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Young sailors from all over Ireland are getting ready to compete in the highly anticipated Irish Optimist Dinghy Association (IODAI) Sprint Series 2024 and Youth Sailing National Championships.

The Sprint Series, is billed as 'one of the most exciting events on the 2024 sailing calendar'.

The series offers young sailors the chance to train and compete over the winter months and to prepare for the upcoming Youth Nationals in April.

The IODAI Sprint Series 2024 will be held on two race days, the first on February 24th at the National Yacht Club and the second on March 23rd at the Lough Derg Yacht Club. Unfortunately, the first leg of the series, scheduled to take place in January at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, had to be cancelled because of high winds.

This series is designed to be accessible to sailors from all parts of Ireland, with a convenient later start and a schedule of four races each day. It gives young sailors ample time to sharpen their skills and prepare for the official start of the sailing season.

But the Sprint Series is not just about racing; it is also an opportunity for young sailors to make lasting friendships and connect with the wider sailing community. As sailors compete and share experiences, they will be part of a supportive network that encourages everyone to strive for their personal best.

The series serves as a vital preparation ground for the Youth Nationals, which will take place at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in late April. Success in the Youth Nationals is crucial for sailors aiming to represent Ireland internationally, as the nationals are a selection event for the teams heading to competitions in Italy and France this summer.

The IODAI Sprint Series series serves as a vital preparation ground for the Youth NationalsThe IODAI Sprint Series series serves as a vital preparation ground for the Youth Nationals Photo: Simon McIlwaine

These international events are a significant undertaking for the Optimist class, with some sailors away from their families for up to ten days for the first time. However, the benefits to their sailing and sense of achievement are immense. They offer young sailors the opportunity to don the Irish colours and represent their country on a global stage, grow in confidence, and make friends from around the world.

For those interested in learning more about the IODAI Sprint Series 2024 or getting insights from the recent IODAI webinar on the Youth Nationals and IODAI teams, check out the association's website.

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The Irish Optimist Dinghy Association (IODAI) has announced the much-anticipated Sprint Series 2024, an exciting addition to the Optimist 2024 sailing calendar.

The series is aimed at Gold and Silver fleet sailors who are preparing for the Youth Sailing National Championships in April and are seeking a competitive edge.

Scheduled for three race days across Ireland, the series promises to test the skills of young sailors and provide valuable experience.

The race days are as follows:

  • Royal Cork Yacht Club on January 20th, 2024
  • National Yacht Club on February 24th, 2024
  • Lough Derg Yacht Club on March 23rd, 2024

With a later start time, the Sprint Series accommodates sailors from all over the country, ensuring maximum participation. Each race day will have four races, giving sailors ample opportunities to showcase their skills.

The series kicks off at RCYC in January, where participants can also take advantage of an additional day of Optimist training on January 21st, which is open to all. This training day will not only enhance individual skills but also foster connections between sailors and clubs, creating a vibrant community within the series.

Registration is open until January 13th, so interested sailors are encouraged to submit their entries as soon as possible to help race organisers make preparations. Clubs are also asked to spread the word among their advanced Gold and Silver fleet sailors.

The IODAI Sprint Series 2024 promises to be an exciting and challenging event for young sailors, and we look forward to seeing the best of Irish sailing talent in action.

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It has been a busy year for the Irish Optimist Fleet, the largest and youngest class in the country, and its class association, the International Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland (IODAI), held its AGM on Tuesday, the 28th of November, 2023, via Zoom.

In his report, the President of the Association, Paddy Ryan, outlined the commitments that the Committee had made for 2023 and the work undertaken by the Committee to achieve those goals throughout the year.

A survey was undertaken at the start of 2022 to see what the sailors and parents wanted and to ensure that the Association was in step with its membership. The overall successes of this engagement were evident in the significantly increased fleet numbers and the very successful national training week held at the Royal Court Yacht Club over the Halloween break, not to mention the numerous smiling faces seen at Optimist events throughout the year.

