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Our History

meteireannhq.jpg Operational Meteorology might be said to have begun in Ireland on 8 October 1860, when the first 'real time' weather observation was transmitted from Valentia Island in Co. Kerry. Valentia Observatory, as it came to be known, was one of a network of weather stations established around the Irish and British coastlines, by the naval authorities in London, to enable storm warnings to be provided for ships at sea.

For many years after Independence Ireland's needs, as far as weather matters were concerned, continued to be met by the British Meteorological Office. By the mid-1930's, however, it was clear that a new and exciting customer was on the way. It was the requirement to provide accurate weather information for transatlantic aviation that led to the formal establishment of an Irish Meteorological Service in 1936.

The first Director, Austen H. Nagle, was appointed in December of that year, and installed himself in the small offices in St. Andrew's Street in Dublin, which became the first Headquarters of the new Service. In April 1937, the administration of the existing observing network was taken over from the British Authorities; it comprised 4 telegraphic stations (at Malin Head, Blacksod Point, Roches Point and Birr), 18 climatological stations, 172 rainfall stations, and Valentia Observatory, which was the only station at the time to be manned by official personnel.

In its early stages, the new Service received continuing help from the British Authorities. This assistance was in the form of staff seconded from London to work at Foynes, in Co. Limerick, from where flying boats had just begun to operate. Included in their number were several who were later to become well known internationally; notably Hubert Lamb, the climatologist and Arthur Davies, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organisation for nearly 30 years. By 1941, however, the Service's own recruits had been fully trained, and the organisation was able to begin satisfying the increasing demands for weather information from its own resources.

Forecasting for aviation, first at Foynes and later at Shannon and Dublin Airports, was the major preoccupation of the early years. By the late 1940's, however, the Service had broadened its activities. In 1948, for the first time, it assumed responsibility for the weather forecasts broadcast by Radio Éireann, which had been provided from London in the interim. In 1952 it began to supply forecasts to the daily newspapers and 1961 saw the opening of the new Central Analysis and Forecast Office in the Headquarters premises, now housed at 44 Upper O'Connell Street, Dublin. Live presentation by Met Éireann forecasters of the weather on Teilifis Eireann commenced in early 1962.

valoldbuildc1900.jpg Radar Antenna at Shannon AirportThe late 1940's and the 1950's were a time of rapid expansion for the Service. This period saw the establishment of a balanced nation-wide network of observing stations, manned on a full-time basis by Meteorological Service personnel. The climatological and rainfall observing networks were greatly enhanced, thanks largely to the willing co-operation of the Garda authorities around the country and the assistance of other Government Departments and State-sponsored bodies. At Valentia Observatory, which had moved to a mainland site near Cahirciveen in 1892, upper air radiosonde measurements began and a wide range of geophysical measurements and environmental monitoring activities was introduced.

Meanwhile, the Service offered an expanding range of forecast and climatological information to the public and to specialised interests. A notable development was the inauguration of tape recorded telephone forecasts during the 1960's, the precursor of today's Weatherdial. The reception of satellite images began in the late 1960's at Shannon Airport and in the 1970's, the Meteorological Service might be said to have come of age by entering the computer era. Initially, the new machines were employed for communication purposes, but shortly afterwards the computers were used for the relatively new technique of numerical weather prediction.

Throughout its history, the Meteorological Service and its staff played an active role in the development of meteorology on the international scene. Ireland became a full member of the World Meteorological Organisation shortly after its establishment in the early 1950's and was later a founder member of both the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts and the European Meteorological Satellite Organisation, EUMETSAT. More recently, the Service has been active in the formation of other co-operative agencies like EUMETNET and ECOMET. Particularly beneficial to the organisation has been its membership since 1989 of HIRLAM, a co-operative venture between the Scandinavian countries and several other European Meteorological Services for the development of a numerical model for short-range forecasting.

Met eireann Headquarters ImageThe modern era of the Meteorological Service might be said to date from its occupation of the new Headquarters Building in Glasnevin in 1979, a development which for the first time allowed all the Dublin based Divisions to be housed under the same roof. It was around this time too, that the Service reached its peak in terms of staffing, with a total of 342 in 1980. The intervening years have seen a gradual reduction in staff numbers to the present level of 230, a development brought about mainly by the introduction of automated methods for many repetitive tasks, and by on-going review of our priorities with regard to weather observations.

Since the 1990s, in common with its sister organisations in most other European countries, the service has adopted a more commercial approach to the provision of services to its customers,in an effort to try to increase revenue and thus lighten the financial burden on the tax-payer. This spirit of commercial awareness, however, has been combined with an enhancement of the Service's public service role in areas where this has seemed desirable, most notably perhaps by the introduction of Severe Weather Alerts and by co-operation in the monitoring of stratospheric and tropospheric ozone

In March of 1996, its 60th year of operation, the Meteorological Service adopted the new title Met Éireann, with the aim of establishing a well-focused corporate identity in the public mind. Proud of its record of public service, its development of the national meteorological infrastructure and its contribution to the science of meteorology, Met Éireann looks forward with confident optimism to the challenges that lie ahead.

Directors of Met Éireann, 1936-present
1936-1948 Austen H. Nagle
1948-1964 Mariano Doporto
1965-1978 P.M. Austin Bourke
1978-1981 P. Kilian Rohan
1981-1988 Donal L. Linehan
1989-present Declan J. Murphy

Met Éireann Headquarters, Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9

Tel: +353-1-8064200
Fax: +353-1-8064247
 
General Forecasting Division
Tel: +353-1- 8064255
Fax: +353-1- 8064275
Note: Provision of forecasts is subject to a fee.
 
