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Displaying items by tag: Galway Bay

A one-year economic assessment of the southeast Galway Bay catchment has found it generated revenues of €105 million and supported about 550 jobs.

The report was commissioned by Cuan Beo, a community based coastal organisation working in south-east Galway Bay, and is the first of its kind according to the group.

Its findings were presented at a regional event held late last week which was attended by local politicians and policymakers, representatives of State agencies, and farmers, fishermen, community and tourism groups, scientists and environmental groups living in the catchment.

The event was moderated by Dr Micheál Ó Cinnéide, former director of the Environmental Protection Agency and now with Corrib Beo.

The report describes how a very distinct geographical area is connected by a common drainage system, drawing all rainfall and run-off water in the catchment and discharging it into Galway Bay.

It is one of 46 catchments in Ireland, according to the EPA, and covers an area of approximately 1,200 Km2. It includes about 117 km of coastline stretching from Galway harbour to Blackhead in Co Clare and extends inland to Athenry, Loughrea and Gort.

The report highlights the value and importance of data collection and management for the catchment, and potential growth areas across a number of key sectors where the resources available in the catchment could be developed in a sustainable manner to create new jobs and generate revenue.

These growth areas include climate technology, blue health, marine and coastal tourism, research and local community development and the report says they offer “unparalleled opportunities for growth and sustainable development, building on the circular economy and supporting climate-resilient communities”.

“Now that we have established market and non-market economic baselines, this report will heighten awareness with policymakers and planners as to the true value of the resource base and the marine environment,” Cuan Beo chair Diarmuid Kelly said.

“ It will promote this catchment as a location for research and development in sustainability and environmental enhancement. This will become increasingly important as social and environmental measures, such as carbon emissions and sustainability development goals, are established and monitored,” he said.

The report was conducted by Dr Colm O’Dowd who noted that “valuing both market and non-market products and services from the marine environment is necessary if they are to be included in marine spatial planning and management decisions”.

“For example, while we know that shipping and tourism are vital economic pillars in this catchment, there is little awareness of the value of marine-related recreation or the potential healthcare savings associated with activities such as sea
swimming,” O’Dowd said.

“Assessing the economic value of these activities and of marine ecosystems should influence decision making on marine spatial planning and support improvements in water quality and access to coastal areas,” he said.

The report was funded by Cuan Beo, the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) and the EU Maritime and Fisheries Fund under the FLAG West Programme.

A copy of the report is available here 

Published in Galway Harbour

The Galway gleoiteog named Loveen tacked across the Claddagh basin this weekend, some 96 years after it was built by the Reaney family of Spanish Arch.

The gleoiteog has been restored, plank by plank, by the Galway Hooker Sailing Association in a restoration project involving the Port of Galway Sea Scouts.

The vessel was bought by the late Nicky Dolan in 2009, but he passed away before he had fulfilled plans to repair it. With the support of former mayor and Labour councillor Niall MacNelis, it was donated to the Port of Galway Sea Scouts in 2011.

As Afloat reported previously, Expert boatbuilders Coilín Hernon and his sons, Ciarán Oliver, and a large team from the Galway Hooker Sailing Association (GHSA) have worked on the project since funding was secured.

Loveen sailing  on the Claddagh basin Photo: Bartley FanninLoveen sailing on the Claddagh basin Photo: Bartley Fannin

The association, which has over 100 volunteers, began work in earnest in 2019 and continued with careful restrictions through last year’s Covid-19 pandemic.

A flotilla joined the gleoiteog on the water – including The Lovely Anne, a late 19th-century gleoiteog, already restored by the GHSA.

The gleoiteog has been restored, plank by plank, by the Galway Hooker Sailing AssociationThe gleoiteog has been restored, plank by plank, by the Galway Hooker Sailing Association Photo: Bartley Fannin

Éinde Hernon was on the helm of the Loveen as it berthed in the Claddagh basin for a blessing by Fr Donal Sweeney of the Claddagh Dominican church.

