bones being taken off the island, but were assured that after they had been examined they would be returned to Omey and given a Christian burial,” she said.

“On January 16th, 2014, I contacted Prof O’Keeffe, and he informed me that it was always his intention that the bones would be returned to Omey,”

Ms Coohill said she now believed that “more than enough time” had been spent to conclude the research. She contacted Ms Madigan several months ago and asked her to intervene, and was told the decision was one for the National Museum of Ireland.

The Department of Cultural, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said the excavations in the 1990s were “commissioned by this department due to the damage and irreparable loss that was occurring to the human remains buried at the location”.

“The archaeological excavations confirmed large scale disturbance of the remains on account of erosion and burrowing activity,” it said.

The excavator in UCD is overseeing the completion of the various specialist analyses of the remains,” it said, and “this post-excavation analysis has benefited from advances in analytical and scientific techniques”.

“The department expects to receive final excavation reports later this year, subject to final completion of the specialist analysis, which will ensure that the story of the inhabitants of Omey is told”, it said.

“Any decision on reburial would then ultimately be a matter for the National Museum of Ireland to adjudicate on,” the department said.

The museum’s decision would be predicated on consideration of “all relevant factors.. as per the conditions of the excavation licence issued by this department”, the department said.

Prof O’Keeffe said the full report was almost complete and ready for publication, and as many individuals as possible had been identified by two professional osteologists (bone experts).

He said it was his personal hope to have repatriation in consultation with the National Museum of Ireland.

Publication of the findings would take place in the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society's journal, he said.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#OmeyIsland - Omey Island’s last resident has died, as Galway Bay FM reports.

Retired stuntman Pascal Whelan was found at his home on Saturday (5 February) after a long illness, bringing to an end centuries of continuous habitation on the West Connemara tidal island that saw a steep decline in population over the last 100 years.

Whelan was the subject of a book by photographer Kevin Griffin two years ago, according to TheJournal.ie, which charted his rugged lifestyle.

A more recent book plots the remarkable history of Omey Island itself, which at its peak had over 100 residents a century ago, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#Archaeology - It was quite a turn-up for the books on Omey Island recently as a US student found a 12th-century brooch in the sand on the Connemara tidal island.

As The Irish Times reports, the rare kite brooch was discovered by chance by McKenna McFadden while on a field trip with fellow New York University students led by Michael Gibbons, a local archaeologist.

It's since been identified as being 900 years old, and will be offered to the collection of the National Museum.

Omey Island is also the subject of a new book charting its remarkable history, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Island News

#OmeyIsland - Omey Island in Connemara is the subject of a new book by a local woman charting its remarkable history.

Strands of Omey's Story by Bernadette Conroy shows there's much more to the lands off Claddaghduff than the annual beach horse race, as Galway Bay FM reports.

Despite not being a true island, as its only cut off from the mainland when the tide is in, Omey has seen its population dwindle from over 100 a century ago to just a single resident in more recent years.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Times reports that the sperm whale that was stranded in Connemara at the end of last year has been buried at sea.

The 13-metre whale carcass has attracted thousands of onlookers to Omey Island in Co Galway.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the sperm whale was found beached with a broken lower jaw and shed of its skin.

The whale carcass was towed out to sea west of High Island on Thursday after being deemed too large to bury on land.

"Chances are it died offshore and got washed in with the wind," said Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

The IWDG added that such strandings were relatively common, although as reported on Afloat.ie last year there has been growing concern over the rising number of dolphin deaths along the south coast in particular.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Three whales and a dolphin were found beached over the past few days along Ireland's west coast, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group confirmed that reports had been received of a bottlenose whale on White Strand in Co Clare, a pilot whale on Fintra Beach in Co Donegal and a dolphin in Silverstrand, Co Galway - all found dead.

The latest find was a male sperm whale stranded on Omey Island in Co Galway, shed of its skin and with a broken lower jaw.

"Chances are it died offshore and got washed in with the wind," said Berrow.

The IWDG said such strandings were relatively common, although as reported on Afloat.ie earlier this year there has been growing concern over the rising number of dolphin deaths along the south coast in particular.

Published in Marine Wildlife

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.

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