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A new funding scheme to support novice anglers of all ages and backgrounds is now open for applications.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says the €120,000 ‘Angling for All’ fund will contribute between €2,000 and €5,000 for each qualifying project aimed at getting young and novice anglers involved in the sport and pastime.

Applications are invited from all angling clubs within the Republic of Ireland as well as angling representative bodies, local community groups and not-for-profits, and both existing and planned Angling For Youth Development Ireland (AFYDI) hubs.

“Angling is not just a sport; it can offer young people new experiences and opportunities,” says IFI’s Suzanne Campion. “It can also help develop a young person’s skills, self-confidence and motivation whilst promoting physical exercise and good health.”

The closing date is Tuesday 13 October and all applications must be submitted via the IFI website.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, IFI is also currently inviting submissions for its new Novice Angling Strategy, titled ‘Let’s Fish’, which is aimed at growing angling participation nationwide.

Published in Angling

Marine Michael Creed has today (Tuesday 19 May) announced details of a €3.1m package to assist 10 coastal local authorities in 58 development and repair projects on harbours and slipways owned by them.

The package provides funding for maintenance and repair works in addition to supporting the ongoing development and enhancement of harbour facilities including some marine leisure developments.

Minister Creed said: “I am delighted to announce the continuation of our programme to assist coastal local authorities in the repair and development of fishery and aquaculture-linked marine infrastructures under their ownership.”

The local authority programme forms part of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s 2020 Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme, whereby the department co-funds up to 75% of the total cost of approved projects, with the Local Authority providing the balance.

The minister said the harbours in receipt of this funding “are fundamental to the wellbeing of rural coastal communities and play an important social and economic role in their respective localities”.

He added: “The €3.1m I have made available in 2020 is testament to my commitment to assist in the ongoing economic and social development in our rural coastal communities. This enlarged scheme will provide a much needed economic boost to these communities, given the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on rural areas.

“The diverse range of projects approved for funding under the programme are geographically spread across 10 local authorities and will not only create local construction employment over the lifetime of the projects, but equally will further enhance the amenities provided to the wider marine community in these coastal areas.”

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine funded Local Authority works 2020

 

County Council

Location

Works

Grant Aid Approved

Clare

County Council

 

Carrigaholt Pier

Essential repairs and reconstruction of section of old pier wall.

37,500

 

 

Bournapeaka Pier (Ballyvaughan)

Underpin mid section of pier. Remove and replace cracked section of pier. Remove section of deck and replace tying into repaired section of quay. Remove and relay cut stone along pier edge.

51,750

 

Ballyvaughan Pier

Installation of flood gate and 3 no. flap valves. Provision of rock armour to protect pier wall.

48,750

 

Total Clare

138,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cork

County Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ballycotton Pier

Provide additional berthage at the deepest section of the pier. Fit 1 No. new navigation light at harbour entrance. Install new fenders at head of main pier.

22,500

 

Kinsale Harbour – Pier at Fisherman’s Pontoon

Re-grade and re-deck existing access to the fisherman's pontoon. Replace and install new gangway. Provide safety signage and necessary safety railings.

93,750

 

Youghal Harbour - Nealson Quay, Market Dock & Green Dock

Installation of new handrails, toe-rails, replace ladders, mooring rings, mooring bollards and storm weather gate. Upgrade existing steps and carry out remedial works to pier wall and re-deck slipway.

60,000

 

Keelbeg – Union Hall Pier – Safety Measures

Provide physical barrier to control access to pier. Line markings are required to designated works areas, walking area and storage areas. Provide CCTV system. Install toe rails along the edge of pier.

 

30,000

Utility Upgrade (water) at Keelbeg (Union Hall Pier), Kinsale Harbour, Baltimore Pier, Ballycotton Pier

Upgrade of water distribution system to include supply points on the side of the pier to improve facilities for users/fishermen.

38,250

Safety Measures & Improvement Works Bundle - Ilawn na gCoarach (Bere Island), Bea Lough Pier, Abbey Pier (Sherkin Island), East Pier (Heir Island),Middle Land (Long Island). Colla Pier & Abbey Pier (Sherkin Island)

Erect standard safety signage at Ilawn na gCoarach, Bea Lough Pier, Abbey Pier, East Pier & Middle Land. Replace damaged ladders, handrails, toerails, minor concrete repairs at Bea Lough Pier, Colla Pier & Abbey Pier.

