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Dun Laoghaire News

An Bord Pleanala is currently in process of hearing submissions - for and against - about the future of a proposed superliner berth in Dun Laoghaire which would change the harbour out of all recognition for recreational purposes, but could provide Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company with a new income stream, though only after massive investment.

Meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council agreed on October 22nd in a requirement of their Development Plan that the harbour – which they will control in the future if proposed legislation can be completed and put in place – will be limited to berthing liners of not more than 250 metres in length. W M Nixon returns this morning to the continuing saga of Dun Laoghaire Harbour’s future.

It was only a snippet of news in the stream of maritime information which pours steadily through the Afloat.ie website, no more than a Tweet from Cllr Melissa Halpin on October 22nd  confirming the 250 metre length limit’s approval. She was responding to Afloat’s review of ideas in an Opinion piece in The Irish Times by Dermot Reidy of Dun Laoghaire Combined Clubs, an active umbrella group which has put forward a detailed submission to An Bord Pleanala. And the DLCC’s proposals, as Councillor Victor Boyhan was delighted to report yesterday, also received the full support of the Council at their weekly meeting, this time on Thursday, October 29th. [see webcast of Special Meeting of the County Council on the Development Plan here – Ed]

The oral hearing will resume for its final public session on Monday 2nd November after taking a week’s break from October 23rd following the hearing of detailed submissions from many sources since October 14th. But it was typical of the way that so many organisations are involved – or would wish to be involved – in the future of Dun Laoghaire Harbour, that even as An Bord Pleanala was still taking evidence, the local council finally responded to the growing pressure from the Save Our Seafront group led by local politicians such as Richard Boyd Barrett TD and Cllrs Melissa Halpin and Victor Boyhan, and considered a motion to restrict the size of cruise liners which will be allowed to use Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the future.

It could be that it’s only a straw in the wind, for as Richard Boyd Barrett so tellingly explained to the hugely-significant protest meeting in the Kingston Hotel on September 7th, while there is a Government aspiration to transfer control of the administration of Dun Laoghaire Harbour to the local council, various legislative sleights-of-hand and some political and business manoeuvrings could still mean that in the end, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company’s commercial imperatives – real or imagined – could be the final controller of the agenda, with Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council only in titular control.

Nevertheless, the DL/RCC’s new Development Plan’s inclusion of the stipulation that cruise liners coming to the harbour should not exceed 250 metres in length is a huge improvement on the unlovely 360 metre floating tenements which are currently envisaged in the Harbour Company’s plan. And when we actually get around to considering the sort of ship this will involve, and how she can be accommodated at a re-configured version of either St Michael’s Wharf or Carlisle Pier without any intrusive new structures in mid-harbour, then we realize we are indeed looking at something hopeful.

cruise liner image in Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Photo imaging of a maxi-size 360 metre cruise liner in the proposed berth in mid-harbour in Dun Laoghaire, which would involved building a new 435 metre pier jutting far into what is currently clear water.

There are many 250 metre modern high quality cruise liners afloat today, and they occupy a sweet part of the upper end niche market which would provide the possibility of bringing Dun Laoghaire the kind of discerning cruise line passengers who might do the local economy a bit of real good over and above the basic income paid to the Harbour Company as berthing fees.

But by contrast, in the case of a giant liner of 360 metres, the berthing fees are pretty much the only income that will accrue to the local economy, as tenement cruise liner folk are not big spenders ashore, in fact many of them plan to do their entire cruise without spending one cent extra on the money they laid out to buy their ticket in the first place.

Such giant ships can be comfortably, conveniently and economically accommodated in Dublin Port, where the European Development Bank has just approved a €100 million loan to further develop the giant cruise liner berthing. All of which makes it even more absurd that Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company should be thinking of hunting in the same over-fished pool, when there is a different and well-stocked pool for which their harbour and town’s unique appeal will provide a juicy and successful bait.

And on top of that, for our maritime enthusiasts, setting the length limit at 250 metres is something very special, for it takes us right into consideration of one of the finest ships ever built in Ireland - the wonderful Canberra, the last and possibly the greatest ocean liner ever built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast. She may have been launched as long ago as 1958 – on St Patrick’s Day, no less – yet although she ended her active and very varied career in 1997, she still looks as modern as tomorrow, and her handy overall length of 250 metres – 820ft since you ask – made her ideal for a cruise liner to interesting places after she’d been taken off her original route from London to Australia.

