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Displaying items by tag: Connemara

A new cruise venture in Galway Bay, rowing training and seaweed and shellfish gathering are among marine activities profiled in a new maritime TV series on Irish language television station TG4.

The series Pobal Cois Fharraige profiles the stretch of coast along Galway Bay running west from Na Forbacha to Ros an Mhíl in south Connemara.

It is widely known as Cois Fharraige, and, due to its proximity to Galway city, it is a popular tourist destination and home to a creative and vibrant rural community.

The series was filmed over the summer months of 2023 in the company of some of Cois Fharraige’s “characters” during their busiest time of year, the producers state.

The first episode of Pobal Cois Fharraige interviews Breda Hughes from An Spidéal Tidy Towns Committee, along with Diarmuid Ó Conghaíle and his rowing crew during their final training session before the Féile an Spidéil regatta.

It also films Féile an Spidéil organisers, who are hoping for fair weather and a fiercely competitive day of boat racing, and Tony Antaine Ó Curraoin and his son Antoine from An Cnocán Glas on one of their trips to the shore to collect shellfish and seaweed.

The second episode of Pobal Cois Fharraige interviews Tommy and Patrick Connolly, who are embarking on a journey with their new business venture, Galway Girl Cruises.

Tommy & Patrick Connolly of their new business venture Galway Girl CruisesTommy & Patrick Connolly of their new business venture Galway Girl Cruises

It visits Coláiste Chamuis as hundreds of students start to arrive at the Irish college, and films Sorcas Le Croí, an Irish language circus that has arrived in the area - including local student Colm Seoighe from Ros an Mhíl who will perform in the circus for the very first time.

It also profiles Caoilfhionn de Bhaldraithe from Sruth Yoga as she sets up her beach yoga classes, and visits the Ceardlann craft village in An Spidéal, where the owner of An Spailpín Fánach, Gearóid Ó Murchú, is celebrating a special occasion.

Caoilfhionn de Bhaldrithe from Sruth Yoga on the beach with her yoga classesCaoilfhionn de Bhaldrithe from Sruth Yoga on the beach with her yoga classes

Pobal Cois Fharraige begins at 8pm on Thursday June 6th 2024 on TG4, and is produced by Aniar TV.

Published in Maritime TV
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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

An aquaculture start-up is celebrating the launch of its first seaweed farm in Connemara, as vegan business magazine Vegconomist reports.

US-based Sea&Believe develops ingredients for food and cosmetics using Palmaria palmata, a red seaweed more commonly known as dillisk or dulse and one that’s recognised for its high nutritional value as well as other health benefits.

The company says it is working with a group of scientists in Galway to develop a sustainable and durable farming process for dillisk in a region notably prone to extreme weather, while also exploring new commercial applications for its natural properties.

Vegconomist has more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquaculture
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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

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 rejection is a major setback for Údaras na Gaeltachta, the Gaeltacht development authority, which based its jobs growth strategy on employment the new marine park would create.

Páirc na Mara, which was to be located in Carna in the Iorras Aithneach area of the Gaeltacht, had attracted significant marine interest when proposals were initially rolled out.

The plan was welcomed by members of the Carna and Cill Chiaráin communities.

However, the initial planning application was turned down by Galway County Council in 2021.

Bord Pleanála has given several reasons for rejecting the appeal. It highlighted lack of information on potential impact of climate change, and impact on water levels and the water supply in sources nearby.

Udaras na Gaeltachta, has said it is awaiting a copy of the full inspector’s report before commenting further.

Published in Galway Harbour
Tagged under

The “do not consume” notice on public water affecting over 5,000 households in south Connemara has been lifted with immediate effect by Irish Water.

The agency says water is safe to drink for the “majority” living in An Spidéal and Na Forbacha, but those living in the network served by the Ros-a-Mhíl reservoir have been issued with a “boil water” notice.

This is to protect public health until additional remedial works are complete, Irish Water says.

The “do not consume” notice in place since September was issued due to reported high levels of manganese in the public water supply, which involved extensive flushing of the system to remove.

Businesses and some residents have been critical of the lack of communication over the issue by Irish Water. Tankered water, which then had to be boiled, was made available at a number of collection points.

Irish Water’s drinking water compliance specialist Dr Pat O’Sullivan acknowledged the impact the “do not consume” notice had on the 5,675 customers supplied by An Spidéal’s public water supply and thanked them for their patience while Irish Water and Galway County Council worked to have it lifted.

“ We would like to thank all the residents and businesses who were affected by this notice for their patience and cooperation while it was in place to protect public health,”Dr O’Sullivan said.

“We would also like to acknowledge and thank our colleagues in Galway County Council who worked tirelessly to address what was a challenging and complex issue. This notice has now been lifted, in consultation with the Health Service Executive and Environmental Protection Agency, following an extensive sampling and testing process to ensure that the water is safe to drink,” Dr O’Sullivan added.

He explained that the Boil Water Notice for those served by the Ros-a-Mhíl reservoir has been put in place due to the low levels of chlorine and detections of coliform bacteria in this part of the supply network. Works are ongoing to address this issue, he said.

The area affected includes approximately 250 customers in Ros-a-Mhíl.

A map of the area is available to view on the supply and service section of water.ie. A “boil water” notice will also be hand-delivered to the properties affected, Irish Water said.

