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Displaying items by tag: Connemara

#ArcticBuoy - A marine research buoy found on the Connemara coast by local Sea Scouts recently had drifted over 6,000 kilometres across the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean and Atlantic to Ireland.

The buoy, around half a metre in diameter, was found at Lettermullen by the scout troop during an exploration of their local beach.

Michael Loftus, leader of Gasógaí Mara na Gaeltachta (Connemara Sea Scouts), said they often find flotsam and jetsam washed up on the shore, which they can usually identify.

“However, little did we know that this new find would uncover a world of discovery relating to the buoy being launched from an aircraft in the Arctic Ocean and travelling thousands of kilometres to land on the west coast of Ireland.”

The Marine Institute, which works on a series of projects where autonomous instruments are deployed into the ocean for marine research, was contacted to help solve the mystery of where the red buoy came from.

“Although the buoy is not an Argo float that is typically used by the institute as part of the national Argo float programme, we were delighted to help the Sea Scouts establish that the buoy is in fact an Airborne Expendable Ice Buoy, which came from as far away as the Beaufort Sea,” said Diarmuid Ó Conchubhair of the Marine Institute.

The International Arctic Buoy Programme involves a number of different countries including Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Russia, and the United States.

The programme maintains a network of drifting buoys in the Arctic Ocean that are used to monitor sea surface temperatures, ice concentration, and sea level and support weather forecasting. The buoys are also used for validating climate or earth system models which inform the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

Each buoy in this programme has an identification number that is used to track its location in the Arctic Ocean using a type of satellite communication system.

“Using the number marked on this buoy [#4800512], we were able to establish that this particular buoy had been deployed by an aircraft over five years ago in the Beaufort Sea, north of the Yukon and Alaska, west of Canadian Arctic islands,” said Ó Conchubhair.

Dr Eleanor O’Rourke, oceanographic services manager at the Marine Institute, explained: “Researchers involved in the International Arctic Buoy Programme decide where to deploy buoys, particularly where the status of sea-ice may be changing.

“Most of the buoys are placed on sea ice, but some are placed in open water in some of the most remote parts of the world's ocean, where it is difficult for research vessels to access.”

Footage of the buoy found in Connemara being deployed from an US Coast Guard C-130 aircraft in 2012 can be seen online.

Airborne Expendable Ice Buoys have an average lifespan of 18 months and around 25 to 40 buoys operate at any given time.

“The buoy last reported its data in 2014 and it is likely that it ran out of battery power and spent the last three to four years at the sea surface travelling via wind and ocean surface currents,” said O’Rourke.

In 2007, Ireland became a member of the international Argo programme, which uses robotic instruments known as autonomous Argo floats that report on subsurface ocean water properties such as temperature and salinity via satellite transmission to data centres.

Using a fleet of around 4,000 autonomous floats around the world, the Argo array is an indispensable component of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).

“Similar to the buoys used by the International Arctic Buoy Programme, Argo floats collect and distribute real time information on the temperature and salinity of the ocean,” said Ó Conchubhair, who is vice chair of the European Argo Programme.

“Argo floats; however, measure these variables from the upper 2,000m of the ocean and help to describe long-term trends in ocean parameters such as their physical and thermodynamic state.”

This information is required to understand and monitor the role of the ocean in the Earth's climate system, in particular the heat and water balance.

Click here for more information about Ireland’s involvement in the Argo programme. You can also track and look at data from Irish Argo floats at Ireland’s Digital Ocean.

Four years ago, another Arctic device was found on the North West Coast and exhibited by Transition Year students in Co Mayo, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - A new planning application is set to be submitted for the proposed ‘marine innovation park’ in Connemara, as Galway Bay FM reports.

Páirc na Mara is envisaged as a low-carbon marine industry hub over nine hectares, with a focus on aquaculture research.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the new research cluster would form part of a network including the existing Marine Institute facilities at Newport in Co Mayo.

The deadline for expressions of interest in the revised project is tomorrow, Friday 1 December.

