Displaying items by tag: Marcus Connaughton
Marcus Connaughton is set to retire from RTE and present his final edition of the maritime programme Seascapes on RTE Radio 1 on Bloomsday - Friday 16th June on the eve of his 65th birthday.
Marcus is a veteran of the Irish record industry, prior to working within the organisation. He has produced and presented a wide range of programming since he joined the national broadcaster in the Summer of 1988.
Based in Cork at RTE's Studios in the city since 1994 he has produced Seascapes since 2002 and has presented and produced the programme for the past eight years.
He is the author of "Rory Gallagher -His Life and Times" published by The Collins Press and "Sailing By" Celebrating 25 Years of Seascapes published by The Liffey Press.
Taking the helm from Marcus on the maritime programme on RTE Radio 1 commencing Friday 23rd June will be RTE Correspondent Fergal Keane, a keen sailor and angler.
Hello and welcome aboard your maritime programme Seascapes, this week we bring you highlights from the unveiling of a fine sculture by Mark Richards in Athy, Co Kildare on the centenary to the day of the rescue of the Endurance crew from Elephant Island and the unveiling of a sculpture by Mark Richards of Sir Ernest Shackleton beside the Athy Heritage Centre in his home place complete with an Honour Guard from the Irish Naval Service, we’ll be talking to Kevin Kenny of Athy Heritage Centre ; Commander Cormac Rynne of the Irish Naval Service; Arts Officer Lucina Russell and Jack L who performed “The Wearin’ of the Green” and we also met up with Jonathan Shackleton ...... also this week Dr Gordon Dalton of MAREI on the Maribe project and the outcome of a recent conference held in Cork....first this week here on Seascapes to our Galway Studios where we can hear from Features Editor Gery Flynn of Inshore Ireland Magazine on what’s in the latest edition ...
Features Editor of Inshore Ireland magazine – Gery Flynn ....next here on Seascapes to Athy in Co Kildare where .............to coincide with the very day a hundred years ago on the 30th of August that epic rescue of The crew of The Endurance from Elephant Island was marked by a sculpture by Mark Richards being unveiled by the Mayor of Kildare , Cllr Ivan Keatley and Alexandra Shackleton with an honour guard drawn from the Irish Naval Service in attendance ....
Also present for the ceremony was local musician Jack L who spoke briefly to Seascapes before he performed this song...
Jack Lukeman performing The Wearin’ of the Green” next we spoke to Jonathan Shackleton ...
Also in attendance was Commander Cormac Rynne of the Irish Naval Service.....
From Commander Cormac RYNNE to Kildare Arts Officer , Lucina RUSSELL..
The Athy Heritage Centre is in the heart of the town and is hosting an exhibition “ By Endurance We Conquer “running until February of next year....
Lets have a final word from Kevin Kenny of Athy Heritage Centre....
MARIBE is Marine Investment for the Blue Economy , Dr Gordon Dalton who is based at MaREI ERI, at University College Cork is Maribe Project Coordinator , we last talked to him earlier this year
Dr Gordon Dalton of MAREI /ERI – Maribe Project Coordinator
We wish swimmers the “Swim Sisters” team of Lynsey Dunne -Connacht, Mary Bolger-Hinds- Leinster, Claudine Hughes -Ulster and Maighread McMahon from Munster , they will attempt to become the first four provinces, all-female team to swim the length of the largest freshwater lake in these islands , Lough Neagh – a distance of approximately 30.5km.
The “Swim Sisters “ are four experienced open water swimmers and members of the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association. And it was through their love of open water swimming that the team the " Swim Sisters " came together. Two of them , Lynsey & Maighread are veterans of two successful English Channel relay swims.You can read more about their swim on the Seascapes webpage....
