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#PARADE OF SAIL – In preparation for this Sunday's Tall Ships climax of the 'Parade of Sail', a rehearsal 21 Gun Salute will take place today at 14.00hrs at the East Pier Battery, in Dun Loaghaire Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.

After the four-day festival ends on Sunday, the tallships are to depart from Dublin Port at 11am, led by the Naval Service LE Emer (P21) with the three hour long 'Parade of Sail' into Dublin Bay. The 40-plus fleet will set a course along a corridor bound for Dun Laoghaire Harbour before turning around and steering for the Baily Lighthouse on Howth.

To mark the sailing spectacle, the battery in Dun Laoghaire Harbour will perform the 21 Gun Salute at approximately 11.45hrs. The criss-crossing of the Parade of Sail route will provide great shore-based spectator vantage points along both east and west piers of the harbour and on Howth Peninsula.

Gun salutes are, by nature, a noise hazard and the public are advised to keep 'well clear of the area' during the time of rehearsal and the gun salute. Blank ammunition will be fired for both the rehearsal and the gun salute.

The battery is equipped with 12-pounder naval guns and they have traditionally been, and remain, the responsibility of the 2nd Field Artillery Regiment, McKee Barracks, in Dublin.

Published in Tall Ships

#TALL SHIPS - Howth Yacht Club has announced that its vessels and race management teams have been asked to provide the official send-off for the Tall Ships Races fleet, which will take place in the centre of Dublin Bay at 6pm this Sunday.

HYC's members will be making a beeline for the bay after the completion of this weekend's Puppeteer National Championships in Howth - not to mention the spectcle of the Parade of Sail which kicks off at 1pm. HYC suggests the Howth Head cliff path between the summit and Redrock as a prime spot to watch the tall ships depart.

The club also urges members who wish to sail to the Liffey to see the Tall Ships Races fleet tomorrow to observe Dublin Port's notice to mariners for the festival.

Sightseeing craft will only be allowed past the Eastlink bridge for no more than 30 minutes at 10am, 12pm, 3pm and 7pm and may only navigate the Liffey as far as the Samuel Beckett Bridge. Extra toll bridge opening times may be added as demand dictates.

Dedicated escorting craft will be on hand to ensure a smooth procession. Sightseeing craft will not be allowed to go alongside the berths or vessels in the Tall Ships fleet, and no personal water craft such as Jet Skis or kayaks will be permitted.

Full details are included in the Dublin Port Company Notice to Mariners No 16 of 2012.

Published in Tall Ships

An unforgettable experience on a tall ship, Galway and the Volvo Race, the MOD70 European Tour in Dublin, protection for seafarers after 92 years, Wi-Fi and sharks, topics in your TIN this week.

Read on ....

UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE" ON A TALL SHIP

in jeanniejohnson

Sailing the Jeanie Johnston

With the Tall Ships Race in Dublin, Captain Michael Coleman has answered my question as to what it is like to command one of these vessels:

"Sailing in good weather on a clear and starry night is an unforgettable experience. The distractions of the land are left far behind and you become at one with nature and the elements."

Captain Coleman of Cobh sailed the Jeanie Johnston in the 2005 Tall Ships Race out of Waterford. "An unforgettable experience never to be repeated," he says and he is right, because at the start of that race Ireland had three tall ships and they led the fleet down the Waterford Estuary to the sea – Asgard, Dunbrody and Jeanie Johnston.

"The distractions of the land are left behind and you become at one with nature and the elements," aboard a tall ship says Capt. Coleman. "No TV or mobile phones or the pressure of modern living, just the ship, the wind and the sea and yourself."

His description is in a new book about the tall ship from Kerry, published by Collins Press of Cork to mark the Tall Ships Race in Dublin. Michael English, who was born in Liverpool and studied art in Cork, then worked in advertising in Dublin, made a photographic record of his voyage aboard the Jeanie Johnston in 2005. This forms the new book: 'Jeanie Johnston – Sailing the Irish Famine Tall Ship.'

The Jeanie Johnston has been berthed for some years as a floating museum on the Liffey in Dublin. As tall ships from around the world gather this week in the capital, while there will be smaller Irish vessels taking part, this island nation does not have an active, sailing tall ship providing training for Irish young people.

 

VOLVO RACE AND GALWAY

Will we see another race village in Galway again?