Galway Bay FM has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#ClegganBay - The Irish Times writes on Saturday’s (28 October) memorial service for lives lost in the Cleggan Bay Disaster 90 years ago.

Forty-five men, many of them from Connemara, died after a sudden and severe storm hit a small fleet fishing for herring off the Mayo coast in October 1927.

Descendants of some of those whose lives were taken in the tragedy gathered at a memorial at Lacken pier on Saturday which also paid tribute to diver Michael Heffernan, who was lost in a cave rescue in the region in October 1997.

Masses were also held in Claddaghduff and on Inishbofin, which was home to many of those lost in the incident.

The commemoration had an additional resonance with the loss of five Irish Coast Guard personnel in recent months — the crew of Rescue 116 and volunteer Caitriona Lucas, who was posthumously awarded the State’s highest honour earlier this month.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Windfarm - Giant wind turbine blades seen in Galway Harbour last winter are now in operation in Connemara as part of Ireland’s biggest ever windfarm project.

According to the Connacht Tribune, the Galway Wind Park between Galway Bay and Lough Corrib aims to generate enough energy from its 58 enormous wind turbines to power more than 140,000 homes annually — while offsetting over 220,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

The news comes just days after the world’s first floating windfarm began generating power for Scotland, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Power From the Sea

#RNLI - Clifden RNLI officially named its new D class lifeboat Celia Mary at a special ceremony and service of dedication held yesterday (Saturday 21 October) in the Connemara coastal town.

The honour of handing over the lifeboat and officially naming her went to the donor Peter Ross, husband of the late Celia.

He was accompanied at the ceremony in the Station House Hotel by his family and Celia’s best friend Rea Hollis, who has made a generous donation towards the running costs of Clifden Lifeboat Station.

Celia, who was from East Sussex but was of Irish descent, died three years ago shortly after her 79th birthday. She had always wanted to fund a lifeboat.

A much-loved wife and mother of five children, Celia spent many years living self-sufficiently and keeping cows and sheep. She had a great sense of humour and her kitchen was the focal point of her village.

Her idyllic life came to an end when rheumatoid arthritis took hold. But despite suffering from subsequent ill health, this did not stop her from becoming a respected antiques dealer until what has been described as her indomitable spirit succumbed and she passed away.

During the ceremony, Niamh McCutcheon, a member of the Irish Council of the RNLI, accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the charity from Peter Ross, before handing her over into the care of Clifden Lifeboat Station.

During her address, McCutcheon praised the efforts of all those who supported the work of the station.

“In 2017, Clifden RNLI has been requested to respond to 17 call outs, with a total of 26 launches, bringing 18 people to safety between the three different lifeboats on station here. You cannot put a price on the impact that has on people’s lives, whether they are volunteers or casualties.

“Our lifesavers could not have answered those calls for help without the support they receive from fellow volunteers on the shore: the fundraisers, the launch crew and the station management. In fact the whole of the RNLI depends on those people who represent our charity in the community.”

Lifeboat operations manager John Brittain accepted the lifeboat on behalf of Clifden RNLI ahead of the blessing in a service of dedication led by Father James Ronayne and the Very Reverend Stan Evans. The lifeboat was then officially named by Peter Ross.

Brittain said the event was a special occasion for the lifeboat station, adding that the crew were most grateful to Peter for his generous gift in memory of his wife which had funded the lifeboat.

“Celia always wanted a lifeboat, and now she has one in Clifden,” he said. “While her lifeboat may be a little far from her family, we have been told by her loved ones that Celia, who was of Irish descent, would have revelled in the beauty of Galway, Connemara and the Atlantic coast.”

The D class Celia Mary replaces the Grainne Uaile which served Clifden RNLI for the last 10 years. During that time, the lifeboat launched 62 times, bringing 20 people to safety.

Originally introduced in 1963, the D class has evolved into a highly capable modern lifeboat. It is the workhorse of the RNLI’s fleet and is ideal for working close inshore, near rocks or in shallow water in moderate conditions. It can be righted by the crew if it capsizes and is also part of the RNLI flood rescue team’s fleet of boats.

