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Displaying items by tag: Northern Ireland

#WaterSafety - Water safety chiefs have yet again underscored the dangers of swimming in unsupervised areas after a teenager drowned in Co Derry yesterday afternoon.

The Irish Times reports that the 15-year-old boy was airlifted to hospital by police helicopter after getting into difficulty when he fell into the River Roe.

The as yet unnamed teen is the seventh drowning victim on the island of Ireland during the current heatwave.

Last week alone saw five drownings of young people, prompting Irish Water Safety CEO John Leech to make a public appeal for awareness of the dangers of swimming in areas without lifeguards, especially in open water.

“One of the reasons we’re losing all these youngish people is because a whole generation haven’t learned to swim in open water,” said Leech, who added that 32 per cent of victims have consumed alcohol.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety

#BelfastLough - A 31-year-old man from Newtownabbey has been fined a total of £600 (€697) for assaulting a police officer and exposing himself at a beach on the shores of Belfast Lough.

As UTV News reports, Belfast Magistrates Court heard that Robert John Stewart was "stoned out of his head" during the incident at Hazelbank Park in which he winded one PSNI officer and dropped his shorts to others when he ran away to the nearby beach.

His defence lawyer told the judge that he "unreservedly apologises" for his behaviour in what was "a drunken episode".

UTV News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Belfast Lough

#RNLI - RNLI Bangor's lifeboat launched at 4pm on Friday (12 July) to assist with the medical evacuation of an unconscious sailor from a 26ft yacht.

Within minutes of the rescue pagers being activated, volunteer crew had the lifeboat launched and quickly located the yacht in Ballyholme Bay, on the southern shores of Belfast Lough.

Crews from other vessels in the vicinity also quickly responded to the Mayday call; they had been able to come alongside the yacht and had administered first aid to the injured sailor. Once medically stabilised, the sailor was taken onboard the Bangor lifeboat.

Fine weather conditions allowed the lifeboat to proceed at full speed back to Bangor, were the injured sailor was transferred into the care of waiting paramedics.

Dr Iain Dobie, a volunteer crewman with RNLI Bangor, praised the actions of all crews involved.

"When the call for help went out we are pleased that crews from other vessels close by had quickly responded and provided vital medical assistance. They did a fantastic job, by the time we arrived the gentleman was conscious."

He added: "We all wish him a full and speedy recovery."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Angling - The use of prawns and shrimp as bait in salmon angling could be banned in Northern Ireland under proposed restrictions on salmon and sea trout fishing, as Farming Life reports.

Aside from the bait regulations, Stormont is also putting forward a ban on commercial salmon netting and the introduction of a catch-and-release scheme for sport anglers in an effort to reverse dwindling salmon numbers in Ulster's inland waterways.

The moves come following an earlier voluntary ban on offshore salmon fishing in an effort to bolster wild salmon stocks which were last year feared to be "around dodo levels".

Similar restrictions were proposed this year for the River Suir - although anglers in Enniscorthy won support from Inland Fisheries Ireland last year in their call to lift a shrimp bait ban on their downstream fishery on the River Slaney.

Ulster Angling Federation chair Jim Haughey has urged angling club officials across Northern Ireland to study the consultation document published by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure with a view to making informed submissions on the proposed changes.

Farming Life has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#Rescue - Castlerock RNLI lifeguards rescued a family of six after they got into difficulty on the town’s seaside beach in Co Derry yesterday (7 July).

Senior RNLI lifeguard Gordon Clark was patrolling busy Castlerock beach when at he noticed a person in the water waving for help a short distance to the right of the flagged zone on the beach around 5.30pm.



The family of six – including a man, woman and four children – were all on bodyboards when they got caught in what appeared to be a flash rip, a strong current running out to sea.



After radioing for assistance, Clark swiftly entered the sea with a rescue tube. He was quickly joined in the rescue operation by his RNLI lifeguard colleagues Jenny Thompson and Ray Cunningham. 



Clark and Thompson proceeded to safely ferry the children, followed by their parents, to the shore, where they were checked over to ensure they hadn’t taken on any water. All were safe and well.



Speaking following the rescue, Mike Grocott, RNLI lifeguard manager for Northern Ireland, said: "Rip currents often catch people out because they can be difficult to spot, and research shows that most people don’t know how to identify one. They are a major cause of incidents that the RNLI’s lifeguards deal with each season.



"Anyone who gets caught in a rip should try to remain calm, raise their arm in the air to signal for help like the family member did today. If they feel they can swim, they should swim parallel to the beach until free of the current, and then head for shore."



With temperatures expected to soar this week, Grocott reminded people to be mindful of the RNLI’s key safety recommendations – choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which mark the safest area to swim and are an indicator that lifeguards are on duty.

