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Displaying items by tag: Aran Islands

An Aran islands energy co-operative has won an international award for its work on renewable fuels.

The Aran energy co-op has secured the National Association of Municipalities of the Minor Islands (ANCIM) prize for having the “best energy system that emphasises the vital role of resident communities in the formulation of local sustainable development plans”

Comharchumann Fuinnimh Oileáin Árainn Teoranta (CFOAT), as the island co-op is known, set itself a ten-year target of making the Aran islands fossil-free.

Over the past eight years, it has been retrofitting 500 homes and other buildings on the three islands, with retrofits including external wall insulation, heat pumps for hot water and heating and solar PV on rooves.

The island energy co-op has been working with NUI Galway and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology on EU funded research projects, including creating a micro-grid and using smart technologies and exploring seawater and solar panel conversion to hydrogen fuel.

The islands have a number of electric vehicles, serving as both vans and people carriers, over 1,000 bicycles and 30 pony and traps available for hir.

The ANCIM award is part of the “Sun, Sea and Wind awards” linked to the EU’s “Salina Isola Pilot 2019” initiative for energy transition.

The EU programme supports energy transition in smaller islands by 2030.

The contest’s jury is made up of a number of mayors of Italian islands, including Giglio and Ventotene.

The island of Samso in Denmark won an award for the best sustainable energy system with a special focus on respect for the environment and landscape.

The Scottish offshore community of Canna and the island of Palawan in the Philippines also received recognition in the awards.

CFOAT Cathaoirleach or chairman Dara Ó Maoildhia said the Aran co-op was delighted to receive the award.

“It highlights how full community ownership of energy transition projects on islands is the best way forward,” he said.

“The resident community is strengthened and empowered, quality of life improves and the local economy grows,” Ó Maoildhia said.

“Jobs are created, and the islands become a more attractive place to live. We see all of this happening on Aran,” he added.

• Lorna Siggins recently interviewed Dara Ó Maoildhia for an Afloat podcast here

Published in Island News

The Aran Islands volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew were requested by the Irish Coast Guard to launch their All-Weather Severn Lifeboat at 2.48 pm, yesterday (Monday, August 30th). An 11.6 metre angling boat, with nine people aboard, was experiencing engine problems at the back of Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran Islands, while out on an angling trip.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew and headed straight for the boat. Weather conditions at the time of launching were good, with a slight East North East breeze, calm seas and good visibility

Once on the scene, the Volunteer Lifeboat crew checked that all aboard were safe and sound, before establishing a tow line.

With the tow line safely secured, the lifeboat proceeded back towards Kilronan Harbour, where the angling boat was brought alongside the pontoon.

Speaking after the call out Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O'Donnell said: 'thankfully the weather was calm and a quick response time from the volunteer crew, meant the angling boat and all aboard were brought safely ashore without delay.'

 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew were called to two medical evacuations from Inis Oirr and Inis Mór yesterday (Sunday 22 August).

At 3.42 pm the crew were asked by the Irish Coast Guard to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat to a medical evacuation of a young male on a day trip to Inis Oirr who had sustained an injury to his arm after a fall from a bicycle.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain Tommy Dirrane and a full crew onboard and headed straight for Inis Oirr. Conditions at the time of launching was good with calm seas and good visibility.

With the lifeboat alongside the pier in Inis Oirr, the patient was brought safely aboard the lifeboat by the crew. The lifeboat then headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

The second call came at 7.46pm, when the crew were requested by the Irish Coast Guard to transport a patient from Inis Mór who was in need of further medical attention.

With the patient safety transferred aboard the lifeboat, the lifeboat launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew.

Conditions at this time of launching were also good with calm seas, light winds, but a low dense fog which reduced visibility greatly.

Speaking after the call outs both Aran Island RNLI Coxswains commended the speedy reaction time from the volunteer crew members to launch the lifeboat: ‘Minutes can make all the difference and our crowd never let us down,’ said Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain Tommy Dirrane. ‘We would like to wish both patients a speedy recovery.

‘As we head into another fine weather spell, we would like to advise visitors to respect the water. If planning a trip to the beach or sea, never swim alone and always let someone know where you are going and when you are due back. Always carry a means of calling with you in a waterproof pouch or bag and always wear a lifejacket at sea.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Two Italian brothers rescued after they were knocked into the sea in the Aran Islands have returned to meet the coastguard crew who saved them.

In February 2019, Giovanni and Ricardo Zanon were struck by an unexpected wave at Poll na bPéist on Inis Mór, falling 20 metres off the cliff into the cold Atlantic.

Despite sustaining serious injury — Ricardo Zanon broke his tibia and pelvis in the fall — the brothers survived to tell the tale thanks to the swift actions of the crew of the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Rescue 115’s winchman Philip Wrenn won a prestigious award earlier this year for his role in the rescue.

