Displaying items by tag: Sligo
#SpanishArmada - A Sligo-based group dedicated to promoting the northwest coastal area’s links with the historic Spanish Armada has been honoured by the King of Spain in a special ceremony this week, as RTÉ News reports.
The Plate of the Order of Isabel La Católica, the highest civil order granted by King Felipe VI, was presented by Spanish Ambassador to Ireland José María Rodríguez-Coso to the members of the Grange and Armada Development Association (GADA) at Sligo Town Hall.
The first Irish recipients of the honour, recognising groups and individuals who foster relationships between Spain and the international community, have worked hard to promote and preserve the history of the three Spanish Armada ships that were wrecked at Streedagh in 1588.
Three years ago, an almost completely intact rudder from one of the armada ships was discovered on the beach at Streedagh. Following that a number of cannons and other ship artefacts were recovered on dives to the wreck sites.
And the search for more items from the shipwrecks is ongoing, with marine archaeologists’ latest survey of the area taking place over the summer, according to TheJournal.ie.
The event comes almost a year after the Spanish Navy sailed into Sligo town for the first time since the armada in 1588 for a ceremony in memory of that historic fleet, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
#CoastalNotes - An unusual vessel that washed up in Co Sligo at the weekend has been traced thousands of kilometres across the Atlantic – to Cuba.
According to BBC News, Gordon Fallis was walking his dogs on the beach near the famous surfing hotspot of Mullaghmore when he discovered the dilapidated boat on the shore.
It appeared to be improvised from a metal frame and plastic bottles for buoyancy, covered in a yellow tarp, and powered by a repurposed car engine.
After posting photos of the strange boat to the Facebook group Lost at Sea, which attempts to identify such coastal finds, he was advised to take another look at the labels on the plastic bottles – which said they were from Cuba.
Such jury-rigged boats, nicknamed ‘chugs’ due to the sound of their straining motors, are commonly used by Cubans hoping to cross the Florida Straits for a better life in the United States.
It’s not the first unique find to wash up in the North West in recent months, following the Canadian houseboat that beached in Co Mayo this past November, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
But never before has an improvised vessel from Cuba been discovered on this side of the Atlantic — a journey that could have taken anywhere from months to years.
BBC News has much more on the story HERE.
The RNLI has today launched an innovative free text message service aimed at preventing people getting caught out by dangerous tides when travelling to Coney Island in County Sligo.
In what is the first of its kind in Ireland, the RNLI text messaging service is being introduced by the charity in a direct response to a coastal safety risk identified by the local community in Sligo.
For years the causeway which provides access to Coney Island and the nature of its flooding tidal waters have presented a risk to the public who are unsure of the tide times and the appropriate times to cross from the mainland.
Sligo Bay RNLI has responded to numerous incidents around Coney Island that relate to tidal cut off and activities around the sandbanks and tidal channels. However, the volunteer lifeboat crews have often been restricted by water depth when attending these incidents especially during the crucial early phase of the flooding tide where people are starting to cut off or are bogged in.
It is hoped that the new text messaging system accompanied by signage directing people to the numbers to text, will encourage safer crossing and decision making.
Anyone planning to visit the island by car, bike or foot is encouraged to Text Coney to 53600 (from Republic of Ireland mobiles) or 81400 (from Northern Ireland/UK mobiles) to find out the safe crossing times for that day.*
The RNLI will reply with information on the best times subject to good weather conditions along with key safety messages reminding users to always leave extra time to return safely to the mainland, to never attempt to cross if the strand is covered with water and in the event of an emergency to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.
Speaking at the launch of Text Coney today, Rogan Wheeldon, RNLI Community Incident Reduction Manager said: ‘This is a perfect example of a community on the coast identifying a risk and working collaboratively to help save lives at sea. By providing the public with the relevant information to make safer choices when accessing the coast it reduces their risk, the risk to our lifeboat crew, and also to those in the community that are putting their own lives at risk to help those in trouble’.
Joe Henderson, Sligo Bay RNLI Coastal Safety Officer added: ‘Over recent years our lifeboat crew at Sligo Bay RNLI has been called out many times to rescue people who have been caught out by the tide. As part of the RNLI’s work in prevention of accidental drowning we now have this wonderful texting system in place with good signage here at The Causeway and we really want to make people aware that is here and encourage locals and visitors alike to get texting when planning a visit to the beautiful Coney Island. We would like to thank everyone involved in bringing this development to fruition including the residents of Coney Island and Sligo County Council.’
The Text Coney launch comes a week after the RNLI launched Respect the Water, its annual national accidental drowning prevention campaign which will run throughout the Summer.
Respect the Water aims to highlight the risk of accidental drowning when people are near the coastline by encouraging safer behaviour both in and around the water.
The campaign is primarily aimed at males aged between 16 and 39 but the same advice is relevant for anyone visiting the coast.
The RNLI is warning of the key dangers that can lead to accidental drowning - cold water, unexpected entry into the water, and rip currents and waves.