Climate Enquiries Office
Tel: +353-1- 8064260
Fax: +353-1- 8064216
Note: Provision of services is subject to a fee.
 
Commercial Division
Tel: +353-1-8064244
Fax: +353-1-8064247
 
Freedom of Information Officer
Tel: +353-1-8064295
Fax: +353-1-8064275

Met Éireann Aviation Services, Shannon Airport Co. Clare
Tel: +353-61-712958
Fax: +353-61-712960
 
Met Éireann Valentia Observatory, Cahirciveen Co. Kerry
Tel: +353-66-9473460
Fax: +353-67-9472242

 

Met Eireann: Irish Meteorological Service, Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9

Published in Organisations
16th July 2009

Irish Laser Association

Afloat's Graham Smith wrote about the Laser in the March 2009 issue of Afloat:

The Irish Laser Association remains one of the numerically biggest classes in Ireland – over 200 boats on the books – and when you get over 100 boats on average (across the three rig types, of course) at each of the four regionals and Irish Championships, you know you have a very healthy scene. Click here for all the latest up to date Laser Sailing News.

National Champion James Espey of Ballyholme defended his title in Howth to beat clubmate and main rival Ryan Seaton by almost ten points in the 11-race event. It won’t have come as a shock to the rest of the fleet since he wasn’t outside the top four in any of the other Laser events during year and also won the Munsters. Ronan Wallace of Wexford made the most of local knowledge to win the Leinsters while Ryan Seaton and Rory Fitzpatrick took the Ulster and Connaught titles respectively.

In the 4.7 rig division, Diana Kissane of Howth showed she had coped with the transition from the Optimist class she dominated for years by taking the Irish Championship title on home waters. Not a bad feat considering she only sailed in one other major event. The other regionals were won by Howth’s Andrew Tyrrell, Eoghan Cudmore of Kinsale and Philip Doran from Courtown (who also won the Topper Nationals).

Battling for the honours in the Radial rig division were Barry McCartin of Cushendall, Chris Penney of Carrickfergus and Debbie Hanna of East Antrim, with McCartin winning two regionals and the other two taking one each. At the Nationals in Howth, it was UK visitor Alison Young from Stokes Bay who topped the 51-strong fleet with McCartin the best of the Irish in the runner-up spot.

Hanna had the consolation of winning the Ladies’ Nationals at Ballyholme while David Nelson had an impressive win in the Masters event at the same venue.

National Champions (as at March 2009): Standard rig – James Espey, Ballyholme YC; Radial rig – Alison Young, UK, 4.7 rig – Diana Kissane Howth YC.

 

The September/October 2009 issue of Afloat carried the following story:

Spring Promise Turns into Summer Shine

It has been nothing short of an extraordinary summer for Irish sailing, with plenty of silverware shining in club trophy cabinets around the country.

annalise.jpg

Above: Annaliese Murphy leads the world. Photo: Gareth Craig

Results in the early spring perhaps were an obvious sign that the summer would deliver something special. Within a month, Peter O’Leary and Tim Goodbody won the Star Spring European Championship, Annaliese Murphy won the Dutch Europa Cup and Matty O’Dowd followed this with a victory in the Danish Europa Cup, both sailing Laser Radials. Preparations for the summer were on track.
 
These results were impressive, but they turned out to be just a taste of what was to come.
 
oppie_3.jpgLeft and below: More action from the Oppies. Photos: Gareth Craig

The highlight of the summer arrived with Murphy’s eighth place in the World Laser Radial Women’s Championship, which secured her the Under 21 World Title. Murphy is just 19 years of age, and this is her first year on the senior circuit. The current World Champion is 31, putting Murphy’s potential into perspective.
 
Her result was Ireland’s first top ten finish at an Olympic Class World Championships in six years, and was secured in an 87-boat fleet that included the American Olympic gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe and the Chinese Olympic bronze medallist, Lijia Xu. The title was won by Finland’s Sari Multala who counted five race wins in her scores, allowing her to sit out the final race.

The National Yacht Club sailor improved throughout the 12-race series, where individual scores included a second placing, moving the UCD mathematics student from fifteenth to tenth in the penultimate days sailing in Karatsu.

The following week at the same venue in Japan, the Laser Radial Youth World Championships were held with 100 sailors from 25 countries competing. Philip Doran and Oliver Loughead finished ninth and 12th respectively in the overall standings but more significantly they picked up the Under 17 World Title and Silver Medal between them.

Doran has shown his true grit as a competitor and has made a remarkable transition from the Laser 4.7 class where he won the Under 16 World Title in 2008. How many Irish sportsmen can say they won a world title two years in a row?
 
oppie_1.jpg To top it all off, RCYC Optimist Sailor Cian Byrne did the business on the final day of the UK Optimist Junior Nationals in Largs in August. Cian’s three third places on day 6 of the 12-race series were enough to beat USA sailor Jack Johansson, GBR sailor Freddie Grogono and Cork club mate Peter McCann.

Cian’s achievement is reported as a first for Irish Optimists in a British Championship and was richly deserved. Peter was the other hero; having led for much of the championship, he put up a great fight in the final series and ended his event with a very creditable 4th overall. 