She comes into her own for searches and rescues in the surf, shallow water and confined locations - often close to cliffs, among rocks and even inside caves.

The RNLI established a lifeboat station in Clifden in early 1988 when a C class lifeboat was put on service for one season’s evaluation. The following year, Clifden RNLI became fully operational as a summer season-only lifeboat station.

In 1997, an Atlantic 21 lifeboat was placed on service and a new boathouse for the lifeboat and a tractor was completed in August 1998. A new D class lifeboat was placed on service in May 1998, and the following year it was joined by a new Atlantic 75 B class lifeboat which remained stationed until June 2013 when it was replaced by the Atlantic 85 named Joyce King.

A crowd of well wishers turned up to see the lifeboat officially named, with a bottle of champagne poured over the side of the boat before it launched at the end of the ceremony.

Among the guests on the platform party were Pearse Hyland, chair of the Lifeboat Management Group, who welcomed guests and opened proceedings, and inshore lifeboat mechanic Andy Bell, who gave a vote of thanks and closed proceedings.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Clifden RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats were launched shortly before 1pm on Sunday 8 October when a boat with six on board got into difficulty in the Killary Harbour area.

The location of the craft was unclear in the early stages as Clifden’s inshore D class lifeboat was driven by road to Renvyle by driver Neil Gallery and launched at Lettergesh Beach, while the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched in Clifden.

The D class lifeboat, crewed by Alan Pryce, Kenneth Flaherty and Kieran Folan, swiftly located the boat and six passengers near Frehill island. They had been out for a fishing trip when their engine failed.

Shortly after, the Atlantic 85 lifeboat crewed by Joe Acton, Owen Hayes and Alvin Bell as the D Class already had the casualty boat under tow.

Four of the six passengers were transferred to the Atlantic 85, Joyce King, and returned to shore at Rossroe from where they had originally set out.

The other two remained onboard their own boat, which was towed back to shore by the D Class lifeboat, Granuaile.

Clifden’s all-weather lifeboat Fisherman’s Friend was also launched to provide additional cover for the rescue operation, but was stood down when the two inshore lifeboats had the situation under control.

Speaking following the callout, Clifden RNLI helm Alan Pryce said: “Luckily the weather conditions were calm at the time and due to our launch site we were able to locate the boat quickly.

“The area is known for its rip currents in the area and can be dangerous so we were glad to have been able to attend and assist as quickly as possible once the alarm was raised."

Pryce added: “We remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared and respect the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Connemara - Galway Bay FM reports that a shellfish research centre in Connemara was damaged in a fire earlier this week.

The blaze broke out in a section at the centre in Carna dedicated to studying the control of sea lice in salmon farms.

The facility is part of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, the university’s hub for environmental, marine and energy research.

Published in Coastal Notes

This weekend’s annual Cruinnui na mBad festival (the Gathering of the Boats) in Kinvara in the southeast corner of Galway Bay celebrates a tradition going back far into the mists of time writes W M Nixon. In the old days, it was a matter of necessity that the fleet of working Galway hookers in Connemara should sail up and across the bay, bringing the winter’s consignment of turf to a region where it’s a relatively scarce commodity.

The healthy mixture of commerce and effectively racing under sail, with festivities at the conclusion of a job well done, inevitably developed into a regatta atmosphere, West of Ireland style. So much so, in fact, that these days, the annual Cruinnui na mBad is a major event, which can attract a fleet of up to a hundred boats.

kinvara hooker2The spirit of Connemara. The Baily family’s classic An Capall making knots under a rugged western coastline

kinvara hooker3The Gathering of the Boats – some of the traditional fleet at Kinvara
There’s now something extra to celebrate, as new boats to the traditional designs are being built at a steady rate by Colie Hernon and Peter Connolly and their team in Badoiri na Gaillimh in the Claddagh in Galway, and one of their creations is the central feature in the maritime display in the nearby City of Galway museum.

