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Baltimore RNLI was called out to provide a medical evacuation late last night (Sunday 18 October) from Sherkin Island off the coast of Baltimore, West Cork. 

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 11.39 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide medical assistance and evacuation to a female who had sustained an injury to her arm. 

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew along with two HSE paramedics arrived at Sherkin Island pier at 11.47 pm.  The voluntary lifeboat crew brought the casualty onboard the lifeboat.  After an initial assessment was carried out by the HSE paramedics, a lifeboat crew member assisted in the administration of casualty care and the casualty was able to return home.  The lifeboat then departed Sherkin at 00.07 am and arrived to the station in Baltimore at 00.18 am. 

There were five volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Kieran Cotter, Mechanic Micheal Cottrell and crew members Ronnie Carthy, Sean McCarthy and David Ryan, along with two paramedics from the HSE.  Conditions in the harbour during the call out were calm with a south-easterly force 5 wind, which created heavy runs at Sherkin pier.

Published in Island News

A memorial to commemorate those lost to the sea is finally in sight for a coastal village in West Cork. For the past twelve months, Baltimore Rath & the Islands Community Council has been liaising with Cork County Council and the community of Baltimore and has now successfully acquired planning permission to erect the memorial within the village.

The memorial, “Croí na Mara” (the Heart of the Sea), a sculpture of copper, bronze and stainless steel, is a collaborative work between the Community Council and two local artists, Helen Walsh and Paddy McCormack. The artist’s sketch shows that the structure made up of two waves (measuring 3m H x 2m L x 3m W) aims to reflect and capture the power and energy of the sea. Further detail shows the parting sea forming two copper and bronze perforated waves rising from the ground into the shape of a heart. Copper rings of varying sizes, representing the souls lost to the sea, are drawn up through the heartstrings and released into the air.

The structure will be located adjacent to the Harbour Building overlooking Baltimore pier and harbour. The aim is to make the memorial area as inclusive as possible for people of all abilities to come and take the opportunity to reflect, contemplate, and remember friends and loved ones by looking at and through the heart-shaped space between the waves, to the water in the harbour and beyond.

The Community Council are currently fundraising to reach a target of €35,000 to see the project completed. This has been a difficult year for everyone, but the community council would be very grateful to those who would consider donating to this community project, which is a thoughtful opportunity to appropriately commemorate those that have been lost to the sea.

Published in Coastal Notes
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Baltimore RNLI was called out to provide a medical evacuation early yesterday afternoon (Monday, 21 September) from Sherkin Island off the coast of Baltimore, West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 2.07 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide a medical evacuation (Medivac) to an injured female.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat arrived at Sherkin Island at 2.20 pm. The lifeboat crew brought the casualty onboard the lifeboat and they departed the island at 2.30 pm. The lifeboat arrived back to Baltimore Lifeboat Station at 2.45 pm where the casualty was handed over to the care of the HSE ambulance crew.

There were five crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Kieran Cotter, Mechanic Cathal Cottrell and crew members Sean McCarthy, Aidan Bushe and Emma Lupton.

Conditions within the harbour at the time were calm with a westerly force 4 wind and no sea swell.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘This is the third Medivac for Baltimore within a 48 hour period. Previously there were two Medivacs to Cape Clear Island, the first on Saturday evening and the second on Sunday morning. If you find yourself in need of medical assistance whilst on an island, call 999 or 112.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Baltimore RNLI was called out twice in 14 hours to provide two separate medical evacuations from Cape Clear Island off the coast of Baltimore, West Cork.

The first call out happened yesterday evening (Saturday 19 September). The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 6.49 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide a medical evacuation (Medivac) to an islander from Cape Clear.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at Cape Clear Island at 7.10 pm. After an initial assessment, the voluntary lifeboat crew brought the casualty onboard the lifeboat and they departed the island at 7.14 pm. The lifeboat arrived back to Baltimore Lifeboat Station at 7.42 pm where the casualty was handed over to the care of the HSE ambulance crew.

