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DiscoverIreland guest blogger Kirsten Fruit has posted a quick guide highlighting Ireland's abundance of world-class angling spots.
"For years, fishing fanatics from around the world have found a haven of sorts in Ireland’s waterways," she writes, "and it isn’t hard to see why."
Ireland has it all, from deep-sea angling for bass or cod to trout or salmon fishing on rivers and lakes.
But it's not just for the experts, as there are many excellent angling guides throughout the country who make a business out of introducing newcomers to the sport.
"Having a guide adds 100 percent to an individual’s enjoyment on the river," says Ballynahinch Castle's master ghillie Simon Ashe.
DiscoverIreland has more on the story, including guides' favourite angling spots, HERE.

DiscoverIreland guest blogger Kirsten Fruit has posted a quick guide highlighting Ireland's abundance of world-class angling spots.

"For years, fishing fanatics from around the world have found a haven of sorts in Ireland’s waterways," she writes, "and it isn’t hard to see why."

Ireland has it all, from deep-sea angling for bass or cod to trout or salmon fishing on rivers and lakes.

But it's not just for the experts, as there are many excellent angling guides throughout the country who make a business out of introducing newcomers to the sport.

"Having a guide adds 100 percent to an individual’s enjoyment on the river," says Ballynahinch Castle's master ghillie Simon Ashe.

DiscoverIreland has more on the story, including guides' favourite angling spots, HERE.

Published in Angling

This weekend sees the start of the National Ferry Fortnight (14-28 May) an initiative to heighten consumer awareness of the extensive ferry network operating to and from the UK, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The ferry fortnight which is now in its third year, is to provide a platform for ferry operators and passengers alike to "seas the opportunity" to both promote and experience the ease, value and versatility of ferry travel.

Central to the National Ferry Fortnight campaign will be a series of promotional offers on ferry routes listed on www.discoverferries.com. The campaign logo will be featured on ferry members' own advertising and website campaigns to highlight the UK's broad network of over 50 routes.

For the first time, ferry passengers will be encouraged to blog and twitter their family and friends when crossing the seas.

Investment in recent years of more modern and versatile fleets has seen an increase in people travelling by ferry, with some 35 million passengers, eight million cars and over 140,000 coaches carried in 2010.

The event is organised by the UK-based Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) and members include Irish owned-ferry operators: Fastnet Line (Cork-Swansea), Celtic Link Ferries (Rosslare-Cherbourg) and Irish Ferries which operate on routes to Wales and France.

In addition the following PSA members (operating between them on Irish Sea, English Channel and North Sea services) are to participate: Brittany Ferries, Condor Ferries, DFDS Seaways, Hovertravel, Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. (IOMSPCo), LD Lines, P&O Ferries, Red Funnel, SeaFrance, Stena Line and Wightlink.

Published in Ferry
As I write this week's blog there is still no definite word emanating from the closed cloisters inhabited at present by the leading negotiating lights of Fine Gael and the Labour Party on the future governing of this island nation. It is unlikely that the future of the marine sphere is foremost in the minds of the negotiators and I wonder what will be the priority attached to the marine when the new Government is announced.

Fine Gael can, logically from the support which the party garnered in the General Election, be expected to dominate a Coalition Government. In that context, the question arises as to whether they will deliver on their pre-election manifesto commitment to re-establish the Department of the Marine?

The promise to do so was unequivocal, a clear undertaking that the situation created by the former Fianna Fail and Green Party Coalition which had decimated maritime issues by spreading them over several Departments of State, would be changed and all would be contained in one Department.

In the event of a Coalition being formed will we hear that "circumstances" have changed and adjustments must be made in the context of Coalition arrangements?

I had the opportunity to question Joan Burton of the Labour Party, one of the party negotiators, prior to the election at an event organised by the European Association of Journalists. She accepted that politicians had not paid enough attention to the marine sphere and said that this attitude should be changed and accepted that the nation could benefit economically as a result.

I hope that I am not being overly cynical towards politicians, born of long years of journalistic experience, in fearing that pre-election promises may be subjected to change.

• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie
Published in Island Nation
12th November 2010

An Irish Maritime Foundation

I wonder whether there might be interest in forming an Irish Maritime Foundation?

I raise the question having discussed the possibility with those who run the UK Maritime Foundation and whose views about the sea about the sea impressed me when I met them in London. The Foundation traces its history back to 1981 when shipowners, senior retired naval officers and people involved in the financial industry reacted to changes in British Government policy that were regarded as failing to protect the importance of the UK maritime industry. It is a registered charity with the purpose of promoting and raising interest in the maritime sector amongst the public, the media and Parliament. To do so it is involved in assisting development of maritime education, training and research.

The British are a magnanimous people in my view. It was an honour to accept the Desmond Wettern Award from the Foundation. Desmond Wettern was a distinguished UK maritime journalist for over 30 years and the awards were established in his name. This year the Society for Nautical Research joined the awards project.

In responding I used one of my favourite descriptions - "the Family of the Sea," which I have used on radio. It drew a lot of interest from those present. I believe there is a "family of the sea" which spans oceans and seas, linking those who appreciate the sea as essential to human survival.

"Everyone who has an interest in the sea would recognise that there are and will continue to be, increasing pressures on its use and on the exploitation of its finite resources, but also a number of opportunities," according to Rear Admiral Christopher Perry, Chairman of the UK Marine Management Organisation. Those views and others I discussed with some of those amongst the 200 attending the function, who came from various parts of the world. Professor Richard Harding of the Society for Nautical Research which is marking its centenary, expressed this opinion: "There is a disturbing sense of sea-blindness in the British Government, amongst the general public at large and in the media."

There is certainly sea-blindness in our Government and in much of the media, though I am hopeful that there is growing awareness of the importance of the marine sector amongst the general public. If Ireland had an organisation like the Maritime Foundation, I would be very pleased.

• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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