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Displaying items by tag: Clifden

A three-month-old baby was among a family of six rescued by Clifden RNLI in western Connemara on Thursday evening (9 May).

The volunteer crew were tasked by the Irish Coast Guard at 6.15pm to assist a group who were cut off by the tide on Omey Island.

Clifden’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched by volunteer helm Kenny Flaherty with Daniel Whelan, David O’Reilly and Shane Conneely as crew.

Weather conditions were good with calm seas, and the lifeboat crew had no difficulty locating the walkers on the island.

The family — which included grandparents, a baby, two young children and their dog — were found to be well and did not require medical assistance.

They were returned to the shore at Claddaghduff where Cleggan Coast Guard and additional lifeboat crew provided further assistance and ensured the family got back to their accommodation safely.

Speaking after the shout, Clifden RNLI helm Kenny Flaherty said: “We would remind locals and visitors to always check tide times and heights before venturing out to Omey and to always make sure you have enough time to return safely.

“If you do get cut off by the tide, it is important to stay where you are and not attempt a return to shore on your own as that may be when the danger presents and you get into difficulty.

“Always carry a means of communication and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Clifden RNLI’s volunteer crew in western Connemara launched on Thursday evening (25 April) to rescue a sailor from the upturned hull of his sailing boat in Clifden Bay.

At 8.45pm the lifeboat crew were tasked by Malin Head Coast Guard following a call from a member of the public who had observed the sailor in difficulty from the shore.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Joyce King was quickly launched, helmed by Joe Acton with crew Alan Pryce and Shane Conneely. They were assisted by John Brendan Mannion on the shore.

The lifeboat arrived on scene, a short distance out in Clifden Bay, to find the casualty clinging to the hull of his upturned boat. The sailor, who was wearing a life vest, had been in the water for some time and was cold but in good spirits otherwise.

The crew transported the sailor back to shore to warm up and then set about righting the sail boat and towing it back to a safe mooring in the bay.

Speaking about the call-out, Clifden RNLI helm Joe Acton said: “With this current spell of good weather, we expect to see people enjoying water sports and boating activities around our coasts.

“We want everyone to enjoy the water and come home safely. Please always remember to wear a life jacket when out on the water, always carry a mobile phone or VHF radio to call for help in an emergency. Boats should have an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) which is registered and regularly maintained.

“The volunteer crew at our station are on call 24/7. If you get into difficulty, or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Clifden RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew in western Co Galway were tasked just before 2pm on Thursday (11 April) following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide a medical evacuation for a casualty on Inishbofin.

Clifden’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat St Christopher was launched under coxswain David Barry with Joe Acton, Dan Whelan, Andy Bell, Neil Gallery and Shane Conneely as crew. The coastguard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 was also dispatched.

Weather conditions at the time were poor, with limited visibility and deep swells.

When the lifeboat crew arrived at the island, the casualty was received on board St Christopher and a casualty care assessment was carried out on the person, who was injured from a fall.

The casualty was immediately transported to Cleggan pier and the awaiting ambulance for further treatment in hospital.

Speaking about the call-out, Barry said: “This tasking was a real team effort involving the Cleggan Coast Guard, HSE National Ambulance Service and the local community in Inishbofin who provided great assistance during the transfer of the casualty. My thanks to all involved and I also wish the person a swift recovery.

“The volunteer crew at our station are on call 24/7. If you get into difficulty, or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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At a recent awards ceremony, some 14 members of Clifden RNLI’s fundraising branch received long service medals recognising their combined 400 years of fundraising in Connemara.

As a fully independent charity organisation, the RNLI relies on donations to fund its lifesaving work. The Clifden lifeboat crew are on call 24/7 but they require ongoing training, well maintained equipment, lifeboats and shore equipment to carry out their mission of saving lives at sea.

None of this would be possible without the dedication, commitment and drive of our local fundraisers who have each dedicated many years to supporting their local coastal community.

The commitment and selflessness of Clifden’s fundraising volunteers was acknowledged by Danny Curran, RNLI regional engagement manager.

Speaking at the ceremony, he said: “I know how much thought and effort goes in raising every euro for our charity and I’m extremely grateful to the volunteers here today who have worked tirelessly on this goal for decades. In rain, hail and snow; every week, every month, every year, you have ensured we can keep our life saving services running.