“We can nearly always rely on rain,” Fr Sweeney joked.

Mayor of Galway Colette Connolly attended the event, and, in spite of threatening rain, a large crowd gathered at Nimmo’s pier to welcome the Loveen into the Galway hooker fleet.

Fr Donal Sweeney of the Claddagh Dominican church, blessing the gleoiteog Loveen at the Claddagh basin on SaturdayFr Donal Sweeney of the Claddagh Dominican church, blessing the gleoiteog Loveen at the Claddagh basin on Saturday Photo: Bartley Fannin

Published in Historic Boats
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Using sponge slime to fight cancer and copying barnacle glue for surgery are among projects highlighted at a new exhibition focusing on the contribution of the marine environment to medical research.

The exhibition at Galway Atlantaquaria in Salthill, Galway, is hosted by Cúram, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre for medical devices based at NUI Galway (NUIG)

Work by scientists on algae for controlled release of medicine is also outlined in the exhibition, which investigates “how marine-inspired medtech research can heal the body”.

Cúram’s research is focused on developing “innovative and smart medical devices and implants that will benefit patients with chronic ailments such as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and neural diseases”.

Mayor of Galway City, Colette Connolly with Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, NUI GalwayMayor of Galway City, Colette Connolly with Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, NUI Galway. Photo: Aengus McMahon

Speaking at the opening this week, Professor Abhay Pandit, Cúram scientific director, said that “we look forward to continuing the collaboration and developing the exhibit and associated educational resources for schools and families over the coming years.”

“If we lose the biodiversity of our oceans, we also lose potential ways to help fight diseases. Keeping our oceans healthy helps us discover new ways of developing medical therapies, which, in turn, keeps us healthy,” Dr Sarah Gundy, Cúram’s coordinator of content development for the exhibit, said.

Galway Atlantaquaria director of education Dr Noirín Burke said that “the connection between the ocean’s health and our health cannot be overstated, and launching an exhibit which helps people explore this relationship is so important for the aquarium team.”

Set up in 2015, Cúram is based at NUIG. Its partner institutes include University College Dublin, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Dublin City University, Athlone Institute of Technology and National Institute Bioprocessing Research and Training.

Published in Galway Harbour

A fleet of 28 dinghies took to Galway Bay for the annual Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil regatta at the weekend.

In spite of freshening southerlies and sporadic rain, eight hardy Optimist sailors completed a series of three races over a course set by race officer Stephen O’Gorman.

Winner in the Optimist class was Rian Baynes of Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC), while second place also went to a GBSC sailor, Killian Mathieu, and third to fellow club mate Sean Lemonnier.

Niamh Baynes of GBSC took fourth place, and the first CSS club sailor home was Sarah Donald who recorded fifth place overall.

Preparations underway for the 2021 Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil regatta Photo: Dave CahillPreparations underway for the 2021 Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil regatta Photo: Dave Cahill

CSS Optimist sailors Realtín Boinnard, Padraic Halliday and Séadhna Ní Thuairisg also braved the conditions, with Boinnard and Halliday taking second and third club placings.

Conditions had freshened further in the afternoon when the mixed fleet took to the water, requiring a series of quick tacks to clear Spiddal’s rock-strewn coastal rim.

CSS Spiddal 2021 regatta race officer Stephen O'Gorman showing his county loyalties Photo: Dave CahillCSS Spiddal 2021 regatta race officer Stephen O'Gorman showing his county loyalties Photo: Dave Cahill

A crack shore team assisted visiting dinghies, with the rollercoaster launch off the Sean Céibh beach proving to be quite the spectacle from shore.

Classes for the mixed fleet series were 420/Laser 1 and Pico/Topaz.

There were several capsizes in the testing conditions during three timed races, with a fourth race requiring two laps of the course.

The first boat in overall on corrected time was a GBSC 420 sailed by Adam McGrady and Ally O’Sullivan.