The vision for the new surfing and coastal community centre by London architects Manalo & White also includes large concrete panels around the perimeter with Celtic seascapes and surfing scenes by Barry Britton, whose known as much for his art as for his waveriding legacy – not least being father of women's surfing pioneer Easkey Britton.
A planning application is expected to be completed by the end of April with a view to having the €500,000 facility, which would replace the existing centre used by the local surf club and other groups, ready in time for next year's tourism season.
The Sligo Champion has more on the story HERE.
The Sligo based Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 118, is helping to bring Christmas cheer to Tory Island off the Donegal coast. Nine (9) islanders who otherwise would not have got home for Christmas are this afternoon being flown from Donegal Airport in Carrickfinn, to the island. A backlog of Christmas post and fresh supplies* for the island population were also carried on the flight.
The recent spell of bad weather which has extended into Storm Eva, has severely interrupted ferry services to and from the island resulting in few opportunities for locals to return home for Christmas. Deliveries of post and fresh goods have also been interrupted.
It has been a busy year for Coast Guard helicopters with almost one thousand missions completed to date by the service. This work includes assistance provided to HSE with patient transfer.
Over the Christmas period many people will be engaging in outdoor activities. The Coast Guard is strongly urging the public not to engage in any activity unless they have first checked that it is safe to do so; especially when planning to go on exposed coasts, cliffs, piers, harbour walls, beaches, promenades or other coastal areas.
The Coast Guard wishes to remind the public that if you see anybody in trouble at sea, on the coast or on cliffs to call 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.
A new Atlantic 85 class lifeboat has gone on service at Sligo Bay RNLI. The lifeboat which arrived at the Rosses Point lifeboat station yesterday evening (Monday 16 November), replaces Elsinore, which has been used to save lives at sea on Sligo Bay since 2002.
Volunteer lifeboat crew began a week of familiarisation training this afternoon (Tuesday) with their first exercise on the Sheila and Dennis Tongue.
The new lifeboat has been funded through a legacy from the late Dennis Tongue, a native of Birmingham in England. The lifeboat is named after himself and his late wife Sheila. Dennis died at the age of 84 in February 2014 in his home which overlooked the Exe estuary near Exmouth, Devon where he had lived for about 25 years following his retirement. He was predeceased by Sheila who died in 2010.
Mr Tongue was the first in his family to go to university where he obtained an engineering degree. He had an inquisitive mind, loved all things mechanical and was responsible for some award winning designs within the company for which he worked most of life. His interests were wide and included ancient history, photography, bird watching, coin collecting, theatre and local modern classics. His interest in the work of the RNLI grew during his retirement years; he was interested in the mechanics and design of modern-day lifeboats and began to learn more of the work and history of the organisation with his frequent visits to the station in Exmouth. He and Sheila regularly supported the work of the RNLI with the annual purchases of calendars, Christmas cards and tea towels. They had no children and their decision to donate a significant part of their estate to the charity was made in recognition of the work of the RNLI in saving lives but also because of its being at the heart of the seaside community and adding to its character.
The Sheila and Dennis Tongue will be officially named at a special naming ceremony and service of dedication at Sligo Bay lifeboat station next year.
In its 13 years in Sligo, Elsinore launched 189 times, with its volunteer crew members rescuing 155 people, eight of whom were lives saved.
The new lifeboat has some advancement on its predecessor. The Atlantic 85 design allows room for four crew members and more kit than the Atlantic 75 lifeboat, which only had room for three crew members.
The lifeboat is powered by two 115 horse power engines and has a stronger hull and greater top speed of 35 knots. The added radar allows the crew to operate more effectively in poor visibility and there is also VHF direction-finding equipment.
The vessel also has a manually operated self-righting mechanism which combined with inversion-proofed engines keeps the lifeboat operational even after capsize. The lifeboat can also be beached in an emergency without causing damage to its engines or steering gear.
The Atlantic 85 which was introduced to the RNLI fleet in 2005 also carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids, as well as a searchlight, night-vision equipment and flares for night-time operations.
Speaking following the arrival of the new lifeboat, Willie Murphy, Sligo Bay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘We are extremely grateful to Mr Tongue for his generous legacy donation which has funded our new lifeboat. Today’s excitement is naturally tinged with a sense of nostalgia as we bid a fond farewell to Elsinore who provided us with 13 great years of service. Elsinore came to us as a result of local fundraising and carried the name of WB Yeats uncle’s house which is located beside the lifeboat station and where Yeats stayed as a young boy. Elsinore’s time here in Sligo saved lives and brought many more people safely to shore and we hope the donor family will be just as proud as we are, of her many achievements.
‘We are looking forward to being the custodians of this new lifeboat which will allow our volunteers to go on to rescue and save many more lives in the years to come.’
The RNLI is a charity which relies on voluntary contributions and legacies.