26,250

Utility Upgrade Bundle (Water & Electricity) Schull Pier, Courtmacsherry & Middle Land (Long Island)

Schull - Upgrade of existing electric system and provide distribution system to include supply points on the pier. Courtmacsherry - Upgrade of existing water & electric system and provide distribution system to include supply points on the pier. Middle Land (Long Island) - Upgrade of existing water & electric system and provide distribution system to include supply points on the pier.

32,250

 

Monkstown Sand Quay

Provide concrete plinth adjacent to slipway. Install handrail. Provide vertical toe rail on both slips. Define access with Safety Chains/Bollards. Install new Ring Buoy. Install standardised H&S Signage.

7,500

 

Castletownsend

Install handrail to steps and toe-rail. Concrete repair to steps and defective areas of pier deck. Safety signage. Provide road lining at entrance to pier. Provide ring-buoy.

5,250

 

Drumlave (Adrigole)

Replace defective ladder and provide new additional ladder, toe rail, handrail and mooring rings. Concrete remedial work to steps. Safety signage.

5,250

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knockadoon Pier & Slip

New concrete deck on upper section of slipway. Provide section of vertical toe-rails on both sides of slipway. Provide a new section of handrail on raised concrete section at beach & breakwater. Replace 2 No. ladders at head of breakwater. New surface water drain with gulley adjacent to gabions. Safety signage.

13,500

 

Lough Hyne East

Erect handrail at steps. Concrete repair works to quay wall including deck repair at corner. Safety signage.

7,500

 

Warren’s Boathouse Pier

Upgrade steps and install handrails. New concrete deck to pier and slipway. Upgrade and replace timber ladders. Provide mooring rings, bollards and toe-rails. Safety signage.

52,500

 

Total Cork

394,500

Donegal County Council

Leenan Slipway

Construction of a new 8m wide slipway for taking up boats for safe storage in bad weather.

150,000

Greencastle Pier

Pile Repairs - Engage a diving contractor to reinforce the existing piles by welding steel plates of similar profile to them.

90,000

 

Malinbeg Slipway Winch

Replace the existing electric winch with an electro-hydraulic winch.

22,500

 

Ballyederlan Pier

Provide lighting, slipway decking, signage and safety railings.

18,000

Carrickarory

Provide vertical D fenders at the head of the pier as well as repair/replace ladders, repair the electrical installation (power outlet) and provide signage. Repair and rebuild the existing pier wall.

45,000

Port Inver (Aid to Navigation)

Provide a Port Hand buoy and navigation light as well as safety signage at the pier.

12,000

Nead na Gé

Re-deck the slipway, provide signage and provide public lighting.

22,500

Entrance to Kincasslagh (Aid to Navigation)

Provide a new Starboard beacon and navigation light as well as safety signage. Replace corroded ladders on Turk Rock, Leac na bhFear and Aileen Reef.

24,000

Cruit Lower

Repair the slipway, replace existing ladders, provide hand railing, signage and improve general safety.

22,500

Donegal Town (Aids to Navigation)

Replace 8 No. buoys with new lights to improve safety of navigation to the town pier.

18,000

Mullinasole

Provide new hybrid lighting at the head of the pier.

9,000

Total Donegal

433,500

Fingal

County Council

Balbriggan Harbour

Provision of services supply points (water and electricity) on Northern side of the harbour and associated connections.

67,500

Loughshinny Harbour

Reconditioning and re-strengthening of pavement and sea wall.

67,500

Loughshinny Harbour

Replacement and installation of new ladders, guardrails and associated ancillary works to the South Pier.

15,000

Rush Harbour

Lift and relay and re-secure a section of original stones to the slipway serving the northern section of Rush Harbour.

7,500

 

Total Fingal

157,500

Kerry County Council

Tarbert Pier

Further strengthening and underpinning to quay wall together with alignment of stone to face of wall. Precast panel placement and grouting of voids.