“These awards are not just to celebrate the fundraising volunteers for their incredible achievements over many years but also their families and friends who play a key role in supporting our work.”

Long service award recipients include Padraig Mc Donagh from Kilkerrin who is the longest serving fundraiser in the branch, having dedicated an incredible 55 years to Clifden RNLI; Eileen and Oliver Coyne from Cleggan, who are responsible for the legendary RNLI Christmas hamper raffle; and Anne Marie Bennett, outgoing chair of the fundraising branch and highly valued RNLI volunteer.

A special moment was observed for Lavinia Joyce who sadly passed away in August this year. Lavinia was the first chairperson of the Clifden/Connemara fundraising branch, or the “Clifden Ladies Guild” as it was known when she joined in 1992. Her enthusiasm, dedication and sense of purpose to be involved with the RNLI was infectious. She was an inspiration to all of us and an absolute lady. Rest in peace, Lavinia.

Clifden RNLI Long Service Awardees 2023:

  • Geraldine Heanue
  • AnneMarie Bennett
  • Padraic Griffin
  • Stewart Freeman
  • Collin Mullen
  • Paraic Mc Donagh
  • Percy Hyland
  • Oliver and Eileen Coyne
  • Jacqueline Hannon
  • Nancy Duffy
  • Lavinia Joyce
  • Ann Day
  • Thomas King
Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Clifden RNLI’s volunteer crew were tasked by the Irish Coast Guard at 1.45pm on Tuesday (26 October) following a report that three people were stranded on Omey Island.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched by volunteer helm Kenny Flaherty with Joe Acton and Neill Gallery as crew.

Weather conditions were good with calm seas and the lifeboat crew had no difficulty locating the walkers on Omey Island.

The casualties were found to be well and did not require medical assistance. They were returned to the shore at Claddaghduff where Cleggan Coast Guard provided further assistance.

Speaking after the shout, Clifden RNLI lifeboat operations officer John Brittain said: “We would remind locals and visitors to always check tide times and heights before venturing out to Omey and to always make sure you have enough time to return safely.

“If you do get cut off by the tide, it is important to stay where you are and not attempt a return to shore on your own as that may be when the danger presents and you get into difficulty.

“Always carry a means of communication and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

New residents of a Connemara island, which was once depopulated, have put an offshore exhibition together for the Clifden Arts Festival.

Four artists on Turbot Island are hoping their work will be viewed on the island, and have organised a ferry timetable from Clifden Boat Club for “InisturbART”, as the event is called.

Turbot or “Inishturbot” is a few miles west of Clifden and south of Omey, and its population of 60 was relocated to the mainland in 1978, four years after three islanders died in a currach capsize.

Patrick O’Toole (58), Patrick Stuffle (48) and Michael Wallace (62) were on their way home to Turbot from watching the All-Ireland football final in Clifden in September 1974 when the incident happened.

Driftwood painted by Dutch island resident Stefan FrenkelDriftwood painted by Dutch island resident Stefan Frenkel

Latterly, seasonal visitors bought property, and Covid-19 transformed Turbot into a refuge from the pandemic.

Among those who found themselves extending their seasonal stay and adapting to island life were Dutch couple Stefan and Hanneke Frenkel, both of whom have worked in advertising and interior design.

They were inspired by the island environment, and the enforced quarantine during the early stages of the pandemic, to develop their creative skills.

Hanneke Frenkel’s sea mats and carpets, woven from rope washed up on the shoreline, caught the eye of the curators of the Irish pavilion at this year’s Venice Architectural Biennale.

Collecting sea rope off Turbot island for the artists' exhibition for Clifden Arts Festival.JPGCollecting sea rope off Turbot island for the artists' exhibition for Clifden Arts Festival

Her husband Stefan has transformed pieces of fish boxes, ropes, nets, buoys, rubber ducks and other beachcombing material into paintings which reflect “small events on Turbot”.

David Wilkinson has recorded his experiences in coming to the west over several decades in a book entitled Island Journal: One Year and a Day. He first came as a child as his parents had a holiday home on Inishlacken, close to Roundstone.