The financial position was presented by the Honorary Treasurer, Dominic Byrne. He relayed a clear picture of the income and expenditure over the 2022 calendar year. The increased costs associated with the running of events and the support given to teams, as well as the national training week, were underpinned.

Steve O’Sullivan (RCYC), the Teams Manager, gave a run-through of the four international teams that represented Ireland in competitions in Spain, Greece, France, and the UK during the summer. With new structures put in place and a strong coaching and supporting team, Irish Oppie sailors performed well overall, benefiting significantly from some of their first exposures to international competition.

The domestic growth of the fleet in 2023 was particularly evident, as Neil Spain (HYC), Events Officer, explained with references to the various events across the country.

Neil also unveiled the much-anticipated calendar for 2024, which will see the fleet travel from East Antrim to Crosshaven throughout the year. The National Championships and Team Racing Championships will be held in Howth in August.

The President acknowledged the invaluable commitment of retiring Committee Members Ross Gorman, Jill Doig, Brendan Foley and Darragh Brady. He welcomed the new Committee Members, Nick Smith (RstGYC), who will be in charge of training; Laura Greer (RstGYC), who has taken up the role of Communications Officer; Cian Baynes (GBSC), who will support events; and Angela Duane (LRYC) who will assist with the association's Finances.

Finally, it was noted that the Children’s Officer, Emer O’Donnell, was stepping down from her position and that Jill Doig (EABC) would be taking up this critical role.

Published in Optimist
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We were promised a storm! The only storm that materialised was the arrival of 130 Optimist sailors and their families in Crosshaven for the Annual National Training Week, as Afloat reports here.

After two days of training, dodging big gusts and learning new skills, the younger and less experienced sailors were presented with a fun, action-packed and unusual event: " La Solitaire Optimist".The event was composed of four legs across Cork harbour, and in a total Figaro-style event, the young skippers had to deal with crazy tides in the Owenabue River, windless doldrums behind Currabinny hill, gusty conditions when approaching the east side of Ringaskiddy.

54 young skippers took part (of which 17 were sailing in the regatta fleet and 37 from the development squad 2023-2024). To keep all the sailors on their toes, the regatta fleet sailors were given a two-minute head start on each leg with the development sailors hot on the chase.

'La Solitaire Optimist' course in Cork Harbour'La Solitaire Optimist' course in Cork Harbour

Leg 1: with the tide down the River

The 17-strong regatta fleet sailors left the startline set in front of the club pushed by the dropping tide in a tight pack, followed two minutes later by another tight bunch. No clear early leads materialised, but the first casualty in the regatta was number 13 who went too close to shore and ended up stuck. And the fleets eventually amalgamated by Currabiny Pier in windless doldrums. With the finish line further North and the wind further right, the kids had two strategies: trying to cut short but risking staying stuck under Currabinny Hill for longer, or going East first with the tide and catching an upwind stretch back to the finish. The second solution proved a bit more effective, and the key was to start the upwind stretch before being carried too far by the strong current.

Development squad Ruairi Slattery (IRL1206 LDYC) found the perfect lane out of the channel, closely followed by clubmate Jess Tottenham (IRL600)...The battle for third was fierce, and it was eventually super fast regatta fleet sailor Andrew Weir (IRL1646) who picked the honours, followed by the rest of the fleet.

Leg 2: Not so straight line towards Ringaskiddy

Here they went again! Two strategies materialised quickly, with a few sailors opting to go high to the west, first led by regatta fleet sailor Sarah McNamara (AHO82) and the majority putting the bow down in the breeze led by 8-year-old Jojo Dion (IRL1407) and Oscar Rowan (IRL1391).

Eventually, both strategies were delivered with a late surge by Ellie Tottenham (IRL1191) from the East taking the win. A minute later the battle between Jojo and Oscar went to the eight years old when Oscar capsized in a rushed tack. He quickly recovered and sailed his "submarine" across the finish, salvaging 7th on the line. The ever-consistent Andrew Weir made good gains to secure yet another 3rd, taking the lead overall.