Applications from ports around the world to stage the next Volvo Race must be lodged with Volvo by next month and the 'Let's Do It Global' group which ran the event in Galway is not, so far, preparing one it seems, despite the great success of twice staging the event there, this year and in 2009.

Raising the money needed is the problem.

900,000 people attended the race festival in Galway this year, the organisers said and there was a major economic spin-off for the city. A study of the 2009 stopover estimated the economic impact at €55.8 million with more than 650,000 visitors.

The €4 million fee for hosting this year's event was paid directly to the Volvo Ocean Race organisation as the price for bringing it to Galway by Fáilte Ireland. The Galway organisers found it difficult to secure sponsorship in the current economic climate. Galway Harbour Company, which closed the port for the nine-day festival and Galway City Council were major backers. The event had huge voluntary effort. A number of State agencies hosted events and provided logistical support.

Galway Chamber of Commerce called on the Government to provide the necessary support to secure a third successful bid for Galway.

John Killeen one of the leading forces in getting the race to Galway has said the event would have to be underwritten by a bigger entity than just a voluntary group.

As a host port in this year's event, Galway received an automatic invitation for inclusion in the next race in 2014/2015, with the final decision on port selection to be made by the race organisers in December.

 

EUROPEAN TOUR FOR IRELAND

The MOD70 is coming to Ireland

Ireland continues to gain a reputation as one of the best sailing locations in the world. The new global sailing championship series, the MOD70 European Tour will be in Dun Laoghaire from Wednesday, September 5 to Sunday, September 9, hosted by the National Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company. Many of the world's top sailing events have been held in Ireland this year.

The high speed MOD70 class of trimarans are a new innovation in sailing. Each MOD70 is identical, built from the same moulds. That should reflect the skills of the sailing crew in performance and not technological advantage.

The MOD70s coming to Dublin Bay will be - Race For Water, FONCIA, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Spindrift Racing and Musandam Oman Sail.

On Friday, September 7 and Saturday, September 8, they will sail the Dublin City Race and Speed Match Races. The trimarans will leave Dun Laoghaire at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 9, for the start of the second leg of the European Tour from Dun Laoghaire to Cascais.

 

AFTER 92 YEARS – SEAFARERS TO GET WORK PROTECTION

The labour rights of the world's 1.2 million seafarers are to be protected in a new charter – the Maritime Labour Convention. Following its ratification by 30 countries it will go into effect in a year's time – ninety-two years after it was first proposed.

The International Labour Organisation is the United Nations' agency for internationally-recognised labour rights. The Convention was adopted back in 2006 but could not be put into effect until 30 countries adopted it. They represent nearly 60 per cent of the world's shipping tonnage, meaning that seafarers working on more than 50 per cent of the world's international shipping will be covered by the new Convention. Ireland is a member of the ILO but has not yet signed the Convention.

• A safe and secure workplace that complies with safety standards

• Fair terms of employment

• Decent working and living conditions on board ship

• Health protection, medical care, welfare measures and other forms of social protection

 

TRACKING WHITE SHARKS

in whiteshark

Marine researchers are using "ocean WiFi hotspots" in their latest attempts to track the movements of white sharks. The species is under threat. Sharks take several years to reach maturity and spawn. An unmanned 'Wave Glider' robot is the latest development in ocean technology. It has been deployed near San Francisco in US waters. The self-propelled solar-powered glider is part of a new network including data receivers on fixed buoys that will pick up signals from acoustic tags on animals passing within 1,000 feet and transmit the data to a research team on-shore at Stanford University Marine Sciences Department. These are the result of 12 years development of fixed and mobile ocean transmitters to follow thousands of species. They increase scientific capacity to observe the oceans and marine populations, improve fisheries management models and monitor animal responses to climate change.

• The tracking can be followed in real time on a smartphone and tablet computer app "Shark Net" available free of charge at the Apple app store.

in sharkrobot

White shark tracking robot

 

FIRST USA WAVE POWER PLANT

Approval has been given for the building of the first commercial wave-power plant in the USA. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a 35-year licence to Ocean Power Technologies Inc. to build the plant, intended to produce 1.5-megawatts of power, 2.5 miles off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon.

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Published in Island Nation

#TALLSHIPS – The Italian Navy's full-rigged training ship, Amerigo Vespucci, made a lunchtime arrival to Dublin Port today, where she then proceeded to make an impressive entrance through the East-Link bridge, in order to reach her 'Docklands' berth, writes Jehan Ashmore.