The junior (Under 12) event had 145 competitors and had a truly international flavour with sailors from France, Holland, Spain, USA and UAE competing against the IRL and GBR contingents. The Irish more than held their own with two other top ten results, Sean Donnelly (7th) and Adam Hyland (10th). Indeed, Team Ireland had seven of the top 20 junior spots, with GBR taking just eight.

oppie_2.jpg More encouraging still is the presence of other sailors ready to challenge those on the podium. At the Topper World Championship, 13-year-old Finn Lynch secured second place, which bodes well for his career. At the 420 World Championships, Jane Butler & Jenny Andreasson finished 11th overall. This duo are both eligible to compete in 2010 for the youth title. Their result comes after great use of their transition year, facilitated by the Royal St George Yacht Club’s Youth Sailing Scheme.

Seafra Guilfoyle finished 50th in the European Optimist Championship, our best at this event for at least eight years and Fiona Daly finished 40th in the equivalent event for girls.
 
The results are a significant boost for the ISA’s Performance Pathway, spanning from Junior right through to Olympic campaigning. ISA Youth & Development Manager, Rory Fitzpatrick has managed the ISA Academy since 2005 and deserves great credit for the results achieved to date.

Annaliese Murphy – Profile

Annaliese Murphy is the Irish Independent/Afloat.ie 'Sailor of the Month' for August 2009 after her impressive showing in the Laser Radial Worlds in Japan. Racing in the first week of August, the 19-year-old National Yacht Club sailor was advancing a potential Olympic campaign with competition in an 87-strong fleet which included US Olympic Gold Medallist Anna Tunnicliffe and the Chinese Bronze Medallist Lijia Zu.

In the end, the new champion was Finland’s Sari Multala, but apart from the Finn’s unbeatable scoreline of five wins, one of the most notable achievements was the steadily improving performance into  the top ten by the Irish sailor.

Murphy improved from fifteenth to tenth overall on the second-last day, and then with increasing confidence she finished in a convincing eighth overall. We have only to look at the calibre of the sailors in her wake to realize that this was a serious step towards the London Olympics of 2012, and Annaliese Murphy becomes a worthy representative of Olympic and dinghy sailing in our roll-call of sailing stars in 2009.

 

Irish Laser Association  Chairman Rory Fitzpatrick, email: [email protected] – or Hon. Secretary Ron Hutchieson, email: [email protected]

There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here

Published in Classes & Assoc

The International Optimist Dinghy Association in Ireland – or  IODAI represents the Optimist class in Ireland and internationally. IODAI is affiliated to the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) and The International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA). Click here for all the latest Optimist news.

To sail in IODAI events you need to become a member. You can join at Registration at any event but it’s often best to come prepared with a completed application form which you can download here.

The Optimist is, quite simply, the dinghy in which the young people of the world learn to sail.

Some definitions: "A flat-bottomed, hard-chine, pram-bow dinghy with a una sprit- sail" (The Observer's Book of Small Craft); "A bathtub that breeds the best sailors" (Observant sailor at the Club bar)
 

Specifications and benefits of the Optimist dinghy

2.31m (7'6.1/2") long, 1.13m (3'8") wide. Weight 35kg (77lbs).

Easily transported on top of any car, (where it will drip water over your shiny paint- work!)

Safe and simple enough for an 8-year old; exciting and technical enough for a 15-year old

Sailed in over 110 countries by over 150,000 young people, it is the only dinghy approved by the International Sailing Federation exclusively for sailors under 16 years of age.

Over half of the dinghy skippers at the last Olympic Games were former Optimist sailors.

The boat was designed by Clarke Mills in Florida in 1947. Optimists first came to Europe in 1954 when a fleet started in Denmark.

Most parents find that sailing gives young people a great sense of personal achievement. In addition the skills required to improve sailing performance both on and off the water; it helps young people develop a more organised approach to other non-sailing related activities.

How many Optimists are there in Ireland? More than 1,300 Optimists have been registered in Ireland (2008). At Optimist events in Ireland this year the fleet size varied between 120 at Regional events and 200 at our National Championships. International events can be much larger and at an Easter Regatta on Lake Garda in 2008 there was just short of 1000 boats.

How can i join a sailing club that sails Optimists? Contact the Irish Sailing Association where you can find out which sailing clubs are local to you. The junior or dinghy sailing coordinator in each club should be able to tell you if they have an active Optimist class in that club. Your interest could be the spark that ignites an Optimist interest there and IODAI will endeavour to support clubs who wish to start an Optimist fleet. Alternatively, if you contact the IODAI secretary directly, [email protected] you will be put in touch with an IODAI regional representative who will guide you towards a suitably active Optimist club. IODAI contact every sailing club from time to time to determine their level of interest in the Optimist class and to maintain an open invitation for any sailing club to seek assistance in the forming of an Optimist class at that club.

Which are the more prominent clubs racing Optimists in Ireland?

HYC Howth Co. Dublin

KYC Kinsale Co. Cork 

LDYC Dromineer, Co. Tipperary 

LRYC Athlone, Co. Westmeath 

MYC Malahide Co. Dublin  

NYC Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin 

RCYC Crosshaven, Co. Cork 

RNIYC Cultra, Hollywood, Co Down

RStGYC Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin  

SDC Sutton, Co. Dublin 

SSC Skerries, Co. Dublin

TBSC Fenit, Co. Kerry

WBTSC Wexford Co. Wexford

WHSC Dunmore East, Co. Waterford

Are Optimists suitable for girls? The Optimist provides superb one design racing where boys and girls can compete on equal terms. Yearly rankings often produce a 50:50 split between boys and girls.  In 2005, 2006 and 2007 the Irish National Championship was won by Diana Kissane, from Howth Yacht Club who set a record by winning the title in three successive years. 

