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Displaying items by tag: Galway

Following a two-year break due to the pandemic, Galway RNLI’s Sample Our Soup fundraiser will return to the streets of Galway on Saturday 11 February.

The fundraiser — which sees proceeds raised go towards powering the lifesaving work of the volunteer lifeboat crew — has gone from strength to strength over the years and continues to be one of the station’s favourite events enabling the team to get out and about to highlight their work and say thanks to those they meet for their ongoing support. Even Stormy Stan, the RNLI’s mascot, makes an appearance.

The heartwarming soup is prepared by Mark Hopkins, head Chef at The Seafood Bar at Kirwan’s Lane. Volunteers from Galway RNLI will be located outside Taaffes Bar on Shop Street from 11am on Saturday 11 February to serve the soup to Galway shoppers.

Annette Cullen, Galway RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer said: “Without volunteers like those in our fundraising team and our lifeboat crew who selflessly give of their own time, our lifeboat couldn’t function and continue to be rescue ready.

“As a charity, we are reliant on the generosity of the public in supporting this work through fundraisers such as Sample Our Soup, so in advance of Saturday, we would like to say thank you.

“Thanks too to our sponsors Kirwans Lane, Raftery’s Centra Claregalway and Cater Rent Ballybrit Industrial Estate for their continued support of this event.”

This story has been updated to reflect the change in date for the event.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Off the west coast of Ireland, wind energy awaiting to be harnessed could be akin to the past discovery under the sea bed of crude oil and natural gas.

As the Connacht Tribune reports, the Port of Galway is an ideal location to act as a focal point for these projects.

That was the view of Port of Galway Chief Executive Officer, Conor O’Dowd, when a presentation was made to city councillors at a meeting on Monday, outlining the potential for the harbour in the years ahead.

According to the CEO wind speeds off the north-west coast of Ireland, were the best in Europe and the UK with Galway as a base ideally situated to capitalise on this form of natural energy.

Click here for more on the west coast port city from where in April, the Taoiseach endorsed plans for the state's first energy hub.  

Published in Galway Harbour

The Galway Sea Scouts took a trip to Nawaka, the National Sea Scouts Festival in Netherlands as Damien McCoy reports

Like Disneyland for Sea Scouts is how one of our Sea Scouts described Nawaka, the National Water Camp they attended in Zeewolde, Netherlands. Held every 4 years and running for 10 days, the Sea Scout festival is one of the largest of its kind and this year, Port of Galway Sea Scouts returned with 27 Scouts and 8 Leaders to represent Ireland at the event.

With 7,000 Scouts and Staff on site, the Nawaka village had a real festival feel, complete with popup shops, exhibitions and activities to keep everyone entertained and provided for. The opening ceremony saw the entire festival flotilla descend upon the local harbour of Zeewolde, which was awash with the brightly coloured Lelievlet Boats that each Sea Scout group paints in their group colours.

Nawaka 2022 Opening ceremony, Zeewolde harbour

The Lelievlet has been the standard boat of the Dutch Sea Scouts since the 1950s, with its steel hull providing lower maintenance than wooden predecessors and its 6 person capacity ensuring that younger scouts have the opportunity to sail with and learn from their older crewmates. Its design also offers the opportunity for Scouts to gain proficiency in sailing, rowing and stern sculling all in a single vessel. Stern sculling was the required way to enter and leave port and it was amazing to see very young scouts powering boats out of harbour using this technique.

Galway Sea Scouts aboard Barbarossa and Grace O’Malley - Dutch Sea Scout Lelievlets

There was a previous effort to introduce Lelievlet’s into Irish Sea Scouting, but to our knowledge only two of the boats remain operational and are now based on the Shannon in Limerick City with 25th Limerick Scout Group since the withdrawal of sailing from the Killaloe Scout Centre. Given the suitability of this boat type for youth mentoring and participation in sailing, we’re now investigating how we can revive their use in Ireland.

The generosity of numerous Dutch Sea Scout groups also ensured that we got the use of Lelievlets for the duration of the festival, with many of the Galway kids electing to join Dutch crews, enabling them to learn the best way to rig and handle these unfamiliar boats.