Also participating in the group exhibition is Dublin maths teacher and musician Peter Knox, who spends much of the year now on Turbot. Several years ago, he adapted a poem about the 1974 drownings, which was written by local man Joseph O’Toole, into a song.

The piece entitled “Turbot Men” was recorded on video. Knox has also created a private art gallery in his island home.

The four artists say that living on the remote island has allowed them to “embrace the challenge of limited entertainment” by “unleashing their imagination, resourcefulness, and love for island living in a range of art projects for their group exhibition”.

They have put together a three-and-a-half hour tour on Turbot for Clifden Arts Festival participants, and there will be three ferry crossings a day from Clifden Boat Club on September 16th, 19th and 24th, with tickets at 20 euro.

Another Connemara island, Omey, will be venue for an illuminated procession by landscape theatre specialists LUXE which will celebrate the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society’s centenary as part of the arts festival programme.

Christy Moore, Clare Sands and Johnny Óg Connolly are among musicians performing at Clifden, while Séamus Ó Flatharta (voice and whistle), Caoimhe Ní Fhlatharta (voice and fiddle), Pádraic Keane (uilleann pipes) and the ConTempo Quartet (viola, violin, and cello) will present “Stolen Hearts,” a new piece by Grammy Award winning composer Bill Whelan.

The festival’s extensive arts trail includes work by Seán Ó Flaithearta in Clifden Court House and Connemara Muses, an initiative led by 16 female artists.

Talks and readings will include sailor and explorer Kevin Cronin, speaking on his new book, In Search of Franklin: An Irish Connection, and James Morrissey, author of Real to Reel:Garech Browne and Claddagh Records.

Michael Viney’s last book completed before he died will be launched by Irish Times group managing director Deirdre Veldon on September 24th .

The Clifden Arts Festival will be opened by broadcaster, uilleann piper and musical historian Peter Browne on September 13th, and it runs until September 24th.

More details here

Published in Island News
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The volunteer crew of Clifden RNLI were called out on Friday morning (25 August) at 7.30am to assist a stranded yacht off Connemara.

The vessel with two sailors on board had come into difficulty to the south-west of Inishark, which is west of Inisbofin.

Both of Clifden’s lifeboats launched: the inshore Atlantic 85 helmed by Daniel Whelan with Shane Conneely and Chris Nee as crew; and the all-weather Shannon class St Christopher with John Mullen as coxswain, James Mullen, Joe Acton, Neil Gallery and Alan Kearney as crew.

They were assisted from the shore by Tom Guy, John Heffernan and Sean Mercer.

Sea conditions at the time were moderate, with Force 5 winds and good visibility.

On arriving at the scene, the crews found the sailors to be well and in good spirits however the propeller and rudder on their yacht had become badly entangled with ropes.

The lifeboat volunteers set about establishing a tow line and brought the casualty vessel and the passengers back to safety at Cleggan Harbour.

Speaking after the rescue, Mullen said: “The sailors today did the right thing in calling for assistance when they ran into difficulty and I am delighted we were able help. Our volunteer crew did a great job of ensuring a speedy, safe and successful operation this morning.

“I’d like to thank the two sailors who kindly offered to buy breakfast for the crew after we reached the shore. The breakfast was most welcome after an early start saving lives at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer crew of Clifden RNLI were called out on Tuesday (11 July) to assist a vessel with three anglers on board suffering mechanical failure at the mouth of Killary Harbour.

Weather conditions at the time were very poor with heavy rain and limited visibility.

While preparing to launch on a training exercise on their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, the Clifden crew were tasked to assist a small angling vessel with mechanical failure at the mouth of Killary Harbour, 22 nautical miles away.

It was reported that the casualty boat had three people on board and was drifting towards the rocks.

The Atlantic 85 was immediately away under the helm of Alan Pryce, with crew Chris Nee, Shane Conneely and Connor O’Malley.

While en route, the lifeboat crew were informed that the casualty vessel had drifted onto the rocks and immediate assistance was required.

Clifden’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat was also tasked to provide additional cover with John Mullen as coxswain and crew members Joe Acton, Dan Whelan, James Mullen and Brian Ward. They were assisted by John Heffernan and Neil Gallery on the shore. The Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 also made its way to the scene.

The inshore lifeboat crew arrived at the location to find the fishing boat on the rocks and the three fishermen had climbed onto the rocky shoreline.

The situation was precarious and the weather conditions were poor. However, the volunteer crew managed to extract the three casualties and put the stricken vessel under tow.

The casualties were cold and wet but in otherwise good form, and they were brought, along with their boat, to Rossroe pier to safety.

Speaking about the call-out, Clifden RNLI helm Alan Pryce said: “I’d like to commend the crew on a well-executed rescue in very tricky conditions. The crew and the lifeboat performed incredibly well and the top cover of R115 and Clifden ALB ensured a swift response and successful outcome.

“The volunteer crew at our station are on call 24/7. If you get into difficulty, or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew of Clifden RNLI in Co Galway towed a broken-down boat with two people on board to safety yesterday evening and were tasked again at midnight to a medevac from the island of Inishbofin.

At 6.45pm on Friday (26 May), Clifden’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was tasked by Malin Head Coast Guard to assist a boat that had broken down.

The crew launched Joyce King in beautiful sunny conditions, helmed by David Barry with crew James Mullen, Joseph Acton and Brian Ward. They were assisted by Neil Gallery and John Brendan Mannion on shore.

The crew arrived on scene to find the casualties had anchored and did not require medical attention. The stricken vessel was taken under tow back to a mooring in Clifden Bay, arriving without incident at 8.45pm.

Another callout came at midnight when Clifden’s all-weather lifeboat St Christopher was tasked to evacuate an injured person from Inishbofin. The casualty had sustained a head injury from a fall.

The lifeboat slipped her moorings under the command of coxswain James Mullen with John Mullen, Joseph Acton, Dan Whelan and Neil Gallery as crew.

The weather was calm en route with a beautiful night at sea, and the lifeboat made it to Inishbofin in excellent time. The crew met with the island nurse who provided a handover and then proceeded to transport the patient back to Cleggan pier. An ambulance was waiting to bring the patient to hospital for further treatment.

Speaking about the shouts, James Mullen said: “It was a busy night for our volunteer crew and I want to thank everyone involved, in particular the island nurse, An Garda Síochána, the National Ambulance Service and the coastguard who assisted in the multi-agency medical evacuation.

“Our volunteer crew remain on call 24/7, with the good weather promised we urge everyone to be safe around the water. If you get into difficulty, or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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A special ceremony and service of dedication was held yesterday (Saturday, 22 April) at Clifden RNLI, when the Connemara lifeboat station’s new all-weather Shannon class lifeboat, St Christopher, was officially named. The lifeboat, which went on service in May last year, was funded by a legacy from Christopher Harris, in admiration for the lifesaving work of the RNLI.

The lifeboat has been named St Christopher, as per his family’s wishes and reflects his lifelong love of travel. Born in March 1939, Christopher was evacuated during the war but returned to live with his aunt, who ran a farm. Upon qualifying as an accountant, marrying and starting a family, he combined his career with travel, before eventually settling in Surrey. He had a strong calling to look after others, and it is believed this is what influenced his support for the work of the RNLI.

During the ceremony, the lifeboat was handed into the care of the RNLI by Christopher’s daughter, Phillipa Harris. Lifeboat Operations Manager John Brittain then accepted it on behalf of the Galway station, before the lifeboat was officially named by Gill Hinton, another of Christopher’s daughters. Commenting on naming of the St Christopher, Philippa Harris said, ‘We’re incredibly proud to be here on behalf of our father, Christopher Harris, and we’re so happy that the boat will be used by such brave and generous people, as the RNLI volunteer crew.’

Philippa Harris, Gill Hinton, and Cox James Mullen at the naming ceremony of the Clifden RNLI LifeboatPhilippa Harris, Gill Hinton, and Cox James Mullen at the naming ceremony of the Clifden RNLI Lifeboat

Speaking at the event, Lifeboat Operations Manager John Brittain said, ‘This is a proud day for everyone at Clifden RNLI, for our families and the local community. We are honoured to be the custodians of this magnificent lifeboat, which will save many lives on this part of the coast and which will bring our lifeboat crews home safe in all weathers. It is an incredible gift to give a community. We have a very special community here in West Connemara - in the lifetime of this station, our fishing community, local businesses, friends and supporters, has never let us down. From fund-raising to donations of services and all manner of dig outs, whatever we have asked for, our community has delivered. I am incredibly proud that this new state-of-the-art Lifeboat is here in Clifden.