She had earlier appeared on the horizon south of the Kish Bank Lighthouse and what makes her easy to recognise is her distinctive hull livery. Unlike most white-painted tallships, the three-masted ship sports striking black and white hull, with each strip marking one of her three decks. Standing above these decks are her rigging, where her masts tower above the seas and at a height of nearly 63 metres.

Prior to her arrival, another naval sail training ship, the barque Cuauhtemoc, of the Mexican Navy docked into the capital having made a late morning call. A week ago she became the first over the finishing line off the Tuskar Rock, marking the final leg of the race from Spain.

Looking particularly smart, the vessel was 'dressed overall' upon her arrival with a large Mexican flag flying proudly at the stern. She too passed through the East-Link bridge and like Amerigo Vespucci, is moored alongside Sir John Rogersons Quay.

Astern of her was the UK flagged gaff ketch Maybe which has been in Howth Harbour in recent days. She berthed opposite the Cuauhtemoc at North Wall Quay.

A  total of nine Tall Ships will have free access to the public at different times over the weekend, available on a first come first served basis.

In regards to the Amerigo Vespucci, she will be open today, from 3pm to 7pm, and tomorrow from 10.30am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm. On Saturday the times are from 10.30am to 1pm and 3pm to 7pm.

Opening hours for the Cuauhtemoc, will be open till 7pm today, and from 10am till 11pm tomorrow and Saturday. For the full list of vessels and respective opening hours visit www.dublintallships.ie/fleet/

A notable festival highlight, is the 'Crew Parade' which is on tomorrow (Friday) between 3-4pm. Crews from around the world will march from the North Wall Quay and finish at the Custom House for a special prize giving ceremony.

Published in Tall Ships

#TALL SHIPS - Organisers of the Tall Ships Races Festival - which kicks off today in Dublin's Docklands - have announced visiting hours for members of the public to step on board some of the 43 vessels docked on the city's quays between now and Sunday.

A total of nine tall ships will have free access to the public at different times over the weekend, available on a first come first served basis.

On the south quays, the Amerigo Vespucci will be open today from 3pm to 7pm, tomorrow from 10.30am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm, and Saturday from 10.30am to 1pm and 3pm to 7pm.

The Mexican tall ship Cuauhtemoc - the last of the fleet to arrive this morning - will be open till 7pm today, and from 10am till 11pm tomorrow and Saturday.

The Danmark has open hours today from 3.30pm to 5pm, from 1.30pm to 5pm tomorrow and on Saturday from 1pm to 4pm.

The Guayus stays open to the public today till 9pm this evening, and will be open again tomorrow and Saturday from 10am till 9pm, and on Sunday before the Parade of Sail from 10.30am to 1pm.

The Lord Nelson will be open on Saturday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, while the Pelican of London is open tomorrow and Saturday from 10am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm, and on Sunday morning from 10.30am till 1pm.

Completing the south quays moorings, the Stavros S Niarchos will be open tomorrow from noon till 5pm and on Saturday from noon till 6pm.

On the north quays, the Fryderyk Chopin is open till 1pm today and again from 3pm to 6pm. It reopens tomorrow and Saturday from 10am till 1pm, and on Sunday from 10.30am to 1pm.

And the STS flagship Pogoria will welcome the public tomorrow from 10am to 6pm and again on Saturday from 10am till 2pm.

Meanwhile, don't forget that another great way to see the tall ships at their moorings is from the water on board the Allianz All-Aboard Liffey Cruise, with seats available from just €1!

Published in Tall Ships

#TALL SHIPS - A 15-year-old boy was rescued from the water at Dublin's Grand Canal Dock yesterday after getting into difficulty while swimming.

According to RTÉ News, the teenager from Blanchardstown was swimming with a number of friends at Hanover Quay amid preparations for the Tall Ships Races Festival when he went missing around lunchtime yesterday.

Fire officers reportedly retrieved the boy from the water and gave him CPR on the quayside before he was transferred to St Vincent's Hospital in Merrion.

The Irish Times reports that the teen was in the area to volunteer with the Kings of Concrete urban sports display group as part of the Tall Ships Races events.

Organisers later confirmed that the boy was not preparing for his volunteer work at the time of the incident, which underlines the importance of water safety for all volunteers and visitors at the Docklands festival starting tomorrow.