Mixed Irish & Dutch crew aboard a Dutch Sea Scout Lelievlet

The exchanges went beyond nautical knowledge however, with our Scouts also learning about Dutch culture and building new friendships which will endure long after Nawaka is over. We’re expecting a few of the groups to visit Galway over the next year so that we can return the hospitality they extended to us and give them a chance to experience the mountains and ocean which is not part of their usual scouting program.

We also had a fantastic opportunity to provide the Dutch a taste of Irish nautical heritage as we brought Loveen, the Port of Galway Sea Scout Gleoiteog to Nawaka this year. Supported by a crew from Galway Hooker Sailing Club we were able to ensure that many of our new Dutch friends had the opportunity to experience sailing in the traditional Galway Hooker.

Aboard Loveen the Port of Galway Sea Scout Gleoiteog at the Nawaka 2022 Parade of Sail

An interesting feature of Sea Scouting in the Netherlands is the use of large barges, tugs and other retired commercial vessels by Groups as their Scout Den, many of which had made long trips through the canals and waterways of the country to bring the sailing and camping equipment required by their team. 

Dutch Sea Scout Tug boat, which serves as their Scout Den

Sailing events during Nawaka included the Vlettenrally, where Sea Scouts are challenged to sail the greatest distance in 8 hours, resulting in one crew taking the directions literally and making it half way to Belgium before being intercepted and brought back late at night by powerboat. Other days were spent by the kids honing their tacks, jibes and reaches, while other times they simply enjoyed the freedom of swimming off the side of the anchored boats as a way to cool off from the high temperatures. For many of them it was the first sailing experience outside of Galway Bay and the absence of our usual wetsuits, hats and gloves was welcomed by all.

The parade of sail towards the end of the festival involved the entire flotilla of Nawaka craft making their way up to Zeewolde for a night time display of lights, decorations and music for the families of Scouts and local residents who had assembled on shore to watch. Explorers Scouts, the equivalent of our Venture Scouts, provided entertainment on barges as we paraded past, including a rock band and disco.

Irish & Dutch mixed crewed Lelievlets, under tow for the parade of sail

Sunset at the Parade of Sail in Nawaka 2022

 Lelievlets under tow to join the Nawaka flotilla

 The 27 Sea Scouts who attended have all vowed to return in 2026, either as Scouts again, or in the case of the older ones as leaders and staff volunteers. Nawaka 2022 has ensured that they have not just expanded their knowledge of sailing and scouting and gained an appreciation of Dutch culture, but have also grown and developed the life skills they will need as they become young adults.

Flying the Ireland & Scouting Ireland flags at Zeewolde Scout Centre Marina

The trip would never have happened without the dedication, time and efforts of the Leaders and parents of the Port of Galway Sea Scouts, with Denis Murphy who worked tirelessly during COVID to ensure we made it to Nawaka worthy of a special mention.

Denis Murphy, Nawaka 2022 Camp Chief for Port of Galway Sea Scouts

If you’d like to find out more about Nawaka, please visit nawaka.scouting.nl and to learn about Port of Galway Sea Scouts you can find us at galwayseascouts.com

Published in Galway Harbour
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Galway adventurer and former professional rugby player Damian Browne and his friend and fellow rugby player Fergus Farrell have set off from New York on their unsupported row across the Atlantic.

The pair are attempting to set a new Guinness world record in their purpose-built Seasabre 6.2m craft, and estimate it will take 1.5 million oar strokes to complete the 5,000 km crossing.

They are also raising funds for four charities – Ability West, the Galway Simon Community, Madra animal rescue and the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) foundation.

Browne is well familiar with what is ahead, having spent 63 days 6 hours and 25 minutes at sea completing the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge to Antigua in 2017-18.

The existing world record for an unsupported row was set over 120 years ago by Norwegians George Harboe and Frank (Gabriel) Samuelsen who were the first pair to attempt it.

The Norwegian crossing from New York to the Scilly Isles in 1896 took 55 days and 13 hours. After a short break in the Scillys they rowed another five days to Le Havre in France.

Browne and Farrell say there have been 52 previous attempted crossings by way of an unsupported row, with 11 of these attempts by pairs. Only six of those pairs managed to complete the row.

There have also been successful crossings by six solo rowers, five fours and one crew of five.

