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Loughs Agency fishery officers recovered illegal nets in two separate incidents on the River Foyle last weekend.

In the first of these, fishery officers seized a 150m-long net containing 28 salmon at an area known as Rosses Bay.

A sea trout, millet and flounder were also caught in the net, which was found in an important holding water for salmon on their journey to the tributary rivers upstream.

Protection of this area is vital to ensure salmon populations are sustainable, the Loughs Agency says.

In a separate incident, another illegal net was seized on the Foyle at Porthall in Co Donegal after reports from a member of the public about suspicious activity near the river.

The net showed signs of recent use, with fresh salmon scales visible. The net was seized and will be destroyed once a court order has been granted.

Loughs Agency encourages the public to report suspicious activity directly and promptly using the 24-hour Response Line at +44 (0) 2871 342100 or through the WaterWatch reporting tool on its website.

Published in Inland Waterways

Discarded plastic is the predominant form of litter on Northern Ireland’s beaches, according to a new survey by a local environmental group.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the survey by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful estimates that plastic — most of it single-use, such as bottles or food wrappers — accounts for nearly four-fifths of more than three million items of rubbish on NI beaches at any one time.

The figure is projected from on-site surveys in 2019 which recorded an average of more than 500 pieces of litter per 100 metres of beach.

KNIB Plastic Around Coast

Commenting on the survey, NI Environment Minister Edwin Poots said: “The figures reveal the stark reality of litter on our beaches, with over 22,000 pieces of litter collected across 11 beaches, with 78% of this made from single-use plastic.”

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

RYA Northern Ireland has released guidance for boaters after a Sport Northern Ireland update confirmed that Outdoor Activity has moved into Step 2.

However, this is limited to outdoors only and indoor activity/advice remains as it was in Step 1 until further announcements. This has allowed some additional considerations for boating activity.

The Sport Northern Ireland update highlighted that:

  • Groups of up to 10 are now permitted to take part in socially distanced outdoor training
  • No relaxation of restrictions is yet in place for indoor activity and as a result no indoor sports activity is permitted at this time.
  • Resumption of outdoor sporting activity at Step 2 is entirely conditional on robust protocols being in place, communicated, fully understood and complied with by all participants. We would therefore urge a cautious approach.

Under the Northern Ireland Executive's Pathway to Recovery, the following is therefore permitted:

Outdoor activities involving small groups of less than 10 people during which it may be difficult to maintain social distancing but where contacts are brief (less than10 minutes).

RYA Northern Ireland has updated and issued its Guidance for Step 2 and considerations of activity that could now take place.

The Governing Body continues to urge boaters to take a conservative approach to activities and to follow all public health advice in order to best help eliminate COVID 19. Guidance for access to indoors remains in Step 1 until subsequent announcements.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
Tagged under

In the UK the British Ports Association has welcomed news that government will postpone its plans to introduce full border checks on traffic arriving from the EU for six months from January 2021.

This will be done for imports into the UK in three phases until July 2021.

Richard Ballantyne, the Chief Executive of the British Ports Association, who represents all the main ferry port gateways including Dover, Holyhead, Immingham and Portsmouth, said:

“This is welcome news. Across the board the freight industry has been telling government that it will not be ready. The risk of doing nothing could have led to issues for much of our trade with Europe, including severe congestion at ports. Delays and additional costs for freight operators get passed on and ultimately this sensible and pragmatic decision will mean British manufacturers and consumers are not faced with the increased expenditure, at least until a more formal border operating model is agreed by industry and Government.

Whilst the context of the Coronavirus pandemic means we have lost some time to prepare, the timescales were already challenging so a period of pragmatism will be helpful. There do remain questions about how Northern Irish traffic will be managed. Government must now speed up its work to agree a new long-lasting border operating model which ensures goods continue to flow between the UK and the EU and also between Britain and Northern Ireland.”

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, announced details of the extension which included arrangements for the funding of certain inland borders infrastructure. A new Border Operating Model should be published by July to outline what ports and businesses need to do to prepare. These measures are focussed on EU to Great Britain trade and there remain differences in approach for traffic between GB and Northern Ireland.

Published in Ferry

The RNLI has urged the Northern Ireland public to exercise caution when visiting the coast and be aware of the dangers while lifeguards are currently not deployed on the region’s beaches.

Rollout of the normal seasonal lifeguard service was halted at the end of March due to the measures put in place by the Northern Ireland Executive to control the spread of Coronavirus.

Despite the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak, the charity will be running a restricted lifeguard service on some Northern Ireland beaches. However, this service will not be starting until later in June.

“As we move to a gradual relaxing of restrictions as advised by the Northern Ireland Executive and we experience the good weather, we expect many people to be eager to visit the coast,” said Karl O’Neill, RNLI lead lifeguard supervisor.

“We ask those who are visiting beaches to continue to be aware of the inherent dangers and to avoid taking risks.

