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Displaying items by tag: Galway Harbour

Tributes have been paid among the west coast’s sailing community to former RTÉ western editor Jim Fahy who died late last week at the age of 75.

The journalist’s association with Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) since its foundations were recalled at the weekend by Pierce Purcell.

“The early days were noted for the lunchtime gatherings at the Lenihan family ‘Tavern’ on Eyre Square,” Purcell said.

“It was here that so many of those younger members got to know each other, learn about people who had sailed from the docks and on the Corrib,” he said.

“Dickie Byrne who was an early contributor to The Galway Advertiser with the column “There Ye Are Again”, and had some interest in sailing, introduced the local face of the RTÉ to us,” Purcell recalled.

“Jim became a lunchtime contributor to the interests of the enthusiast sailors whose club was developing at a rake of knots, expanding its dinghy and cruiser racing calendar and organising boat shows,” he said.

“By the time Tavern closed and the club group moved down town, John Killeen had recruited Jim to join a few adventures afloat including the “Spirit of Galway” campaign in the Round Ireland Sailing race which listed Government minister Bobby Molloy amongst the crew,” Purcell said.

Bobby Molloy was needed back in Dublin by Taoiseach Charlie Haughey for an important Dail vote and had to jump ship off Westport. Our man Jim was on the spot to inform the nation and GBSC’s involvement in the race in an age before mobile phones,” he said.

“Jim Fahy clocked up more miles cruising with his wife Christina than most members have ever done sailing, with on average 1500 miles a season over the last fifteen years researching places to visit and often imparting local history to the interested crew,” Purcell added.

“Jim became an important member of the Volvo Ocean Race communications team in 2009 and 2012, impressing the Volvo teams with the hourly updates from a small dockside office which was put together on a shoestring,” he said.

Jim Fahy, who began his journalistic career with The Tuam Herald newspaper, was RTÉ’s longest-serving regional correspondent when he retired in 2011.

He reported on national and international events, ranging from his "Looking West" series of interviews to issues affecting Irish emigrants in Britain to famine in Somalia and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York in September 2001.

President Michael D Higgins had described him as "one of Ireland's finest broadcasters, a fact attested to by the over 40 national and international awards which he won over the course of his outstanding career".

"For generations of people he was a familiar voice, indelibly associated with the reporting of events across the west of Ireland during his 38 years as RTÉ’s first western news correspondent,” the president said.

"It will be as RTÉ's voice of the west of Ireland that Jim will be most fondly remembered," he said.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that his "distinct voice and eye for a story uncovered every facet of life in the west of Ireland, as well as major international events like 9/11".

Purcell said that “Jim’s many sailing friends extend their deepest sympathy to Jim’s wife Christina , his son Shane and daughter Aideen”.

Published in Galway Harbour

The RNLI Aran lifeboat and Port of Galway came to the aid of a French fishing vessel yesterday which lost its anchor during Storm Barra.

The 28-metre Ferreira Martinez was one of three French vessels sheltering from the storm in the North Sound, lying between the Aran island of Inis Mór and Leitir Mealláin in south Connemara.

The vessel, which is registered in Bayonne, broke down and was taken under tow by one of the other fishing vessels, Playa du Tuya. Initially, it was planned to tow it to Bantry in west Cork but the Irish Coast Guard nominated Galway as a port of refuge.

Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan (who shot the above video of the safe arrival into Galway Port) said that the RNLI Aran lifeboat launched and stood by during the tow into Galway.

The port took over operations from the Aran lifeboat when the tow was off Salthill, and guided both French vessels into the docks last night.

The 28-metre Ferreira Martinez was one of three French vessels sheltering from the storm between the Aran island of Inis Mór and Leitir Mealláin in south ConnemaraThe 28-metre Ferreira Martinez was one of three French vessels sheltering from the storm between the Aran island of Inis Mór and Leitir Mealláin in south Connemara

Published in Fishing
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The imaginative use of the 1926-vintage 56ft Trading Ketch Ilen’s mainmast as a brightly-illuminated Christmas Tree for Galway Docks was switched on as recently as Sunday evening. Yet within 30 hours, the entire setup was being severely tested for many hours by the huge winds of Storm Barra.

Gary MacMahon, Director of the Ilen Marine School, commented today (Wednesday): “We take this opportunity to express again our gratitude for a magnificent winter berth in the Port of Galway, and for the welcoming and helpful Harbour Master Captain Brian Sheridan”.

But while the berth itself was exceptionally snug, there was no mistaking the power and speed of the wind howling overhead, and it speaks volumes for the seamanlike skills and high standards inculcated by the Ilen Marine School that not only did the highly-visible seasonal lights and their equipment come through unscathed, but they had been so well installed that at no time at the height of the storm was it felt necessary to disconnect from the grid.