CSS sailors Mac O’Brien and Eoghan Breathnach took second place in a 420, closely followed into third by a Galway City Sailing Club (GCSC) 420 crew of Colm Ó Fatharta and Rian de Bairéad.

CSS boats dominated the Pico/Topaz class, with James Harvey and Charlie Donald coming first, Aoife Ni Choncubhair and Hooriya Awan securing second, and Sarah Donald and Padraic Halliday taking third.

Awards for the first three CSS club boats in the mixed fleet went to O’Brien and Breathnach, Cathal and Méabh Mahon, and Orlaith and Liam Cahill – all sailing 420s.

Aoife Ní Chonchubhair of CSS, who came second with Hooriya Awan in the Pico/Topaz class at Spiddal regatta 2021, with commodore Dave Cahill. Photo: Jamie DonaldAoife Ní Chonchubhair of CSS, who came second with Hooriya Awan in the Pico/Topaz class at Spiddal regatta 2021, with commodore Dave Cahill. More prizegiving photos below. Photo: Jamie Donald

All the Oppie prize winners with CSS  commodore Dave Cahill ( from left) GBSC sailors Sean Lemonnier, Rian  Baynes, Killian Mathieu and CSS sailors Sarah Donald, Patrick Halliday and Realtin BoinnardAll the Oppie prize winners with CSS  commodore Dave Cahill ( from left) GBSC sailors Sean Lemonnier, Rian  Baynes, Killian Mathieu and CSS sailors Sarah Donald, Patrick Halliday and Realtin Boinnard

GBSC Dart 16 sailors Laurik and Killian Mathieu crossed the bay for the racing, while Galway City Sailing Club Topper sailors Ava McCarthy and Ava Halpin also participated - putting in very keen performances.

Last year, CSS initiated a new annual award in memory of late sea kayaker, mountaineer and circuit court judge John Hannan, who died in February 2020.

The Hannan trophy, a piece of glassware in the shape of a sailing dinghy on bog oak, was designed and made by Sue Donnellan’s glass craft design studio in An Ceardlann, An Spidéal.

This year’s award was presented by Marcus Hannan to the CSS 420 duo of Mac O’Brien and Eoghan Breathnach, who were the first club boat home.

Speaking at the prize giving, Marcus Hannan conveyed a special tribute penned by his mother, Stephanie Adams, who was CSS sail training organiser for many years before the family moved back to her native Australia in 2020.

CSS commodore Dave Cahill paid his own tribute to all the sailors, to the visiting clubs, and to the shore and RIB safety boat teams who were essential to the smooth running of the event.

CSS, founded in 2002, has no clubhouse, but was recently dubbed the "coolest place to sail" by Irish Olympic contest Sean Waddilove.

Published in Galway Harbour

The 1.5 metre unmanned mini sailboat called 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor', that was deployed in June, was recently found stranded on the Bunes Beach above the Arctic Circle in the Lofoten Islands, in Norway.

After travelling over 3,000km from Irish waters in the Atlantic to Norway, the 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor' was found by the Bjørnsen family and friends while on holidays on the Lofoten Island over the summer, the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme has reported.

Mr Lars Bjørnsen said his daughters were thrilled to discover the mini boat washed up on the remote Bunes Beach, “our neighbour had found the boat and my three girls were so excited to join him to open the hatch of the boat to see the Irish messages and ‘treasures’ inside. We were able to read most of the letters that had been written by the students at Kilglass National School in Galway, although some were a little wet. The girls were also delighted with the Irish candy and crisps – which survived the voyage.”

“Bunes Beach is quite isolated on the western side of Reinefjorden on the Moskenesøya island, Norway. You can only get there by ferry and then have to walk 3km to the beach. It is a beautiful beach in a bay surrounded by mountains and steep ridges. However, not many people get to go there on a regular basis. Therefore, the fact that we found the Galway Sailor mini boat, that had made its way into the bay and then washed up on the shore with little structural damage is amazing for such a small boat,” Mr Bjørnsen further explained.