That’s it for this week on your maritime programme, on the sound desk this week Niall O Sullivan , next week here on Seascapes we bring you the story of the Aud and Sir Roger Casement and highlights from the commemoration held on Banna Strand earlier this year at Easter .....Grainne McPolin was there for Seascapes when she spoke with with H.E. President Michael D Higgins we hear from local historian Pat Lawlor about Sir Roger Casement the humanitarian, explorer and seafarer and descendants of Captain Monteith and Sir Roger Casement ; until next Friday night, tight lines and fair sailing.”
A popular wedding venue a Wedding Fair is being held in The National Maritime Museum of Ireland, Haigh Terrace, Dun Laoghaire on Sunday 18th September open from 12 noon....
Ireland’s National Maritime Museum is housed in Dun Laoghaire’s 180-year-old Mariners Church, directly opposite the new DLR Lexicon library and easily accessible by DART suburban train and several bus services. The museum’s greatest artefact is probably the building itself as it is one of a few custom built places of worship for seafarers remaining intact in the world to-day.
Experienced guides will bring you on a voyage of discovery enthralling you with stories of discovery, heroism, war and disasters at sea. You will learn about maritime history, exploration, navigation, radio, deep-sea cable technology, nature, wildlife and view art inspired by the sea.
See the 10-tonne revolving Baily Optic, try the electrified steam engine and pause to reflect at the Titanic exhibit, the re-created radio room, the Royal Navy prisoners docks and the war memorial. Try sailor’s knots, learn how they lift heavy weights, be photographed with the pirate, research in the library, visit the shop and café and much more.
" You're very welcome aboard SEASCAPES the maritime programme on RTE Radio 1 with Marcus Connaughton
.......This podcast is available to you courtesy of RTE Radio 1 and Afloat.ie."
This week we feature the Irish Sailing Association Annual Awards in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland on St Stephens Green in Dublin we heard last week from President David Lovegrove and CEO Harry Hermon , so we’ll be talking to John Treacy of Sport Ireland; veteran Sailing journalist William N Nixon on his Lifetime Achievement Award; AFLOAT editor – David O’ Brien; AFLOAT SAILOR OF THE YEAR – Liam Shanahan of The National Yacht Club; Paralympians John Twomey and Ian Costelloe on how schools can become involved in their campaign ; writer and broadcaster Norman Freeman author of The Lure of Far Away Places recalls the Haj and pilgrims making the voyage to Mecca ; ............... first on Seascapes this week to James Horan, Commodore of the Royal Irish Yacht Club whom we met here on Seascapes a few weeks ago, the RIYC were recognised as the Mitsubishi Club of the Year at the ISA Awards in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Click above to hear the full Seascapes programme.
#seascapes – The maritime community in Ireland is a mystery to the vast majority of the rest of the population. Admittedly anyone Irish will sing enthusiastically about how good it is to be entirely surrounded by water. But for most folk among a people who like to think that they're basically rural even if the reality is they're increasingly urban, the sea is seen as no more than a useful barrier, while the coast is only briefly a fun place at the very height of a good summer.
The sea and the coastal interface are not seen as an exciting world in itself, a unique environment which deserves to be explored, enjoyed and utilised in practical and often beneficial ways. On the contrary, the popular view of the plain people of Ireland is that the less they know about the sea, the better. And the unspoken corollary of this is that anyone who seeks to go to sea for recreation is at best a bit odd, maybe even a misfit ashore, while those who work on the sea only do so because they couldn't get a job on land.
Here at Afloat.ie, in its various manifestations over the past 52 years, we've been trying to spread mutual understanding and useful information among the many and varied strands of those who go afloat for sport and recreation in Ireland and beyond. We know this is largely a matter of preaching to the converted. But we also try to do our bit to welcome those who may be newcomers to the world of boats, while remaining keenly aware of the drawbacks of over-selling our sport, our hobby – our obsession, if you wish.
Sailing and boating in Ireland can be rugged enough. Thus the sport in all its forms can only expand in a sustainable way if it attracts people who will themselves bring something positive to the party, for interacting usefully with boats is not a passive affair. And there has been a certain level of success. Over the years, while there was an understandable blip in boating numbers during the recent recession, the graph has been reasonably healthy when it's remembered that rival sport and entertainment attractions are proliferating all the time, while the increasing availability of holidays afloat in sunnier climates makes the promotion of boating activity within Ireland more problematic.
