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Force 10 winds forecast for this weekend will attract eight of the world’s more fearless windsurfers to Ireland’s Atlantic coast for a competition three years in the making.

As BreakingNews.ie reports, the precise date and venue for the Red Bull Storm Chase along the Wild Atlantic Way have not yet been decided, being influenced by where the squalls currently tracking towards Ireland ahead of two major storm systems will make landfall.

But if conditions prove optimal, the brave boarders will take to the big waves — judged on the size of their high-flying jumps, their artistry in the air and their overall style amid winds in excess of 100kmh.

BreakingNews.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

#Angling - A new project on the River Easkey in Co Sligo which has improved and developed angling access to the wild salmon river between Sligo and Ballina has now been completed.

The project, which was delivered by River Easkey Angling Association, received support from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) via the National Strategy for Angling Development.

Structures such as footbridges, stiles, and ladders were installed along the river, which is located on the Wild Atlantic Way, while walkway routes on the banks of the salmon and trout fishery were also improved.

The work took place upstream of the famous Workhouse Bridge as part of the second phase of this project which initially involved similar works downstream of the bridge last year.

In total, the project has delivered eight new access points to angling, 13 footbridges ranging from three to four metres in length, and five kilometres of improved trail access.

Sean Canney, Minister of State for responsibility for inland fisheries, said on Wednesday (23 January): “I welcome the continuing efforts of Inland Fisheries Ireland in delivering under the National Strategy for Angling Development in partnership and collaboration with local angling clubs and community groups nationwide.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland committed €23,500 in total to support the Easkey project with €10,000 awarded in 2017 and a further €13,500 granted in 2018.

“I also want to congratulate the River Easkey Angling Association on its excellent development ethos. They are a progressive group that helpfully operates an open policy for holders of a State Salmon License with season and day tickets available for access,” he added.

Suzanne Campion, head of business development at IFI, said: “The River Easkey Angling Association has done fantastic work in developing this area as an angling destination. While completing this project and working closely with our project officers, they have given due diligence to everything from financial and environmental governance to biosecurity considerations ensuring the conservation and protection of this wonderful resource.”

Alan Spencer, assistant secretary of the River Easkey Angling Association, expressed the club’s thanks to Inland Fisheries Ireland’s staff for all their help and support during the project, as well as gratitude to landowners who permitted the club and its contractor access to the river through their property.

Published in Angling

#CoastalNotes - Eugene Garrihy a Clare businessman writes The Irish Examiner has criticised the results of a new survey that has labelled Doolin a “litter blackspot."

Mr Garrihy, father of Dancing with the Stars celeb and Fair City actor Aoibheann Garrihy, operates Doolin2Aran Ferries and yesterday described the results of the Irish Business Against Litter litter survey as “grossly unfair”.

This summer, Mr Garrihy’s firm has invested €3m in its operations with the commissioning of the 200-seater Star of Doolin on the Doolin-Aran Islands route.

For further reading click here.

Published in Coastal Notes

#IslandNews - Costing €3 million is a new state-of-the-art ferry to serve the Aran Islands which will arrive in Doolin, Co. Clare next week.

The eco-friendly Star of Doolin writes Galway BayFM has been commissioned by the Garrihy’s family run-business, Doolin2Aran Ferries.

The ferry has been built in La Rochelle, France, and will stop in Brest and Dingle before arriving in Doolin at around 8.30am on Tuesday.

Afloat adds that the owners of the 200 -passenger capacity newbuild also operate a sister company, Dublin Bay Cruises with a former west coast islands ferry, St. Bridget.

 

Published in Island News

#CruiseLiners - Ultra-luxury expedition cruiseship, Silver Cloud anchored in Galway Bay recently as part of clockwise tour of Ireland and where today the ship is docked in Killybegs, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The call off the Port of Galway on Tuesday was the second Silverseas Cruises caller. The operator’s new flagship Silver Muse made a visit earlier this month to become the first caller this season.

A flotila of the cruiseships' zodiac tenders took guests ashore to the 'City of the Tribes'. They disembarked at the port's outer pier leading to the entrance of the Dun Aengus dock basin. 

Silver Cloud is a Bahamas flagged ship that at 17,014 gross registered tonnes is deemed small today in cruiseship terms, however the Monaco based operator offers luxury at the top end of the market. They have 9 cruiseships and last year the Silver Cloud was refurbished.

According to Silversea, they provide the highest space to guest and crew to guest ratios in expedition cruising. In the case of Silver Cloud there are 257 guests served by a crew 223.

Among the facilities is an explorers’ lounge, bar, boutiques, pool deck, spa, fitness centre and a photo-studio. In addition to the Connoisseur’s Corner offering cognacs and cigars for purchase.

Accommodation consists exclusively of luxurious suites where 80% of them feature verandas.

Prior to making the anchorage call off Mutton Island in Galway Bay, Afloat monitored the ice-class 157m Silver Cloud depart Pembroke Dock, south Wales having sailed from the English Channel.

The cruiseship's first destination following the call to Milford Haven estuary was in Irish waters at the spectacular backdrop of the Skelligs, Co. Kerry. This is where the cruiseship extended its role by offering guests access to 16 zodiacs.

Other water-based equipment includes 16 kayaks opening up opportunities when cruising globally to explore through greater independence.

During the cruise leg from Galway Bay to Killybegs, Silver Cloud yesterday called off the Aran Islands at Kilronan, Inishmore. The anchorage call was followed by another off Clare Island on the approaches to Clew Bay.

The 1994 built cruiseship has since docked in the Donegal port this morning.

Published in Cruise Liners

#StarWars - Tourism Ireland’s latest ad campaign for the Wild Atlantic Way has gone literally stratospheric, as RTÉ News reports.