The Canberra

She also served as a troopship in the Falklands War of 1982, where her duties included a visit to South Georgia where she would have been anchored close to Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grave. But eventually, after many years of further popular service as a cruise liner, for all that much of her technology was way ahead of its time, the poor old Canberra just got worn out, for she’d been busy since the day she left Belfast Lough – and in 1997 she was sold to Pakistan to be scrapped on the beach, which she resisted to the end – the word is this unique vessel took an awful lot of breaking up.

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The hard life. Canberra in South Georgia while on troopship duties during the Falklands war of 1982

Invitably, modern 250 metre cruise liners do not quite have the timless elegance of the Canberra, as accountants and financial officers rule their concept as much as naval architects. But nevertheless they are of a more comprehensible and manageable size than the excessive 360 metre behemoths which would destroy the character of Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and provided the Harbour Master felt it could be done without impairing the basic character of the harbour, I feel we should be at least receptive to the idea of 250 metre vessels coming in, for it’s a huge step for the County Council to have made the decision to set this size limit.

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The Lirica is a modern 250 metre cruise liner, and although obviously more voluminous than Canberra, nevertheless it is possible that she could be berthed in Dun Laoghaire without massive waterfront infrastructural change being required.

Meanwhile, the battle goes on to try and create a truly meaningful relationship between Dun Laoghaire township and its harbour, for as we’ve pointed out here before, when they started planning an Asylum Harbour back in the early 1800s, it was moved forward primarily by considerations of facilitating government power and function, and there was no real consideration of the requirements of ordinary mortals.

Thus the most basic initial thinking behind the new harbour was that it could provide refuge when required for troopships and naval vessels. So no thought whatever was given to the notion that personnel on board such vessels should have any contact with the shore, which at that time was virtually empty in any case, as the only local settlement of any kind, the little harbour of Dun Leary, was seen as being outside and irrelevant to the new harbour.

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The beginnings. The initial plan for the new Asylum Harbour was a singe pier to provide protection from southeasterlies. It was well to the east of the little local port of Dun Leary, and a new road – ultimately George’s Street - was sketched in through uninhabited countryside to take travellers direct from Dunleary to the next local village of Dalkey while keeping them at some distance from the new harbour

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A second plan for the new harbour included a west pier, but it still excluded Dunleary itself.

But as the new harbour took shape, superbly constructed in Dalkey granite to be a sort of “instant historic monument”, inevitably shoreside development took place as well. After the place had been named Kingstown following a Royal Visit in 1821, it got notions of itself as a fashionable resort. But it was a case of every man for himself in the matter of development, and as one scathing critic wrote of in the 1850s, “ no system whatever has been observed in laying out the town so that it has an irregular, republican air of dirt and independence, no man heeding his neighbour’s pleasure, and uncouth structures in absurd situations offending the eye at every  turn”.

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Kingstown and its harbour around 1870, with a proposed breakwater (never built) off the entrance to provide added shelter from nor’easterlies. The railway still only reached halfway along the waterfront, and the Carlisle Pier had yet to be built, with the cross-channel packet boats having to make do with a berth on the East Pier.

Could that possibly be our own dear Dun Laoghaire? That reference to a “republican air of dirt and independence” was particularly hurtful to a place which prided itself on being called Kingstown, but that’s the way it was and still is, for the fact of the matter is that while the town and harbour have developed side by side, they have never developed together.

Thus there are enormous blind spots to the interests of others. The new library may look not too bad at all from the landward side, but from the harbour it is hideous. As for the endless struggle to make George’s Street back into a successful retail shopping venue, no matter what they do it still seems to slip further down the decline, and the recent plan to sub-divide it into quarters devoted to different area of shopping interest made no reference at all to the potential of the nearby presence of the harbour, for apparently that had not been in the consultants’ brief.

As for paying for the running of the harbour, we recently got an old friend, an accountant with a maritime outlook and extensive experience in many countries, to take a look at Dun Laoghaire in its totality and how the harbour might be funded, and he concluded that trying to find out how much it actually costs to run the harbour in some sort of relationship with the town would be like being eternally condemned to peeling an onion, as one layer removed would only reveal another, and you’d ultimately be reduced to tears.