“The RNLI’s water safety campaign is advising people to keep their family safe when they are at the coast, avoid using inflatables and if they see anyone in trouble, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Anyone planning a visit to the coast should remember and follow RNLI safety advice:

  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage.
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water.
  • Don’t allow your family to swim alone.
  • Don’t use inflatables.
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
  • In an emergency dial 999, and ask for the coastguard.
  • The RNLI’s safety information can be found at rnli.org/safety/beach-safety

RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew in Northern Ireland remain on call and are expecting to see an increase in callouts as the good continues and lockdown restrictions gradual ease.

The charity that saves lives at sea appeals to the public to please take extra care and follow water safety advice.

Earlier this week, RNLI chief executive Mark Dowrie published an open letter saying that England’s relaxing of lockdown rules without prior consultation with the charity had put it “in an impossible situation” with regard to its provision of lifesaving services.

Tagged under

Northern Ireland’s Agriculture Minister has confirmed that a fish kill in a tributary of the River Moyola last week was caused by a spillage of 30,000 gallons of slurry, as BBC News reports.

The incident on the Grange River in Co Derry on Thursday 21 May affected a significant stretch of water near the village of Desertmartin, according to a local angling club.

It’s understood that the spillage originated from an over-ground slurry tank, but the circumstances are still being investigated.

The incident comes just weeks after anglers in Co Armagh expressed anger at the killing of more than 1,000 wild brown trout by pollution in the Glenavy River.

Two years after his dream of a riverboat barge on the River Bann was lost to the Irish Sea, a Northern Ireland marina owner is making plans for Ireland’s first floating hotel, as Belfast Live reports.

Seamus Carey, who owns the Cranagh Marina Complex, has filed a planning application for a 70-metre barge he’s found in Norway which he intends to renovate into three-star accommodation with 36 cabins, a restaurant and function room.

He said “surge” in visitor numbers at his marina complex before the Covid-19 lockdown moved him to reflect his plans — which initially sank with the loss of the Mississippi-style paddle steamer MV Oliver Cromwell off the North Wales coast in May 2018.

Belfast Live has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

Following more easing of Covid-19 restrictions announced by the Northern Ireland Executive, plans are being made by Waterways Ireland to reopen its navigations north of the border — the Erne System, Lower Bann and on the Shannon-Erne Waterway — to boating from next Friday 29 May.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says it is working to roll out health and safety procedures and protocols to ensure the safe return of both staff and boaters to these navigations.

Private boaters undertaking short trips on the water, as permitted under the new restrictions, are reminded to proceed with caution as navigations and their facilities have not been fully maintained since lockdown began in late March.

“It will take time to reopen the above navigations,” Waterways Ireland said in a statement. “We expect they will reopen on May 29th.

“Waterways Ireland’s locks and service blocks will remain closed in line with the five-step roadmap to recovery [in Northern Ireland]. We recognise the situation is constantly changing.”

It added that updates prior to reopening will be made via marine notices, on the Waterways Ireland website and via social media channels.

The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) yesterday welcomed to the return of boating to Lough Erne with a list of recommendations to keep everyone safe on the water.

Published in Inland

A South Antrim MLA says fisheries staff in Northern Ireland have not been given enough time to prepare for the safe return of angling in the region, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Alliance’s John Blair was responding to the decision by DAERA Minister Edwin Poots to allow the gradual reopening of public fisheries to local anglers from tomorrow, Monday 18 May as part of Northern Ireland’s ‘roadmap to recovery’ plan.

The move, which comes two weeks after a limited return to fisheries began in the Republic, has been welcomed by angling representatives in the North.

But Blair says the announcement “came out of the blue” and has left “major questions” to be answered over maintaining the health and safety of both anglers and fisheries staff.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Tagged under

The Loughs Agency’s elicence website is now back online and anglers can purchase licences for the Foyle and Carlingford areas.

Anglers are individually responsible for compliance with their government’s advice and guidance. Anglers should keep up to date with the latest advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA) in Northern Ireland and the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland.

Loughs Agency offices remain closed and the normal licence distributor network is also still under lockdown conditions. Therefore, anyone wishing to purchase a licence should do so through the elicence website.

For anglers requesting carcass tags when they purchase a licence online, these will be posted to your address. Anglers should take this into account when purchasing.

For anglers purchasing a Loughs Agency endorsement licence, please ensure you have already purchased a full season licence or concession licence from DAERA or a full season or district licence from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). Loughs Agency carryout checks with our colleagues in DAERA and IFI to validate licence purchases.

If you require a Loughs Agency permit for Foyle, Finn or Greenbraes, please contact the Loughs Agency on +44 (0) 2871 342100 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).

Illegal fishing or pollution concerns can be reported through the Loughs Agency’s Waterwatch reporting tool online or through the 24-hour response line on +44 (0) 2871 342100.

If you require any further assistance, call the Loughs Agency at the above number during normal weekday office hours or email [email protected]

Published in Angling
Page 1 of 27

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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