Why is Optimist Sailing so popular in Ireland? The first Optimists arrived in Ireland in 1966. The class in Ireland developed relatively slowly until 1978 when a batch of 35 GRP boats was imported and Ireland first sent a team to the World Championships. In 1981 Howth Yacht Club hosted the Worlds and boats sold off in Ireland after the event gave the class a big lift.

 
The popularity of the Optimist in Ireland is explained by a number of factors including the simplicity of design, it is:
 
– Safe and simple enough for an 8-year old, Exciting and technical enough for a 15-year old
 
The Optimist is recommended by the Irish Sailing Association for junior training
 
There is a reasonable supply of new and second-hand boats

 

An energetic and proactive class association of volunteer parents (IODAI)

 

Unquantifiable support from the parents of all Optimist sailors

What age should a child start sailing Optimists? Some clubs do not provide beginner training under 9 or 10 years of age. However this is changing and you should check with your local club. See if any other experienced parent can suggest how a younger sailor might start. There are plenty who start earlier and eleven or twelve is not too late – even to get to the top in the fleet. Some considerations before beginning:

– Is your child a competent swimmer? (Competent means comfortable in the water when out of depth and capable of swimming say 25 meters in the sea water while dressed in normal clothing).

Is your child comfortable about the prospect of trying sailing? (The prospect of being alone in charge of a boat is often daunting to a young child and this introduction to the water is the most important step).

– Are there any older brothers, sisters or friends involved in sailing? This is often a great help.

– Is the child and are the parents prepared to make the commitment? There is a lot of time involved in junior sailing. Parents, remember, they can’t drive themselves to training or events and they need lots of help ashore especially in the early days.

My child has done some sailing courses at our local club, can they start sailing Optimists at events? Of course. The Optimist dinghy is a simple and safe; designed specifically for young sailors.  So, no matter what other boat they have used on their courses, they should be able to handle an Optimist.

When do they start racing? As a Junior Class we have knowledge of helping sailors make the transition from 'messing about in boats' to actual racing.  This is where our innovative Regatta Fleet comes in.

What is the Regatta Fleet? Regatta Fleet Racing is for beginners and unranked sailors – usually from age 8 upwards. The focus of the Regatta Fleet is on having fun. There is a Regatta Fleet element at most major Optimist events except 'The Trials' (for information on 'The Trials' see the New Parents and Sailors section of our FAQ’s on the website). 
The Regatta Fleet will could be your sailors first experience of racing. They can enter the Regatta Fleet once they have learnt to sail to windward and can negotiate a simple triangular course. A typical Regatta Fleet day is usually shorter that the main fleet. With some coaching in the morning, a break ashore for lunch and then some simple races in the afternoons, the aim is to make the introduction as easy as possible. It’s not taken too seriously and coaches are allowed to give advice during racing. If a sailor is towards the front, advice may not be necessary and the coaches will tend to concentrate on those near the back. And yes, there are prizes, and it often proves to be the most charming part of the prize giving ceremony where we see very young children collect their first sailing trophy. Regatta Fleet Racing at events gives the younger sailor the experience of doing circuit events without the pressures of racing way out to sea over long courses. There are often around 50 boats racing and it’s their first introduction to the wonderful circle of friends that sailing produces for all of us. While the Optimist calendar is a full one and parents/sailors may find the implication of a serious Optimist programme just a little bit daunting - the truth is that most young children (and parents!) find the experience lots of fun. The combination of the training, regional events, and regattas, gives young sailors lots of opportunity to make new friends from all over Ireland (and indeed abroad in the case of sailors attending international events). Lots of sailors make friendships on the Optimist circuit which endure well after the age limit has been passed.

And the parents?  You will meet literally dozens of new friends. All are not sailors. Some are; some aren’t. Like your children, you will form friendships that will endure long after your sailing hopefuls have progressed out of Oppies and are old enough to travel to sailing events without you. It’s not just all about the children!!  We need some fun as well.

(The above information courtesy of the International Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland)

In March 2009, Afloat's Graham Smith wrote: "Officially, and not altogether surprisingly, the Optimist ranks as Ireland’s biggest one-design class with 275 boats registered with the IODAI. It remains the boat of choice for beginners in clubs across the country and it still encourages highly active racing fleets in 18 venues.

Numbers are up by over 12% on the previous year and with fleets at regional events averaging 100 and almost 160 at the Nationals in Tralee, there doesn’t seem to be any slowing up at all, although its popularity north of the border has apparently slipped in a number of locations.

In the Junior fleet, it was a memorable season from Seafra Guilfoyle of RCYC who won Easterns, Westerns and Northerns before taking the national title in a 90-strong junior fleet. Seafra was also the highest placed Irish helm in the British Nationals Junior fleet, finishing eighth overall out of 170 boats.

The senior division was more evenly balanced, with Colm O’Regan (KYC), Jamie Aplin (RStGYC) and Killian O’Keeffe (RCYC) winning the regionals (O’Keeffe winning two) before Cork’s Richard Harrington won the Irish Championships in Tralee ahead of 67 others to make the nationals a Cork double success. National Champion: Senior – Richard Harrington, Royal Cork YC; Junior – Seafra Guilfoyle, Royal Cork YC"

There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here

Published in Classes & Assoc
15th July 2009

Killyleagh Yacht Club

Situated on the west shore of Strangford Lough, the Club has a good landing pontoon which gives easy access to all local facilities. However, there is no overnight berthing at the pontoon. Members cruisers are moored in 2–4 metres SSW of Town Rock. Visitors are welcome to anchor outside the moorings. Club members race Cruisers, Flying Fifteens, Lightnings and dinghies. KYC is the most centrally positioned Yacht Club.