Leg 3: sweet and short in the Curlane Bank

The third leg was the shortest, leading the fleet back on the bank. The strongest regatta fleet sailors were not to be caught. At the second turning mark after a short upwind just south of the Loughbeg wind turbine, the race delivered a close battle between Oscar yet again, Andrew and 8-year-old Ben Chaix (IRL1576). Ben got squeezed out at the turning point, touching the mark and taking a penalty turn pushing him into a battle for 3rd with Jojo Dion. The development squad was finding it challenging to catch these 4.

Andrew eventually managed to edge out Oscar on the reach finish with Jojo scoring yet another top 3.

After the leg, Andrew Weir had secured a firm lead over the rest of the field with the consistent Ben Chaix a distant second just a mere point ahead of Ruairi Slattery. But leg 4 was certainly to be the most challenging yet so with no legs discarded it was going to be a tough challenge.

Leg 4: River madness

The sailors started in a lovely northwesterly before rapidly falling in the Currabinny Doldrums. Most sailors attempted to cut short to try to reach the breeze just windward of the pier, but with the strong tide still against them they just could not make ground.

The Optimist Solitaire fleets eventually amalgamated by Currabiny Pier in windless doldrumsThe Optimist Solitaire fleets eventually amalgamated by Currabiny Pier in windless doldrums

Oscar Rowan was an early leader in a further south position where the doldrums were narrower but it was to be two sailors who went further south right by Crosshaven shores who eventually caught the breeze first. IRL1495 Fergus Mcnamara who had capsized off the startline took advantage of the error of the fleet ahead and IRL1521 Cian Farrell were the first two into the river breeze battling the strong current yet making ground. A small group of sailors finally noticed and made their way south instead of fighting the current. Notable absentees from this change of heart were Andrew and Ruairi which opened a small opportunity for Ben to deliver a little holdup on the 11th hour.

IRL1521 Cian Farrell was one of the first Optimists into the river in the Cork Harbour Solitaire raceIRL1521 Cian Farrell was one of the first Optimists into the river in the Cork Harbour Solitaire Race

Cian eventually took the lead and made it to the finish, securing the win for leg 4. Fergus was second, with Oscar scoring a second podium finish.

Andrew Weir has a stellar catch-up in the river to climb back to 7th, even overtaking Ben (9th) and securing the overall win of the first "la solitaire Optimist".

The regatta fleet sailors secured a 1-2-3 to the delight of lead coach Sarah Fogarty. The top Development squad sailor was Ruairi Slattery in 4th. The kids had a great day out in Cork Harbour. It was fun, unusual, exciting, and challenging and we can't wait for the second edition in 2024. Perpetual trophy offers?

'La Solitaire Optimist' Results

La Solitaire Optimist Results

Published in Optimist
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The 130 Optimist sailors and their parents who descended on the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven last week were full of trepidation, with storm Ciaran potentially leading to no sailing. As it happened, all four days of IODAI NTW (National Training Week) were sailable, and the options in Cork Harbour for sheltered sailing helped.

Now in it’s third year, NTW has become a centrepiece in the Optimist calendar. Its mix of training, social and fun, with less emphasis on racing results, has seen a huge increase in new sailors participating in this event. The IODAI committee were delighted to see lots of new regatta fleet participants, auguring well for the healthy future of the class.

Jim Hughes of host club RCYC, along with the IODAI team, ran an excellent week of training culminating in the final day being sailed as the Halloween Regatta incorporating the Crosbie Cup. An army of volunteers on and off the water supported the coaching team led by world-renowned Olympic coach Bocha Pollitzer of Argentina.