Browne, who spent 16 years on the rugby pitches of the Celtic League, English Premiership and French Top 14 Championship and was part of the winning 2012/13 Heineken Cup team with Leinster Rugby, has climbed in the high altitude Pamir mountains in Afghanistan.

He has summited Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mont Blanc in France and Gran Paradiso in Italy.

After retiring from rugby, he completed the six day, 257 km Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert, also known as the “toughest footrace on Earth”. He then spent 18 months preparing for his solo row across the Atlantic.

At sea, he endured nine-metre swells, a badly cut head, capsizes, encounters with whales, sea and pressure sores, lost an oar and experienced complete steering failure with still over 2000 nautical miles to go to Antigua.

“A hell of an experience, hell of an adventure and a hell of a challenge,”he describes it on his website.

“It was exactly what I wanted from the challenge, I wanted to be pushed to my limits mentally and physically and I got exactly what I wanted,”he said.

Fergus Farrell, his partner on “Project Empower” as this new transatlantic crossing is called, is a lifelong friend of Browne’s. Both played underage rugby together for Connacht and Farrell was a self-employed business man who experienced a traumatic spinal injury.

On October 26th 2018, Farrell ruptured his T9, T10 and T11 spinal discs in the middle of his back. One of the ruptured discs leaked into his spinal cord. After an operation in the National Spinal Unit at the Mater Hospital, Farrell says he noticed his motionless feet and asked his surgeon if this is how he would be for the rest of his life?

He says the surgeon put his hand on Fergus’s shoulder and “calmly told him he had been extremely unlucky”.

Farrell, who was then paralysed from the waist down, moved to the NRH and set about his recovery.

On October 26th 2019, a year after his surgery, he miraculously completed a 206km walk from the site of the injury at his yard in Athenry, Galway to the NRH in Dún Laoghaire.

Farrell attributes his recovery to his “stubbornness, thickness and determination”, and he also raised €70,000 for the NRH.

Farrell says he is determined to give his second chance of life everything he can give. He says he wants to show people that “the mind is a positive and powerful part of everybody’s lives” and that “when challenged correctly there are no limits to what you can achieve”.

Browne and Farrell’s progress can be tracked on their website here

Regular Afloat readers will recall the pair previously rowed a currach from Aran islands to Galway here

Published in Coastal Rowing
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NUI Galway has applied for planning permission for a new watersports facility on the city campus.

As Galway Bay FM reports, the development at the college’s upper Newcastle campus would involve the construction of a rowing storage shed, along with two floating platoons on the bank of the Corrib river.

A pedestrian and cyclist greenway along Corrib would link to an existing footpath, and the plans include equipment storage facilities, changing rooms, drying room, bathrooms, reception, first aid and a café.

A gym training room, function room, kitchenette, mother and baby room, communications room and offices are also provided for in the application, which has been submitted along with an environmental impact statement.

Galway city planners are expected to rule on the application in July.

Read more on the Galway Bay FM website here

 

Published in Galway Harbour
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The first sod has been turned on constructing a new pedestrian and cycleway across the river Corrib – the first new bridge over the Atlantic coast river in over 30 years.

The new Salmon Weir crossing will “draw pedestrians and cyclists and facilitate a seamless and natural flow from either side of the river, while creating an iconic focal point for locals and tourists alike”, according to Galway City Council.

The project is funded by the European Commission through the European Regional Development Fund, and the National Transport Authority.

“This world-class bridge will remove current conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists, and traffic, and will enhance links between both sides of the river, as well as facilitating the Cross-City Link public transport corridor over the existing 200-year-old bridge,” Galway city council chief executive Brendan McGrath said.

Minister of State for Transport and Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton also welcomed the construction.

“Anyone who has, like me, walked across the old bridge, will have been conscious that one slip could lead to a collision given how narrow the footpaths are,” she said.

“ This new shared-use pedestrian and cycle bridge at the Salmon Weir Bridge will bring a number of significant benefits to Galway city, including offering a dedicated safe crossing point for pedestrians and cyclists alike,” Ms Naughton said.

“This is one of over 1,200 projects across the length and breadth of the country to receive targeted funding towards making walking and cycling in our villages, towns and cities safer, more sustainable and enjoyable,” she added.

