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Displaying items by tag: River Shannon

Cruiser hire firms on the River Shannon have experienced a boom in business from ‘staycationers’ as holidays abroad this year were cancelled in droves, according to RTÉ News.

While some operators felt the brunt of coronavirus restrictions in the spring as they lost a lucrative international market, come summer the tide turned and now the industry as a whole says it is enjoying its most successful period in eight years.

Demand has been driven by a hungry domestic market grounded by lockdowns on foreign getaways — with RTÉ News highlighting Banagher in particular at its busiest this month.

And it’s hoped many of those who may be new to a cruising holiday, or other aquatic activities on Ireland’s inland waterways, will be hooked enough to return next season.

 

Meanwhile, the Shannon cruising boom has come alongside a rise in incidents involving cruisers getting into difficulty — with Lough Derg RNLI having a particularly busy week.

Most recently the inshore lifeboat Jean Spicer was called to a 36ft cruiser with four on board which ran aground in Youghal Bay on Thursday evening (10 September).

This followed rescues for a 20ft vessel with engine failure at the lough’s northeastern end on Wednesday; a 35ft cruiser aground by the Silver Islands on Monday evening; and a vessel with engine failure near Mountshannon Harbour last Sunday.

Also on Sunday, four people were rescued from a Shannon cruiser that caught fire and sank after difficulties in the Jamestown Canal.

The RNLI has repeated its call for all boat users, many of whom may be new to cruising or boating, to study their charts and stay on the navigation route.

Boaters should also ensure their engines are fully serviced, and that they have sufficient fuel for any journey — while lifejackets must be worn by everyone on board.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

Invasive chub have been confirmed in the River Inny in Longford, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

A single fish was caught on rod and line at one of a number of spots where IFI staff recorded possible sightings following reports from members of the public.

Chub (Squalius cephalus) are non-native to Ireland, with the potential to compete with native species for food and space as well as be a carrier of fish diseases and parasites.

The River Inny — a tributary of the Shannon — is the only Irish river in which they have been recorded thus far, and removal operations between 2006 and 2010 were thought to have eradicated the species from the system.

It is not yet clear whether the current chub are linked to the original population or were more recently introduced.

However, the threat of chub spreading through the Shannon system “is of real and pending concern to the biodiversity of Ireland’s biggest catchment”, says the fisheries body.

IFI’s head of research Dr Cathal Gallagher explained: “Ireland’s rivers are ecologically important ecosystems, which support significant recreational fisheries for native and established fish species.

“Non-native fish species threaten these ecosystems and the game and coarse fisheries that they support — potentially in unforeseen ways — and are thus a cause for concern.”

IFI appeals to anglers to protect Ireland’s fisheries by not moving fish between watercourses for any reason and to submit any sightings directly to IFI or on the hotline at 1850 347424 or 1850 FISH24.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Carrickcraft, the leading River Shannon Cruiser-Hire firm, expects to reopen its boat rental business from 20th July and aims to tap into the 'staycation' market as many Irish people are worried about flying abroad this summer due to COVID-19.

'A boat has always been the perfect place to get away from it all, but this year even more so', the firm says.

The firm that operates from bases on the rivers Shannon or Erne has a wide variety of craft available for short or long cruises as Afloat's David O'Brien find out in a three-day cruise through Roscommon in search of the Moone Boy Burger in 2017.

Carrickcraft says 'We will, of course, be practising best hygiene with social distancing at the marinas, and we will endeavour to get you on your way as quickly as possible'.

The July date also sees Cruise Ireland companies Locaboat, Waveline and Linssen boating holidays also reopen on the river.

Continued high water levels have prompted Waterways Ireland to prohibit access to the floating jetty in Shannonbridge on the Shannon Navigation.

All masters of vessels and users of the inland waterway are advised that lighting to the area has been turned off as the power supply distribution box is currently submerged.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland wishes to advise all masters of vessels and water users that the lock at Ardnacrusha power plant on the River Shannon will be closed for six weeks from Monday 20 January to Monday 2 March to facilitate essential maintenance works.

The cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways apologises for any inconvenience caused and thanks all vessel owners for their co-operation.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has closed the public footpath running south from O’Briensbridge playground alongside the River Shannon south of Parteen Weir for the foreseeable future, following the discovery of critical failures in two culverts under the path.

Preliminary investigations revealed the need for urgent replacement work on both culverts, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says.

It adds that due to the sensitive habitat at the site on the Clare/Limerick border, planning permission is required before the works can go ahead, and this could take up to six months to come through.

“The health and safety risks associated with the two structures are such that it is essential the route is closed and remain so, until after the refurbishment works are completed,” it says.

“Waterways Ireland is aware that this is a popular route for the local community and apologises for any inconvenience caused by this closure.”

Published in Inland Waterways

BreakingNews.ie reports that a charity rower was left “shaken” after he was rescued from strong currents in the River Shannon at the Killaloe bridge.

