Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Omey Island

Cleggan Coast Guard team were tasked earlier in the week to a collapsed horse on Omey Island off Claddaghduff in western Connemara.

The fallen horse was in grave danger with a fast incoming tide, so the coastguard team members worked quickly with assistance and guidance from two vets from Western Veterinary and the owner to bring the horse safely ashore.

Cleggan Coast Guard later commented on social media: “Thankfully the horse is doing well. We’re delighted to be part of this unusual rescue.”

Also this week, Cleggan Coast Guard welcomed Minister of State and Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton to its base in north-western Co Galway.

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton is presented with a locally made miniature model currach by Cleggan Coast GuardMinister of State Hildegarde Naughton is presented with a locally made miniature model currach by Cleggan Coast Guard

During her visit, the minister was shown the range of services and facilities the volunteers at Cleggan provide for Connemara, including a demonstration by the unit's drone search team.

In honour of her visit and in light of the minister’s Department of Transport leadership of the Irish Coast Guard, Minister Naughton was presented with a locally made miniature model currach.

Officer in Charge Michael Murray commenting on the visit said: “It’s great to see the minister make such an effort to get out and meet the people who volunteer their time. We are so proud that she is a TD for our constituency as well.”

Published in Coastguard

Relatives of Omey islanders have renewed their appeal for a return of bones taken by the State in an emergency excavation three decades ago.

As The Sunday Times reports, a professor of archaeology has been contacted about human remains removed from Omey off Claddaghduff in Connemara in 1992, which residents have campaigned for years to be returned.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage said last week that it had approached Tadhg O’Keeffe, a University College Dublin professor, to discuss his excavation on the Co Galway tidal island and “the matter of the burials in the context of the local interest”.

It told the newspapers it has received “a suite of technical reports” from O’Keeffe. The documents will be reviewed by the National Monuments Service and National Museum of Ireland.

The department said the remains analysed so far dated from the early medieval period and Bronze Age, “not to recent burials”.

Maggie Coohill, whose father was born on Omey, said: “Islanders were told in the early 1990s that these bones would be returned. They didn’t expect they would still be waiting 30 years later.”

Conservation expert Deirdre McDermott said she had been asked to pursue the issue on behalf of Cleggan Claddaghduff Community Council.

She is a local resident and former president of the Irish national committee of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and involved in its working group on rights-based approaches.

“Omey is an important site, with burials there straddling two millennia, but the local community supported an emergency archaeological dig and removal in good faith, on the understanding the bones would be reinterred in due course,” she said.

“Even as recently as 2019, the UNESCO World Heritage Operational Guidelines were changed to acknowledge community participation, and rights,”McDermott said.

Prof O’Keeffe said the return of the material was in the hands of the State’s chief archaeologist Michael McDonagh.

O’Keeffe also said that the first paper in a planned series of five articles outlining the results of the research had been published in the Journal of the Galway Historical and Archaeological Society.

Asked if the community had been informed, he said both he and McDonagh had discussed producing a small booklet on the island’s archaeology when the last or second last scientific paper has been published.

Read more in The Sunday Times here

Published in Island News
Tagged under

Clifden RNLI came to the aid of two walkers who got cut off by the tide yesterday evening (Sunday 11 April).

The volunteer crew were requested to launch the lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 5.50 pm following a report that two people were stranded on Omey Island.

The inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat helmed by Kenny Flaherty and with three crew members onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were good with a northerly Force 5 wind.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew checked that the two people were safe and well before proceeding to transfer them on to the lifeboat and bring them back to shore at Claddaghduff.

Speaking following the call out, John Brittain, Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘The two walkers were not in any immediate danger and we were happy to help and bring them safely back to shore.

‘We would remind locals and visitors to always check tide times and heights before venturing out and to always make sure you have enough time to return safely.

‘If you do get cut off by the tide, it is important to stay where you are and not attempt a return to shore on your own as that may be when the danger presents and you get into difficulty. Always carry a means of communication and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

On the eve of Connemara’s Omey island races, relatives of islanders have initiated a petition seeking the urgent return of bones removed during an archaeological excavation writes Lorna Siggins

Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan has also been urged to intervene to ensure that the bones, excavated in the 1990s, can be brought back for a Christian burial.

Ms Maggie Coohill, whose father was born in Omey, says she has spent the last five years seeking action and has now initiated the petition.

“Islanders were promised 30 years ago that these bones of their relatives would be returned,” she said.

Omey, a tidal island off Claddaghduff, lost its last full-time resident when stuntman Pascal Whelan died in 2017. Poet Richard Murphy built a hexagonal granite studio on the island.