Mark Sutton of Ishka Spring Water Limerick, sponsors of Ilen’s Christmas Lights, with Gary Mac Mahon (Director, Ilen Marine School) and Captain Brian Sheridan, Harbour Master of the Port of Galway, at Sunday night’s switch-on ceremony.Mark Sutton of Ishka Spring Water Limerick, sponsors of Ilen’s Christmas Lights, with Gary Mac Mahon (Director, Ilen Marine School) and Captain Brian Sheridan, Harbour Master of the Port of Galway, at Sunday night’s switch-on ceremony

Published in Galway Harbour
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An investigation into the death of a Galway fisherman who became entangled in gear off Salthill last year has found the weather deteriorated “significantly” after the vessel which he fished with his father left the harbour.

Tom Oliver (37), a relative of the Olivers who rescued two paddleboarders in Galway Bay in August 2020, died after he was dragged over the stern of the six-metre fishing vessel Myia on November 2nd 2020.

His father Martin, who was almost 62, was found dead at home the following morning.

After the incident, the then Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard paid tribute to the two men as “salt of the earth” and “the best of friends”.

Cubbard noted that it was only a few weeks since he had recognised the role of their relatives, Patrick and Morgan Oliver, in rescuing paddleboarders Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn after 15 hours at sea.

Several generations of the Oliver family have been associated with the RNLI lifeboat service, and members of the RNLI and the fishing communities along the coast and on the Aran Islands were among hundreds who attended the funeral of the father and son.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report into the incident said that “violent movements” generated by the worsening sea conditions while feeding out shrimp pots may have been a contributory factor.

The use of a mobile phone to generate a distress call, instead of a Mayday call over VHF radio, “added some delay, however short, in the alert of the emergency services”, the report found.

The report said a Mayday call over VHF radio would have been picked up immediately by Valentia Coast Guard, leading to immediate activation of the lifeboat crew pagers.

It said that activation of a personal locator beacon, which can be fitted to a PFD or lifejacket, would also have triggered an instant distress call.

It said the casualty was not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) or lifejacket while operating on an open deck in hazardous conditions.

“Wearing a suitably specified and fitted PFD would have greatly improved his chances of survival,” the report stated.

The report noted that the crew were very experienced at potting in the Galway Bay area, and had been working on the twin-hulled vessel FV Myia for ten years, fishing lobster in summer and shrimp during the winter.

The report said that the weather “deteriorated considerably between the time the vessel left the harbour at midday on November 2nd, 2020, and the time of the incident.

“As seen in the Met Éireann weather report at the time of the incident there were near gale force winds, heavy rainfall, and rough seas,” it said.

“ These conditions were extremely challenging for a vessel of this size and construction and would have led to violent movements,” it said.

It noted that there are no manufacturers recommendations on the operational limitations of this type of vessel, and the manufacturing company is no longer in existence.

The report recalled that at approximately 1.30 pm, the men were resetting a train of pots when Tom Oliver got entangled in rope attached to the train of pots.

“ The weight of the train of pots combined with the forward motion of the vessel quickly pulled him overboard and under the water,” it said.

The Galway RNLI lifeboat operations manager was contacted by mobile phone, and he requested activation of pagers for an immediate launch of the inshore lifeboat.

It arrived quickly on the scene, and the lifeboat crew found the casualty caught in ropes and unconscious in the water.

The lifeboat crew got the casualty on board and immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It requested an ambulance, which met it at the lifeboat station.

Tom Oliver was brought to Galway University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The lifeboat then launched again to escort the fishing vessel Myia back to the harbour.

The MCIB recommends that the Minister for Transport should issue marine notices reminding fishing crew of the obligation to wear a PFD while working on open decks, and of the dangers associated with snagging in gear while setting trains of pots.

It also recommends that the minister issue marine notices to encourage use of VHF radio for distress calls, to point out the limitations of mobile phones for this purpose, and to advise fishers to know the limitations of vessels and to be aware always of weather forecasts before going to sea.

Published in MCIB

There’s rarely a weekend when there isn’t some activity in and around Galway’s Claddagh basin. Earlier last month, the Galway Hooker Sailing Club and Port of Galway Sea Scouts launched the 96-year old gleoiteog, Loveen, which was refurbished during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Late last month, Badóirí an Chladaigh flew a Brazilian flag from bad mór Naomh Cronán in tribute to Paulo Sergio Soares de Paixo, one of their volunteers who died at the age of 52 after taking ill far from home.

One man who knows everything there is to know about the Claddagh is Tommy Holohan. On a recent low tide walk out from Nimmo’s pier, he took Wavelengths to see the remains of a ship named the Nordlyset, a 1,600 ton steel barque carrying a cargo of deal in November 1914 which was wrecked off Mutton island.