Killaloe Coast Guard Unit were tasked at 2.40pm yesterday (Wednesday 25 September) to the scene where the rower had managed to secure his vessel to the navigation markers leading to the bridge.

The rescue team were with the rower within minutes and transferred him to safety while his vessel was taken under tow to the public slipway at Ballina.

BreakingNews.ie says the incident follows a “lucky escape” for three men last month whose lake boat collided with the same bridge.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

Waterways Ireland is proposing a permit system for the Shannon Navigation that could see users of Ireland’s longest river face charges for their boats for the first time, as The Irish Times reports.

Users of the Royal and Grand Canals must already pay for annual permits at a cost of €152 per vessel — and now the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways is reviewing its by-laws for the Shannon with a view to extending similar charges there, as well as spot fines for breaches of regulations.

But what might be the biggest hit to Shannon boaters’ budgets may be the end of the current winter mooring regime.

Vessels can currently be moored at public harbours and jetties for five months at a cost of €83 per boat. This would be replaced under the plan with the summer ‘five-day rule’, which itself is under review.

However, the proposals would also bring an end to the current charges for the use of locks. A smartcard system for locks and bridges was rolled out on the Shannon Navigation last autumn.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

RTÉ News reports that a major angling competition set for Athlone yesterday (Friday 16 August) was cancelled over the recent oil spillage in the River Shannon near the town.

Westmeath County Council has been investigating the pollution incident on the important waterway since earlier this week, as previously noted on Afloat.ie, but have not yet identified its source.

While efforts were made to contain the spill on the Al River, a tributary of the Shannon, locals say the slick has now spread to the old canal in Athlone town.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

The Irish Times says Westmeath County Council is investigating an oil spill on the River Shannon south of Athlone in which a number of fish and birds have died.

Efforts were made to contain the spill on the Al River, a tributary of the Shannon, after it was discovered at the weekend. The incident also affected marine wildlife in an area town as the Big Meadow some 1km from the Shannon bridge in Athlone.

Wildlife charity volunteers worked to rescue a number of cormorants and cygnets from the polluted waters, many of which needed special cleaning to remove oil from their feathers, while fish were also recovered for safety with the help of local anglers.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under
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Ireland's offshore islands

Around 30 of Ireland's offshore islands are inhabited and hold a wealth of cultural heritage.

A central Government objective is to ensure that sustainable vibrant communities continue to live on the islands.

Irish offshore islands FAQs

Technically, it is Ireland itself, as the third largest island in Europe.

Ireland is surrounded by approximately 80 islands of significant size, of which only about 20 are inhabited.

Achill island is the largest of the Irish isles with a coastline of almost 80 miles and has a population of 2,569.

The smallest inhabited offshore island is Inishfree, off Donegal.

The total voting population in the Republic's inhabited islands is just over 2,600 people, according to the Department of Housing.

Starting with west Cork, and giving voting register numbers as of 2020, here you go - Bere island (177), Cape Clear island (131),Dursey island (6), Hare island (29), Whiddy island (26), Long island, Schull (16), Sherkin island (95). The Galway islands are Inis Mór (675), Inis Meáin (148), Inis Oírr (210), Inishbofin (183). The Donegal islands are Arranmore (513), Gola (30), Inishboffin (63), Inishfree (4), Tory (140). The Mayo islands, apart from Achill which is connected by a bridge, are Clare island (116), Inishbiggle (25) and Inishturk (52).

No, the Gaeltacht islands are the Donegal islands, three of the four Galway islands (Inishbofin, like Clifden, is English-speaking primarily), and Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire in west Cork.

Lack of a pier was one of the main factors in the evacuation of a number of islands, the best known being the Blasket islands off Kerry, which were evacuated in November 1953. There are now three cottages available to rent on the Great Blasket island.

In the early 20th century, scholars visited the Great Blasket to learn Irish and to collect folklore and they encouraged the islanders to record their life stories in their native tongue. The three best known island books are An tOileánach (The Islandman) by Tomás Ó Criomhthain, Peig by Peig Sayers, and Fiche Blian ag Fás (Twenty Years A-Growing) by Muiris Ó Súilleabháin. Former taoiseach Charles J Haughey also kept a residence on his island, Inishvickillaune, which is one of the smaller and less accessible Blasket islands.