The donor family with Clifden RNLI St. Christopher after the naming ceremonyThe donor family with Clifden RNLI St. Christopher after the naming ceremony

He added, ‘Our thanks to the late Christopher Harris and to his family, some of whom have travelled here for this occasion. There will always be a welcome for Christopher’s family and friends at Clifden RNLI.’

RNLI Head of Region Anna Classon said, ‘Congratulations to everyone involved with this wonderful occasion. This lifeboat is a huge addition to lifesaving on the west coast of Ireland. Behind every lifeboat is a team of people working together to ensure that when the call for help comes, the response is immediate. To all the lifeboat volunteers, shore crew, station management, fundraisers and donors, this day is the culmination of years of hard work and commitment.’

Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John BrittainClifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John Brittain

Tributes were also paid to Saul Joyce and Bernard Whelan who were the first two volunteers to join Clifden RNLI back in 1989 and who retired earlier this year.

The € 2.7 million Shannon class lifeboat is the most recent class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet. It is the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making it more agile and manoeuvrable.

Following the ceremony, the public had an opportunity to view the lifeboat, which is usually moored afloat, up close. The lifeboat was brought onto Clifden beach to allow the public to view the names of over 10,000 loved ones, which were pledged on the lifeboat through a special fundraising initiative. ‘Launch a Memory, which was run by the charity back in 2020.

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Galway Port & Harbour

Galway Bay is a large bay on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city and port is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to 30 kilometres (19 miles) in breadth.

The Aran Islands are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

Galway Port FAQs

Galway was founded in the 13th century by the de Burgo family, and became an important seaport with sailing ships bearing wine imports and exports of fish, hides and wool.

Not as old as previously thought. Galway bay was once a series of lagoons, known as Loch Lurgan, plied by people in log canoes. Ancient tree stumps exposed by storms in 2010 have been dated back about 7,500 years.

It is about 660,000 tonnes as it is a tidal port.

Capt Brian Sheridan, who succeeded his late father, Capt Frank Sheridan

The dock gates open approximately two hours before high water and close at high water subject to ship movements on each tide.

The typical ship sizes are in the region of 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes

Turbines for about 14 wind projects have been imported in recent years, but the tonnage of these cargoes is light. A European industry report calculates that each turbine generates €10 million in locally generated revenue during construction and logistics/transport.

Yes, Iceland has selected Galway as European landing location for international telecommunications cables. Farice, a company wholly owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe.

It is "very much a live project", Harbourmaster Capt Sheridan says, and the Port of Galway board is "awaiting the outcome of a Bord Pleanála determination", he says.

90% of the scrap steel is exported to Spain with the balance being shipped to Portugal. Since the pandemic, scrap steel is shipped to the Liverpool where it is either transhipped to larger ships bound for China.

It might look like silage, but in fact, its bales domestic and municipal waste, exported to Denmark where the waste is incinerated, and the heat is used in district heating of homes and schools. It is called RDF or Refuse Derived Fuel and has been exported out of Galway since 2013.

The new ferry is arriving at Galway Bay onboard the cargo ship SVENJA. The vessel is currently on passage to Belem, Brazil before making her way across the Atlantic to Galway.

Two Volvo round world races have selected Galway for the prestigious yacht race route. Some 10,000 people welcomed the boats in during its first stopover in 2009, when a festival was marked by stunning weather. It was also selected for the race finish in 2012. The Volvo has changed its name and is now known as the "Ocean Race". Capt Sheridan says that once port expansion and the re-urbanisation of the docklands is complete, the port will welcome the "ocean race, Clipper race, Tall Ships race, Small Ships Regatta and maybe the America's Cup right into the city centre...".

The pandemic was the reason why Seafest did not go ahead in Cork in 2020. Galway will welcome Seafest back after it calls to Waterford and Limerick, thus having been to all the Port cities.

© Afloat 2020