kinvara hooker4Jack Roy, President Irish Sailing (left) with Pierce Purcell of Galway and the traditional gleitog which is the centrepiece of the Maritime Section of Galway Museum.

kinvara hooker5The fleet gathering at hospitable quayside in the heart of Kinvara

They are currently working on their seventh boat, a gleitog to be known as the Markeeen Joe. And a fine bit of work she is too, with completion anticipated for the Autumn. But they’ll be well represented by other craft they’ve built in Kinvara on Saturday and Sunday, when good weather is hoped to prevail until at least the middle of Sunday, and there’ll be no lack of proper sailing breezes.

kinvara hooker6The new Markeen Joe under construction (above and below) in Galway city. Photo: Pierce Purcellkinvara hooker7

Published in Historic Boats

#MarineScience - The Marine Institute has begun deployment of bag nets for a scientific sampling of Bertraghboy Bay and surrounding waters in Connemara.

The nets — checked daily, weather permitting — will extend outward from the coast for some 30 metres, perpendicular to the shoreline. They will be clearly marked with brightly coloured buoys (mainly orange) and labeled with Marine Institute identification.

Deployment was set to begin at and around co-ordinates 53°25’19”N, 9°52’52”W this past Monday 26 June and will continue till Monday 21 August, weather dependent. They are being deployed using a small open boat powered by an outboard engine.

The Marine Institute contact for this survey is Dave Jackson at 091 387 200 or 087 699 3259.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - A new marine research cluster is planned for Connemara incorporating the Údaras na Gaeltachta facility at Pairc na Mara currently under development in Cill Chiaráin, NUI Galway’s Carna Campus Laboratories, and an aquaculture site in Beirtreach Buí near Carna.

The Connemara cluster will form part of a national aquaculture research cluster which includes the Marine Institute facilities at Newport, Co Mayo, with the Beirtreach Buí site touted as “an important part of the State’s marine research infrastructure”.

In 2016, the Marine Institute secured EU Horizon 2020 and Science Foundation Ireland funding for a range of research projects that will be carried out in close collaboration with Marine Institute teams in Newport and Galway as well as researchers at the NUI Galway campus in Carna and the Udaras na Gaeltachta facility at Páirc na Mara.

These research projects will include studies on cleaner fish, which are used to control sea lice and other external parasites; animal welfare; and poly culture of shellfish, fin fish and seaweeds to enhance biodiversity and reduce environmental impacts.

The Marine Institute says it has committed funding to create three jobs to run and maintain the Beirtreach Buí aquaculture research site and provide support to marine research teams and projects.

The Beirtreach Buí site is expected to support a number of research projects in the coming years, including the development of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, which provides the by-products, including waste, from one aquatic species as inputs (fertilizers, food) for another. This research will be in association with project partners in both Irish third-level institutions and partners from other EU states.

The site will also be used to support a major international project TAPAS, which has received €7 million from the EU under Horizon 2020.

The TAPAS project aims to develop cost-efficient management tools and practices for the European aquaculture sector to investigate the limits to fish farming activity in a location, social interactions, potential environmental impacts and any future risks.

The Marine Institute has applied to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to amend the licence for the aquaculture site at Beirtreach Buí from a commercial to a research license.

This application to amend the aquaculture licence at Beirtreach Buí will involve a reduction in the size of the site, a decrease in the number of licensed structures, from 48 structures to a maximum of 12 cages and 12 smaller structures made up of a combination of long lines and sentinel cages/passive sampling structures.

The amendment also includes a reduction in the level of fish stock at the site from the current level of 100 tonnes to a maximum of 50 tonnes. The amended license will allow for holding a range of fish, shellfish and seaweed species for research purposes. No commercial production will be licensed at the site.

The site was originally used for farming salmon in the 1980s and, in 2010, the aquaculture licence was amended in order to carry out culture trials on cod in collaboration with NUI Galway and Údaras na Gaeltachta.

In 2013 the site was taken over by the Marine Institute to focus on research work on cod and related studies, including research into natural alternatives for antifouling.

The new research licence application will go to public consultation this week.

Published in Marine Science
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About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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