Fifty-two years ago, beginning a process of regular communication among Ireland's recreational boating community was quite a challenge. But it was a very straightforward project compared with inaugurating a regularly weekly broadcast maritime programme for all listeners on national radio in a country notably averse to the sea. Yet it all began 25 years ago, and it's still going strong.
So how do you celebrate 25 years of a niche radio programme, a little Irish maritime magazine of the air? It would be too much to expect a documentary on primetime television. And even an extra-long gala edition on the national radio airwaves at peak listening times might well be counter-productive. So it seems the answer is that the best way to celebrate 25 years of Seascapes on RTE Radio 1 is to publish a book well-filled with some of the key broadcasts with which it has been associated. And as those now-printed broadcasts include a maritime-themed series of the prestigious Thomas Davis Lectures, you mark the anniversary by sending out those as broadcasts again in their own right twelve years after their first transmission.
It may all sound almost devious, a matter of managing to slip the Seascapes celebrations in under the RTE management radar. But those of us who have been banging the maritime development drums for a very long time are well aware that, though the tide is definitely turning, there's still a huge underlying resistance to anything to do with the sea and boats, and it takes an element of cunning to get the message across such that, in time, the people are themselves singing from the same hymn sheet, and thinking it was all their idea in the first place.
But the founder of Seascapes 25 years ago, RTE's Cork reporter Tom MacSweeney, makes your average terrier look like a tired old dog. A sailing and maritime enthusiast himself even though his family had been from a non-maritime background, he had as a child in Cork been inspired by his grandfather's great respect for seafarers, and the vital task they performed in keeping Ireland connected with the rest of the world. He could see the sea all about us, and Cork is the most maritime of cities. So he just kept nagging RTE until they gave him a quarter of an hour once a week back in 1989 to put on a maritime programme for an island nation. And though it has been shifted around in the schedules, it is now a solid half hour every Friday night at 10.30pm, a worthy fulfilment of RTE's public service remit - you really do get a sense of Seascape's nationwide listening community, while podcasts make it more accessible than ever.
The sheer volume of material from all round Ireland's coasts, from our lakes and rivers, and from Irish seafarers abroad, is simply monumental, a treasure trove. So in producing the book (it's published by Liffey Press at €20 with all royalties going to the Lifeboat Service), they'd to wield a fierce scalpel. And though it includes the complete set of Thomas Davis lectures from twelve years ago, it's still of manageable size (in other words, you can read it in bed), while giving a good overview and flavour of the kind of material Seascapes broadcasts, and what we might call the house style.
In Tom MacSweeney's days of producing and presenting it from 1989 until he retired from RTE in January 2010, it has to be agreed that very occasionally the nagging which got Seascapes its slot in the first place sometimes spilled over onto the airwaves in the programme itself. Okay, we all know that Ireland is not as sea-minded as it might be. But things are slowly improving in this, and they might improve more quickly if the maritime movement relied more on the path of gentle encouragement and inspiring example rather than constantly reiterating the tedious refrain of "the government should do this, the government should do that....."
From time to time, I have to confess I thought the worst possible thing was to get the government involved at all, having seen what the official encouragement and enforcement of the Irish language had achieved since the establishment of the state. There'd be occasions when you'd think the best way to turn the Irish into a nation of doughty sailors would be to declare seafaring illegal. The people would have taken to boats in their droves....But nevertheless the tide is slowly but definitely turning, and in today's less frenetic atmosphere of businesslike maritime promotion and development, we're becoming more comfortable in our relationship with the sea.
Man of the sea. Rear Admiral Mark Mellett DSM on exercises with the Naval Service off the Cork coast.