Safety is also paramount aboard the tall ships fleet as they make their way to the capital, with damage inflicted on nearly all the more than 40 vessels in stormy conditions in the Bay of Biscay, according to the Irish Independent.

Ecuadorian naval ship the Guayas suffered eight ripped sails in the storm, but the worst damage was sustained by the Polish schooner Captain Borchardt, which arrived in Dublin with a broken mast.

However, master of the skip Janus Zbierajewski jokingly described the experience as "absolutely perfect weather".

The bad weather was enough to force at least once ship to abandon the final race leg, with Sail Training Association flagship STS Pogoria arriving in Dublin Port some days ahead of schedule.

Published in Tall Ships

#TALL SHIPS - Preparations are well underway for the arrival of the Tall Ships Races Festival Dublin, one of the most anticipated events of the year which kicks off this Thursday 23 August.

Presented by the Polish port city of Szczecin and organised by Sail Training International, the festival in Dublin's Docklands aims to top last year's celebrations in Waterford and will see the city come alive with a spectacular atmosphere both on and off the water.

Some of the 40 magnificent Tall Ships - such as the barque STS Pogoria – have already begun to arrive in Dublin Port at the end of the prestigious international race and will line the North and South of the River Liffey as the centerpiece of the four-day free festival.

Along with Waterways Ireland's programme at Grand Canal Dock as previously reported on Afloat.ie, organisers Dublin City Council and the Dublin Port Company have scheduled an impressive series of events to herald the arrival of the fleet that will cater for all tastes and ages and will showcase Dublin at its very best.

And don't forget you can catch all the sights on the Allianz All-Aboard Liffey Cruise, with seats available for just €1!

The highlight of the weekend is bound to be the stunning Parade of Sail as the ships depart the capital on Sunday 26 August from 11am.

Friday afternoon will also see thousands of Tall Ships crew members from all four corners of the globe march up Dublin’s north quays from Point Village for what promises to be a vibrant, colourful spectacle to kick off the weekend, finishing at The Custom House for a special prize giving ceremony with musical accompaniment from the the Garda Band, the Tallaght Youth Band and the Army No 1 Band. 


Also taking place is a series of maritime-themed readings and talks in various locations, including a barge, which will celebrate the history and some of the personal tales from Dublin’s Docklands.

Celebrated writers and historians such as Peter Sheridan, Theo Dorgan, Anne Chambers, Turtle Bunbury and the local Dockers Preservation Society will regale their audiences with tales of Dublin City, its port, their sailing experiences, excerpts from their books. See www.dublintallships.ie for times and e-mail your name and title of talk to [email protected] to be placed on the guest list - first come, first served. 
 


Complementing the maritime element, the festival will feature 55 music acts over the four days including the Undertones, Ash and Therapy? at the Bulmers Live Music Dock at George’s Dock. And the entertainment continues into the evening with an open-air floating cinema showing classics such as Jaws and The Life Aquatic.

More than 100 performance acts from trapeze artists to wake boarding will wow the crowds on both sides of the river each afternoon, not to mention food and craft markets, walking literary tours and a funfair.
 


On the south quays, Grand Canal Dock will host a family zone, while Hanover Quay will come alive with skateboarding, parkour, beatboxing and music with the spectacular Kings of Concrete. Visitors can also try their hand at cable kayaking, pedalo boats, wakeboarding and crazy golf on a pontoon at Grand Canal Dock with Waterways Ireland and Surf Dock.

On the other side, food demonstrations from some of Ireland’s leading chefs will take place at the Theatre of Food in Linear Park. And the Festival Hub at CHQ will have a more relaxed atmosphere with a beautiful black and white photography exhibition from the Dublin Docklands Preservation Society, a range of workshops including yoga and 'upcycling' an and exhibition of Viking Dublin in the vaults. 


Full details of events and how to get to the Tall Ships Races Festival can be found at www.dublintallships.ie. Gardaí are appealing for visitors to use public transport into the city due to a number of road closures, and have warned that anti-social behaviour including pubic drinking will not be tolerated.

Published in Tall Ships

#TALLSHIPS COUNTDOWN – Now that the Tall Ships are beginning to arrive, noting yesterday's call of STS Pogoria as previously reported and the Ecuadorian Navy's sail-training ship Guayas which has since docked in Dublin Port, we can look forward to many more such vessels, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The sailing spectacle which is presented by Szczecin and organised by Sail Training International has been billed as Ireland's biggest summer free family festival (23-26th August). The event is expected to attract an estimated 1 million visitors to throng the Liffey and witness ships of the bygone era of sail.