Bjørnsen family and friends discover the treasures inside the mini-boat 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’, after discovering it washed up on Bunes Beach above the Arctic Circle in the Lofoten Islands, in Norway. Photograph: Mr Lars BjørnsenBjørnsen family and friends discover the treasures inside the mini-boat 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’, after discovering it washed up on Bunes Beach above the Arctic Circle in the Lofoten Islands, in Norway. Photograph: Mr Lars Bjørnsen

The 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor' is a 1.5 metre unmanned mini sailboat that was provided to Kilglass National School in County Galway, as part of a collaborative school project, coordinated by the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme and supported by the international Educational Passages programme in the USA. The project was also funded by EU Interreg iFADO (Innovation in the Framework of the Atlantic Deep Ocean) project, in which the Marine Institute are partners.

'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ was delivered to the RV Celtic Explorer by the Kilglass National School, for its first part of its voyage, out to the Atlantic Ocean to be deployed in June.'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ was delivered to the RV Celtic Explorer by the Kilglass National School, for its first part of its voyage, out to the Atlantic Ocean to be deployed in June.Photo: Andrew Downes

Welcoming the news of the boat being found, Mick Gillooly, Interim CEO said, "The Explorers mini-boat project is a great example of marine science literacy and engaging with the community at a local school level in Ireland as well as across the ocean in other countries. For school children, this project provides an exciting way of seeing real life examples of how the ocean has an influence on all our lives, how it connects us, as well as learning how the ocean influences our weather and climate, and the types of technology used at sea. The Marine Institute are delighted to have been involved with this project and look forward to supporting this collaboration involving the Explorers Education Programme team, Kilglass National school, the Research Infrastructures team at the Marine Institute, as well as Educational Passages in the USA with the ongoing mini boat adventures'.

The mini boat was equipped with a sail and a satellite tracker, which allowed the students at Kilglass NS to track it as it sailed across the ocean, using the international Educational Passages tracking system. Mr Peter Kane, who was the school teacher leading the project at Kilglass National School in Ahascragh, Co Galway was thrilled with the news from Norway and thanked the Bjørnsen family for their lovely message sent to the school children in Galway. “It is truly a mini-summer miracle! Everyone at Kilglass National School are so delighted with the news that our mini-boat 'Seoltóir na Gaillimhe' has been found in Norway. When the mini boats are found after their travels, this highlights how the ocean connects us all”.

The Explorers Education Programme’s marine project involved over 100 children taking part in science, geography and art activities learning about the ocean; as well as preparing the mini boat for its journey. The students painted and decorated the boat, created artwork and good luck messages, and named the boat 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor', which recognises the tradition of fishing in Galway. The mini boat was launched by the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer near the M6 Data Buoy, in the Atlantic Ocean during a scientific survey in June.

Peter Kane also commented on the collaboration with the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme, highlighting the importance of marine themes used on the curriculum in Ireland. “The Educational Passages mini boat programme brings children, schools and countries together in so many different ways, from building the boats, tracking them at sea, to finding them in new countries when they reach land.”

“When the 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor' last reported its GPS location near the Faroe Islands in June, we didn’t know whether the boat had been damaged or was still drifting with the currents and winds. We were therefore thrilled to get a call from Cassie at Educational Passages to let us know that 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor' made it back to land in Norway,” Mr Kane said

The Marine Institute’s ocean modellers have since provided a map showing the likely journey of the 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor' after it lost its GPS tracking signal. Knowing the last coordinates, as well as where the boat was found, the team were able to produce a map showing the boats likely movement based on the currents and wind direction at the time. It was estimated that the boat travelled over 3000km from when it was deployed in the Atlantic.

Marine Institute Tracking Map showing the likely journey that the 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ travelled, after the GPS signal was lost, using the OpenDrift, a particle-tracking model, that predicts the path followed by the boat based on the combined effect of marine currents and atmospheric winds.