That said, he did make us sit up and take notice by suggesting that they’re wasting their time trying to revive George’s Street as a shopping venue – instead, they should think in terms of letting it become residential with some offices in a setup which would thereby encourage a few thriving local shops at strategic intervals, rather than trying to have a whole row of under-utilised shops in terminal decline with the street’s decreasing footfall.

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The Carlisle Pier in its glory days, when it was possible to get into a train in Sligo and travel all the way to London without being exposed to the rain at any stage. And of course, there was no question of spending any money in Kingstown……

Today, people talk about the situation of Dun Laoghaire Harbour as if it was always the case that it was a commercial and ferry port, and that the modern administrators of the port are obliged under time-honoured traditions to show a profit. In fact, Dun Laoghaire started life as Royal Harbour serving governmental and imperial needs, and ordinary people trying to do something so vulgar as make a living and even show a modest profit had to do so under the radar.

Thus although “ferry port” is still the link which will most readily spring to public mind in relation to Dun Laoghaire, but the early ferry operators had to get by as best they could with ad hoc facilities, and even a seemingly ancient structure such as the Carlisle Pier, with its two cross-channel ferries directly serviced by the railway, was a later addition – for many years, the best the packet boats could hope for was the berth on the east pier. 

So contemporary letters to the newspapers which assert that Dun Laoghaire must now develop further and pay for itself, because it would not be in being were it not for Victorian entrepreneurial flair, are actually very wide of the mark. There was nothing at all entrepreneurial and commercial about the original thinking behind the building of Dun Laoghaire Harbour. So it would be in keeping with its true character and history were it allowed to be maintained today as a sort of maritime version of the Phoenix Park.

But of course, if 250 metre cruise liners really could be slotted in without requiring drastic changes to the waterfront, then well and good. And as we came in with a discussion about the last and best ocean liner built in Belfast being 250 metres long, how’s about the most famous ocean liner ever built in Belfast? It’s said that some mysterious billionaire is having a replica of the Titanic built in China. As it happens, the original Titanic was 269 metres long. But if the new Titanic expressed an interest in berthing in Dun Laoghaire, surely those extra 19 metres could somehow be accommodated………

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Would they allow those extra 19 metres into Dun Laoghaire? It’s rumoured that a replica of the Titanic is being built in China, but at 269 metres they’d have to stretch the regulations a little to let her into Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Published in W M Nixon

#CruiseBerthProtests - A boat rally campaign against the proposed €18m cruise-berth for Dun Laoghaire Harbour saw some 25 yachts yesterday gather at short notice, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The flotilla formed a line tracing the position of where the proposed 390m long jetty would sit inside the harbour, almost occupying the centre of the south Dublin Bay port. The cruise-berth would be able to accomodate some of the largest cruiseships in the world.

Dun Laoghaire harbour protest against cruise berth

The boat rally was held in advance of the first official oral hearings to be held by An Bord Pleanala next week. The hearing will examine submissions lodged to An Bord Pleanala on the controversial issue of an application by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) for planning permission to construct the facility.  In total 150 submissions were lodged following a public consultation process when the harbour company unveiled its cruise-berth plans during Easter.

Critics of the cruise liner project say the new pier structure would split the harbour in two, bringing an end to sailing across the broad expanse of the artificial built harbour which has been a tradition for many generations.

Also yesterday was held the People's Rally, where local T.D., Richard Boyd Barrett cited despite the fact that another public-owned harbour, Dubin Port with its own cruise-berth terminal would be competing in effect and that Dun Laoghaire would lose out.

Also it was claimed that the proposed cruise-berth would be a prelude to preparing the harbour for 'privatisation'.

Protestors claim from fears over the impacts of dredging and damage caused during construction and continued maintenance costs. Also how such a facility would pose on the unique heritage values of the harbour and public amenities was also raised.

Dun Laoghaire harbour protest

The DLHC is to be transferred to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, however the direction of the how the local authority would manage the port was also questioned against the backdrop of the Harbours (Amendment) Bill due before the Dail.

On completion of the rally held in the centre of the harbour, the yachts were joined by dinghy craft to form a larger flotilla in support of the People’s Rally held at the East Pier bandstand.

The first day of the oral hearing is to begin next Wednesday, 14 October.

Published in Cruise Liners

Is Dun Laoghaire Harbour a busier dinghy sailing venue on Autumn Sundays than it is in Summer? Certainly if yesterday's activity at the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George YC, Royal Irish, Irish National Sailing School and DMYC is anything to go by. 