The rest of the 40 –plus strong fleet, are to descent into Dublin Port during the week, and where the capital last held the event in 1998, then promoted as the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Races.

Since then there have seen considerable changes, particularly along the Liffey quays and campshires, where derelict docklands have been replaced by an expanding financial district, beyond the IFSC complex. There have also been great improvements on and over the Liffey and spanning that timeframe there have been three bridges built and the sight-seeing river excursion boat, Spirit of the Docklands.

No doubt this 'new' waterfront will form an exciting visual mix with the arrival of a forest of masts, plus international crew soaking in the atmosphere that these events bring, and the opportunity for flocks of visitors to board these wonderful ships of sail.

With so many tallships and of varying rigging, they are divided into four sailing classes: A,B,C and D, Each vessel has at least 50 per cent of the crew aged between 15 and 25 years old and the ships must meet the Sail Training International's safety equipment requirements.

Below is an example of each classification including the websites relating to the particular tallship, should you wish to gain a further insight into the story of these majestic vessels.

Alexander Von Humboldt II

Class: A All square – rigged vessels (barque, barquentine, brig, brigantine or ship rigged) and all other vessel more than 40 metres Length Overall (LOA), regardless of rig.

Length: 65 Year Built: 2011 Country of Registration: Germany Rig: Barque 3

Johanna Lucretia

Class: B Traditionally-rigged vessels (ie gaff rigged sloops, ketches, yawls and schooners) with an LOA of less than 40 metres and with a waterline length (LWL) of at least 9.14 metres.

Length: 25.3 Year Built: 1945 Country of Registration: UK Rig: Gaff Schooner 2

Prolific

Class: C Modern rigged vessels (i.e Bermudan rigged sloops, ketches, yawls and schooners) with an LOA of less than 40 metres and with a waterline length (LWL) of at least 9.14 metres not carrying spinnaker-like sails.

Length: 30.16 Year Built: 2003 Country of Registration: Norway Rig: Bermuda Ketch

Creidne

Class: D Modern rigged vessels (i.e Bermudan rigged sloops, ketches, yawls and schooners) with an LOA of less than 40 metres and with a waterline length (LWL) of at least 9.14 metres carrying spinnaker-like sails.

Length: 70 Feet Year Built: 1967 Country of Registration: Ireland Rig: Bermuda Ketch

Note there is no direct website for this vessel, however under the festival website. Firstly go to view gallery, then see fleet and lastly click Class D. By scrolling look for the photo of the yacht with the gold Irish shamrock on the spinnaker. The vessel was taken off the Spit Sandbank Lighthouse in lower Cork Harbour.

So fair sailing!.. to all on board as we eagerly await these splendid ships into the horse-shoe shape of Dublin Bay.

Published in Tall Ships

#TALL SHIPS – The first of the Tall Ships has arrived, the barque STS Pogoria, an A-class tallship which berthed in Dun Loaghaire Harbour this afternoon, albeit earlier than expected due to bad weather, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The steel hulled 49m long vessel encountered bad weather in the Bay of Biscay, while taking part in the final race leg from Coruna, where on Thursday night, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, the official finishing line was off Tuskar Rock.

She made her entrance to Dublin Bay, albeit without setting sail and as she motored passed the Kish Lighthouse, she set a course for the South Burford buoy near Dalkey Island. She then headed for Dun Laoghaire rather then Dublin, from where a pilot cutter departed to board the vessel.

STS Pogoria was built for the Steel Workers Union in 1980 and her current status as 'flagship' of The Sail Training Association which is based in Gdansk, and from where she was built. She has a crew of 11 officers and a trainee crew of around 40 personnel.

Over the next few days the fleet of tallships numbering more than 40 vessels, are to arrive in Dublin Port. The next caller is expected to be the  Ecuadorian Navy's sail-training ship Guayas with an ETA of 18.00hrs today. The tallship is also rigged as a barque, yet she is considerably larger, measuring nearly 80m in length and a crew complement of 112 officers and 63 trainees.

Published in Tall Ships

#TALL SHIPS - Waterways Ireland has announced a series of events around Grand Canal Dock in support of the Tall Ships Races Festival.