Killyleagh Yacht Club, 22 Cuan Beach, Kilyleagh, Co Down BT30 9OU. Email: [email protected], tel: 028 4482 8250

Commodore: Dr David Bain

Hon  Secretary: Gordon Galloway, tel: 028 925 87200 

Sailing Secretary: David Thompson, tel: 028 926 79710

Membership Secretary: Raymond Beattie, tel: 028 448 31187

Have we got your club details? Click here to get involved

 

Published in Clubs

10070e5d0.jpg
Glin Castle, 2009, courtesy of the RWYCI website

 

History

The Western Yacht Club has a very interesting and checkered history. The following article by Adrian O'Connell traces its origins as the 'Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland' up to the present day.

The ingenious ideas of Sir William Petty in the mid-1600s in Dublin, when he constructed a catamaran to prove that he would be able to transport the Royal Mail across the Irish Sea to Anglesey at over twice the speed of the then Mail Boat, fell on deaf ears, though nearly four centuries later high speed catamarans ply the same routes providing the same service. Patty’s ideas established Dublin as an area of maritime experimentation for many years to come, when yacht and sailing clubs developed all around the coast of Ireland in the 19th Century.

In 1720 or thereabouts the Water Club of Cork Harbour was established by local gentlemen who had suitable seagoing vessels. The organisers drew up a set of rules to keep the membership in line and developing in the right direction. At first the membership was limited to six and then enlarged to 25; however exclusivity was the rule, keeping out the unruly elements (possibly still to be found around the waters of Ireland today…). The Club had a rule where if the Club Secretary allowed a non-member into the Club House he would be instantly dismissed. Fortnightly sailing excursions and dinner parties were arranged to correspond with the Spring tides. The members neither cruised or raced but manoeuvred under the command of an Admiral and carried out fleet manoeuvres in Naval fashion. The sailing discipline had to be adhered to at all times and the fleet was controlled by flag signals hoisted by the flagship. The Club went into decline around 1765 but re-established itself in 1806.

One of the Water Club members was Col. John Bateman Fitzgerald Knight of Glin. When he built Glin Castle on the south shore of the Shannon Estuary, he had the yacht Farmer, a large 18 gun brig, built in 1780 to enjoy sailing and cruising all along the west coast. Five years previously the Royal Thames Yacht Club of London was established when the Cumberland Fleet was formed. Apathy and acrimony destroyed the original club, the present club was established with a Royal Warrant being issued in 1830.

Down in Cork a rash of new royal yacht clubs were being formed. In 1872 the Munster Model Yacht Club was founded as a Corinthian or Amateur Yacht Club to provide the basis of amateur racing without monetary rewards, as against the professionally crewed racing fleets of wealthy owners who raced for wagers. This club was eventually named the Royal Munster Yacht Club and though clubless for many years, it settled in the Clubhouse of the Cork Harbour Motor Yacht Club at Crosshaven in the 1930s. The Royal Munster merged with the dormant Royal Cork Yacht Club of Cobh which claimed its decendancy from the original Cork Water Club of 1720. In fact, the Royal writ establishing the Royal Cork was given in 1831 and it subsequently established itself where it is today in Crosshaven.

On the Shannon Estuary, with the Knight of Glin’s encouragement, the numbers of commercial local sailing trading vessels was growing apace with the establishment of towns and sea-going trade along the estuary. It soon became an established fact of life during the summer months that interested groups organised regattas for all the types of craft at each small port to be found on the estuary. The types of vessels comprised trading brigs and cutters, some as large as 250 tons and others as small as 6tons, turf boats, hookers, gleoitoigs, canoes/canvas currachs, gondolas, briccawnes, etc.

On the 6th February 1828 at a meeting held in the town of Kilrush, the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland was established, the Committee being as follows:
President: The Right Hon. The Earl of Dunraven
Commodore: George Courtney
Vice-Commodore: Stafford O’Brien
Secretary: Thomas O’Connell
Treasurer: Thomas Jervis
Committee Members: Crofton M. Vandeleur, Col. John Vandeleur, Maurice O’Connell (a son of the Liberator), The Knight of Glin, William Piercy, John Bindon Scott, John Hamilton, Poole Hickman, Hon. J.P. Verecker, Richard Quin Sleeman, Francis Spaight, Robert S. Unthank, Richard Russell, Daniel C. Hartnett, Thomas Barclay, Jonas Studdert, Stephen Creagh, Thomas Browne, William Monsell, John O’Connell (2nd son of the Liberator) and David P. Thomson.

The Club membership in 1837 stood at 201 with a total of 82 sailing vessels, though not all the membership or vessels were based on the Shannon Estuary.

On the 16th January 1832 their Lordships at the Admiralty gave permission for the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland members to fly a White Ensign with a Red Cross, a crown in the centre with a wreath of shamrocks surrounding it and the Union Flag at the head of the ensign. In 1832 the Club produced a very comprehensive Book of Signal Codes and all members were given their own specific Code Flag for ease of recognition at sea. The Code Book was produced in colour and was very advanced for its time, as it allowed members on meeting another member at sea or at anchor to inquire as to their health, whether they had drink, food or women on board, etc., as well as many less important requirements.

The Royal Western held Regattas at Galway, Sligo, Westport and Belfast which encouraged the establishment of the Royal Northern Yacht Club which subsequently moved across to the Clyde. The Rinvella Plate which resides on the Dining Room Sideboard at Glin Castle today was won by the then Knight of Glin at the Galway Regatta.