It said experts from Irish Water and Galway County Council are assessing the situation with a view to having the notice lifted as quickly as possible.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will be contacted directly about this notice, it says.

Water must be boiled for:

  • Drinking
  • Drinks made with water
  • Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating
  • Brushing of teeth
  • Making of ice - discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges. Make ice from cooled boiled water

Irish Water says that anyone who has concerns can contact our customer care team on 1800 278 278 or log onto the water supply and service section of water.ie for information.

A property’s eircode can also be entered on the water quality section of water.ie to check if it is included.

Published in Island News

A Connemara lobster fisherman has become a television star in the Netherlands over his role in a highly successful dating series.

As The Irish Examiner reports, Turbot island fisherman and farmer John O’Toole was hired to take a Dutch couple out fishing as part of the grand final in the highly successful dating series, Boer zoukt vrouw (“Farmer wants a wife”).

70-year-old widower Hans de Roover, who breeds horses in Noord Brabant in Netherlands, had signed up for the dating show last year. Having received replies from almost 90 applicants, he had chosen Connemara as the location for filming with one of his final four potential partners.

And 60-year old divorcee Annette Verschuure, from Zeeland, rose to the challenge. After the couple were flown to Dublin, they travelled west to Galway and Clifden, where they had been booked into the Abbeyglen Hotel.

Farmer Hans de Roover with his new love, Annette Verschuure, at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, ClifdenFarmer Hans de Roover with his new love, Annette Verschuure, at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Clifden

“So I took them out from Fahy pier down the end of the Sky Road, and a bit around the inlet as the sun was setting, ”O’Toole says. “I had set a few pots out and, of course, there were lobsters in them!”

“I asked them if they would like to handle the pots but they weren’t so keen. Annette was full of chat, and Hans had his arm around her. But then I noticed the colour draining from his face and knew it was time to head home!”

“Oh, we had such a wonderful time,” Verschuure recalls of the visit to the west of Ireland.

“It was such an adventure,” she laughs. “And because no one in Ireland knew who we were, apart from the fact that we had a film crew following us, we could actually be a couple !”

Suspense – as in who the farmer might choose for his or her partner - is key to the Dutch series, which has been running for over 12 years and now attracts some 3. 5 million viewers.

Read more in The Examiner here

Published in Fishing
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If Tim Ryan could be transported back to any time in his life it would undoubtedly be the hours he spent on the ferries crossing the Severn to England and back. He did it 11 or 12 times a year with his parents and sister - and each journey was as adventurous as the last.

“It was just like going abroad,” the 67-year-old retired headteacher told WalesOnline from a quiet corner of Wales where he is hellbent on recreating those memories for future generations. It’s been a 23-year mission which is now finally beginning to bear fruit.

“My father had a sister in Burnham-on-Sea and my mother was from Wiltshire, so we were on the ferries a lot,” he said, proudly standing aboard the Severn Princess which has found its way home in remarkable circumstances.

It now sits beneath Brunel's rail bridge just metres from where it used to be moored on the River Wye from 1959 to 1966. The Princess - alongside the Severn King and Queen - offered the only means of crossing for motorists before the construction of the M48 Severn bridge.

Now we’ve got the ferry here I’d hope the long-term plan would be to get the bridge all cleaned up and maybe a visitors centre here. There’s a long way to go.”

For Tim, now coordinator of a modest team which makes up the Severn Princess Preservation Trust, it has been a labour of love long in the making. “One of our members Richard Jones is the grandson of Enoch Williams,” Tim said. “Enoch was the owner of the Old Passage Severn Ferry Company and operated the three ferries.

For much more on the former river ferry's fascinating journey to home waters, click here. 

In addition, according to Wikipedia, the wrecked vessel was found full of fertiliser, having been discovered in 1999 by Dr. Richard Jones, as alluded above.

The derelict ferry had been put under a demolition order by Galway County Council, however the Severn Princess Restoration Group was set up urgently so to save and acquire the ferry for a guinea.

After repairs this enabled a five-day tow across the Irish Sea to Beachley that took place in 2003. 

Published in Historic Boats

The Conamara family of sailors known as Clann Johnny Jimmy Pheaitín are profiled in a documentary on TG4.

Pádraig, Jimmy and Seáinín are “Na Jimmys”, associated with the Galway Hooker An Mhaighdean Mhara.

The programme “Bádóirí- Na Jimmys” interviews the trio and some of the other relatives well known for their knowledge of sailing and the sea on Inis Mhic Cionnaith island and An Cheathrú Rua in south Conamara.

Pádraig, Jimmy and Seáinín are “Na Jimmys”Pádraig, Jimmy and Seáinín are “Na Jimmys”

One relative, shipwright Pat Michael is finishing his Galway Hooker, a piece of art being built in the shed next door to home, and the Jimmys’ uncle, Johnny Jimmy, relates how he and his two brothers were the best rowers in Ireland and in England in the 1960s.

John Darba talks about Inis Mhic Cionaith, where he was raised, and the stories told by Jimmy an Oileáin, while Johnny Healion recalls when the Mhaighdean Mhara was still hauling peat to the Aran Islands, as he now prepares to launch his most newly built hooker.

Pat agus na ladsPat agus na lads

“Bádoirí-Na Jimmys” is on TG4, December 29th, at 8.15 pm and also available to view online here

Published in Maritime TV
Tagged under
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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