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On Saturday, 28 January, Valentia Marine Rescue Sub Centre activated the pagers of Crosshaven RNLI Lifeboat volunteers in Cork Harbour to assist with a medical evacuation.

A fisherman became ill on board the Portuguese crewed 12M fishing vessel and required immediate evacuation to hospital.

The pagers were activated at 10.22 pm, and the lifeboat with James Fegan in command and with the crew, Susanne Deane, Jon Bermingham and Alan Venner were quickly underway to intercept the casualty vessel as it headed for Cork Harbour.

In slight seas, the lifeboat achieved 28 knots towards the vessel and met with the boat about 4 miles south of Roches Point.

James Fegan transferred command of the lifeboat to Alan Venner before going onboard the fishing vessel to assess the casualty and moving him to the lifeboat for a speedy return to Crosshaven. The lifeboat arrived back in Crosshaven at 11.30 pm and was met by the National Ambulance Service, who conveyed the patient to Cork University Hospital.

As the crew were Portuguese speakers with little English, the Valentia MRSC controller interpreted via radio relay with the lifeboat crew. Fortunately, the RNLI also had a Portuguese-speaking crewman, Jeff Lacerda, at Crosshaven, who could interpret for the Paramedics when the casualty was handed over to NAS.

The RNLI shore crew were Dave Venner, Ian Venner, Conor Barry, Jeff Lacerda and DLA Hugh Tully.

Commenting on the service, James Fegan said the evacuation went like clockwork, in no small measure due to the Valentia MRSC controller and Jeff Lacerda being able to communicate with the casualty vessel and casualty.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Sunday afternoon (15 January) Crosshaven RNLI volunteers were requested to launch and assist the National Ambulance Service and Cobh Fire Brigade to extract a casualty at Cobh.

It emerged that a young man had fallen on cliffs east of the pilot station at Cobh in Cork Harbour and suffered a serious leg injury.

NAS paramedics and fire service personnel were able to access and treat the casualty, but were unable to extract the patient.

Shortly after pagers sounded at 3.35pm, the inshore lifeboat was beached at the cliff base and its volunteers took on board the stretchered patient along with two paramedics for continuation of care.

They were subsequently transferred to Kennedy Quay, where the fire service assisted in extracting the casualty to the awaiting ambulance.

Commenting later, Crosshaven RNLU hailed the “good inter-agency cooperation by NAS, fire service and the pilot launch.”

The lifeboat crew on this callout were Ian Venner, Alan Venner, James Fegan and Caoimhe Foster. Launch crew were Kline Penefather, Conor Barry, Jeff Lacerda, Jennifer Grey, Jonny Bermingham and Kevin McCarthy.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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It’s a family affair across RNLI lifeboat crews on call in Cork and Kerry for the Christmas holiday period.

In Crosshaven and Ballycotton respectively, a father and daughter and a husband and wife are among the RNLI families in Cork who will be on call together for the first time this Christmas.

As the charity launches its Christmas appeal, asking for help to continue its lifesaving work at sea, Crosshaven RNLI’s Holly Fegan and Ballycotton RNLI’s married couple Brian and Ann Daly will be among the new lifeboat crew preparing to drop their festive plans this year and go to the aid of someone in need over the Christmas period.

Nineteen-year-old Holly Fegan joined the crew at Crosshaven RNLI three months ago. Her father James has been on the crew for 18 years while her cousin Molly is also a crew member, and her uncle and godfather Patsy Fegan is the lifeboat operations manager.

The family ties don’t end there as her aunt Tina Bushe was the first female helm at Crosshaven while supporting the work of the station’s fundraising branch are her aunt Annamarie Fegan and before her, Holly’s late grandmother Marie Fegan.

“Since I was a child, I have been going to the lifeboat station with my dad or helping out at open days with my grandmother,” Holly says. “I have always loved the atmosphere and the way everybody helps each other, and it is a small community in Crosshaven and I like giving back. As well as my own family connections, it is really an extended family at Crosshaven RNLI.”

Meanwhile, in Co Kerry, 18-year-old social science student Eimer McMorrow Moriarty will be one of four family members on call for Fenit RNLI throughout the festive period.

From left, Fenit RNLI family members John Moriarty, Eimer McMorrow Moriarty, Kevin Moriarty and Billy Moriarty | Credit: James McCarthy/Digimack Photography FenitFrom left, Fenit RNLI family members John Moriarty, Eimer McMorrow Moriarty, Kevin Moriarty and Billy Moriarty | Credit: James McCarthy/Digimack Photography Fenit

Eimer joined the lifeboat crew last year and received her pager in October 2021. Her father Kevin and uncle John are both coxswains at the station while her uncle Billy is also on the crew. Her great grandfather on her mother’s side of the family, Tony Browne, was also on the crew in the past. Not only is she third generation, but she is also the first woman in her family to become a crew member.

“I joined as soon as I was eligible at 17,” Eimer says. “My father has been on the crew for more than 25 years so ever since I was little, growing up as children, my younger sister and I would play lifeboat games and shout ‘lifeboat callout’ when Dad’s pager would go off.