Planning consent for the new bridge was approved by An Bord Pleanála on August 16th last year, and the construction tender was issued in December.

A contractor was appointed in March of this year, and some advance works, including tree felling, took place before the end of February. Galway City Council anticipates the bridge will be “substantially completed by early 2023”.

Published in Galway Harbour
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A crew of nine were rescued by Galway RNLI last night (Tuesday 24 August) after their RIB ran aground in Ballyvaughan Bay.

With the boat’s propeller and engine damaged, the crew used VHF communications to alert the Irish Coast Guard who immediately sought the assistance of Galway RNLI's inshore lifeboat.

The lifeboat launched from Galway Docks at about 10pm. Conditions were calm and dark when the lifeboat crew located the stricken vessel some 20 minutes later.

All nine crew on board the 6.5m boat were wearing lifejackets and did not need any medical assistance.

Galway RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crew of helm Brian Nilan, James Rhattigan, Dave McGrath and Cathal Bryne took the boat in tow to Parkmore Pier near Kinvara.

Galway RNLI deputy launching authority Seán Óg Leydon said: “The crew of the vessel acted quickly by dropping anchor straight away and contacting the Irish Coast Guard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Galway City Council has welcomed An Bord Pleanála’s approval for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge adjacent to the Salmon Weir Bridge over the River Corrib.

The council’s chief executive said the new bridge is a part of its Galway Transport Strategy, which aims to “enhance sustainable travel within the city centre and reduce dependency on the private motor vehicle, in line with national transport and planning policies”.

Brendan McGrath added: “This decision to approve the project is great news, and now allows us to progress it to the next stage.

“This significant development will tie in closely with other projects such as BusConnects Galway, public realm improvements on Newtownsmith and the creation of a civic plaza at the cathedral/Gaol Road.

“These will all work together to create safer spaces for pedestrians and cyclists as they move through the city, as well as a more enjoyable public realm for all.”

The bridge will be co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund with matched funding from the National Transport Authority.

A public consultation on the bridge plans ran last summer via virtual ‘information rooms’ to compensate for the lack of in-person events due to the pandemic.

Following completion of design documents, the construction contract will be opened to tender early next year, the council says.

Published in Inland Waterways
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A local community in eastern Co Mayo rallied to attempt to save as many as 13 common dolphins that live-stranded near Blacksod on Friday (13 August).

As Mayo IWDG’s Facebook reports, the family group comprising 13 dolphins — mainly mothers and calves with a large male — stranded at Tarmon Beach with the tide dropping.

Sadly three of the dolphins died before they could be helped, but the rest responded to being cooled with buckets of seawater by local volunteers assisting the area’s Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) members.

As the tide was still dropping for over an hour, it was quickly decided to move the dolphins 2km by road to the slipway at Blacksod where they could be more easily immersed and cared for.

The local IWDG team used their new wheeled dolphin stretcher to transport the larger marine wildlife to a horse box, while the juveniles were carried in beach towels.

Once carefully released back into the water, all were seen to swim quickly and without obvious distress, and by 9pm the pod had left the area.

“Tarmon and the surrounding beaches on the east side of the Mullet Peninsula are notorious for common dolphins live-stranding due to the topography of the beaches,” Mayo IWDG said.

“The beaches are large flat expanses so during spring tides especially, the water can level can drop uniformly and recede up to 1km in parts. Common dolphins being an offshore dolphin species often get caught out on such difficult-to-navigate shallow terrain.

“When a dolphin live-strands it puts immense pressure on their bodies. They can become very disorientated and have muscle spasms from the stranding event making it difficult to swim, which is why this group were given recovery time at Blacksod before being released.

“Thanks again to everyone who helped out today; it was so humbling to see everyone work together to get this pod back to the sea.”

Juvenile dolphins cooled down with wet towels and seaweed were given recovery time with their pod before release | Credit: Mayo IWDG/FacebookJuvenile dolphins cooled down with wet towels and seaweed were given recovery time with their pod before release | Credit: Mayo IWDG/Facebook

Elsewhere, the IWDG reports on two separate strandings of Sowerby’s beaked whales in Co Galway. The first was found washed up on Inisbofin at the end of the week while the second was reported yesterday (Saturday 14 August) across the water in Cleggan.