The Royal Western’s material resources were considerable in the mid 1850s as they had a Club House at 113 Grafton Street, Dublin, and a floating Club House – the 123 ton Cutter Owen Glendower based in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, for social functions afloat away from the prying eyes of the law.

In 1858 the right to fly the defaced White Ensign was withdrawn by the Admiralty as their Lordships had decided in 1842 that only Naval Vessels and members of the Royal Yacht Squadron would be allowed to fly the White. As a result the leave to fly the Ensign was withdrawn from all Yacht Clubs: however, the defaced White Ensign as issued to the Royal Western of Ireland was overlooked and after complaints made by the members of the Royal Yacht Squadron to the Admiralty about the matter, their Lordships at the Admiralty decided that for the present the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland could continue, especially as being mainly based on the West Coast of Ireland and with a small membership, their continuation might go unnoticed. The membership of the Royal Yacht Squadron continued to object, on the basis that there was a major distinction between their membership and the lowly Irish, who needless to say had a considerable number of titled gentlemen on their membership list. However the yearly subscription was only 1 Guinea be a member of the Royal Western – and one didn’t have to own a yacht! – as against the many hundreds of Guineas required for membership of the Royal Yacht Squadron, plus having to personally associate with the English Monarch.

After the Great Famine of 1844/46 the population of Ireland had been more than halved, the West Coast had suffered the most, many boats lay rotting in the small harbours all around the coast with nobody to sail them. Their owners mainly Irish or Anglo-Irish gentry had bankrupted themselves as a result of the loss of tenant revenue and in a lot of cases as a result of their attempts to help, feed and nurture their tenants. They lost their estates under the Encumber Estates Act losing their yachts/sailing trading vessels as well, their properties being taken over by often absentee Landlords from the more wealthy areas of the UK who used their Irish residences as summer holiday homes rather than permanent bases. Many of these new landed gentry were products of the industrial revolution in England, an example being the Burtons of Carraigaholt who had a 50ft+ yawl which they sailed out of Carraigaholt.

As a result of the ravages of the famine and the post famine era, the main centres of population continued to maintain and develop sailing and yacht clubs, though there had been considerable re-arrangement and amalgamation of clubs. The Dublin membership of the Royal Western had run very successful regattas in Dublin in 1854 and 1856, which were very popular and well reported. These regattas were run under the Corinthian principles: amateur and handicaps as today rather than for the then traditional wager or bets akin to horse racing with paid professional hands on deck, in fact a yacht competing had to leave all paid hands ashore and this is today portrayed by the Jockey Rule. With the demise of the Royal Western the membership reformed under the guise of the Kingstown Model Yacht Club in 1857 which was subsequently changed to the Prince Alfred Yacht Club in 1864 and later in 1870 to the Royal Alfred Yacht Club which today though the membership possess no Club House, organises and runs all Yacht Racing in Dun Laoghaire, except for club regattas, all of this under the Corinthian traditions long established by the Royal Western and in fact traditionalists in the Alfred maintain through their Royal Western links, to be the oldest amateur yacht racing organization in the world.

Meanwhile, in Cobh in Cork, the remaining Royal Western membership there had, in 1862, obtained an Admiralty Warrant to fly the Blue Ensign under the title Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland, based at the Queenstown Yacht Club, formed in 1860 and subsequently disbanded and replaced by its new title and distinctions. The new Royal Western obtained the following year the Queens Cup for yacht racing from Queen Victoria and, as previously mentioned, all the Cork yacht clubs were subsequently amalgamated into the present Royal Cork.

In early September of 1984 the Club was re-established as the Western Yacht Club at Inrush, its founding base, and this was headed by such people as Brendan McMahon, Hugh McKiernan, Dan Beazley, Fintan Keating, Paudie Eustace, Richard Glynn and Gerald Griffin and many others interested in supporting the development of sailing. Kilrush Marina was constructed in 1991 by Shannon Development to provide the infrastructure for the development of yachting on the west coast.

This new development provided the secure walk-on/walk-off mooring facilities so badly needed which, over a period of time, resulted in a major increase in the numbers of locally-owned and based yachts, which in turn further developed the Club and increased its membership: the result being a very active Club in the traditions of the Royal Western of Ireland with many good yacht racing events taking place and organised by the Club, such as the yearly October series.

So from Kilrush big oaks have grown from little acorns and we all may be extremely proud of the great traditions established so many years ago by sailors who were just as enthusiastic as we are today but hadn't got the modern systems available to us today to communicate, but who nevertheless succeeded in running some amazing sailing events.

The Shannon Estuary and its sailors had an input into the Americas Cup in that Lt. Penn, the son of the then Chief Justice of Ireland who lived at Paradise House on the Fergus Estuary, competed against the New York Yacht Club entry in his yacht which was reputed to be maintained on a mooring in the pool opposite to Paradise. Likewise the Earl of Dunraven instituted a challenge for the Americas Cup with his yacht Valkerie – this ended in court as a result of the rules being changed on the race course!

In closing I would like to mention that much effort should be made to obtain the original Club Warrants and Establishment Writs, as much as to re-establish the present Clubs true identity as well as making the Club more attractive for visiting yachtsmen to join, so as to allow them obtain a Royal identity as such through the back door: a very attractive proposition for Americans as well as UK yachtsmen who might not be able to afford the luxury at their home port.