“Along with my dad, I have my own watersport hobbies so joining was also a personal decision as I know it works both ways. On the lifeboat I can contribute to helping someone in need and when on the water myself, I know if I do get into trouble, the lifeboat will come to me.”

A third motivation for Eimer has been a fellow female crew member: “Denise Lynch has been another inspiration for me on the lifeboat. Denise is an incredibly knowledgeable woman who became the first female volunteer coxswain in Ireland back in 2020 which is such a fantastic achievement. I hope that I can follow in her footsteps and become a coxswain one day too and I am very grateful that I have talented people to learn from.“”

A keen windsurfer and sailor, Eimer has been on three callouts since becoming a crew member. “My first callout was quite a serious one as the casualty had fallen off the marina steps and we were unsure of her injuries initially.

“Thankfully, while in shock and showing signs of hypothermia, she was otherwise okay, but I remember as a callout, the experience was intense. There is an adrenalin rush when the pager goes off and when you are trying to get to the station and into your gear as quickly as you can. You always try to prepare for the worst and for the potential that you could be responding to a life and death situation.”

Last Christmas was Eimer’s first Christmas on call and on Christmas Day, she was part of the lifeboat crew who provided safety cover with various other agencies for the annual swim. “It was really satisfying to see how things on Christmas Day remain the same, all the emergency services are all still on call, the pager isn’t turned off and everyone is ready.”

File image of Fenit RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/FenitFile image of Fenit RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Fenit

Eimer says this Christmas will be no different for the Fenit and Valentia lifeboat crews: “Even at Christmas, our lifesavers are ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice and rush to the aid of someone in trouble on the water. At this time of year, the weather is at its worst and lives are on the line. We know that every time our crews go out they hope for a good outcome, but sadly this sometimes isn’t the case.

“There’s no feeling quite like bringing someone home safe to their families – especially at Christmas. As lifeboat crew we couldn’t rescue people without kind donations from the public which fund the kit, training and equipment we need to save others and get home safely to our families.“”

Like hundreds of volunteers around Ireland, Holly and Emer have signed up to save every one from drowning — it has been the charity’s mission since 1824. Indeed, this Christmas many will leave their loved ones behind to answer the call, each time hoping to reunite another family, and see those in trouble at sea safely returned.

During the festive period from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day over the last five years from 2017-2021, RNLI lifeboats in the Irish region launched 55 times and brought 43 people to safety.

Last year, across the RNLI, lifeboats launched 1,078 times, with volunteer crews bringing 1,485 people to safety, 21 of whom were lives saved. Lifeboats at Youghal, Ballycotton, Crosshaven and Kinsale launched 97 times bringing 137 people to safety. In Kerry, lifeboats at Fenit and Valentia launched 38 times bringing 35 people to safety.

But these rescues would not be possible without donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training and equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round.

To make a donation, visit the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal website.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Crosshaven Coastguard has installed a new drive-up pontoon for its RIB rescue boat in Cork Harbour

The floating pontoon, that has been installed at the Royal Cork Yacht Club marina gives the local Coastguard unit a much safer and quicker response time.

The Coastguard says on social media that the pontoon will save launch time and the dangers of crossing a busy main road because 'the boat is already on the water but not in the water!" 

Crosshaven Coastguard's new new drive-up pontoon berth for its rescue RIBCrosshaven Coastguard's new new drive-up pontoon berth for its rescue RIB Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Coastguard
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The Irish Coast Guard has shared video of a drone-assisted rescue in Cork Harbour which it says illustrates the increasing importance of new technology in emergency responses.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Crosshaven RNLI rescued a woman who was cut off by the tide at White Bay on Tuesday evening (11 October).

The lifeboat crew were able to quickly reach the casualty as they were guided by the drone launched by Guillen Coast Guard Unit, the IRCG says.

Lights on the drone were also used to illuminate the area as the volunteers recovered the casualty, Guillen Coast Guard adds.

The IRCG says this was one of two rescues in recent days — the other in Clogherhead, Co Louth — where unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) “successfully and quickly located casualties in dangerous and inaccessible locations requiring extraction by either boat or helicopter”.

Published in Coastguard

Crosshaven RNLI Lifeboat Pagers were activated at 6.25 pm on Tuesday evening (11 October) to attend to a person cut off by the tide at White Bay, Cork Harbour.

The high tide was fast approaching and the casualty was soaked by the incoming waves.

The lifeboat under the command of Alan Venner, with Claire Morgan, Jonny Bermingham and James Fegan arrived on scene shortly before dusk.

In what was a challenging rescue, the crew had to anchor the lifeboat and veer down into a rock-strewn gulley whilst being buffeted by 3 to 4-foot waves.

Jonny Bermingham, and Alan Venner went ashore to help the very cold patient onto the lifeboat. As the casualty was showing signs of hypothermia, an ambulance met the lifeboat at the station and the casualty was handed into the care of the National Ambulance Service.

Guileen Coast Guard unit was also tasked and provided much-needed illumination of the area from the cliff tops. Lifeboat Doctor, Dr John Murphy also attended the casualty at the station.