The Zanon brothers and their parents returned to Inis Mór today (Wednesday 11 August) for the first time since the incident to give thanks to Wrenn and the rest of the crew.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ricardo said of that fateful day: “I just remember a big, huge wave like a grey wall coming towards me and then it was completely dark and I thought I was going to die.”

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

Clusters of Covid-19 have resulted in medical evacuation of two young people from the largest Aran island of Inis Mór at the weekend.

As The Times Ireland edition reports, the HSE has confirmed an “increase in Covid infection activity” on Inis Mór.

The two medical evacuations took place in separate airlifts to University Hospital Galway. It is understood that both patients are in their early twenties.

The hospitality sector has been identified as the source of a number of clusters of Covid-19 on the island over the past fortnight, although the HSE said it could not comment on individual cases or outbreaks.

It is believed that the outbreaks occurred when the island’s vaccination programme was almost complete. A minority of cases were among fully vaccinated people, while several were among people who had received only their first dose of a vaccine.

The two smaller islands of Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr have remained clear of any similar outbreak to date.

The HSE told The Times that its public health and community healthcare west sections had been “liaising with businesses and health professionals” on Inis Mór to ensure “testing and tracing are being carried out promptly”.

HSE personnel have conducted Covid-19 PCR swab tests on Inis Mór on a number of days over the past week.

Inis Mór and Mayo’s Achill island have been booked as locations during the months of August and September for filming The Banshees of Inisherin, starring Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell. The film is based on an unpublished play written by Martin McDonagh, as part of his Aran Islands trilogy.

Heather Humphreys, the rural development minister, cancelled a scheduled trip to Inis Mór last Friday, but visited Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr to approve a series of new projects as part of the government’s “Our Rural Future” programme.

Two weeks ago the HSE West director of public health, Dr Breda Smyth, warned of a “dramatic increase” in cases across the western region in a five-day period, with figures doubling in Co Mayo and tripling in Co Galway.

Read The Times here

Published in Island News
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The symbiotic relationship between the Aran Islands and the centuries-old fishing currach is explored in a new installation at the country’s westernmost arts centre, Áras Éanna on Inis Oírr.

The commissioned artists include John Behan RHA, one of Ireland’s most acclaimed sculptors. Behan is no stranger to the exhibition’s theme, having previously created a seven metre-long bronze ship, titled ‘Arrival’, for the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Sadia Shoaib, a Pakistani artist and asylum seeker, has also contributed to the outdoor exhibition, Curacha, which marks 21 years of Áras Éanna.

The work of Kathleen FureyThe work of Kathleen Furey Photo: Cormac Coyne

Shoaib researched the Aran Islands for her piece, and says she was inspired by the traditional woven stitch of the islands and its butterflies for her "Mandala style" depiction of a spiritual journey through layers.

Connemara artist Kathleen Furey depicted a Harry Clarke stained glass window painting of St Gobnait from the Honan Chapel in Co Cork on her currach, which is on view at Inis Oírr church.

Dara McGee, the centre’s artistic director since 2017, commissioned 21 six-foot currachs as canvases for 22 artists in total as part of the anniversary project.

“We had to do something outdoors for the 21st anniversary because of Covid-19,” McGee explained.

“Currachs are made of timber and canvas covered in tar, and canvas is one of the materials that has been used by artists for painting on,” he said.

The fleet of traditional craft were built by Tom Meskell, Eugene Finnegan, and Carmel Balfe McGee,

McGee, who is himself an artist, set designer and painter, said the participants were given “free rein”, and each currach “reflects the artist’s own personality and style”.

Pat Quinn's work for the Curracha exhibition Photo: Colm CoynePat Quinn's work for the Curracha exhibition Photo: Cormac Coyne

He paid tribute to the artists that he contacted from “Donegal to Kerry” for their enthusiasm.

The completed installations form an outdoor art trail on the island to comply with Covid-19 guidelines, while seven of them are displayed in Áras Éanna. The exhibition will continue until September.

Once a weaving factory, the building housing Áras Éanna lay derelict for some time before Mick Mulcahy, an artist, spent time there in the 1990s.

The state helped to finance the refurbishment of the centre, owned by Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Gaeltacht development agency.

Read The Times here

Published in Historic Boats
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Aran Islands RNLI's volunteer crew came to the aid of a cyclist who fell off his bike today (Monday 19 July).

The crew were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat at 12.19 pm. A male visitor to the island for the day required further medical attention after falling off his bicycle.

The patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat by both the local fire service and the lifeboat crew at the pontoon at Kilronan Harbour.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew and headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Conditions at the time of launching were good, with calm seas, a light southwest breeze and clear visibility.