There were six volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Kieran Cotter, Mechanic Sean McCarthy and crew members Jerry Smith, Aidan Bushe, David Ryan and Jim Griffiths.

The second call-out came earlier this morning (Sunday 20 September) when at the request of the Irish Coast Guard the volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 8.24 am, to provide another Medivac to an islander from Cape Clear.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at the island at 8.47 am and transported the casualty back to Baltimore, departing Cape Clear at 8.57 am and arriving back at the Lifeboat Station at 9.26 am. The casualty was handed over to the care of the HSE ambulance crew.

On this morning’s call out were five volunteer crew, Coxswain Kieran Cotter, Mechanic Sean McCarthy and crew members Micheal Cottrell, David Ryan and Don O’Donovan. Conditions at sea during both call-outs were calm with a northeasterly wind and no sea swell.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Storm Francis hit the West Cork Harbour of Baltimore today with the town's RNLI lifeboat called out to nearby Crookhaven Bay to two yachts in difficulty on moorings as Afloat reported here this morning.

Pleasure craft in Baltimore Harbour itself were also in difficulty in the storm-force winds.

Last week Storm Ellen felled trees and flooded towns, with Cork receiving the worst battering, and now the arrival of Storm Francis has caused even more damage in some of the worst-hit places.

A RIB broke its mooring in Baltimore. this afternoon but was towed safely back out to sea after some quick thinking seamanship as seen in this reader vid below.

Unfortunately, a classic yacht also broke its moorings in the West Cork marine leisure centre and has been damaged according to eyewitness accounts. See the reader vid below.

Published in News Update
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Baltimore RNLI’s volunteer crew launched to the aid of two yachts in difficulty in Crookhaven Harbour as Storm Francis passed over West Cork this morning (Tuesday 25 August).

The two vessels, one with four on board and the other with two, were dragging their moorings in the strong Force 9 winds, gusting up to Force 11, and rough sea conditions with a five-metre swell.

RNLI volunteers at the scene launched the smaller Y-boat from the all-weather lifeboat to get close enough to secure extra lines from the yachts to nearby moorings, and helped stead one of the yachts by dropping and extra anchor upwind.

Lifeboat crew member Micheal Cottrell said: “The skippers did the right thing in looking for assistance as soon as they knew their moorings weren’t holding, especially considering the storm hadn’t reached its full force at the time.”

A Status Yellow gale warning remains in place with Met Éireann forecasting cyclonic variable winds to reach gale or strong gale this afternoon, on Irish coastal waters from Carlingford Lough to Valentia to Belfast Lough and on the Irish Sea south of the Isle of Man.

The meteorological service also issued a Small Craft Warning as southeasterly winds were expected reach Force 6 or 7 for a time early this afternoon on coasts from Belfast Lough to Carlingford Lough, and on the Irish Sea north of the Isle of Man.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Baltimore RNLI was launched this afternoon following the activation of an alarm from a positioning beacon off the coast of West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 4.04 pm following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to help locate an active Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon (EPIRB) two nautical miles west of the Calf Islands off the coast of West Cork.

Baltimore lifeboat proceeded to the area and started to search under the direction of the Irish Coast Guard and the Irish naval vessel the LÉ Samuel Beckett. Also assisting in the search were Schull Coast Guard and an Irish Coast Guard helicopter. After an extensive search was carried out by all agencies the search was stood down at 6.43 pm and Baltimore lifeboat made its way back to the station arriving at 7.05 pm.

There were four volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Helm Pat O’Driscoll and crew members Eoin O’Driscoll, David Ryan and Kieran O’Driscoll. Assisting at the boathouse were Jerry Smith and Marty O’Driscoll. Conditions at sea during the call were calm with a south-easterly force 2-3 wind and 0.5m sea swell.