Another interesting point is that the Crown depicted on the Royal Western Flags is the Prince of Wales’s Crown and not the Monarchs Crown with the Orbs and Cross as Ruler of the Empire and Defender of the Faith. The membership of the Royal Western were being extremely democratic in selecting this emblem in that they were not accepting total allegiance to the Crown or the then established Religion. Thus the Royal Western established a Royal Club in name which encompassed all people of all religions and political persuasions in Ireland and all over the world where people went on sea in small vessels to enjoy the freedom of the sea.

The often spoke of adage ‘the Land divides us and the Sea brings us together as one’ is still important today as it was so many years ago.

Adrian W. O’Connell 27th November, 2001

 
Today 

Western Yacht Club is located in Kilrush on the Shannon Estuary. Kilrush Marina provides a 120 berth marina which has excellent facilities available to all visitors. The town of Kilrush is only a five minute walk and offers many pubs, resturants and shops. During the summer months we have racing on wednesday evenings and we also hold annual October Series with racing in IRC and Echo. 

(Above details and image courtesy of the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland) 

 
Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland c/o Therese Young, Kilrush, Co Clare. Tel: 086 871 7452, email: [email protected]

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Published in Clubs
15th July 2009

Irish Marine Federation

The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) is the national organisation representing both commercial and leisure sectors of the marine industry in Ireland.

The IMF is affiliated to the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) which provides the Secretariat from its Dublin office.

IBEC has regional offices in Cork, Donegal, Galway, Limerick and Waterford and an office in Brussels, the Irish Business Bureau.

The primary aims of the Federation are:

To promote the interests of all sectors of the marine industry in Ireland and to encourage its growth and development.

To represent the interests of the industry to Government, State Agencies and European institutions, thereby influencing public policies.

To promote the image of the industry through quality awareness, public statements and the organisation of Boat Shows.

To provide advice, information and services to members in order to assist in achieving these objectives.

Membership of the Federation also gives full membership of the Small Firms Association (www.sfa.ie) who represent small firms trans-sectorally by coverage in the national press, television and radio and through the many regional meetings and seminars which take place throughout the country.

The association conducts regular surveys of business trends and publishes a bi-monthly magazine Running Your Business along with many reports on the needs of Irish business. They also provide advice and assistance on all aspects of personnel and industrial relations and specially designed training programmes aimed at small firms.

Membership of the IMF is open to all firms operating in the marine industry in Ireland, subject to the approval of the Council of the Federation.

Irish Marine Federation (IMF), Confederation House, 84/86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 605 1652, Fax: 01 638 1652, Email: [email protected]

Published in Organisations

The ISA is national governing body for all forms of recreational and competitive activities involving sail and engine powered craft in Ireland.

CLICK FOR THE LATEST IRISH SAILING ASSOCIATION NEWS

At the recent UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique) general assembly, the ISA was formally (and unanimously) approved as the recognised UIM member governing powerboat racing in Southern Ireland.

This is another step towards developing our commitment to promote motor boating activities in Ireland.

The ISA constantly monitors and reviews developments in sailing and boating and represents the interests of its members and other sailing and boating enthusiasts with government and international agencies.

The ISA has initiated the process of developing our third strategic plan (2009–2013) so that they can work to improve our services for the benefit of all boaters and sailors in the future.

The ISA also develops and administers a range of training and other services to support both members and all those involved in sailing and boating of all types, which currently includes:

   Dinghy sailing
   Sail cruiser sailing
   Motor cruiser sailing
   Motor cruising (Inland Waterways)
   Powerboating
   Windsurfing
   Personal watercraft

Irish Sailing Association, 3 Park Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. Tel: 01 28 00 239, Fax: 01 2807 558, Email: [email protected]

Published in Organisations
15th July 2009

Wexford Harbour Boat Club

Facilities include water-skiing, power boating, board sailing and sailing.

Wexford Harbour Boat Club, Redmond Road, Wexford. Tel: +353 53 9122039

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Published in Clubs
15th July 2009

Sligo Yacht Club

History

Sligo Yacht Club is located in Rosses Point on the edge of Sligo Bay – one of the most ideal and beautiful locations for inshore racing in the country.

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The original Sligo Yacht Club was founded in 1821 and did most of its racing on Lough Gill. Records show that the club was not active since the end of the 19th century and was completely disbanded at the turn of the century. However, despite the non existence of a sailing club, Sligo had an excellent maritime history and there were several sailing craft on Lough Gill and Sligo Bay.

In 1965, six enthusiastic sailors got together to build GP14 class dinghies and these sailors formed the nucleus of the reactivated Sligo Yacht Club. Racing in GP14s took place in spring and autumn on Lough Gill, and during the summer months Sligo Bay was the venue for club racing. In the early 70s, Sligo Yacht Club commenced building the present Club house which was formally opened by the late President Childers on 14th September 1973.

In the last few years the Clubhouse has been extended and in 1987, the America's Cup Bar was added. Sligo Yacht Club has a healthy fleet of some 40 GP14s, 30 Mirrors, Laser Picos, Lasers and an ever increasing Cruiser Class. Racing for Cruisers take place on Wednesday and Fridays. The GP14s race on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays while the Mirrors take to the water every day of the week during the summer holidays. The Club has a very enthusiastic Junior section and each year there is a well attended Junior Sail Training Course run under the auspices of the Irish Sailing Association. Introductory sailing for adults occurs early each spring and during the summer.

Running championships at National, European, and even World level does not present problems for Sligo Yacht Club. Sligo has a reputation for hosting major championships with a professionalism that is byword in sailing circles. The Club provides a 'happy mix' of excellent racing facilities backed up by a social programme that makes it one of the top clubs in the country.