Commenting on the former report, the IWDG said: “Beaked whales are not stranded that frequently but this individual had evidence of rope marks on its body.

“As [they are] an offshore deep-diving species we don’t expect beaked whales to get entangled in fishing gear or interact with offshore activity.

“Maybe these rope marks were not from fishing but some other source. Hard to tell, but without a full post-mortem examination the cause of death will remain speculative.”

Published in Marine Wildlife

Irish Water has been asked to explain why the Connemara harbour of Roundstone may end up with two wastewater treatment plants in a bid to meet EU water quality standards.

As The Times Ireland edition reports, Bord Pleanála has queried why Irish Water would not work with the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) on its plans for a treatment plant instead of opting for its own separate location.

Roundstone’s existing sewerage scheme dates from 1929, discharging wastewater directly into the sea at three locations.

As Afloat reported in March, Irish Water told residents at an information meeting two years ago that treatment would stop the discharge of the equivalent of “645 wheelie bins” daily of wastewater into the bay.

It explained that a proposed plant designed for a population of 1,000 people would comply with the Urban Wastewater Treatment directive.

Irish Water then sought compulsory acquisition of private land to the north of the village, overlooking inner Roundstone Bay.

An oral hearing on this acquisition application was held by An Bord Pleanála in March of this year.

The State body said if its application for the land was approved, it would then seeking planning permission with a target completion date for construction of 2024.

The King family, who are opposing the compulsory acquisition of their property, have accused Irish Water of a lack of transparency.

Some residents have questioned why Irish Water could not cooperate with the IDA on its plans for a treatment plant on State land to the south of the village.

The residents argue that inner bay site is unsuitable, citing data showing a projected increase in sewage discharge from 86 to 106 cubic metres per day - as in a 23% increase.

Local fisherman Pat Conneely has said that the IDA location would be more suitable on an environmental basis than the proposed inner bay location, given that the latter is tidal.

Roundstone Community Council, which has been campaigning for a treatment plant for 20 years, has said it supports the democratic right of local people to object to the choice of location.

In an eight-page letter to Irish Water, An Bord Pleanála refers to an“inconsistency” in its approach and seeks detailed answers to a series of technical questions which must be received by July 7th.

Bord Pleanála notes that Roundstone is on the Wild Atlantic Way - attracting the second-highest landscape rating in the Galway County development plan - and asks Irish Water to comment on “the potential for alternative sites”.

It also asks Irish Water to comment on a recommendation by RPS Consultants that a site to the south of the village – where the IDA has land – is the “only viable” option.

Irish Water confirmed it had “received a number of queries from An Bord Pleanála” and said “the project team are currently reviewing these queries and will submit detailed responses in the coming months in accordance with the timeline requested”.

Read The Times here

Published in Coastal Notes
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About the Irish Navy

The Navy maintains a constant presence 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout Ireland’s enormous and rich maritime jurisdiction, upholding Ireland’s sovereign rights. The Naval Service is tasked with a variety of roles including defending territorial seas, deterring intrusive or aggressive acts, conducting maritime surveillance, maintaining an armed naval presence, ensuring right of passage, protecting marine assets, countering port blockades; people or arms smuggling, illegal drugs interdiction, and providing the primary diving team in the State.

The Service supports Army operations in the littoral and by sealift, has undertaken supply and reconnaissance missions to overseas peace support operations and participates in foreign visits all over the world in support of Irish Trade and Diplomacy.  The eight ships of the Naval Service are flexible and adaptable State assets. Although relatively small when compared to their international counterparts and the environment within which they operate, their patrol outputs have outperformed international norms.

The Irish Naval Service Fleet

The Naval Service is the State's principal seagoing agency. The Naval Service operates jointly with the Army and Air Corps.

The fleet comprises one Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV), three Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), two Large Patrol Vessel (LPV) and two Coastal Patrol Vessels (CPV). Each vessel is equipped with state of the art machinery, weapons, communications and navigation systems.

LÉ EITHNE P31

LE Eithne was built in Verlome Dockyard in Cork and was commissioned into service in 1984. She patrols the Irish EEZ and over the years she has completed numerous foreign deployments.