Shore Crew: Jon Meany, Jakub Bednarsky, Aisling Ryan, Jen Grey and Hugh Tully DLA.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Lifeboat Lunch, a fundraising event which will see proceeds raised go to Crosshaven RNLI in Cork Harbour, will take place next month as the station prepares to mark 22 years of saving lives at sea.

Tickets for the lunch which will take place in the Carrigaline Court Hotel at 12 noon on Friday 11 November and will include a three-course meal, are now on sale, priced €85.

KC from Cork’s 96FM will MC the lunch and music will be provided by the Loungeman.

Speaking ahead of the event, Annamarie Fagan, Crosshaven RNLI Fundraising Chairperson, said: ‘Crosshaven RNLI celebrated its 20th anniversary during the pandemic but unfortunately, due to restrictions at the time, we couldn’t mark the occasion. Now two years on and in 2022 as we mark 22 years of saving lives at sea, we are delighted through this lunch that we are finally able to celebrate a wonderful lifesaving milestone while raising much-needed funds.

‘Last year, Crosshaven RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat 32 times with our volunteer crew bringing 54 people to safety. That is a great achievement for the station team, who selflessly dedicate so much time to training and responding to call-outs. Proceeds raised from the sale of tickets and the raffle for the lunch will ensure the crew are provided with the best of kit and equipment so they can continue to save lives at sea.’

Tickets for the event sponsored by Astra Construction can be booked through Eventbrite by clicking thelifeboatlunchcrosshaven.eventbrite or by emailing [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Valentia Coast Guard activated the pagers at 9.28 pm on Saturday, 17 Sept, requesting the Crosshaven RNLI crew in Cork Harbour to attend to a disabled 22’ powerboat with two adults and two children on board in Lough Mahon close to the R8 buoy.

The vessel had anchored clear of the shipping channel and requested assistance from the Coast Guard.

The volunteer crew of Ian Venner, Norman Jackson, Jonny Bermingham and David Venner were underway by 9.40 pm and arrived at the casualty vessel at 10.15 pm.

A tow was established and the casualty vessel was safely berthed at Monkstown Marina before the lifeboat returned to Crosshaven to be washed down, refuelled and declared ready for service once more at 12.15 am.

Helm, Ian Venner commented, "whilst conditions were calm, the night temperature was very cold on the water, and it was important to get the occupants ashore as quickly as possible.”

Shore Crew were Kevin McCarthy and Patsy Fegan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Two back-to-back shouts on Thursday evening (4 August) for the volunteers of Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat in Cork Harbour.

The first tasking came at 4.15 pm and the crew launched to a report of a ‘raft” with persons onboard drifting between Spike Island and the Whitegate oil refinery.

The crew of Warren Forbes, Norman Jackson, Claire Morgan and Derek Moynan made best speed to the area before conducting a sector search of the area. After a period searching with nothing found, the Coast Guard stood down the lifeboat to return to station. The call was deemed a false alarm with good intent.

30 minutes after putting the lifeboat “to bed”, Valentia Coast Guard once again activated the pagers at 6.20pm to proceed to an angling boat with 4 adults and 2 children on board in the Graball Bay area of The Sound.

The track of  the busy Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat in Cork HarbourThe track of the busy Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat in Cork Harbour

An adult male on the vessel was having a medical episode. The lifeboat crew of Alan Venner, Jonny Bermingham and Claire Morgan were soon alongside. Claire transferred to the casualty vessel and administered casualty care whilst both vessels proceeded to Crosshaven where the casualty was handed into the care of the National Ambulance Service.

Shore crew on these taskings were, Hugh Mockler, Aidan O’Connor, Warren Forbes, Jon Meany, Jonny Bermingham and Michael McCann (DLA).

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Shortly after launching on exercise this evening, Valentia Coast Guard tasked the volunteer RNLI crew at 7.15 pm to proceed to Ringabella Bay, where two people who had been cut off by the tide attempted to swim across the bay to Fountainstown and one of the casualties found themselves in difficulty.

Local kayakers raised the alarm by VHF with the Coast Guard who tasked the Crosshaven lifeboat to attend.

Meanwhile, the rescue rib from a local Adventure Centre overheard the VHF transmissions, responded immediately and took the casualty from the water.

On scene, the Lifeboat crew talked to the casualty and confirmed that she was medically fit and required no further assistance, before the Rescue rib dropped the casualty back to Fountainstown beach. The second
the casualty had made their own way ashore.

The lifeboat crew were stood down and continued with their exercise.

Helm, James Fegan commented, “Members of the public need to be aware of the times of high and low water before crossing sandbanks and if they do get cut off by the tide to dial 999/112 and ask for the Coast Guard.
Stay High, Stay Dry and Stay Put until the rescue services attend” James also offered his thanks to the crew of Funkytown for responding so rapidly to what could have been a serious incident.

Crosshaven Coast Guard unit was also tasked.

Crew: James Fegan, Warren Forbes, Jonny Bermingham and Norman Jackson. Shore Crew; Suzanne Deane, Wojtec Solinsky and DLA Micheal McCann.

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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