One of Ireland’s leading traditional boat authorities, Dr Criostoir Mac Carthaigh, editor of the monumental and authoritative Traditional Boats of Ireland (Collins Press 2008), is giving the Sligo Field Club’s monthly lecture on Friday November 20th. His topic will be the specialised skills and unique traditions of the boat-building and seafaring McCann family of the ancient natural port of Milk Harbour.
At Milk Harbour, which is the sheltered water behind Dernish Island on the sandy north Sligo coast midway between Grange and Cliffoney, the McCanns built – and continue to build, with Johnny and Tom McCann now at the heart of the business - boats for customers from a wide area, and the family are also noted for their ability to sail their boats in the exposed waters of the greater Donegal Bay area.
One of the more intriguing aspects of their work is that they may have been the most southerly constructors of clinker-built craft on Ireland’s west coast, so much so that anyone from Mayo or Galway who decided on clinker construction would have to make his way north to Milk Harbour.
Until proper piers were constructed at places like nearby Mullaghmore, Milk Harbour was the main trading port on the long stretch of exposed coastline between Sligo and Ballyshannon, and its importance was such that in 1776 the noted Scottish cartographer and master mariner Murdock McKenzie included a detailed plan of the entrance to Milk Harbour in his chart of the Donegal Bay area.
Milk Harbour as surveyed by Murdock McKenzie in 1776 – definitey not to be used for navigation in 2015……
The first noted seafaring McCann in the area was Johnny Rua McCann who, in the early 19th Century, made his living carrying cargo in his 28ft yawl from Killybegs to tiny ports on the Donegal and Sligo coasts. One of these was Milk Harbour – also known as Milk Haven - and it was there that the McCann clan eventually established their permanent base and set up a boat-building operation which continues to the present day.
And although Milk Harbour may have conceded the leading local harbour role to Mullaghmore, the place itself is a charming away-from-it-all spot with an anchorage much appreciated by discerning cruising visitors and locals alike.
The Lecture is at the Sligo Education Centre in the Institute of Technology Campus, Sligo, at 8.0pm on Friday November 20th. Any queries to Paul J Allen, Hon. Sec. Sligo Field Club, tel 085-7561024
Criostoir Mac Carthaigh at Kilrush aboard the “re-created” Shannon Hooker Sally O’Keeffe, ne of the many traditional Irish boat projects in which he has been involved. Photo: W M Nixon
#SpanishArmada - More wreckage from Spanish galleons shipwrecked off the northwest coast more than 400 years ago has been washed up on a Sligo beach.
And according to The Irish Times, it's possible that this weekend's low tides could expose even more remnants from the three vessels - sparking concerns for the integrity of the wreck sites, which lie in 15 metres of water some 60 metres from the low tide mark.
Donal Gilroy from the Grange and Armada Development Association (GADA) said the wooden objects found on the beach this week had "been buried off Streedagh for nearly 430 years. It is lucky they were not carried out by the tide.”
The find comes just months after a near fully intact rudder, believed to be from one of the 1588 fleet, was discovered at Streedagh beach by a local farmer.
“This is a protected site but we worry that these boats are being moved by storms," added Gilroy. "They have thrown up more in the last two years than in the previous 40."
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
#CoastalNotes - The Irish Independent's Kim Bielenberg recently enjoyed the hospitality of the welcoming coastal community of Strandhill in Co Sligo, where seaweed, surfing and sleeping under the stars are some of the key attractions.
Strandhill is just one of the many seaside hamlets dotted along the Wild Atlantic Way, an initiative local businesses have been swift to latch on to.
But the town's entrepreneurs have long been at one with the ocean and the rugged beauty of the coastline, from the local seaweed bath – a Sligo coast tradition – to the Kiwi-run surfing school and the beach campsite that welcomes hundreds of campers every summer.
Meanwhile, that same coastline provided the inspiration for artists Tom Phelan's seascape, which featured in a recently closed exhibition in Dublin.
Independent.ie has a sample of one of his striking and evocative surfboard paintings, with straight lines and sweeping curves that care calming and sedate, but a rough surfaces that indicates some tussles with the waves.
More of these works can be found on Tom Phelan's website HERE.
#Coastguard - Four members of Sligo's Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew are in Canada this week to receive a prestigious award for their efforts in the rescue of a climber from the Bluestack Mountains.
As The Irish Times reports, the four men - Capt Paul Forbes, co-pilot Paraic Slattery, winch operator John McCartney and winchman Conal McCarron - have been picked from a shortlist of 200 for the American Helicopter Society's Fredrick L Feinberg award in recognition of their daring rescue on 15 May last year in extremely difficult conditions.
On one of the final missions for the Sligo coastguard unit's Sikorsky S-61 helicopter, the crew hovered just feet from a sheer cliff face in total darkness and high winds to retrieve the climber, who had broken his leg.
It's not the first time the Rescue 118 crew have been lauded for their bravery on that day, as they've previously received an award from the helicopter's manufacturer.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.