Optimist sailors during a Optimist Dinghy 2023 National Training Week race at Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork HarbourOptimist sailors during a Optimist Dinghy 2023 National Training Week race at Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork Harbour

The disco was a huge hit with the sailors, and the now famous “In it to win it” prize draw each day kept the fun and social aspect of sailing at the forefront. For the parents, Dr Aine McNamara gave a presentation on supporting your child in sailing with the ability to overcome setbacks and a positive mental attitude as key takeaways.

All four days of IODAI Optimist National Training Week were sailable, and the options in Cork Harbour for sheltered sailing helped to complete the programmeAll four days of IODAI Optimist National Training Week were sailable, and the options in Cork Harbour for sheltered sailing helped to complete the programme

On Saturday, the focus shifted from training to racing, with the Crosbie Cup and Halloween Cup run in parallel. The top three in the Halloween Cup were Patrick Fegan (MYC/RSGYC), Max O’Hare (RSGYC) and Juliette Ryan (RSGYC/MYC/HYC). In the Crosbie Cup for Bronze Fleet sailors, the top three were Tara Hayes (RCYC/MBSC), Emily Lynch (RCYC) and Dylan O’Sullivan (RCYC).

Full results below.

Both parents and sailors alike were unanimous in their feedback that the week had been a huge success and created lots of positive memories and new and renewed friendships. Sponsors Grant Thornton and O’Leary Insurance were delighted to be associated with the NTW. President Paddy Ryan said, “I am thrilled that the weather worked out for us and that the sailors and parents had a great time.” Ryan gave thanks to all those who supported the event and promised an even better NTW next year.

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The Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven in Cork Harbour will be the centre for fun and learning at the IODAI Optimist National Training Week from the 1st to the 4th of November.

Over 120 boats are signed up at the time of writing, and more latecomers are also expected.

Now in its third year, the NTW offers Optimist sailors from all over Ireland a chance to connect and learn from some great coaching.

The coaching ticket is led by world-famous ‘Bocha’ Pollitzer of Argentina, who has coached Olympic Teams from the 49er class and has coached world champions in the 29er class and Optimists. Supported by Soren Laugenson of Denmark and Thomas Chaix of Ireland and France. This senior team will lead a talented Irish lineup of younger coaches, ensuring great fun and lots of learning.

The sponsors Grant Thornton and O’Leary Insurance Group, are delighted to support this gathering of the Optimist tribe, say the IODAI.

Swag’ bags have been put together, and the NTW event hoodie is now a collector's item. RCYC has a full food menu for the kids and parents, and the Club and Class are happy to give back by running a coffee morning in aid of the RNLI. As is tradition now, the training week ends with a Halloween Regatta, allowing the sailors to test their newfound skills.

IODAI President Paddy Ryan says, ‘National Training Week is really our most important event of the year. After a long season, it’s the perfect tonic for the sailors and their family to relax, spend time with their friends and engage with the sport in a very positive way that differs hugely from their Regional and National events. As one of the biggest fleets in the country, we are very aware of how an event such as NTW can build a really positive atmosphere for the whole Oppie family and support our sailors in the years ahead'.

Last minute booking can be done here and RCYC have an information page here 

Published in Royal Cork YC

The last IODAI Regional Championship of the year saw a massive fleet of 172 Optimist sailors descend on the midlands club of Lough Ree last weekend to compete in the Connaught Championships.

After a busy summer, it was fitting to see the fleet return to a venue that always welcomes them with a relaxed attitude and open arms. The large numbers in the entry and development fleets of the Coached and Racing Regatta are a testament to the commitment and success of the initiatives of the Association, who have prioritised the growth and development of the fleet at all levels, not just at the highly competitive top end.

Lough Ree Yacht Club was the perfect venue for the event, with Saturday serving up a brisk Northerly wind. With gusts of up to 26 knots, the normally tranquil lake was full of short, steep chop and gusting winds. This was too much for the Regatta Fleet who wisely stayed ashore, played games on the lawn and went out to watch and cheer on their club mates on the main fleet.