While Anthony O'Leary was winning the All Ireland sailing championships just off the harbour mouth there was no less than six other fleets racing or race training in and around the east coast port. Just as the season is meant to be tapering off Fireflies were team racing from the Royal St. George Yacht Club and Fireballs were giving 'just for fun' demo sails from the DMYC but far and away the main point of interest in the NYC was for the Jelly Bean Junior Regatta (pictured above) that had a variety of fleets racing across the harbour. 

In addition Laser 4.7s were training in Scotsman's Bay and a number of foiling Moths came out to play when the breeze puffed up to 15 knots yesterday afternoon. A perfect breeze to give the INSS novices plenty of fun on the east bight in colourful Laser Pico dinghies.

If there was any disappointment it was that there were few – if any at Ireland's biggest sailing centre – that ventured out to spectate at a thrilling final of the All Ireland Sailing Championships but that's because Dun Laoghaire sailors were all too busy sailing themselves?

Published in Youth Sailing

#GermanCorvetteCancels – A German Navy corvette due to make a four-day visit to Dun Laoghaire Harbour including as previously reported, scheduled public tours this weekend have been cancelled, writes Jehan Ashmore.

According to the ships agent, the 1,850 tonne corvette FGS Ludwigshafen am Rhein (F264) had sought the supply of fenders to meet the requirement of the 90m long vessel alongside Carlisle Pier. It is understood that such fenders were due to be installed but will not be ready in time for the naval visitor.

The Carlisle Pier is where in recent years small sized cruiseships have berthed, notably the largest and most frequent caller is the sail-assisted five-mast 310 passenger Wind Surf of 14,745 tonnes.

Instead of calling to Dun Laoghaire, the FGS Ludwigshafen am Rhein, the final member of five ‘Braunschweig’ class corvettes is to divert to Dublin Port with an arrival tomorrow (Friday) morning.

Some four hours later, Dublin Port welcomes a second foreign naval caller, the UK’s HMS Dauntless (D33), one of the most modern high-tech destroyers currently in service for the Royal Navy.

Published in Naval Visits

Anyone feeling a bit despondent about the future of Irish sailing, what with the disappointing weather for periods of the 2015 season, plus the lack of some really high profile international racing successes, would have had their sprits lifted mightily – and then some – by being around the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire last weekend writes W M Nixon

This remarkable organisation, whose background and lively ongoing story we profiled on Afloat.ie on 16th May, have seen their records of numbers participating raised again and again through the summer as the numbers of trainees – from absolute beginners right up to wannabe offshore crews in the school’s Reflex 38 Lynx - have steadily increased, until a new peak was reached last Saturday when absolutely every boat in the club’s large and varied fleet was in constant action, with new participant levels achieved.

Other organisations in the sailing school sector used to wonder in admiration after the INSS began to get regular turnouts of more than 150 schoolchildren per day – when we were visiting on Monday May 10th, 185 schoolkids had been bussed down from Maynooth and were having the time of their lives afloat, many for the very first time.

Nevertheless, while 185 or even 190 participants in the INSS’s schoolchildren division were fairly frequent occurrences, it wasn’t until last Saturday - a great and golden day whatever the weather - that they finally surpassed the 200 mark for members of their Junior Club - aged 7 and over – afloat and learning how best to enjoy the wonders of boats and sailing.

Irish national sailing school2You get them into sailing in gentle stages. With toddlers and infants, just going out on a boat with a feeling of safety is a good first stage – this is Muriel Rumball (lead boat) with the most junior class – some of their parents may themselves be afloat with the INSS learning to sail in larger craft.

Irish national sailing school3The first stages in sailing should be more about manageability than technical tuning – an Optimist with its sprit out of use lends itself well to fun afloat while gently familiarising the kids with the basics of sailing and getting on with others in the confines of a boat.

Irish national sailing school4The powerful RIB Sting could be a lethal weapon in the wrong hands, but as she is one of the boats in the INSS Powerboat Course, her competent use is a feature of the school’s activities.

But that was only the start of it, for the school’s popular National Powerboat Course was running for the whole weekend with full turnouts, while the rest of the Schools’ sailing fleet, including 1720s and the Reflex 38 offshore racer, had more than 30 out in adult beginner training courses.