Tommy Holohan (front) and Ger Jackson, examining the remains of the Nordlyset , a 1600 ton steel barque carrying a cargo of deal in November 1914 which was wrecked off Mutton island. Both Tommy and Ger believe the anchor, buried somewhere deep in the sand off Galway's Swamp, should be retrieved as part of the city's maritime history.(Above and below) Tommy Holohan (front) and Ger Jackson, examining the remains of the Nordlyset , a 1600 ton steel barque carrying a cargo of deal in November 1914 which was wrecked off Mutton island. Both Tommy and Ger believe the anchor, buried somewhere deep in the sand off Galway's Swamp, should be retrieved as part of the city's maritime history. Photos Joe O'Shaughnessy

Tommy Holohan and Ger Jackson, examining the remains of the Nordlyset , a 1600 ton steel barque carrying a cargo of deal in November 1914 which was wrecked off Mutton island. Both Tommy and Ger believe the anchor, buried somewhere deep in the sand off Galway's Swamp, should be retrieved as part of the city's maritime history.

Holohan and his friend Ger Jackson believe the anchor is buried somewhere nearby deep in the sand, and that it should be retrieved as part of Galway’s maritime history. There’s also a James Joyce connection to shipwrecks and Galway pilots, as Tommy explained to Wavelengths below

Photo Gallery of The Shipwreck of the Nordlyset By Joe O'Shaughnessy  

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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When Brazilian Paulo Sergio Soares da Paixão became involved with traditional boats in Galway, little did he expect that his ashes would be scattered by fellow crew members at sea.

Musicians and members of Galway group Badoirí an Chladaigh took to the wateron Sunday to bid farewell to their Brazilian colleague after he died last week at the age of 52.

Known in Galway as “Paolo Sergio”, the dancer and choreographer came to Ireland to study gastronomy.

He signed up as a volunteer with Badóirí an Chladaigh, and “everyone he touched just loved him”, according to Peter Connolly of the Galway hooker restoration group.

Brazilian choreographer Paulo Sergio Soares da Paixão whose ashes were scattered by Badoirí an Chladaigh in Galway Bay1.jpgBrazilian choreographer Paulo Sergio Soares da Paixão whose ashes were scattered by Badoirí an Chladaigh in Galway Bay1.jpg

“Paulo was very involved in our outdoor classes for schools, and there was nothing that he couldn’t do,” Connolly said.

When he became ill, he spent a number of months in University Hospital Galway and had two operations in Beaumont hospital in Dublin.

After his cremation last week, arrangements were made to scatter his ashes off Galway’s Mutton island.

The half decker Réalt Feasa and fishing boat Aisling Geal took advantage of a brief weather window on Sunday morning (Oct 31) to steam out to the island.

Paulo’s sister Mariza Soares da Paixao Milo and his cousin, Sergio Severiano Gomes Oliveira, were on board as the wind caught his ashes, a wreath was laid, and prayers were said in his memory.

A group of musicians then played a number of pieces on board the hooker Naomh Cronán, which was moored in full sail in the Claddagh basin and flying a Brazilian flag from its mast.

Relatives and friends of Paulo Sergio Soares da Paixão from left, his sister Maria Soares da Paixao Milo, Esther Niland, Sergio Gomes Oliveira and David Doyle.jpgRelatives and friends of Paulo Sergio Soares da Paixão from left, his sister Maria Soares da Paixao Milo, Esther Niland, Sergio Gomes Oliveira and David Doyle

Mayor of Galway Colette Connolly paid her respects to the family.

Clearly moved by the tribute, Sergio called how his cousin was born in Salvador and how he had studied choreography.

He became a professor of dance at the University of Para in Belem, where he was based for 25 years, and directed works that were staged in theatres in Belem.

“Paulo spent at the University of Para, very far from his home in Salvador, he had a house and car, he returned home to see family and friends, but over time he wanted a little more, something different,”Sergio said.

“He wanted to know the world, and people in a different way, he wanted a reality different from the reality of being Brazilian,” Sergio said.

“He planned to move from Brazil and discover something new...so he came to Ireland to change his way of life and study gastronomy here,”he said.

“Paulo first stayed in Dublin and then decided to move to Galway as it is a small city and a pretty city that gave him more opportunities, and he met many people of many different origins,”Sergio said.

“ He captivated people around him, and he was made welcome here,”he said.

Esther Niland, who offered Paulo lodgings in the West, along with David Doyle and Danny Bailey of Badóirí an Chladaigh said this was “what he would have wanted”.

“I was an immigrant for 20 years myself, many of us have been there, and we felt it was so sad that Paolo died so far from his home,”Peter Connolly added.

“He was a pure gentle giant,” Doyle said.

Published in Galway Harbour

Where else in the world would you hear yourself being addressed as Loveen but in Galway - and that's the name of a 96-year-old gleoiteog which is being blessed today (Oct 16) in the Claddagh Basin.