Type Helicopter Patrol Vessel
Length 80.0m
Beam 12m
Draught 4.3m
Main Engines 2 X Ruston 12RKC Diesels6, 800 HP2 Shafts
Speed 18 knots
Range 7000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 55 (6 Officers)
Commissioned 7 December 1984

LÉ ORLA P41

L.É. Orla was formerly the HMS SWIFT a British Royal Navy patrol vessel stationed in the waters of Hong Kong. She was purchased by the Irish State in 1988. She scored a notable operational success in 1993 when she conducted the biggest drug seizure in the history of the state at the time, with her interception and boarding at sea of the 65ft ketch, Brime.

Type Coastal Patrol Vessel
Length 62.6m
Beam 10m
Draught 2.7m
Main Engines 2 X Crossley SEMT- Pielstick Diesels 14,400 HP 2 Shafts
Speed 25 + Knots
Range 2500 Nautical Miles @ 17 knots
Crew 39 (5 Officers)

LÉ CIARA P42

L.É. Ciara was formerly the HMS SWALLOW a British Royal Navy patrol vessel stationed in the waters of Hong Kong. She was purchased by the Irish State in 1988. She scored a notable operational success in Nov 1999 when she conducted the second biggest drug seizure in the history of the state at that time, with her interception and boarding at sea of MV POSIDONIA of the south-west coast of Ireland.

Type Coastal Patrol Vessel
Length 62.6m
Beam 10m
Draught 2.7m
Main Engines 2 X Crossley SEMT- Pielstick Diesels 14,400 HP 2 Shafts
Speed 25 + Knots
Range 2500 Nautical Miles @ 17 knots
Crew 39 (5 Officers)

LÉ ROISIN P51

L.É. Roisin (the first of the Roisín class of vessel) was built in Appledore Shipyards in the UK for the Naval Service in 2001. She was built to a design that optimises her patrol performance in Irish waters (which are some of the roughest in the world), all year round. For that reason a greater length overall (78.8m) was chosen, giving her a long sleek appearance and allowing the opportunity to improve the conditions on board for her crew.

Type Long Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 78.84m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 X Twin 16 cly V26 Wartsila 26 medium speed Diesels
5000 KW at 1,000 RPM 2 Shafts
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)
Commissioned 18 September 2001

LÉ NIAMH P52

L.É. Niamh (the second of the Róisín class) was built in Appledore Shipyard in the UK for the Naval Service in 2001. She is an improved version of her sister ship, L.É.Roisin

Type Long Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 78.84m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 X Twin 16 cly V26 Wartsila 26 medium speed Diesels
5000 KW at 1,000 RPM 2 Shafts
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)
Commissioned 18 September 2001

LÉ SAMUEL BECKETT P61

LÉ Samuel Beckett is an Offshore Patrol Vessel built and fitted out to the highest international standards in terms of safety, equipment fit, technological innovation and crew comfort. She is also designed to cope with the rigours of the North-East Atlantic.

Type Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 90.0m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines and Power Take In, 2 x shafts, 10000kw
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)

LÉ JAMES JOYCE P62

LÉ James Joyce is an Offshore Patrol Vessel and represents an updated and lengthened version of the original RÓISÍN Class OPVs which were also designed and built to the Irish Navy specifications by Babcock Marine Appledore and she is truly a state of the art ship. She was commissioned into the naval fleet in September 2015. Since then she has been constantly engaged in Maritime Security and Defence patrolling of the Irish coast. She has also deployed to the Defence Forces mission in the Mediterranean from July to end of September 2016, rescuing 2491 persons and recovering the bodies of 21 deceased

Type Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 90.0m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines and Power Take In, 2 x shafts, 10000kw
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)

LÉ WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS P63

L.É. William Butler Yeats was commissioned into the naval fleet in October 2016. Since then she has been constantly engaged in Maritime Security and Defence patrolling of the Irish coast. She has also deployed to the Defence Forces mission in the Mediterranean from July to October 2017, rescuing 704 persons and recovering the bodies of three deceased.

