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Displaying items by tag: Wild Atlantic Way

Islands along the Wild Atlantic Way not surprisingly are among seven in a list of islands within Irish and UK waters which draw attention as there’s something about crossing the sea that makes a holiday feel proper.

As BreakingNews adds staycations are all the rage right now for obvious reasons, but cars and trains lack the intrepid glamour of boats and planes, and when you visit an island it feels like you’ve entered a new and exciting ecosystem.

Island hopping begins at home. Here are some awesome islets that can help save your holiday, on both sides of the Irish Sea…

...where Cape Clear off Cork in the south west, the Aran Islands in Galway Bay and Claire Island further to north along the Wild Altantic Way in Co. Mayo proudly feature among the seven islands.

So take a snapshot read of these islands and beyond to those in UK waters by clicking here.

Published in Island News

Off Ireland's west coast a potential ecological disaster was averted when the Naval Service intervened to prevent a cargoship laden with oil from crashing against rocks.

Aqua Transporter, reports Irish Examiner, was carrying 32,000 cubic tonnes of fuel and two cubic tonnes of lubricating oil, had lost power and was drifting towards rocks. If it had collided, its contents would have caused a major pollution incident along the Wild Atlantic Way.

The Coast Guard contacted the Naval Service after receiving a request for help from the ship's Norwegian skipper, who reported he had lost engine power and was drifting. Fortunately, LÉ Niamh was on routine patrol just a few miles away.

The navy ship, under the captaincy of Lieutenant Commander Claire Murphy, responded to the early morning emergency request on Tuesday to help the cargo ship and its crew of six. It was drifting a few miles off Slyne Head, near Galway.

More about the incident by clicking here. 

Afloat.ie adds the Norwegian flagged 60m fish-carrier in recent days departed Rathmullen, Co. Donegal is now docked at the Port of Galway in the Dun Aengus Dock. 

Published in Navy

Keem Bay on Achill Island has made the grade among the 50 best beaches in the world, according to a top travel website.

And as The Irish Post reports, the Co Mayo coastal beauty spot was ranked among the best even of that number, placing just outside the top 10 of Big 7 Travel’s selection.

Keeping company with the gorgeous turquoise waters of the Adriatic and eastern Mediterranean, the West Indies and other breathtaking tropical paradises, we think that’s good going for the Wild Atlantic Way.

Published in Coastal Notes

#ferries - A new service has been launched by Bus Éireann in partnership with Doolin Ferry Company for people to explore the Wild Atlantic Way, reports GalwayDaily.

The new Route 350 which operates from Galway offers a combined bus and ferry service exploring the sights of the Wild Atlantic Way with tour of the Cliffs of Moher or a day ticket out to Inis Oírr.

Customers can avail of two combined ticket options which each cost €38.50 for both the bus ticket and either a 1-hour ferry tour of the Cliffs or a trip out to Inis Oírr.

The bus route also offers a regular service from Galway, through Doolin and on to Ennis that runs up to six times daily.

Bus Éireann describe the new route as a “great value day trip option to visit Ireland’s most popular tours destinations along the very popular Wild Atlantic Way.”

To read more and where to buy tickets, click here. 

Published in Ferry

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
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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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