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Displaying items by tag: Spera in Deo

#barge – It is to take up a new berth in Lough Derg next week, but the history of a barge docked at Customs House Quay as a performance theatre is every bit as colourful and exciting as the play it's hosted over the past three weeks writes Andrew Carey.

The 80–foot barge "Spera in Deo" (Trust in God) or "T82" was built in Holland in 1895 and although used as a cargo vessel, the records show she was originally a sailing ship.

Converted to a mussel dredger in 1924 by the Blommaert family in Zierikzee, the boat remained in Holland until 1983 when it was brought to Kerry where it operated for a number of years. It left the southern shores for Greencastle in Donegal where it became one of the first dredgers to fish mussels on the River Foyle.

A major overhaul of the historic vessel was undertaken by a Donegal entrepreneur who used it for recreational purposes for a number for years before a fire destroyed the engine and caused extensive smoke and fire damage.

She lay stricken, afloat and for sale before the keen mariner's eye of Robert McGrath from Achill Island saw the vessel and with it an opportunity to transform it into something special.

Emma D'Arcy, co-owner of the historic barge, said that as the insurance company had paid a six figure sum to the previous owner, it was to be sold as a hull.

"Robert loved it and over the course of a week decided that the best thing to do was to go back up to Donegal to see if he could get it going. Hours of labour and meticulous work led to the engine spluttering back life.

Over eight months later, the barge was seaworthy enough to navigate up the Shannon estuary.

"Rob had to wait patiently for good weather before he could make the perilous journey from Donegal down the west coast to Foynes and eventually into Limerick. It took several weeks for a 48 hour weather window that would allow the crew to make the journey.

In the meantime, Limerick playwright Helena Enright, who was putting the finishing touches to 'The River', a multi-sensory theatrical experience about the river Shannon, had heard that the barge was en route.

"She approached us to see if we would be interested in letting her use the barge for a couple of weeks to stage her play about the river and its effects on its inhabitants over the years", Emma explained.

"Helena was thrilled as there are actually very few vessels in Limerick itself and anything she found was too small, sunk, or had people living onboard".

Moored in Limerick as a floating theatre, Spera in Deo will begin the next phase of its colourful history when it moves to Dromineer next week.

Published in Inland Waterways

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

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