Speaking after the call out, Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O'Donnell said: 'The crew responded without delay, and we got the patient on his way to the care needed. We would like to wish him a speedy recovery.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Galway Bay Sailing Club is expecting 50 boats or more to participate in the club's August's Lambs Week event that features sailing around the Aran Islands with stopovers in Rossaveal, Kilronan and Roundstone.

The event runs from August 19th to 23rd.

A group of Galway Bay volunteers are working on mooring blocks, berthing arrangements, racing handicaps and schedules, food and refreshments, safety, and fashion (polo shirts!).

More here

Published in Galway Harbour
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The volunteer crew at Aran Islands RNLI were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat just after 8pm yesterday (Sunday 4 July) to a woman in need of medical attention on Inis Mór, the largest of the Galway Bay island chain.

With the patient safely transferred aboard the lifeboat by the crew following COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the lifeboat — under coxswain Tommy Dirrane with a full crew — headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Weather conditions at the time of launching were good with calm seas and a light westerly breeze blowing, with fair visibility.

Speaking after the callout, Dirrane said: “There was a great response time from the crew which ensured we could promptly get the patient on her way to the medical attention she needed. We would like to wish the patient a speedy recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer crew on Inis Mór were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat just before noon yesterday (Tuesday 8 June) by the Irish Coast Guard for a medevac.

A woman on the neighbouring island of Inis Oírr was in need of medical attention, and due to fog she was unable to leave by a scheduled flight.

The lifeboat launched under coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew amid good weather conditions with calm seas, a light southerly wind and fair visibility.

Once at the pier in Inis Oírr, the patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat under the supervision of the volunteer crew, following COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. The lifeboat then headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Speaking after the callout, O’Donnell said: “The crew responded without delay and we got the patient on her way to the care she needed as quickly as possible. We would like to wish the patient all the best.

“As we head into the summer months, please heed all safety advice for leisure activities on the water. Never swim alone, always let someone know when you are due back ashore if going to sea. Always bring a mobile phone to contact someone and always wear a lifejacket.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under
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Ireland's offshore islands

Around 30 of Ireland's offshore islands are inhabited and hold a wealth of cultural heritage.

A central Government objective is to ensure that sustainable vibrant communities continue to live on the islands.

Irish offshore islands FAQs

Technically, it is Ireland itself, as the third largest island in Europe.

Ireland is surrounded by approximately 80 islands of significant size, of which only about 20 are inhabited.

Achill island is the largest of the Irish isles with a coastline of almost 80 miles and has a population of 2,569.

The smallest inhabited offshore island is Inishfree, off Donegal.

The total voting population in the Republic's inhabited islands is just over 2,600 people, according to the Department of Housing.

Starting with west Cork, and giving voting register numbers as of 2020, here you go - Bere island (177), Cape Clear island (131),Dursey island (6), Hare island (29), Whiddy island (26), Long island, Schull (16), Sherkin island (95). The Galway islands are Inis Mór (675), Inis Meáin (148), Inis Oírr (210), Inishbofin (183). The Donegal islands are Arranmore (513), Gola (30), Inishboffin (63), Inishfree (4), Tory (140). The Mayo islands, apart from Achill which is connected by a bridge, are Clare island (116), Inishbiggle (25) and Inishturk (52).

No, the Gaeltacht islands are the Donegal islands, three of the four Galway islands (Inishbofin, like Clifden, is English-speaking primarily), and Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire in west Cork.

Lack of a pier was one of the main factors in the evacuation of a number of islands, the best known being the Blasket islands off Kerry, which were evacuated in November 1953. There are now three cottages available to rent on the Great Blasket island.

In the early 20th century, scholars visited the Great Blasket to learn Irish and to collect folklore and they encouraged the islanders to record their life stories in their native tongue. The three best known island books are An tOileánach (The Islandman) by Tomás Ó Criomhthain, Peig by Peig Sayers, and Fiche Blian ag Fás (Twenty Years A-Growing) by Muiris Ó Súilleabháin. Former taoiseach Charles J Haughey also kept a residence on his island, Inishvickillaune, which is one of the smaller and less accessible Blasket islands.

Charles J Haughey, as above, or late Beatle musician, John Lennon. Lennon bought Dorinish island in Clew Bay, south Mayo, in 1967 for a reported £1,700 sterling. Vendor was Westport Harbour Board which had used it for marine pilots. Lennon reportedly planned to spend his retirement there, and The Guardian newspaper quoted local estate agent Andrew Crowley as saying he was "besotted with the place by all accounts". He did lodge a planning application for a house, but never built on the 19 acres. He offered it to Sid Rawle, founder of the Digger Action Movement and known as the "King of the Hippies". Rawle and 30 others lived there until 1972 when their tents were burned by an oil lamp. Lennon and Yoko Ono visited it once more before his death in 1980. Ono sold the island for £30,000 in 1984, and it is widely reported that she donated the proceeds of the sale to an Irish orphanage

 

Yes, Rathlin island, off Co Antrim's Causeway Coast, is Ireland's most northerly inhabited island. As a special area of conservation, it is home to tens of thousands of sea birds, including puffins, kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots. It is known for its Rathlin golden hare. It is almost famous for the fact that Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, retreated after being defeated by the English at Perth and hid in a sea cave where he was so inspired by a spider's tenacity that he returned to defeat his enemy.