In our report of May 15th, we particularly remembered being in at the beginning of the historic first committee meeting of the newest club in Ireland, the Irish National Sailing Club, which enables the Sailing School alumni to take part in official regattas anywhere, and other open events, for the princely annual subscription of €10.

Irish national sailing school5The highly durable Pico is one of the key boats in the INSS’s intermediate courses

Irish national sailing school6When Tony Castro designed the 1720 Sportboat for a group of Cork Harbour performance enthusiasts back in 1994, he can scarcely have imagined that twenty-one years later a couple of them would be providing ideal training craft for a busy sailing school in Dun Laoghaire

But so worthwhile has the growth and development of the INSC been during 2015 that its members have mustered sufficient numbers to stage their own proper races, and this line of progress also reached a new level on Saturday with the club staging the first INSC Mini-Regatta, with racing for its dinghy classes and well-used Squib fleet.

The regatta even had celebrity participation with noted former international athlete, Senator Eamonn Coughlan, taking part to film part of a documentary called Super Fit Seniors, recording the rapidly improving performance afloat of an 83-year-old whose name we’ve promised not to reveal until the programme is due to be broadcast, but we are allowed to say that if the national policy declares that “Sailing is a Sport for Life”, then on Saturday the INSS was proving it in abundance.

Irish national sailing school7First committee meeting of the Irish National Sailing Club on Monday May 10th 2015. The committee and school management of the newly-formed Club are (left to right) Glyn Williams (foreground), Muriel Rumball, Joan Sheffield, Caroline Herron, Robin Jones, Alistair Rumball, Kenneth Rumball, Garrett O'Malley, Dermot Igoe, Heather Blay and Mary Beck. Photo: W M Nixon

Such is the stature of the Irish National Sailing School that it has been selected as the venue for one of the key assemblies in the up-coming series of Irish Sailing Association Regional Cluster Development Meetings, which seek to improve inter-club relationships and facilitate regional co-operation for the mutual benefit of the many and varied club memberships in specific areas.

The ISA East and Southeast Regional Development Officer Sarah-Louise Rossiter will be holding the meeting for sailing and yacht clubs in the Dublin South Cluster in the Irish National Sailing School from 7.0pm to 9.0pm on Wednesday October 7th.

We can only hope that some of the stardust now exuding from the INSS will waft on to those from other clubs. Alistair Rumball, founder of the INSS way back in 1974, helpfully explains how it’s done: “There’s nothing special to it. You just have to have everyone prepared to work 15 hours a day seven days a week, and be mad keen about teaching and sailing. That’s all it is. Simple as that really”.

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The National Sailing School’s Alistair and Muriel Rumball and their son Kenneth. “You just have to have everyone prepared to work 15 hours a day seven days a week, and be mad keen about teaching and sailing. That’s all it is. Simple as that really”.

Published in How To Sail

#GermanCorvette - Following German cruiseship caller Mein Schiff 4 offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour yesterday, the port this month is to welcome a corvette also from the same country, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 90m long 1,850 tonne German Navy vessel ‘Ludwigshafen am Rhein’ (F264), is the final of five ‘Braunschweig’ class corvettes that was commissioned into service in 2013.

She is to pay a four-day visit to the harbour from the 25th-28th September. During next weekend the corvette will be open to the public at the Carlisle Pier on Saturday 26th (13:00 – 17:00) and on Sunday 27th  (14:00 – 16:00).

It should also be noted that another German naval visitor, Gorch Fock, a sail trainee ship is currently nearing the end of visit to Dublin Port that began more than a fortnight ago. Also berthed at Sir John Rogersons Quay is an expedition luxury motoryacht, M.Y Turmoil built in 2006 that arrived from Cork today.

She is a stark contrast to the 1958 built tallship which as previously reported on Afloat is to have a second ‘Open Ship’ for the public held tomorrow, Sunday (20th September).

Tours of the three-masted sail barque are between 14:00-17:00, and where her crew will welcome you on board.

So why not make a visit (free of charge and no registration) to the vessel that has made an impressive 168 cruises.

Gorch Foch is to depart next week, on the Monday when she sets sails to Funchal, Portugal. A further call on the Iberian Peninsula is to take her to Cadiz in neighbouring Spain.

The final leg of this cruise is to involve a return crossing of the Bay of Biscay in November with the final leg from Dartmouth to Wilhelmshaven back in Germany.