Type Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 90.0m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines and Power Take In, 2 x shafts, 10000kw
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)

LÉ GEORGE BERNARD SHAW P64

LÉ George Bernard Shaw (pennant number P64) is the fourth and final ship of the P60 class vessels built for the Naval Service in Babcock Marine Appledore, Devon. The ship was accepted into State service in October 2018, and, following a military fit-out, commenced Maritime Defence and Security Operations at sea.

Type Offshore Patrol Vessel
Length 90.0m
Beam 14m
Draught 3.8m
Main Engines 2 x Wärtsilä diesel engines and Power Take In, 2 x shafts, 10000kw
Speed 23 knots
Range 6000 Nautical Miles @ 15 knots
Crew 44 (6 Officers)

Ship information courtesy of the Defence Forces

Irish Navy FAQs

The Naval Service is the Irish State's principal seagoing agency with "a general responsibility to meet contingent and actual maritime defence requirements". It is tasked with a variety of defence and other roles.

The Naval Service is based in Ringaskiddy, Cork harbour, with headquarters in the Defence Forces headquarters in Dublin.

The Naval Service provides the maritime component of the Irish State's defence capabilities and is the State's principal seagoing agency. It "protects Ireland's interests at and from the sea, including lines of communication, fisheries and offshore resources" within the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The Naval Service operates jointly with the Army and Air Corps as part of the Irish defence forces.

The Naval Service was established in 1946, replacing the Marine and Coastwatching Service set up in 1939. It had replaced the Coastal and Marine Service, the State's first marine service after independence, which was disbanded after a year. Its only ship was the Muirchú, formerly the British armed steam yacht Helga, which had been used by the Royal Navy to shell Dublin during the 1916 Rising. In 1938, Britain handed over the three "treaty" ports of Cork harbour, Bere haven and Lough Swilly.

The Naval Service has nine ships - one Helicopter Patrol Vessel (HPV), three Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), two Large Patrol Vessel (LPV) and two Coastal Patrol Vessels (CPV). Each vessel is equipped with State of the art machinery, weapons, communications and navigation systems.

The ships' names are prefaced with the title of Irish ship or "long Éireannach" (LE). The older ships bear Irish female names - LÉ Eithne, LÉ Orla, LÉ Ciara, LÉ Roisín, and LÉ Niamh. The newer ships, named after male Irish literary figures, are LÉ Samuel Beckett, LÉ James Joyce, LÉ William Butler Yeats and LÉ George Bernard Shaw.

Yes. The 76mm Oto Melara medium calibre naval armament is the most powerful weapon in the Naval Services arsenal. The 76mm is "capable of engaging naval targets at a range of up to 17km with a high level of precision, ensuring that the Naval Service can maintain a range advantage over all close-range naval armaments and man-portable weapon systems", according to the Defence Forces.

The Fleet Operational Readiness Standards and Training (FORST) unit is responsible for the coordination of the fleet needs. Ships are maintained at the Mechanical Engineering and Naval Dockyard Unit at Ringaskiddy, Cork harbour.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

The Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service (FOCNS) is Commodore Michael Malone. The head of the Defence Forces is a former Naval Service flag officer, now Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett – appointed in 2015 and the first Naval Service flag officer to hold this senior position. The Flag Officer oversees Naval Operations Command, which is tasked with the conduct of all operations afloat and ashore by the Naval Service including the operations of Naval Service ships. The Naval Operations Command is split into different sections, including Operations HQ and Intelligence and Fishery Section.

The Intelligence and Fishery Section is responsible for Naval Intelligence, the Specialist Navigation centre, the Fishery Protection supervisory and information centre, and the Naval Computer Centre. The Naval Intelligence Cell is responsible for the collection, collation and dissemination of naval intelligence. The Navigation Cell is the naval centre for navigational expertise.

The Fishery Monitoring Centre provides for fishery data collection, collation, analysis and dissemination to the Naval Service and client agencies, including the State's Sea Fisheries Protection Agency. The centre also supervises fishery efforts in the Irish EEZ and provides data for the enhanced effectiveness of fishery protection operations, as part of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. The Naval Computer Centre provides information technology (IT) support service to the Naval Service ashore and afloat.