The events will be centred around the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre on Grand Canal Quay, with a full programme of children’s art and craft workshops and two exhibitions running throughout the festival. The programme includes:

'A Very Grand Canal' Art Exhibition

A Very Grand Canal is a collection of artistic responses to the Grand Canal commissioned by Offaly County Council through the Per Cent for Art scheme. Three projects were chosen, some with multiple outcomes, all illuminating the Grand Canal in ways not seen, heard or read before. The artists include, Geraldine O’Reilly (printmaker), La Cosa Preziosa (sound artist), Martina McGlynn and Garret Daly (Filmmakers), Eugene O’Brien (writer) Veronica Nicholson (photographer) and Wayne Brennan (musician). The exhibition runs throughout the Tall Ships festival from 10am to 6pm daily.

Small Ships at the Tall Ships

Small Ships at the Tall Ships is an exhibition of work by the Irish Model Boat Club, featuring small tall ships, RNLI lifeboats and a 16ft model of the Titanic. There will also be a demonstration of radio controlled model boats, and a model boat building workshop for children 7 and up (call 01 677 7510 to book; places are limited). The exhibition is open daily throughout the festival.

Waterways Ireland Community Choir  

The Waterways Ireland Community Choir’s members are local people from the Docklands and along the canals coming together to sing songs of the rivers, canals and docks. Their performance on the jetty of the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre at 4pm on Saturday 25 August will feature a wide repertoire of songs including Simon & Garfunkel’s 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' and the more light-hearted traditional song 'Drunken Sailor'.

'Decorate Your Duck' Workshop  

Who will have the best looking duck in the Duck Race? The Decorate Your Duck workshop runs in the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm. There will be glitter and glue, paint and polish, so come on down and give your duck some character! The Duck Race is run in aid of St Andrews Resource Centre, Pearse Street.

'Watery Stories' with Púca Puppets  

Niamh from Púca Puppets invites the young (and young at heart) to meet 'canalmaid' Mary Mary, who will pull ashore at the Waterways Ireland Visitors Centre for the Dublin Tall Ships Festival and is looking for help in finding clues, creating and drawing stories to illustrate life on and in Ireland's canals and inland waterways. Suitable for 6-10 year olds and their families, Watery Stories takes place on Friday 24, Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 August at 11am and 2pm. Booking is advisable as places are limited - phone 01 677 7510.

Published in Tall Ships
Page 18 of 26

Naval Visits focuses on forthcoming courtesy visits by foreign navies from our nearest neighbours, to navies from European Union and perhaps even those navies from far-flung distant shores.

In covering these Naval Visits, the range of nationality arising from these vessels can also be broad in terms of the variety of ships docking in our ports.

The list of naval ship types is long and they perform many tasks. These naval ships can include coastal patrol vessels, mine-sweepers, mine-hunters, frigates, destroyers, amphibious dock-landing vessels, helicopter-carriers, submarine support ships and the rarer sighting of submarines.

When Naval Visits are made, it is those that are open to the public to come on board, provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate up close and personal, what these look like and what they can do and a chance to discuss with the crew.

It can make even more interesting for visitors when a flotilla arrives, particularly comprising an international fleet, adding to the sense of curiosity and adding a greater mix to the type of vessels boarded.

All of this makes Naval Visits a fascinating and intriguing insight into the role of navies from abroad, as they spend time in our ports, mostly for a weekend-long call, having completed exercises at sea.

These naval exercises can involve joint co-operation between other naval fleets off Ireland, in the approaches of the Atlantic, and way offshore of the coasts of western European countries.

In certain circumstances, Naval Visits involve vessels which are making repositioning voyages over long distances between continents, having completed a tour of duty in zones of conflict.

Joint naval fleet exercises bring an increased integration of navies within Europe and beyond. These exercises improve greater co-operation at EU level but also internationally, not just on a political front, but these exercises enable shared training skills in carrying out naval skills and also knowledge.

Naval Visits are also reciprocal, in that the Irish Naval Service, has over the decades, visited major gatherings overseas, while also carrying out specific operations on many fronts.

Ireland can, therefore, be represented through these ships that also act as floating ambassadorial platforms, supporting our national interests.

These interests are not exclusively political in terms of foreign policy, through humanitarian commitments, but are also to assist existing trade and tourism links and also develop further.

Equally important is our relationship with the Irish diaspora, and to share this sense of identity with the rest of the World.