The historic vessel which was built by the Reaneys of Galway’s Spanish Arch was bought from the late Nicky Dolan in 2011 with the support of the former mayor and Labour councillor Niall MacNelis.

It was presented to the Port of Galway Sea Scouts, to help continue the culture and tradition of hooker sailing into the next generation

It has been restored, plank by plank, by expert boatbuilders Coilín Hernon, Ciarán Oliver and a large team from the Galway Hooker Sailing Association (GHSA).

The association, which has over 100 volunteers, began the project in 2019 and continued with careful restrictions through last year’s Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lovely Anne, a late 19th-century gleoiteog, already restored by the GHSA, will join a flotilla today to welcome the Loveen on to the water.

The Port of Galway Sea Scouts and the GHSA are hosting this afternoon’s celebration at Nimmo’s Pier on the Claddagh basin from 2 pm to 4 pm.

Free ticket admission can be obtained on this link here

Published in Historic Boats

Galway RNLI towed a 20-foot half-decker that got into difficulty off Barna to safety last evening.

The pleasure/fishing vessel experienced mechanical issues after it left Galway docks and started drifting.

The crew contacted the Irish Coastguard which then tasked the Galway lifeboat shortly before 7 pm.

Galway Lifeboat volunteer crew Brian Niland (Helmsman), Martin Oliver, Lisa McDonagh and James Rattigan located the vessel with three crew on board.

RNLI deputy launch authority Seán Óg Leydon said that the crew "thankfully had the means to contact the Coastguard directly " for help before the situation escalated.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Galway's 96-year old gleoiteog Loveen has marked a key stage in its restoration with the nailing of its "whiskey plank".

At a "low key" ceremony, the final plank was secured and the occasion was marked with a "modest" round of whiskey.

The Loveen had been bought by Nicky Dolan shortly before his passing in 2011.

Frankie Dolan, Station Officer with Galway Fire and Rescue Service, Frankie is a cousin of the late Nicky Dolan who was the last owner of The LoveenFrankie Dolan, Station Officer with Galway Fire and Rescue Service, Frankie is a cousin of the late Nicky Dolan who was the last owner of The Loveen Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

It was presented to the Port of Galway Sea Scouts the following year.

Daniel Concannon of Port of Galway Sea Scouts inspects the Loveen. Galway Hooker Sailing Club are restoring the Loveen on behalf of the Sea Scouts.Daniel Concannon of Port of Galway Sea Scouts inspects the Loveen. Galway Hooker Sailing Club are restoring the Loveen on behalf of the Sea Scouts Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

A restoration project began in 2019, which was spearheaded by Galway Hooker Sailing Club with the enthusiastic support of the sea scouts.

Coilin Hernon with his sons Einde and Coilin Og at the Loveen at Galway Harbour. The Hernon family are boatbuilders and key members of keeping the tradition of Galway Hookers alive Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy Coilin Hernon with his sons Einde and Coilin Og at the Loveen at Galway Harbour. The Hernon family are boatbuilders and key members of keeping the tradition of Galway Hookers alive Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Founder members of the club are the Oliver family of the Claddagh, and their aim is to continue to support the tradition of Galway hooker sailing, and the culture around it, into the next generation.

A poster details of the Loveen projectA poster details of the Loveen project Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Ross Forde, Club Director, gives a helping hand to his son Jamie at hammering in a nail on the LoveenRoss Forde, Club Director, gives a helping hand to his son Jamie at hammering in a nail on the Loveen Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Daniel Concannon of Port of Galway Sea Scouts hammers in a nail on the LoveenDaniel Concannon of Port of Galway Sea Scouts hammers in a nail on the Loveen Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

 Tina Concannon, Club Secretary, hammers home a nail on the Loveen Tina Concannon, Club Secretary, hammers home a nail on the Loveen Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Published in Galway Harbour
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Galway Bay Sailing Club's Yannick Lemonnier has launched his Mini Transat yacht 'Marcel forever' at Galway Docks.

The Galway sailmaker is embarking on the first part of his Mini campaign that features a 600-mile race from Douarnenez in Western France. It's a campaign that will ultimately see Lemonnier (50) compete in the Mini Transatlantic Race this September. 

Johnny Shorten, Commodore of Galway Bay Sailing Club presented the GBSC Logo to the solo sailor ahead of his departure.

Lemonnier, who runs the Quantum Sails loft in Galway City, recently told Afloat recently that when he got into top-level competitive sailing on his native waters in the Bay of Biscay at the age of 26, his foremost ambition was to race the Mini Transat 6.5 across the Atlantic. Read more on this here

The Mini Transat yacht 'Marcel forever'The Mini Transat yacht 'Marcel forever'

Published in Galway Harbour
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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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