On the lake the Junior and Senior Main fleets battled the conditions and each other with three races run by PRO David Dickson.

Saturday night, pre-billed as something to rival an electric picnic saw a huge BBQ with over 400 covers. The adults then decamped to the bar to watch the Ireland-Tonga game while an Indiana Jones movie of approximately the length of a rugby match was shown to the sailors in the function room. As all fell quiet on Saturday night a sunglass fairy that is reported to look suspiciously like event Chairman Dominic Byrne delivered gifts to all the sailors boats and so while Dublin had lots of rain Lough Ree had great blasts of sunshine allowing the sailors to model their new one design shades on Sunday morning!

Milder and lighter conditions prevailed on Sunday and the sailors had to deal with the expected shifty and fickle conditions that make lake sailors so good. In the end, the Royal St George sailors Max O’Hare and Maeve Donagh won the Senior and Junior Trophies.

Race Officers Cathal and Ciara Breen on the Racing Regatta fleet ran four highly competitive races for over 50 sailors, with local sailor Michael Malone of Lough Ree Yacht Club taking the lead. The Regatta Coached fleet got to show off all they had learnt this year and Will McElligott of Lough Derg Yacht Club just held off Hugo Jackson of Waterford Harbour Sailing Club on a count back. 

The well attended IODAI Optimist Dinghy Connaught Championships at Lough Ree Yacht ClubThe well attended IODAI Optimist Dinghy Connaught Championships at Lough Ree Yacht Club

Commodore Gerogina Kenny thanked the huge volunteer effort that made the event possible a sentiment Paddy Ryan, President of IODAI, concurred with and thanked all involved for making the weekend so special.

The fleet now has their National Training Week and Halloween Regatta to look forward to in the Royal Cork Yacht Club on the 1st to 4th of November.

Senior fleet results are below
Junior fleet results here
Regatta Racing fleet results here
Regatta Coaching fleet results here

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Four of Ireland’s top Optimists sailors will be getting ready to sail in the Junior Champions Cup to be held in Schull, West Cork, on September 23rd and 24th.

Harry Dunne (HYC), Gemma Brady (NYC/LDYC), Max O’Hare (RStGYC) were nominated based on their Nationals results, and Lilly Donagh (RstGYC/LDYC), based on Female wildcard invitation as the next best female helm.

These sailors have demonstrated great results and skills over the Summer and now face off against the champions of the other Irish junior classes.

Of the 16 entries, four are from the Optimist and four from the ILCA classes, who must all now learn to work with another sailor in the boat!

The event will be raced in the David Harte-designed TR 3.6, a two-person team racing style dinghy.

Interestingly, at least 5 or 6 of the other competitors are ex-oppie sailors, demonstrating the Optimist fleet's importance in getting young sailors on the water and into competition.

The upcoming Optimists Connaughts, to be held in Lough Ree, show great numbers, with 170 sailors entered at this end-of-season event.

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In progressing through each phase of a sailing career, the received wisdom is that you should tick off each staging post while you’re ahead.

Harry Dunne of Howth was registered with a Departure Lounge “Optimist Age” of 15 going into the 115-boat Nationals at Ballyholme, and thus it was irrevocably his farewell tour, his last chance to exit an already successful Optimist racing stage of life with a real flourish.

And despite – or maybe because of – some very challenging sailing conditions, he did it with style, winning the seniors by a clear margin of nine points and eventually heading for home with every trophy for which he had been competing.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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On Monday, as the international squads arrived at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough in Northern Ireland, the IODAI Development Squad - who are the newest sailors in the Main Fleet - took to the water with Head Coach Adam Walsh for some excellent coaching and practice. Champagne sailing conditions greeted the squads as they continued their preparations into Tuesday.

Wednesday saw the hotly contested Team Racing event with eight teams of four on the water. Team CN Janea came out on top for the Open Trophy, and Royal Cork Yacht Club are the Irish Optimist Team Racing Champions for 2023.