Sligo Yacht Club hosted the Enterprise World Championships in 1979. In 1977 and again in 1980, the Scorpion Class held their European Championship in Sligo. The IDRA 14 Dinghy Class National Championships were hosted by Sligo in 1976, 1978, 1982 and 1983. The Club also hosted two very successful Dinghy Weeks in 1978 and again in 1983.

Mirror Week incorporating Junior and Senior National Championships was first hosted by Sligo in 1974, ten years later in 1984, in 1999 and again in 2003. In 1987, the Mirror World Championships took place in Sligo. In 2008, the Mirror European Championships will be held in Sligo.

In 1998, Sligo Yacht Club welcomed visitors from all over the country to Rosses Point for the GP14 National Championships, and in 2000 the Mermaid Nationals. The GP14 Class again came to Rosses Point for their Irish National Championships in 2005 as a prelude to the World championships of the GP14 Class which was hosted by Sligo Yacht Club. The event took place from July 30 to August 4 2006, and was the first major test for the new Clubhouse.

SYC has excellent facilities and beautiful sailing grounds. Cruiser racing takes place on Wednesday and Friday evenings while dinghy racing is on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoon. Sailing season is from April to September. Bar open on sailing days. Courses run throughout the summer months.

(The above details and image courtesy of Sligo Yacht Club)

 
Sligo Yacht Club, Deadman's Point, Rosses Point, Co. Sligo. Tel: +353 71 9177 168, email: [email protected]

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Published in Clubs
15th July 2009

Mullingar Sailing Club

History

1.jpgThe club was formed on the evening of Friday 24th April 1964 at a meeting in Broder’s Hotel, now the Newbury Hotel, Mullingar in response to a notice placed in the 'Westmeath Examiner', by Keith Pinder, calling for a meeting of people interested in sailing.

At this inaugural meeting a committee was formed whose first task was to find a site from which to sail. This first committee consisted of: Commodore, Dr. G. Jackson. Hon. Secretary, Keith Pinder. Hon. Treasurer, Ivor Fogg. Committee, Dermot Bannon, David Gibson-Brabazon, J. O’Donnell, C. Corcoran, Mrs Farrell and Mrs. Jackson. Due to the sudden death of Dr. Jackson later that year, Dermot Bannon was elected as Commodore.

For the first few years, we sailed from a field, on the shore of Lough Owel on Joe Dolan’s land at Portloman. The GP14 was the class we adopted having been recommended by Greg Petrie; a decision never regretted. Four members ordered boats in kit form and built them (some of these boats are still sailing well), and having no previous sailing experience, members taught themselves to sail over the following few years. Organised club racing that followed helped to improve the standard of sailing considerably.

In the time sailed from Dolan’s we had our first regatta in 1965, actually sailed from Dermot Bannon’s land further up the shore at Portloman. With more space to erect the necessary marquees, etc., and for visitor access, we hosted a number of meetings from Lough Ennell. As well as for GP14s, classes catered for included, Shannon-One-Designs, Enterprises and Fireflies.

b1.jpg

So that we could grow, it was decided that we needed a site with better access and boat parking facilities and a search for one started. The site decided upon was one offered by Phillip Ginnell at Mullally’s where we are now and moved there in the season of 1970. This same year we held our first IYA, now the ISA, sail-training course using the Mirror dinghy we had then recently adopted for junior sailing; these annual courses are still being run today.

The site was bordered with a fence in 1971 and since then the site has grown steadily. We have had two clubhouses prior to our present one. The first was a mobile home purchased in 1984; a little cramped, it got us in out of any bad weather in which to change and meet. Unfortunately a violent storm blew off its roof and, though it was replaced, the mobile home was never quite the same again. An old disused army timber barrack hut erected by club members in 1987 replaced this. It served us well for many years until it was dismantled, removed and replaced by the present, custom-built clubhouse officially opened in November 2004.

n9.jpg

We have hosted a number of important meetings. As well as the various GP14 championship and open meetings, we have hosted the 470 class Carlsberg Warrior Trials in 1973, a roving trial at which the Irish 470 squad was determined for the 1976 Olympic Games in Canada. Sailed in 1978 in fresh winds we hosted the Optimist Leinster championships and, more recently, in 2004 hosted the Fireball Nationals in May of that year. Later in September we had the GP14 Autumn Open Meeting sailed in strong winds.

During Easter of 2006 we hosted the Mirror Leinster championships and in October we have the GP14 Frostbite meeting: Brass monkeys need not apply!

Finally, Two members have received public honours in recognition for services to sailing. The first was Keith Pinder who, in 1998 received the Westmeath All-Stars award for his services to sailing in Co. Westmeath. The second was Kieran Milner who was awarded the ISA Volunteer of The Year award in 2002, again for his services and contributions to sailing. Private club honours have gone to Keith Pinder, Ivor Fogg, David Gibson-Brabazon, Robert Heath and Garry Walshe who were awarded honorary life memberships of the club in December 2002 for their services to the club.

The Mullingar Sailing Club has progressed from its humble beginnings, when members had to change into and out of sailing gear in the open air beside their cars and then, shortly after, nearly having to close due to too few members. From this we have grown to a thriving and popular club for both members and welcomed visitors alike. Its enthusiastic committees and membership will ensure that the club will continue to thrive for many years to come
.   Robert Heath

(Above details and images courtesy of Mullingar Sailing Club) 

 
Mullingar Sailing Club, c/o Sean Duffy, Kitty's Hill, Tullanisky, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Tel: 086 822 5384, [email protected] 

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Published in Clubs
Page 12 of 15

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