Speaking following the call out, Pat O’Driscoll, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Helm said: ‘Thankfully the activation of the alarm today was not due to the loss of a vessel. It is important to ensure the secure fastening of an EPIRB on board a vessel and to regularly check that it is in good working order. With storm Ellen approaching, bringing strong winds and potential coastal flooding in combination with spring tides, the RNLI is urging people to exercise extreme caution. If you think someone is in difficulty at sea or along the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Baltimore RNLI was called out earlier this morning (Saturday, 15 August) to provide assistance to a yacht in difficulty off Baltimore Harbour in West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 8.05 am, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to assist a 37-foot yacht, with three people on board, which had suffered engine failure just off Baltimore Harbour.

The Baltimore inshore lifeboat arrived at the casualty vessel at 8.12 am and voluntary lifeboat crew member Eoin O’Driscoll was put aboard to rig a tow. The inshore lifeboat towed the casualty vessel back to Baltimore Harbour and put them on a mooring off Sherkin Island. Once the casualty vessel was secured, the lifeboat returned to the station, arriving at 8.59 am.

There were four volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Helm Micheal Cottrell and crew members Pat O’Driscoll, Eoin O’Driscoll and Kieran O’Driscoll. Conditions at sea during the call were calm with an easterly force 1-2 wind and no sea swell.

Speaking following the callout, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: "The skipper of the yacht did the right thing in requesting assistance as he felt winds were too light to allow him to safely access the harbour. If you get into difficulty at sea or on the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard."

The previous day, Friday 14 August, Baltimore's lifeboat crew launched to their second medical evaculation of the week from Sherkin Island – bringing an islander to the mainland and the care of paramedics for further attention.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Baltimore RNLI was called out to provide a medical evacuation this afternoon from Sherkin Island off the coast of Baltimore, West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew, under Coxswain Kieran Cotter, launched their all-weather lifeboat at 3.06 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to provide medical assistance and evacuation to a woman who had sustained an injury following a fall.

The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at Sherkin Island pier at 3.15 pm and reached the casualty at the same time as a First Responder team who were also in the area. An initial assessment was carried out by one of the First Responders and then the voluntary lifeboat crew, assisted by the First Responder team, transferred the casualty onboard the lifeboat.

The lifeboat then returned to the station in Baltimore and the casualty was handed over to the care of HSE Ambulance crew at 4.30 pm.

Conditions at sea during the call out were calm with a south - south-westerly force 3-4 wind, no sea swell and good visibility.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘If you find yourself in a medical emergency whilst on an island call 999 or 112 and explain to the operator what the nature of the call is. The operator will then make sure that the call is directed to both the Coast Guard and the National Ambulance Service. We would like to thank the First Responders for assisting in this call and we wish the casualty a speedy recovery.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Baltimore RNLI was called out earlier this evening (Friday 7 August) to provide assistance to a motorboat in difficulty at Sherkin Island, off the coast of west Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 6.50 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to assist an 18ft motorboat, with four people on board, which had broken down in Horseshoe Harbour, Sherkin Island, off the coast of West Cork.

The Baltimore inshore lifeboat arrived at the casualty vessel at 6.54 pm. The owner of the motorboat had dropped an anchor and all occupants were wearing lifejackets. The lifeboat transferred volunteer crew member David Ryan on to the vessel. He established a tow and hauled the anchor, and the lifeboat commenced the tow for Baltimore at 6.59 pm. The lifeboat towed the casualty vessel to its own mooring in Baltimore Harbour and once it was secured the lifeboat returned to the station, arriving at 7.24 pm.

There were four volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Helm Micheal Cottrell and crew members Ryan O’Mahony, David Ryan and Eoin O’Driscoll. Assisting at the station were Jerry and Rianne Smith. Conditions at sea were calm with a westerly force 4 wind, a 0.5m sea swell and good visibility.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘Always remember when going to sea, to carry means of communication. If you get into difficulty at sea or on the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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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