On Thursday, the National Championship kicked off in freshening conditions with some great racing for all fleets before Storm Betty arrived. This left plenty of time for the social side of the Optimist fleet, which is so important with sailors making friends and memories for life, and the ever-popular In it to Win It raffle is now a firm fixture at the National Championships.

It was 3 pm on Saturday afternoon before we were able to take to the water again with Junior, Senior and Regatta Racing sailors going afloat, and Principal Race Officer, Ruan O’ Tiarnaigh was able to run two exciting races for the main fleet before heading in for the evening.

In sharp contrast, the Sunday brought ideal conditions, and all fleets launched as soon as they could for four races in Junior, Senior and Regatta Fleets. And the Regatta coached fleet – the very youngest in the fleet with kids as young as 7 – took to the water under the expert coaching of Sophie Gorman. With the regatta fleets sailing so close to the club in beautiful Ballyholme Bay, it was a great spectacle.

The Mayor of Ards, North Down Borough Council, Jennifer Gilmore and Romain Ingouf, Technical Director of Artemis Technology joined in to present the prizes to the many winners.

Howth sailor Harry Dunne topped the podium in the Senior fleet followed by Gemma Brady of National Yacht Club and Lough Derg Yacht Club. Visitor Charlotte Crosbie of CN Javae (Spain) was third. Fourth was Liam Woods of Baltimore and CN Javae, and in fifth place and third Irish boat was Max O’Hare of the Royal St George. The top 3 Irish boats got IS Medal and the Senior Team Prize was won by the Royal St George.

In the Junior fleet Arthur Baker also of CN Javae was first, with Patrick Fegan of the Royal St George Yacht Club and Malahide Yacht Club, first Irish sailor in second place overall and the new Irish Junior National Champion. Third place went to Emily Donagh of RstGYC / LDYC. Her sister Maeve was in fourth place, while fifth place went to Basile Dion of the National Yacht Club. By special request, the PRO Ruan O’Tiarnaigh was delighted to present the Junior Irish Championship prize to Patrick – as he had won the very same prize some 43 years ago at the start of his sailing career! Again the Junior team prize was also won by the Royal St George Yacht Club.

Regatta Racing was won by UK sailor Iain Coward of Hayling Island, with Michael Hanley of the National Yacht Club second, but as the first Irish boat is the National Champion and Arthur Fegan coming home in third sailing from Malahide Yacht Club and the Royal St George Yacht Club. Fourth and fifth place went to Amy Whyte of Waterford Harbour Sailing Club and Robbie Clarke of Sutton Dinghy Club. The Coached Regatta fleet, which provides a supportive format for younger sailors, had great racing and in the spirit of that class results are not presented as that’s not its focus. Rather fun, ice cream and meeting new friends is the focus!

As he reflected on the event, Paddy Ryan, President of IODAI said, “our thanks go to Ballyholme Yacht Club, and the many volunteers, for running a fantastic event under challenging circumstances. Also thanks to those who travelled from afar, including GB, Spain, France, Netherlands, Ukraine and South Africa. Despite Storm Betty, our young sailors got brilliant racing across three days, had great fun and made many new friends. Our congratulations go to all the winners, and we look forward to seeing the fleet back together for the Connaughts in Lough Ree in a few week's time.” He also thanked the organisers, especially Sean Doran and Emma Holden and their team of volunteers.

Of note, on a weekend that saw the Wazps and ILCAs hold their national championships, many of the medallists in both those fleets were past Optimist sailors. Demonstrating the importance of the class in feeding many other dinghy fleets in Ireland.

The Optimist fleet travels to Lough Ree next for the Connaughts on the 16th and 17th of September.

Irish Optimist Championships 2023 Prizewinners

Irish Optimist Championships 2023 Prizewinners

Irish Optimist Championships 2023 Prizewinners

Irish Optimist Championships 2023 Prizewinners

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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