Mr Kane further said, “we were also excited to find out that our boat had also set a new record for the most northern journey ever made by one of the unmanned mini-boats with Educational Passages. We now look forward to the next stage of working with the Explorers Education Programme and linking our students with the local Norwegian Primary School, who have taken over the boat’s next new adventure.” 

Educational Passages Map showing the tracking of 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ from when it was deployed in the Atlantic from the RV Celtic Explorer.Educational Passages Map showing the tracking of 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ from when it was deployed in the Atlantic from the RV Celtic Explorer.

Engaging in the Educational Passages mini-boat Program, the iFADO consortium of researchers are launching a total of five mini-boats this year around the Atlantic from Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, and the UK. Engaging in the Educational Passages mini-boat Program, the iFADO consortium of researchers are launching a total of five mini-boats this year around the Atlantic from Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, and the UK.  

The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute, Ireland's state agency for marine research and development. 

Published in Marine Science
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So much happened so quickly in Galway Bay SC’s 46-boat Lambs Week cruise to the Aran islands and Connemara (as reported in Afloat.ie) that it took a day or two for a more formal presentation to take place with the main King of the Bay trophy going to winner Mark Wilson (GBSC), whose Sigma 33 Scorpio won the Round the Aran Islands Race Pursuit Race by just 30 seconds from Jackie Cronin’s Jimmy Burn from Kilrush, a great credit to handicapper Fergal Lyons.

The trophy was presented for competition by Galway Marine, and with the silver salver now properly inscribed, it was handed over yesterday (Monday) by co-proprietor Piece Purcell Jnr in the popular marine store which has become an integral part of the maritime scene in Galway’s city and dockland area.

Connemara champion: Mark Wilson’s successful Sigma 33 Scorpio is crewed by Cian Conroy, Cronan Quirke, Damian Burke, Aoife Macken and ISO.Connemara champion: Mark Wilson’s successful Sigma 33 Scorpio is crewed by Cian Conroy, Cronan Quirke, Damian Burke, Aoife Macken and ISO.

Published in Lambs Week
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With an impressive and eclectic fleet of 46 boats from West Coast ports which ranged from Clew Bay to the north to Kilrush in the Shannon Estuary to the south - in addition to the many harbours and anchorages within Galway Bay itself - last weekend's five day Lambs Week Cruise organised by Galway Bay Sailing Club took full advantage of the improving weather to take in Rossaveal, Kilronan on Inishmor in the Aran Islands, and Roundstone, the very essence of Connemara.

The theme of the five-day Lamb's Week – which began with most boats assembling at Rossaveal Marina on the Thursday evening – was accessibility, and the willing provision of encouragement for the less-experienced.

But one of the challenges in organizing a heavily-subscribed Cruise-in-Company of this nature in a very special place like the greater Galway Bay area is that while the number of very useful marinas at strategic ports is increasing, the number of pontoon berths available for visitors – even with rafting-up – is limited, and extra boats will have to find secure moorings, or rely on their own anchors.

It's one very complicated piece of coastline, but in experienced company it becomes a cruising paradiseIt's one very complicated piece of coastline, but in experienced company it becomes a cruising paradise

Any proper cruising boat should of course have adequate ground tackle. However, the problem of confined space in the best anchorages – often with established moorings cluttering the sea-bed - together with the rich proliferation of seaweed, means that your anchor can become irretrievably fouled, or else it doesn't take hold at all as it sits on a bed of kelp.

GBSC came up with a solution of breath-taking simplicity. They made a batch of concrete mooring blocks at their Renville base near Oranmore at the head of the Bay, and with the skilled services of Ocean Crest Marine, they'd a complete set of these additional reliable moorings in place when the first of the fleet arrived in Aran through Friday afternoon and evening with a race from Rossaveal in a brisk sou'wester which experienced the last of the Cruise's serious rain.

Problem: Shortage of Visitors' Moorings? Solution: Galway Bay SC simply made their own, and sent them on ahead of the fleet.Problem: Shortage of Visitors' Moorings? Solution: Galway Bay SC simply made their own, and sent them on ahead of the fleet.