This headquarters includes specific responsibility for the Executive/Operations Branch duties. The Naval Service Operations Room is a coordination centre for all NS current Operations. The Naval Service Reserve Staff Officer is responsible for the supervision, regulation and training of the reserve. The Diving section is responsible for all aspects of Naval diving and the provision of a diving service to the Naval Service and client agencies. The Ops Security Section is responsible for the coordination of base security and the coordination of all shore-based security parties operating away from the Naval base. The Naval Base Comcen is responsible for the running of a communications service. Boat transport is under the control of Harbour Master Naval Base, who is responsible for the supervision of berthage at the Naval Base and the provision of a boat service, including the civilian manned ferry service from Haulbowline.

Naval Service ships have undertaken trade and supply missions abroad, and personnel have served as peacekeepers with the United Nations. In 2015, Naval Service ships were sent on rotation to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean as part of a bi-lateral arrangement with Italy, known as Operation Pontus. Naval Service and Army medical staff rescued some 18,000 migrants, either pulling people from the sea or taking them off small boats, which were often close to capsizing having been towed into open water and abandoned by smugglers. Irish ships then became deployed as part of EU operations in the Mediterranean, but this ended in March 2019 amid rising anti-immigrant sentiment in the EU.

Essentially, you have to be Irish, young (less than 32), in good physical and mental health and with normal vision. You must be above 5'2″, and your weight should be in keeping with your age.

Yes, women have been recruited since 1995. One of the first two female cadets, Roberta O'Brien from the Glen of Aherlow in Co Tipperary, became its first female commander in September 2020. Sub Lieutenant Tahlia Britton from Donegal also became the first female diver in the navy's history in the summer of 2020.

A naval cadet enlists for a cadetship to become an officer in the Defence Forces. After successfully completing training at the Naval Service College, a cadet is commissioned into the officer ranks of the Naval Service as a Ensign or Sub Lieutenant.

A cadet trains for approximately two years duration divided into different stages. The first year is spent in military training at the Naval Base in Haulbowline, Cork. The second-year follows a course set by the National Maritime College of Ireland course. At the end of the second year and on completion of exams, and a sea term, the cadets will be qualified for the award of a commission in the Permanent Defence Force as Ensign.

The Defence Forces say it is looking for people who have "the ability to plan, prioritise and organise", to "carefully analyse problems, in order to generate appropriate solutions, who have "clear, concise and effective communication skills", and the ability to "motivate others and work with a team". More information is on the 2020 Qualifications Information Leaflet.

When you are 18 years of age or over and under 26 years of age on the date mentioned in the notice for the current competition, the officer cadet competition is held annually and is the only way for potential candidates to join the Defence Forces to become a Naval Service officer. Candidates undergo psychometric and fitness testing, an interview and a medical exam.
The NMCI was built beside the Naval Service base at Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, and was the first third-level college in Ireland to be built under the Government's Public-Private Partnership scheme. The public partners are the Naval Service and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and the private partner is Focus Education.
A Naval Service recruit enlists for general service in the "Other Ranks" of the Defence Forces. After successfully completing the initial recruit training course, a recruit passes out as an Ordinary Seaman and will then go onto their branch training course before becoming qualified as an Able Body sailor in the Naval Service.
No formal education qualifications are required to join the Defence Forces as a recruit. You need to satisfy the interview board and the recruiting officer that you possess a sufficient standard of education for service in the Defence Forces.
Recruit training is 18 weeks in duration and is designed to "develop a physically fit, disciplined and motivated person using basic military and naval skills" to "prepare them for further training in the service. Recruits are instilled with the Naval Service ethos and the values of "courage, respect, integrity and loyalty".
On the progression up through the various ranks, an Able Rate will have to complete a number of career courses to provide them with training to develop their skills in a number of areas, such as leadership and management, administration and naval/military skills. The first of these courses is the Naval Service Potential NCO course, followed by the Naval Service Standard NCO course and the Naval Service senior NCO course. This course qualifies successful candidates of Petty officer (or Senior Petty Officer) rank to fill the rank of Chief Petty Officer upwards. The successful candidate may also complete and graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership, Management and Naval Studies in partnership with Cork Institute of Technology.
Pay has long been an issue for just the Naval Service, at just over 1,000 personnel. Cadets and recruits are required to join the single public service pension scheme, which is a defined benefit scheme, based on career-average earnings. For current rates of pay, see the Department of Defence website.

 

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