Published in Naval Visits

The arrangements for the Water Wags Walpole Prizes were modified to ensure that the results could contribute to the overall championship. The terms of presentation asked for two races, one race for those who had competed in more than six races without a race win, and one race for the rest of the Water Wags.

The race was programmed to start at 18.30, but at 18.00 the Irish Light’s vessel Granuaile motored into the harbour, did not drop anchor, put somebody ashore, and half an hour later somebody returned to the ship and she motored out of the harbour mouth. Meanwhile there was absolutely no wind in the harbour. By the time she left there was about 3knots of wind from the north. A course was laid, and immediately the wind shifted to the north west.
Thus, the race had to be reduced to two laps of the harbour. It appears unlikely, but there was absolutely no evidence of tidal flow within the harbour.

At the first windward mark Mollie led from Pansy and Swift. These three were able to hold their places for the duration of the race.

After two laps the race was shortened at the leeward mark due to failing light. The results were:

1st. ‘Mollie’ Cathy & Con Murphy.
2nd. ‘Pansy’ Vincent Delany & Noelle Breeen. Winner Walpole Prize div 1A.
3rd. ‘Swift’ Guy & Jackie Kilroy.
4th. ‘ Ethna’, Bill Nolan & Niamh Hooper.
5th. Skee, Jonathan & Carol O’Rourke. Winner Walpole Prize div 1B.
6th. ‘Tortoise’, William & Linda Prentice.
7th. Alfa, Michael & Jenny Donohoe.
8th. ‘Scallywag’ Dan O’Connor & David Williams.
9th. Freddie, David Corcoran & Philip Mayne.
10th. Marcia, Ben & Maureen McCormack. Winner Walpole Prize div 2.
11th. ‘Moosmie’, David & Sally MacFarlane.
12th. ‘Polly’ Henry Rooke & Richard Mossop.
13th. ‘Marie Louise’, John & William Magner.
14th. ‘Sara’, Paul & Ann Smith.
15th. Good Hope, Hal Sisk & Sue Westrup.
16th. ‘Penelope’, Fergus Cullen and Alice Walshe
17th. Mademoiselle, Adam Winkleman & Goug Smith
18th. ‘Coquette’, Seymour Cresswell & Mary.
19th. Sprite, Adrian Masterson & Jeff Davys.
20th ‘Eva’, Ian McGowan
21st. Eros, Gail Varian & Gavan Johnson.
22nd. Nandor, Brian McBride and Stuart McBean.
23rd. ‘Little Tern’, Marcus Pearson & friend.

Published in Racing

#SOSharbour - A campaign by the Save Our Seafront has vowed to ramp-up its efforts to prevent a jumbo cruise berth being developed in Dun Laoghaire harbour.

The Herald reports that an eight-year planning application for the cruise berth is being considered by An Bord Pleanala.

At a recent public meeting, campaigners decided their next course of action, after making submissions on the planning application.

"We hope that the planning route will be enough for us to stop this," People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett said.

"But in the meantime we are encouraging people to write to Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe about the upcoming harbours bill," he added.

Legislation that is being processed at the moment could see the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) disbanded and the harbour brought under council control.

Mr Boyd Barret said that he will be seeking an amendment that would ensure that the harbour would be under the control of elected representatives.

Musician Christy Moore , who lives in Monkstown, has backed the campaign.

For more about the Appeal and the restoration of a ferry service to Holyhead in 2016, click here.

Published in Cruise Liners

#NewCruiseShip – A new cruiseship, Mein Schiff 4 with a capacity for 2,506 passengers and more than 1,000 crew is to make her Irish maiden cruise with a debut call offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour next week, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Operating the Finnish built 99,500 tonnes vessel launched in late 2014 for TUI Cruises, the Mein Schiff 4 (My Ship 4) is to call to Dun Laoghaire. She will make the inaugural Irish port of call for the German based joint venture tourist group.

Mein Schiff features a 25m swimming pool, basketball court, sauna with sea view and where her guests can expect to pay €5,495 for a suite on the 10-day cruise.

The visit of TUI Cruises has been welcomed by Dun Laoghaire Harbour as German tourists are to celebrate in the searching of a slice of their ‘Irishness’ and where traditional music session will greet the visitors ashore.

Also taking place this month is the annual Oktoberfest held in Dublin, where currently the German Navy tallship Gorch Fock is berthed as previously reported. Tours of the vessel are this Saturday, for further details visit the story.