So it was entirely appropriate that, in the launching of the Seascape's compendium Sailing By, the main speaker in both the Cork Harbour Commissioners' building on the Friday night (November 28th), and in the National Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire on Monday, was Rear Admiral Mark Mellett DSM, our most distinguished navy man, who has risen to the august heights of Deputy Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces.
If you requested Central Casting to provide an Irish Admiral who conveys the expected air of competence with the necessary gravitas and presence, while still having that essential Irish twinkle, then they'd send you Mark Mellett. We'd most of us heard of his steady rise through the senior ranks, but for many of us in the National Maritime Museum on a damp December night, it was the first experience of seeing Admiral Mellett in a professional and public capacity. For people from a very wide range of interests and activities in the maritime sphere, it was very encouraging – we feel we now have a spokesman who can ably represent us at every level, however formal or high powered, while at the same time retaining the human touch.
Top people at the launching of the Seascapes book Sailing By are (left to right) Cllr Marie Baker (Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council), Rear Admiral Mark Mellett DSM (Deputy Chief of Staff , Defence Forces), Marcus Connaughton of Seascapes, and Richard McCormick, President of the National Maritime Museum. Admiral Mellett is being presented with the book The Atlantic Coast of Ireland, as he already has his own copy of Sailing By – he wrote the foreword.
His enthusiasm is palpable, and he provided a foreword for the book which speaks from the heart, yet provides a practical and businesslike outlook. In fact, that was the flavour of the evening in the National Maritime Museum, as it was hosted by Richard McCormick, the recently elected President of the National Maritime Museum, and the speakers included the Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Cllr. Marie Baker, and Tom McGuire, head of RTE Radio 1, who knows better than anyone just what has been needed to keep Seascapes on the airwaves for 25 years.
Most of all it has of course been the sheer dogged determination of Tom MacSweeney working on his own as producer and presenter in RTE's Cork studio, followed by his successor Marcus Connaughton, who came in as producer when the Thomas Davis Lectures were added to an already almost impossibly demanding schedule in 2002, and stayed on to become presenter eight years later.
They're two very different people. Tom is so involved and enthusiastic that occasionally his own personality, opinions and attitudes cloud the issue. He's a complex man with many interests, not least of them being a national Vice President of the St Vincent de Paul Society. But as regular visitors to Afloat.ie will know, he continues to broadcast his own maritime programmes through community radio, and he's a much-sought-after speaker on sea matters. Recently, he gave a sold-out talk - How Stands Our Island Nation? - to the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association in the Poolbeg Y&BC, and while he had the usual serious message, it was leavened by his sharp wit, with the laugh of the evening being provided by his reading of the pained official letter from an Irish Lights Manager complaining about the sheer incompetence and slovenly carelessness of Brendan Behan when he was employed as a painter renovating the St John's Point lighthouse in County Down.
That said, it was a telling lesson in the importance or otherwise of maritime affairs in Ireland's national and cultural life in times past, that the story of a noted playwright making a complete hames of painting a lighthouse was something you knew would register more readily with a general audience than anything of more direct nautical interest, and it is an awareness of the need to reach out gently to the general public which sets the tone of Marcus Connaughton's presentation of Seascapes.
He arrived in the job first as producer, and then as producer/presenter, with no personal baggage in maritime matters. His background was in music production and public relations, and a couple of years ago he brought seventeen years of research and writing to a successful conclusion with the defining biography of Rory Gallagher. But gradually he has become absorbed in and intrigued by the world of boats and the sea. As one of the speakers on Monday night put it, one of the most quietly impressive peformances you'll see is Marcus – who is by no means a small man – sidling into the crowd at some maritime gathering, armed with microphone and recorder, ready and willing to give a voice to the voiceless.