Published in Rescue

#MarineWildlife - An Irish marine research vessel has returned from an Atlantic Ocean voyage with tales of exotic new wildlife in the depths southwest of Ireland.

As The Irish Times reports, remarkable finds such as two-century-old clams and oysters, an endangered sailfin roughshark, a massive sponge and a giant hydroid - a rare relation to jellyfish and coral - were among the marine wildlife recorded by researchers on the RV Celtic Explorer in the Whittard Canyon on the Irish Atlantic margin.

Dr Louise Allcock of NUI Galway, who led the Marine Institute team on the ocean survey, said it was "part of an ongoing effort to understand Ireland's deep-sea biodiversity".

In a similar process to that used by the group who made new marine discoveries at Rockall recently, the Marine Institute team used a submersible remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to collect images and samples from the ocean chasm that's twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

Some of those samples may aid in antibacterial and pharmaceutical research, the team explained.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

In other marine wildlife news, the Belfast Telegraph fears that "chilly seas" could be keeping basking sharks at bay from Northern Ireland's waters, as the first sighting of the year was recorded last month.

Reports from various sources indicate that water temperatures are 2 to 3 degrees lower than normal for this time of year, inhibiting the blooming of plankton that are the main source of food for the second-largest fish in the sea.

And the numbers say it all, with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) confirming only 19 sightings of basking sharks around the island of Ireland as of the end of May this year, compared to 84 in the same period in 2012 - although more were spotted earlier this month off Malin Head, as the video below shows:

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Angling - Ireland's recreational angling sector generates more than half a billion euro annually, according to the Minister for Natural Resources.

As the Irish Examiner reports, Minister Pat Rabbitte revealed the significant figure in a written response to a Dáil question by Tommy Broughan TD, who requested a breakdown of the number of people participating in all forms of angling in the State.

The minister went on to confirm that the angling industry "sustainably supports more than 10,000 jobs... particularly in the West of Ireland".

Minister Rabbitte's announcement comes ahead of the pending publication of an Inland Fisheries Ireland study on Ireland's angling sector. Afloat.ie will have the latest on that when it appears.

Elsewhere in Ireland, the Belfast Telegraph reports that a man has been found guilty of a number of fisheries offences at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

Derek Ferguson of Larne was fined a total of £225 (€265) for unlicensed angling, unauthorised entry to fisheries and using unlawful angling methods.

Published in Angling

#RNLI - Larne RNLI rescued an unconscious man who was found a short distance from the shore at Larne Lough last night (Thursday 20 June).

The volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat Hannahbella Ferguson following a request by Belfast Coastguard at 10.35pm to go to the assistance of a person who was spotted lying face down in the sea within 200 metres from the shore in Larne Lough.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a flat calm sea but light was fading.



The lifeboat - helmed by Willie Evans and with crew members Dave Somerville and Pamela Dorman onboard - arrived on scene at 10.41pm and pulled the casualty on to the lifeboat. 

With the man not breathing, two crew members proceeded to perform CPR and resuscitated the casualty.



The helm brought the lifeboat into a small slipway along the promenade which was accessible due to a high tide. The casualty was subsequently handed over to the waiting paramedics and ambulance.



Speaking after the call-out, Larne RNLI helm Willie Evans praised the crew who he said had worked together to resuscitate the casualty and bring him to shore. 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Portaferry RNLI launched on Saturday afternoon 15 June to go to the rescue of a small craft which had lost power in Strangford Lough, Co Down.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was alerted at 1.10pm following a call that there was a 5m Dory drifting after its engine had failed.



The lifeboat - helmed by Simon Rogers and with crew members George Toma, Brendan Byers and Ryan Kelly onboard - was launched at 1.20pm and was alongside the stricken vessel just off Gransha Point at 1.34pm.



The weather at the time was a slight swell, light winds and good visibility.



Once alongside, the lifeboat crew found that the Dory was taking on water. The two men were taken onboard the lifeboat and the Dory was towed into Strangford Lough Yacht Club where the men were also left off.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

 

# ROWING: Rowing Ireland has announced the appointment of Gordon Reid as a full time Belfast-based Club and Coach Development Officer.

Reid will be responsible for leading the development and improvement of the Rowing Ireland club development system within Northern Ireland, including delivery of a range of services to support clubs and coaches.

This is a new position and will add to the Coach Education and Club Development work already being done by Pat McInerney, Coach Education Officer.

Reid has been a director of Rowing Ireland, and a board member of the Ulster Branch.

“I am delighted to accept this position with its focus on working with clubs and coaches, and I look forward to helping them to develop skills, systems and to achieve results,” he said.

Hamish Adams, the chief executive of Rowing Ireland, said: “We are delighted to appoint someone of Gordon’s calibre to this extremely important role. Gordon’s administration and practical experience will be an asset to not only the Northern Ireland Club’s but rowing in general.”

Published in Rowing
Page 9 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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