Skellig Michael is front and centre in what Irish tourism chiefs are calling their ‘first space tourism campaign’, which saw a billboard sent more than 33km skywards on a weather balloon.

The brief clip aims to capitalise on the growing hype for the new Star Wars film The Last Jedi, in which the UNESCO World Heritage site features prominently.

It’s not the first time Tourism Ireland has pushed the Kerry coastal island as a destination for Star Wars fans, and visitor numbers have skyrocketed since it appeared at the end of the previous instalment in the film saga two years ago.

But The Last Jedi, which opens next week, is expected to boost interest in other parts of the Wild Atlantic Way, too, with various scenes shot in picturesque spots between Cork and Donegal.

Published in Island News

#NewFastFerry- The newest and largest fastferry between Doolin and the Aran Islands has recently begun operations with reduced sailings times by half, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Introduction of Doolin Express is a major advancement in the upgrade of the fleet for Co. Clare based operators Doolin Ferry. The company earlier this year announced the fastest crossings between Doolin and Inis Oírr, the nearest of the Aran Islands to the mainland.

By spending the day taking in the charms of Inis Oírr there is also on the return trip a stunning cruise under the world famous Cliffs of Moher as part of the Wild Atlantic Way. This is the operators most popular cruise option.

Doolin Express is a boost to services having increased capacity of a single ferry of just 100 passengers to the fastferry's 200. The travel experience of Doolin Express also brings passengers in greater comfort given a state of the art electronic stabilising system. This on board technology is to assist passengers that are prone to motion sickness.

In addition to the fastferry improving efficiencies, the newcomer will work towards meeting the operator’s sustainability and environmental goals.

Published in Ferry

#MidSizeShip - Astor which at 20,000 tonnes is termed as a mid-sized cruiseship called to Dublin Port today having made a cruise along the Wild Atlantic Way, writes Jehan Ashmore.

A pilot cutter in Dublin Bay came alongside Astor that had sailed overnight from Killybegs. The cruiseship made a leisurely late morning arrival in the port at around 11.30hrs. This compared to the routine majority of dawn arrival calls and mostly undertaken by considerably larger cruiseships. 

The Astor was allocated a berth next to the Tom Clarke (East-Link) toll-bridge from where motorist commuters this evening will be able to glimpse the handsome looking vessel until departing at 19.30hrs. Cobh is the next port of call and so the Cork Harbour cruise berth will almost complete a full circumnavigation of the island since Astor called to Bantry on Tuesday.

The 600-only capacity cruiseship with its stylish funnel casing design is operated by German operator Transocean and UK based partner Cruise & Maritime Voyages. Early next month CMV's soon to be replaced flagship Magellen is to make a call to Dublin from Newport. The south Wales port is not normally associated with the cruise sector however Magellan is to make an overnight call. 

As for Astor, here's a brief description of facilities. Asides the expected wide range of dinging options, there is a library, card room, internet café and a shopping arcade featuring a boutique, jeweller and perfumery. There is the Wellness Centre offering hairdressing and beauty treatments, an indoor swimming pool, ocean view gym, sauna and massage facilities.

Apart from Bantry Bay from where another smaller ship Serenissima recently opened the season at west Cork location, Astor also headed into the Shannon Estuary to Foynes. Notably the mid-west port is infrequently used by the cruise sector despite its accessible deep waterway. 

A sister of Astor, Saga Pearl II but operating for Saga Cruises has also offered cruisegoers to experience less well known ports and or are less accessible to larger deep drafted ships. In the case of Saga Pearl II a call was made to Warrenpoint and given its location requires a passage up Carlingford Lough presenting a mountainous coastal backdrop. The call to the Co. Down port was the first ever by a cruiseship and this took place in 2014.

Also further along the Down coast is another beauty spot, Strangford Lough, where the aforementioned Serenissima called to Portaferry yesterday. This call by Serenissima Cruises follows their opening of the cruise season in Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Wednesday.

Fred Olsen have also offered cruisegoers in recent years to visit less well explored ports in Irish and UK waters among them Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. More of their mid-sized cruiseships will be seen throughout Irish waters as the season begins to get busier this month. 

Published in Cruise Liners

#ValentiaFerry - There are concerns over the future of the Valentia Island carferry service as the vessel of more than 50 years will no longer meet marine safety requirements, reported RTE Six One News.

Islanders of the Co. Kerry island say that tourism would collapse if State funding is not met to fund a replacement ferry that is expected to cost in the region of €3 million. The figure is beyond the reach of the island community, however the operator of the ferry, Valentia Island Ferries say they can contribute €1m but they are seeking State assistance for the remaining €2m.

The service linking Reenard on the mainland to Knightstown on Valentia Island only takes seven minutes, was established by five island families in 1996. Richard Foran of Valentia Island Ferries said that last year they carried 100,000 cars and that represented around 250,000 passengers.

While the island can be accessed by a bridge on the western end, the islanders and tourist alike benefit from the ferry service that reduces the distance to Cahersiveen by 13 miles. The loop created is according to the islanders essential to the Skellig Ring and the Wild Atlantic Way.

Published in Island News

#SkelligRing - The Skellig Ring in Co Kerry features in Lonely Planet’s top 10 regions for globetrotters to explore on 2017.

“Ireland’s most charismatically wild and emerald stretch of coastline,” as the popular travel guide’s Best in Travel report puts it, rounds out a list that includes such breathtaking destinations as French Polynesia, Chilean Patagonia, mountainous New Zealand and the Azores.

And unsurprisingly, the biggest draw to this corner of the Wild Atlantic Way is the majestic Skellig Michael, set for another bumper tourism year in 2017 on the back of its inclusion in the new Star Wars movie series.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
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