Rossaveal was the assembly port for a diverse fleet – this is the Contessa 32 of Gillian Flattery and Blair Stannaway ready for the off.Rossaveal was the assembly port for a diverse fleet – this is the Contessa 32 of Frankie Leonard ready for the off.

Kilronan became the fleet base throughout Saturday and into Sunday morning (it will be the location for WIORA Week 2023), and with such numbers in port, it seemed natural to provide a race right round the Aran Islands for those with the need for a further spot of competition, though some thought they'd done quite enough racing with Friday's windward slog.

The pontoon-berthed section of the fleet in Kilronan. Photo: Declan DooleyThe quayside-berthed section of the fleet in Kilronan. Photo: Declan Dooley

Racing the Atlantic during Lamb's Week, Aaron O'Reily's Kondon Buntz in foreground.Racing the Atlantic during Lamb's Week, Aaron O'Reily's Kondon Buntz in foreground.

Twenty-one boats of all shapes and sizes – in other words, nearly half of the fleet – took on the challenge in a sunny 18 knots westerly, the highlight being the spectacular sight of the Cliffs of Moher as they made the southerly turn of the circuit at Finnis Rock. To add to the sport, it had been made a pursuit race, with the first boat – Patrick McCarthy's Snapper – getting away at 11:00 hrs, while the Queen of the Fleet, Tomas Furey's speedy big Rhodocar, was held back until 11:44.

Winning style – Mark Wilson's Scorpio sweeps along to a close victoryWinning style – Mark Wilson's Scorpio sweeps along to a close victory

First to finish – and winner of the King of Lambs Trophy – was Mark Wilson's Sigma 33 Scorpio from GBSC. But if anything it's the handicapper, Fergal Lyons, who deserves a Gold Medal at the very least, as Scorpio at 14:16:53 crossed the final line only 30 seconds ahead of Jackie Cronin's Jimmy Burn from Kilrush, which in turn was five seconds ahead of Conor Owens' Sealion (GBSC), while only one second behind that in fourth was Stephen O'Gorman's Green Monkey (GBSC).

Brothers Conor and Fergal Lyons aboard Out of the Blue. It was Fergal who produced the exceptionally well-judged handicaps.Brothers Conor and Fergal Lyons aboard Out of the Blue. It was Fergal who produced the exceptionally well-judged handicaps.

This was pursuit racing at its very best, as their starting times had been Scorpio: 11:23; Jimmy Burn: 11:33; Sealion: 11:14; and Green Monkey 11:42. It was superb sport which greatly impressed the Aran Islanders, and set the tone for a boisterous night in Kilronan. Yet they still managed to be underway in a reasonably timely manner on the Sunday morning for the calm hop northwestward to Roundstone, one of the Connacht coast's great cruising passages as it involves a rewarding mixture of open ocean sailing and reasonably intricate pilotage to conclude in a little port which rates highly on any discerning cruising person's dream list.

There was time for a lunchtime break and swims and shore visits at MacDara's Island – GBSC Commodore John Shorten likened the procession of the fleet to a miniature of the approaches to the Suez Canal – before going on into the embrace of Roundstone, with the partying ashore rounded out by a barbecue in the Village Hall, following which the overnight fog was successfully negotiated by Martin the ever-helpful unofficial Roundstone harbourmaster to ensure that everyone got safely back to the right boat.

Part of the fleet in RoundstonePart of the fleet in Roundstone
They brought the summer back with them – sunset at the return to RossavealThey brought the summer back with them – sunset at the return to Rossaveal

The morning brought total summer with bright sunshine and the temperature pushing towards 25 degrees as the majority headed back towards Rossaveal, while others had longer passages north and south after a hugely successful event which will be remembered as one of the highlights of the 2021 season on the west coast.