No. The Aran islands have a regular ferry and plane service, with ferries from Ros-a-Mhíl, south Connemara all year round and from Doolin, Co Clare in the tourist season. The plane service flies from Indreabhán to all three islands. Inishbofin is connected by ferry from Cleggan, Co Galway, while Clare island and Inishturk are connected from Roonagh pier, outside Louisburgh. The Donegal islands of Arranmore and Tory island also have ferry services, as has Bere island, Cape Clear and Sherkin off Cork. How are the island transport services financed? The Government subsidises transport services to and from the islands. The Irish Coast Guard carries out medical evacuations, as to the RNLI lifeboats. Former Fianna Fáíl minister Éamon Ó Cuív is widely credited with improving transport services to and from offshore islands, earning his department the nickname "Craggy island".

Craggy Island is an bleak, isolated community located of the west coast, inhabited by Irish, a Chinese community and one Maori. Three priests and housekeeper Mrs Doyle live in a parochial house There is a pub, a very small golf course, a McDonald's fast food restaurant and a Chinatown... Actually, that is all fiction. Craggy island is a figment of the imagination of the Father Ted series writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, for the highly successful Channel 4 television series, and the Georgian style parochial house on the "island" is actually Glenquin House in Co Clare.

Yes, that is of the Plassey, a freighter which was washed up on Inis Oírr in bad weather in 1960.

There are some small privately owned islands,and islands like Inishlyre in Co Mayo with only a small number of residents providing their own transport. Several Connemara islands such as Turbot and Inishturk South have a growing summer population, with some residents extending their stay during Covid-19. Turbot island off Eyrephort is one such example – the island, which was first spotted by Alcock and Brown as they approached Ireland during their epic transatlantic flight in 1919, was evacuated in 1978, four years after three of its fishermen drowned on the way home from watching an All Ireland final in Clifden. However, it is slowly being repopulated

Responsibility for the islands was taking over by the Department of Rural and Community Development . It was previously with the Gaeltacht section in the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht.

It is a periodic bone of contention, as Ireland does not have the same approach to its islands as Norway, which believes in right of access. However, many improvements were made during Fianna Fáíl Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív's time as minister. The Irish Island Federation, Comdháil Oileáin na hÉireann, represents island issues at national and international level.

The 12 offshore islands with registered voters have long argued that having to cast their vote early puts them at a disadvantage – especially as improved transport links mean that ballot boxes can be transported to the mainland in most weather conditions, bar the winter months. Legislation allowing them to vote on the same day as the rest of the State wasn't passed in time for the February 2020 general election.

Yes, but check tide tables ! Omey island off north Connemara is accessible at low tide and also runs a summer race meeting on the strand. In Sligo, 14 pillars mark the way to Coney island – one of several islands bearing this name off the Irish coast.

Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire is the country's most southerly inhabited island, eight miles off the west Cork coast, and within sight of the Fastnet Rock lighthouse, also known as the "teardrop of Ireland".
Skellig Michael off the Kerry coast, which has a monastic site dating from the 6th century. It is accessible by boat – prebooking essential – from Portmagee, Co Kerry. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was not open to visitors in 2020.
All islands have bird life, but puffins and gannets and kittiwakes are synonymous with Skellig Michael and Little Skellig. Rathlin island off Antrim and Cape Clear off west Cork have bird observatories. The Saltee islands off the Wexford coast are privately owned by the O'Neill family, but day visitors are permitted access to the Great Saltee during certain hours. The Saltees have gannets, gulls, puffins and Manx shearwaters.
Vikings used Dublin as a European slaving capital, and one of their bases was on Dalkey island, which can be viewed from Killiney's Vico road. Boat trips available from Coliemore harbour in Dalkey. Birdwatch Ireland has set up nestboxes here for roseate terns. Keep an eye out also for feral goats.
Plenty! There are regular boat trips in summer to Inchagoill island on Lough Corrib, while the best known Irish inshore island might be the lake isle of Innisfree on Sligo's Lough Gill, immortalised by WB Yeats in his poem of the same name. Roscommon's Lough Key has several islands, the most prominent being the privately-owned Castle Island. Trinity island is more accessible to the public - it was once occupied by Cistercian monks from Boyle Abbey.

©Afloat 2020

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