Secondly, a corvette also from the German Navy is to call later this month to Dun Laoghaire. Afloat will have more on this in a separate report covered on our Naval Visitors page.

Returning to the cruise sector, unlike the previous giant white-hulled cruiseships, Mein Schiff 4 sports a deep blue hull with the company’s distinctive livery. This is conveyed through hand-written like script with words spread across her amidships.

She is the second of almost four identical sisters based on an order from Finnish yard, Meyer Turku.

The next pair, Mein Schiff 5 is due for delivery in 2016 and final sister, Mein Schiff 6 will follow in 2017. The yard was taken over by the German shipbuilder earlier this year, resulting in the end of the Finnish Government stake-holding.

The call of Mein Schiff 4 on 18 September, will represent the end of the 2015 season to Dun Laoghaire.

Earlier this year it had been expected the season would be record-breaking with 22 cruise calls, however the scheduled figure have been considerably reduced by around a half.

The reason for this spate of cancellations throughout the summer by the largest cruiseships, notably the majority from Princess Cruises 3,600 passenger Royal Princess which instead went to Dublin Port to avoid the issue of anchoring off Dun Laoghaire.

Such a process is time-consuming for operators in having to transfer passengers ashore to the south Dublin Bay harbour.

The Royal Princess had only made a once off call off Dun Laoghaire that launched the season in May. All of the subsequent 8 calls were cancelled and transferred to Dublin Port which was given the ‘green’ light to proceed with a €30m double cruise-berth terminal.

While, DLHC await planning permission for a €18m single cruise-berth facility, all was not lost as the harbour welcomed the return for the second time in recent years of the prestigious Cunard 148,500 tonne cruise-liner, Queen Mary 2 which called also in May.

Another positive for DLHC was the repeat calls this season by Windstar Cruises sail-assisted five-masted Wind Surf that docked inside the harbour.

Also making calls within the harbour arms at the Carlisle Pier was Windstar Cruises newly acquired Star Legend. She previously made an appearance last year when under the ownership of Seabourn Cruises.

Published in Cruise Liners

#GuinnessTanks – The first anniversary of the closure of the Stena HSS Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route is tomorrow, however, the harbour witnessed a cargoship dock in recent days to unload brewing fermentation tanks for Guinness, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Asides the occasional cruiseship caller this season that docked inside the harbour, the call of a cargoship is rare, given the last shipment of brewing tanks was more than a year ago as previously reported on Afloat.ie. That batch of fermentation tanks was carried on board the cargoship Wilson Goole, operated by Norwegian owners Wilson Ship Management of Bergen.

On this occasion a fleetmate, Wilson Blyth (1995/3,713dwt) docked in Dun Laoghaire over the weekend rather than Dublin Port. This was due again to bridge-height restrictions in transporting brewing vessels by trucks along the city quays to St. James Gate Brewery.

On board Wilson Blyth there were six stainless-steel brewing vessel tanks manufactured by Dutch firm, Holvrieka that were loaded at Rotterdam from where the cargsoship arrived to Dun Laoghaire on Sunday.

Each of the 4.24 khL brewing vessels weigh 27.5m tonnes and has space to store 750,000 pints of beer. They will provide Diageo with extra fermentation and maturation capacity.

Colin O’Brien, Operations Director for Diageo’s supply business in Ireland, said: “These vessels, representing an investment by Diageo of nearly €10m, will enable us to meet the growing demand for our beers and to bring new products into the market. The investment underscores our continued investment in brewing in Ireland and the role that Diageo is proud to play in the Irish economy, supporting employment, exports, agriculture and tourism.”

The new brewing vessels measure 6m in diameter and 26m will be able to ferment or store up to 424,000 litres of beer and provide an extra 300,000 hectolitres of extra fermentation capacity annually.

Currently, the gleaming brewing tanks remain on the Carlisle Pier having been unloaded yesterday by a mobile mounted road-crane. This involved hoisting four of the brewing vessels from the hatch cover while the remaining pair where removed from the hold. Having discharged her cargo, Wilson Blyth took a pilot from the Dublin Port cutter Camac and set sail last evening.

The brewing vessels are to be transported in convoy to St. James’s Gate in the early hours of tonight (Wednesday morning, 9 September), when traffic is at its lightest.

Diageo are working with Dublin City Council, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and An Garda Síochána to minimise disruption to traffic and to residents living along the route.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 9 of 21

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