Charles J Haughey, as above, or late Beatle musician, John Lennon. Lennon bought Dorinish island in Clew Bay, south Mayo, in 1967 for a reported £1,700 sterling. Vendor was Westport Harbour Board which had used it for marine pilots. Lennon reportedly planned to spend his retirement there, and The Guardian newspaper quoted local estate agent Andrew Crowley as saying he was "besotted with the place by all accounts". He did lodge a planning application for a house, but never built on the 19 acres. He offered it to Sid Rawle, founder of the Digger Action Movement and known as the "King of the Hippies". Rawle and 30 others lived there until 1972 when their tents were burned by an oil lamp. Lennon and Yoko Ono visited it once more before his death in 1980. Ono sold the island for £30,000 in 1984, and it is widely reported that she donated the proceeds of the sale to an Irish orphanage

 

Yes, Rathlin island, off Co Antrim's Causeway Coast, is Ireland's most northerly inhabited island. As a special area of conservation, it is home to tens of thousands of sea birds, including puffins, kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots. It is known for its Rathlin golden hare. It is almost famous for the fact that Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, retreated after being defeated by the English at Perth and hid in a sea cave where he was so inspired by a spider's tenacity that he returned to defeat his enemy.

No. The Aran islands have a regular ferry and plane service, with ferries from Ros-a-Mhíl, south Connemara all year round and from Doolin, Co Clare in the tourist season. The plane service flies from Indreabhán to all three islands. Inishbofin is connected by ferry from Cleggan, Co Galway, while Clare island and Inishturk are connected from Roonagh pier, outside Louisburgh. The Donegal islands of Arranmore and Tory island also have ferry services, as has Bere island, Cape Clear and Sherkin off Cork. How are the island transport services financed? The Government subsidises transport services to and from the islands. The Irish Coast Guard carries out medical evacuations, as to the RNLI lifeboats. Former Fianna Fáíl minister Éamon Ó Cuív is widely credited with improving transport services to and from offshore islands, earning his department the nickname "Craggy island".

Craggy Island is an bleak, isolated community located of the west coast, inhabited by Irish, a Chinese community and one Maori. Three priests and housekeeper Mrs Doyle live in a parochial house There is a pub, a very small golf course, a McDonald's fast food restaurant and a Chinatown... Actually, that is all fiction. Craggy island is a figment of the imagination of the Father Ted series writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, for the highly successful Channel 4 television series, and the Georgian style parochial house on the "island" is actually Glenquin House in Co Clare.

Yes, that is of the Plassey, a freighter which was washed up on Inis Oírr in bad weather in 1960.

There are some small privately owned islands,and islands like Inishlyre in Co Mayo with only a small number of residents providing their own transport. Several Connemara islands such as Turbot and Inishturk South have a growing summer population, with some residents extending their stay during Covid-19. Turbot island off Eyrephort is one such example – the island, which was first spotted by Alcock and Brown as they approached Ireland during their epic transatlantic flight in 1919, was evacuated in 1978, four years after three of its fishermen drowned on the way home from watching an All Ireland final in Clifden. However, it is slowly being repopulated

Responsibility for the islands was taking over by the Department of Rural and Community Development . It was previously with the Gaeltacht section in the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht.

It is a periodic bone of contention, as Ireland does not have the same approach to its islands as Norway, which believes in right of access. However, many improvements were made during Fianna Fáíl Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív's time as minister. The Irish Island Federation, Comdháil Oileáin na hÉireann, represents island issues at national and international level.

The 12 offshore islands with registered voters have long argued that having to cast their vote early puts them at a disadvantage – especially as improved transport links mean that ballot boxes can be transported to the mainland in most weather conditions, bar the winter months. Legislation allowing them to vote on the same day as the rest of the State wasn't passed in time for the February 2020 general election.

Yes, but check tide tables ! Omey island off north Connemara is accessible at low tide and also runs a summer race meeting on the strand. In Sligo, 14 pillars mark the way to Coney island – one of several islands bearing this name off the Irish coast.

Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire is the country's most southerly inhabited island, eight miles off the west Cork coast, and within sight of the Fastnet Rock lighthouse, also known as the "teardrop of Ireland".
Skellig Michael off the Kerry coast, which has a monastic site dating from the 6th century. It is accessible by boat – prebooking essential – from Portmagee, Co Kerry. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was not open to visitors in 2020.
All islands have bird life, but puffins and gannets and kittiwakes are synonymous with Skellig Michael and Little Skellig. Rathlin island off Antrim and Cape Clear off west Cork have bird observatories. The Saltee islands off the Wexford coast are privately owned by the O'Neill family, but day visitors are permitted access to the Great Saltee during certain hours. The Saltees have gannets, gulls, puffins and Manx shearwaters.
Vikings used Dublin as a European slaving capital, and one of their bases was on Dalkey island, which can be viewed from Killiney's Vico road. Boat trips available from Coliemore harbour in Dalkey. Birdwatch Ireland has set up nestboxes here for roseate terns. Keep an eye out also for feral goats.
Plenty! There are regular boat trips in summer to Inchagoill island on Lough Corrib, while the best known Irish inshore island might be the lake isle of Innisfree on Sligo's Lough Gill, immortalised by WB Yeats in his poem of the same name. Roscommon's Lough Key has several islands, the most prominent being the privately-owned Castle Island. Trinity island is more accessible to the public - it was once occupied by Cistercian monks from Boyle Abbey.

©Afloat 2020

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