150,000

 

Glen Pier, Ballinskelligs

Structural repairs to pier - replace steps and filling of voids.

45,000

 

Ventry Pier

Construct concrete steps.

56,250

 

Total Kerry

251,250

 

 

Mayo County Council

 

Roonagh

 

Provision of new crane. Safety improvement works.

 

150,000

 

 

Killala

Construction of equipped hardstand area to facilitate boat repairs/ storage/ waste management. Maintenance cleaning of silt from berthage /docking area. Safety works to steps, railings etc.

150,000

 

Blacksod

Provision of new crane. Safety improvement works at Blacksod Pier.

112,500

 

Ballina Harbour

Further repairs to harbour deck and provision of safe access to harbour area. Improve, upgrade and replace Aids to Navigation on River Moy approach channel.

112,500

 

Total Mayo

525,000

Sligo County Council

Easkey Pier

Major repairs to structure including repairs to deck at head of pier; repairs to spalling at rear of pier; repair spalling and scouring to pier adjacent to slipway; and spalling to top of pier wall.

84,000

Aughris Pier

Major repairs to structure including head of pier due to scouring and spalling; and rear wall due to spalling and cracking.

67,500

Milk Harbour

Major repairs to structure including repairs to harbour walls and refurbishment to deck.

15,000

 

Total Sligo

166,500

Waterford County Council

Tramore North Pier

Remediation works to wall of seaward side of the southern pier wall, casting a new RC wall to the exposed face together with foundation and scour protection involving RC concrete works.

150,000

Helvick Pier

Construct concrete slab on shorter pier wall, carry out repairs to pier wall & grout areas as necessary at Helvick Harbour.

150,000

Boatstrand Pier

Final phase with strengthening works to the main east pier. Completion of the facing of the outer length of the south east face of the main pier.

120,000

 

Youghal Bridge / Ticknock Pier

The existing ladder access at this pier requires replacement.

15,000

 

Total Waterford

435,000

 

 

 

Wexford County Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slade Harbour

Essential structural repairs to harbour walls and slipway. Health & Safety works.

71,250

Kilmore Quay

Capital dredging works at harbour approach channel.

150,000

Kilmore Quay

Upgrade of power points.

60,000

Kilmore Quay

West harbour wall - Fendering and repairs to wall.

75,000

New Ross Marina

Upgrade marina

22,500

Kilmore Quay Marina

Upgrade marina

22,500

Fethard Harbour

Access improvements, Health & Safety works.

11,250

Courtown Harbour

Provide barrier system on slipway

7,500

 

Total Wexford

420,000

Wicklow County Council

North and South Piers, Arklow

Installation of new LED sectored light with a range of 9 miles on the North Pier. Installation of Solar Marine Grade 15 Watt lights along the North Pier. Installation on the South Pier of an MSM sectored LED lighting and associated cabling.

45,000

Packet Pier, Wicklow

Supply and installation of a new heavy duty 50 tonne mooring bollard. In addition three 7.5/10 tonne mooring bollards to be installed at locations on the Packet Pier.

52,500

North & South Quay, Wicklow

Upgrading of existing and installation of new ladders with handrails along the North and South Quay.

33,750

East Pier, Wicklow

Minor improvement works at East Pier to include: Installation of vertical rubber fenders; Installation of LED lighting; Replacement of damaged railings and installation of new railing at certain points; Provision of power and water points; Improvements to steps leading to water at top of Packet Pier and lifeboat end; Installation of 3 No. new ladders; Installation of 2 to 3 small bollards between existing bollards to increase capacity/ reduce crossover.

61,875

Wicklow & Arklow Harbour

Erection of Safety Signage around the harbours and piers.

22,500

 

Total Wicklow

215,625

 

TOTAL GRANT AID APPROVED

3,136,875

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

Ports in Northern Ireland with physical posts are set for funding ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU, a Stormont committee has been told.

According to the Press Association, Junior Minister Declan Kearney told the committee that the Executive had been given a briefing by officials on Monday on the latest stage of Brexit negotiations between the UK government and the EU.

He went on to say that the London government has “confirmed that it will urgently put in place detailed plans with the Executive, which does include the physical posts at ports of entry”.

Northern Ireland is set to continue to follow EU single market rules on agricultural and manufactured goods after Brexit, while the rest of the UK will stop following these rules at the end of 2020.

“They have signalled that in order to implement the protocol for January 1 in a way that we all want which is of course is to avoid disruption to trade,” Mr Kearney told the committee.

“Delivery on that infrastructure needs to start as soon as possible, and the British government has indicated that it will provide advice on the requirements and the funding to put that in place.”

For further reading BreakingNews reports here.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Three wildlife trusts in the north-east of England have been boosted with a £300,000 (€345,000) award from a major grantmaking charity for efforts to protect marine wildlife and habitats in the Irish Sea.

As the Chester Standard reports, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has given the five-year grant to fund staff carrying out marine policy work and promotion in the north-west region and the wider Irish Sea.

“The funding will enable us to continue our work to protect and lobby for Marine Protected Areas as well as raise awareness about issues affecting our marine life and champion the sustainable management of our seas,” said Martin Varley, operations director with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust.

The grant will also support collaborative work with fellow wildlife trusts in Lancashire and Cumbria, which have already secured public and political support for the designation of 10 Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea.

The Cheshire Standard has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Funding of around €400,000 from the Government has been allocated towards maintenance works on the Dunbrody Famine Ship over recent years.

The funding, according to the New Ross Standard, has been used to carry out essential works to the tallship (barque) vessel, including painting, waterproofing and the instalment of a lift.

Minister of State Michael D'Arcy Jnr said: 'The ship has a high level of maintenance work which has to be done. At a particular point we gave a commitment of €400,000 in funding.'

The barque went into dry dock at New Ross Boat Yard in January 2017 for several weeks and substantial repair and improvement works were carried out. She will once again go into dry dock in early 2021 for further works. Mr D'Arcy said the ship has been greatly improved over the past two years. A survey of the rigging will take place in early February, with specialists arriving from Cork at New Ross Boat Yard to carry out the job.

Mr D'Arcy was highly complimentary of the work of Dunbrody staff. 'This is one of the major tourism projects, not just in Wexford, but in Leinster and Ireland. My view on this is that the tourist projects like this need to cluster with other projects like Hook Lighthouse and the Irish National Heritage Park. There are very few projects in any other county that are as close to each other.'

The newspaper has more here on the story. 

Published in Tall Ships

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has opened a new funding round available to community groups and angling clubs across the country.

The funding will be awarded to fisheries conservation projects and development projects with over €1.3 million announced yesterday (Thursday 16 January).

Applications are invited from angling clubs, local development associations, tidy towns and others who may be looking to carry out relevant projects.

The 2020 funding call consists of three schemes:

  • The Capital Grants Scheme 2020 (€240,000): This scheme supports projects which will help deliver an accessible and sustainable fisheries resource for all. It is aimed specifically at capital projects which will improve angling access and infrastructure (eg accessible fishing stands, walkways, etc).
  • The Midlands Fisheries Fund (€50,000): This scheme focuses on sustainable development works in the Midlands Fisheries Group permit area. The fund has been created through contributions from permit income received. Projects which will be eligible to receive support will improve fish habitats in a sustainable manner (eg river bank protection, control of exotic species, etc).
  • The Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund (€1 million): The aim of this fund is to rehabilitate, protect and conserve salmon and sea trout and their habitats. This year, funding will be available for conservation projects only (eg fish passage improvement, spawning enhancement, etc).

IFI’s Suzanne Campion said: “We are committed to realising the potential of the fisheries resource from a social and economic perspective but also to protecting it for future generations to enjoy.

“Interested groups are invited to get in touch with us for further information with guidance available throughout the application process.”

For more information about the 2020 Funding Call, download the information booklet. To submit an expression of interest, visit the IFI website HERE.

All applicants must apply through an ‘Expression of Interest’ form to progress to full application. Full applications may be submitted until the closing date of Tuesday 25 February.

Published in Angling

New rules for sports grants introduced after a controversy involving private schools two years ago could affect eligibility for yachts clubs in the future, it is feared.

Ten sports clubs across the country — two private schools and eight golf clubs — were excluded from receiving State funding under the Sports Capital Programme, it’s been reported in The Irish Times, which has much more on the story.

It follows a rule change which means clubs or schools with a one-off entrance fee of over €1,500 or an annual fee of €1,500 or more are “excluded from receiving a grant offer”.

A briefing from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport said the new grant allocation rules were enacted to “ensure that as much money as possible goes to the most deserving organisations”.

A department spokesperson confirmed that such changes will be under review, along with all other aspects of the grant scheme annually, ahead of next year’s round of funding allocations.

No yacht clubs were denied under this year’s amendments, but there are concerns that some Dublin clubs could fall foul of these new measures in future.

Published in News Update

Sutton Dinghy Club received the biggest amount out of four local allocations for sailing as the 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme is completed.

The north Co Dublin club was awarded €55,971 towards the upgrade of its clubhouse facilities and slipway, out of a total of €37 million for local projects announced last Friday (15 November) by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS).

Elsewhere, Royal Cork Yacht Club receives €38,051 towards its plans for new universal access to sailing at its marina, while Inniscarra Sailing and Kayaking Club was allocated €9,062 for sports equipment and improvement of facilities.

And Killaloe Sailing Club in Co Clare was granted €28,158 towards new facilities and a new club RIB.

There was also a single allocation for rowing, as Courtmacsherry Rowing Club was awarded €82,802 towards the first phase of its new clubhouse plans.

The Sports Capital Programme (SCP) is the primary means of providing Government funding for capital projects to sport and community organisations at local, regional and national level. According to the DTTAS, the 2018 round of the SCP saw the highest level of interest ever with 2,337 individual applications received.

Published in News Update

Galway Bay FM reports that almost €100,000 has been ring-fenced for the completion of coastal protection works on Inis Mór in the Aran Islands.

The works will focus on arresting erosion at the island’s coastal cemetery, which locals fear will bear the brunt of more extreme weather in the future.

The funding comes from a grant of more than €750,000 from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to complete improvement works on a number of the Ireland’s coastal islands.

Besides Inis Mór, the list includes Whiddy Island, Bear Island, Hare Island and Sherkin Island in Co Cork; Inis Bigil, Clare Island and Inishturk in Co Mayo; and Oileán an Bhráighe, Árainn Mhór and Gabhla in Co Donegal.

Published in Coastal Notes

An ‘Irish ocean observing system’ is among six research projects to receive €25 million in funding through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Infrastructure Programme.

Innovation Minister Heather Humphreys yesterday (21 October) announced the investment as part of Future Jobs Ireland that will be distributed among the six infrastructure projects “in areas of strategic priority across a variety of disciplines”.

Mr Michael Gillooly of the Marine Institute is lead on the EirOOS Irish Ocean Observing System, a component of the European Ocean Observing System (EOOS) that aims to further scientific and technical research capacity in key areas such as sea level science, ocean circulation and carbon sequestration, allowing us to better understand the connection between Ireland and the Atlantic.

Announcing the awards, Minister Humphreys said: “The quality of research being undertaken in Ireland today is testament to our world-class research community. This talent combined with the support provided through programmes like this one maintains our reputation as a great place to do business and work.

“The successful projects are at the cutting edge of innovation and are helping us to achieve our goal of preparing now for tomorrow's world.”

The SFI Research Infrastructure Programme aims to ensure Irish researchers have the capacity to apply for international funding opportunities, including Horizon 2020 funding calls.

Additionally, the programme eases inter-institutional sharing of national research infrastructure, especially for institutes of technology, as well as effective collaborations with industry.

Welcoming the investment in EirOOS, new Marine Institute chief executive Dr Paul Connolly said: “Sustainably managing our oceans and understanding the impacts of ocean and climate change, requires increased observations on and within the ocean.

“These observations underpin research and advice to support policy makers in sustainably managing our oceans and also in developing adaptation and mitigation plans for climate change impacts.

“The investment in the EirOOS infrastructures will enable enhanced ocean observation and underpin forecasting and modelling in the marine area.”

Published in Marine Science
Page 1 of 7

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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