As ever with an event of this kind, there were many movers and shakers and volunteers involved, but if you suggested that John Shorten and Cormac Mac Donncha in particular - and the likes of Pierce Purcell and others - had something to do with this remarkable happening, you wouldn't be far off target.

The King of Lambs – Mark Wilson's Sigma 33 Scorpio was crewed by Cian Conroy, Cronan Quirke, Damian Burke, Aoife Macken, and Iso.The King of Lambs – Mark Wilson's Sigma 33 Scorpio was crewed by Cian Conroy, Cronan Quirke, Damian Burke, Aoife Macken, and Iso.

Published in Lambs Week

Sea and sky, as in the marine and astronomy, were twin themes of this year’s “Young Hearts”, a field programme involving transition year students working with senior citizens in Galway.

Tutors Dr Noirin Burke of Galway Atlantaquaria, artist Vicky Smith and astronomy experts Prof Andy Shearer and Adriana Cardinot of NUI Galway drew up a curriculum involving marine biology, astronomy and art.

Prof Shearer explained that the “Sky and Earth” module was supported by a Royal Astronomical Society award, marking its bicentenary.

The overall aim of the intergenerational programme is to build relationships and solidarity, according to co-ordinator Loretta Needham of Croí na Gaillimhe.

In spite of Covid 19, “Young Hearts” continued on Zoom over the past year, with pupils from Our Lady’s College, Galway and older members of the community.

Needham explained that isolation has been an issue for senior citizens long before Covid-19, and the programme aims to “create a foundation for lifelong social responsibility and understanding among young people”.

Young HeartsThe overall aim of the intergenerational programme is to build relationships and solidarity

The last class for the 2020/2021 year was not on Zoom, but was at the socially distanced setting of low Spring tide on Galway’s Grattan beach.

Hear more about it on this week’s Wavelengths

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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Preparations continue apace for Galway Bay's Lamb's Week Sailing Regatta that starts on Thursday. 

As Afloat previously reported, Galway Bay Sailing Club hosts Lambs Week from August 19th to 25th, when some 50 boats will take part in the five-day regatta.

The regatta includes a number of races for four classes from Ros-a-Mhíl, with a day’s race around the Aran islands and from there to Roundstone in Connemara.

The new moorings blocks are being shipped to the Aran Islands just in time for the initiative that sees the Lamb's Week fleet overnight at Kilronan Harbour on Inish Mor.

GBSC Commodore Johnny Shorten explained where the regatta got its name to Afloat's Tom MacSweeney here on podcast.

Published in Galway Harbour
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I just love the approach of Galway sailors in mixing serious racing and enjoyment.

If British sailors can have Cowes Week and West Cork has Calves Week, in Galway, they have Lamb's Week which has "gentlemanly racing," plenty of "craic," and "something to stick up on the mantelpiece at home for everyone."

What more could you want from a few days sailing and this one in Galway Bay, where there is a rapidly expanding sailing scene?

Two weeks ago I was talking on this Podcast to Nancy Roe, one of the founding members and now Club Treasurer and Membership Secretary at Galway City Sailing Club about their development of dinghy sailing in the city.

That was given great support by Galway Bay Sailing Club which, based at Rinville, Oranmore, ten kilometres from the city prides itself on welcoming "all ages, skill levels and abilities to join us to experience the world of sailing."

And that they certainly do.

Back in 2019, they had a cruise to Lorient and then, responding to pandemic issues, they came up with Lamb's Week, which they intend to follow with a cruise to Scotland next year.

45 boats entered, 3 Destinations to be visited, a 'King of the Bay Pursuit Challenge' around the islands for both competitive and non-competitive boats part of the Galway Maritime King of the Bay series, all happening from August 19 to 23 as the GBSC boats follow the Lamb's course.

gbsc Lamb's Week

"Gentlemanly racing, plenty of craic" and "everyone gets a prize, something for the mantelpiece for everyone," says Galway Bay Sailing Club Commodore, Johnny Shorten, who is my Podcast guest this week.

Podcast here

Published in Galway Harbour
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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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