Man at work – Marcus Connaughton records the memories of Alan Martin and Jimmy Carthy of the Dublin Dockworkers Preservation Society
Tim Magennis (left) President of the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association, with Marcus Connaughton. Once upon a time, they were work colleagues in the PR Department of Bord Failte
The book launch begins to become a party – Con Murphy of the National YC (left) and Brian Craig of the Royal St George YC getting their copies of Sailing By signed by Marcus Connaughton in the National Maritime Museum. Photo: W M Nixon
The changeover to a new presenter was fairly gradual, but very marked in one thing – he changed the signature tune. When Seascapes started in 1989, they simply borrowed the music which precedes the BBC Shipping Forecast, Ronald Binge's "Sailing By".
"Sailing By" in almost any form is the sound of syrup being poured over sugar lumps, but some folk loved it, so the change to the brisk tone of Simon Mayer's The Reel Thing wasn't universally popular, even if welcomed by those of us trying to cut down on the sucrose.
Yet it's surely an appropriate 25th anniversary sweetener that the published compendium of Seascapes stories is titled Sailing By, and the cover is a fine photo of the renowned pilot cutter Jolie Brise sailing by the Fastnet Rock. It was taken by Brian Carlin of Tralee, who subsequently went on to be the award-winning photographer aboard the Volvo 65 Team Vestas, which unfortunately managed to do some excessive impactive navigation off Mauritius during the Volvo World race last weekend. It was certainly not the photographer's fault, but it heightened the sense of an Irish maritime community worldwide that at Monday night's gathering, Marcus was able to tell us that not only was Brian all right, but that in contacting his father to say so, he requested that the message be passed on to Seascapes as soon as possible.
One of award-winning photographer Brian Carlin's studies of Jolie Brise sailing by the Fastnet Rock. Photo: Brian Carlin
The top moment – it's 2005, and the Seascapes team are on board Asgard II as she leads the Dunbrody of New Ross, and the Jeanie Johnston of Tralee, in the Parade of Sail at the Tall Ships visit to Waterford. Photo: Dave Osborne
As for Marcus's own special recollections of his years with Seascapes, we allowed him six and he ranked them: (1) Being on Asgard II in Waterford with the Tall Ships in 2005, (2) at sea off Hook Head with Martin Colfer amidst enormous schools of lively dolphins, (3) in Galway during both Volvo visits, (4) being far up his beloved Munster Blackwater beyond Ballinatray at the top of the tide, (5) celebrating 25 years of the Killybegs Fishermen's Association at a monster party in the great Donegal port, and (6) being in the renovated National Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire when it was re-opened by President Michael D Higgins.
Presidential thoughts of the sea and seafaring in Ireland – Seascapes interviews President Higgins after he has re-opened the restored National Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire. Photo: Margaret Brown
Seascapes was of course broadcast as usual last night at 10.30pm, and Marcus Connaughton will be signing copies of Sailing By in Waterstones in Cork this afternoon from 2.0pm to 5.0pm. The first of the six Thomas Davis lectures from 20012 – Paddy Barry's lyrical account of sailing round Ireland – will be broadcast on Friday December 19th, and they'll continue weekly until the final one on February 6th, which is my own item about why most people in Ireland think sailing enthusiasts are so odd. As mentioned at the Glandore Summer School in July, I've changed my mind about some aspects of that, and I'll probably have changed it yet again when Marcus provides me with the space for further thoughts on the matter on Seascapes some time after February 6th.
But meanwhile, happy birthday to Seascapes – you provide a wonderful example of genuine public service broadcasting.
This week's edition of Seascapes on RTÉ Radio 1 features accounts of two very different voyages across the Atlantic.
Presenter Marcus Connaughton hears from Pat Hanafin who is currently crossing the pond on board the US Coast Guard clipper Eagle, which as previously reported on Afloat.ie is due to call at Waterford on 27 May ahead of the Tall Ships Races.
The show also features news of a group of sailors hoping to retread the route of St Brendan's famous voyage.
A crew of "mariners, poets and musicians" will set sail from Dingle on 16 May - St Brendan's Day - on the 45ft vessel An Seachrán, heading up the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland towards Iceland.
The latest edition of Seascapes is available to listen HERE.