Its annual Omey island races across the strand at low tide take place this Sunday from 1 pm

The island has evidence of occupation from the Bronze Age, up to 2000 BC, up to the Great Famine, when there were 400 residents. Its monastic site dating from about the 6th century is named after its founder, St Feichín.

The medieval site, which included one of the few reported burials of a woman within monastic ground, was excavated in the 1990s by Prof Tadhg O’Keeffe of University College, Dublin (UCD) after concerns that rabbits and erosion were causing damage.

The site was one of a number of west coast archaeological features damaged during severe winter storms of January 2014.

Ms Coohill said she was on holidays on Omey with her father when the excavation began on the north side of the island.

“My uncle, my dad and other locals were not in favour of the bones being taken off the island, but were assured that after they had been examined they would be returned to Omey and given a Christian burial,” she said.

“On January 16th, 2014, I contacted Prof O’Keeffe, and he informed me that it was always his intention that the bones would be returned to Omey,”

Ms Coohill said she now believed that “more than enough time” had been spent to conclude the research. She contacted Ms Madigan several months ago and asked her to intervene, and was told the decision was one for the National Museum of Ireland.

The Department of Cultural, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said the excavations in the 1990s were “commissioned by this department due to the damage and irreparable loss that was occurring to the human remains buried at the location”.

“The archaeological excavations confirmed large scale disturbance of the remains on account of erosion and burrowing activity,” it said.

The excavator in UCD is overseeing the completion of the various specialist analyses of the remains,” it said, and “this post-excavation analysis has benefited from advances in analytical and scientific techniques”.

“The department expects to receive final excavation reports later this year, subject to final completion of the specialist analysis, which will ensure that the story of the inhabitants of Omey is told”, it said.

“Any decision on reburial would then ultimately be a matter for the National Museum of Ireland to adjudicate on,” the department said.

The museum’s decision would be predicated on consideration of “all relevant factors.. as per the conditions of the excavation licence issued by this department”, the department said.

Prof O’Keeffe said the full report was almost complete and ready for publication, and as many individuals as possible had been identified by two professional osteologists (bone experts).

He said it was his personal hope to have repatriation in consultation with the National Museum of Ireland.

Publication of the findings would take place in the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society's journal, he said.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#OmeyIsland - Omey Island’s last resident has died, as Galway Bay FM reports.

Retired stuntman Pascal Whelan was found at his home on Saturday (5 February) after a long illness, bringing to an end centuries of continuous habitation on the West Connemara tidal island that saw a steep decline in population over the last 100 years.

Whelan was the subject of a book by photographer Kevin Griffin two years ago, according to TheJournal.ie, which charted his rugged lifestyle.

A more recent book plots the remarkable history of Omey Island itself, which at its peak had over 100 residents a century ago, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#Archaeology - It was quite a turn-up for the books on Omey Island recently as a US student found a 12th-century brooch in the sand on the Connemara tidal island.

As The Irish Times reports, the rare kite brooch was discovered by chance by McKenna McFadden while on a field trip with fellow New York University students led by Michael Gibbons, a local archaeologist.

It's since been identified as being 900 years old, and will be offered to the collection of the National Museum.

Omey Island is also the subject of a new book charting its remarkable history, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Island News

#OmeyIsland - Omey Island in Connemara is the subject of a new book by a local woman charting its remarkable history.

Strands of Omey's Story by Bernadette Conroy shows there's much more to the lands off Claddaghduff than the annual beach horse race, as Galway Bay FM reports.

Despite not being a true island, as its only cut off from the mainland when the tide is in, Omey has seen its population dwindle from over 100 a century ago to just a single resident in more recent years.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Times reports that the sperm whale that was stranded in Connemara at the end of last year has been buried at sea.

The 13-metre whale carcass has attracted thousands of onlookers to Omey Island in Co Galway.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the sperm whale was found beached with a broken lower jaw and shed of its skin.

The whale carcass was towed out to sea west of High Island on Thursday after being deemed too large to bury on land.

"Chances are it died offshore and got washed in with the wind," said Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

The IWDG added that such strandings were relatively common, although as reported on Afloat.ie last year there has been growing concern over the rising number of dolphin deaths along the south coast in particular.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Three whales and a dolphin were found beached over the past few days along Ireland's west coast, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group confirmed that reports had been received of a bottlenose whale on White Strand in Co Clare, a pilot whale on Fintra Beach in Co Donegal and a dolphin in Silverstrand, Co Galway - all found dead.

The latest find was a male sperm whale stranded on Omey Island in Co Galway, shed of its skin and with a broken lower jaw.

"Chances are it died offshore and got washed in with the wind," said Berrow.

The IWDG said such strandings were relatively common, although as reported on Afloat.ie earlier this year there has been growing concern over the rising number of dolphin deaths along the south coast in particular.

Published in Marine Wildlife

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

Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2021?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating