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Displaying items by tag: Donegal

#MarineWildlife - In a week that saw the Isle of Man's first sighting of a humpback whale for three years, BBC News reports on the strange discovery of a rare species of dolphin two miles inland from the shore in Co Donegal.

The carcass of an Atlantic white-sided dolphin was found on a hillside near Meenbanad with head injuries - but no one knows how it got there.

Pádraig Whooley of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) said it's most likely that someone found the dead cetacean on the beach and took it to the hillside to decay so that its skeleton could later be retrieved.

The dolphin is thought to be one of a pod that beached at Traigheanna Bay in Dungloe on 21 June. The species is a rare sight in Irish coastal waters, said Whooley, because they tend to feed much further out at sea.

In other stranding news, the IWDG reports that a bottlenose dolphin who live stranded at Beal in Co Kerry last summer has been recorded in the Shannon Estuary with her calf on a number of occasions this month and last.

The Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation has more on the sightings of the dolphin they now call Sandy Salmon.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Following the good news of the beached whale rescue in Co Meath today, the Irish Independent reports on a surprise killer whale sighting in Donegal.

Sea angling brothers John and Pat Cunningham described the "beautiful sight" of two orcas who emerged from the water by their rowing boat half a mile from the coast off Glencolmcille.

"I've only ever seen them in the North Sea when I was commercial fishing up there", said John of the unexpected rendezvous.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's record of the sighting speculates that the killer whales may be the same pair spotted off Mizen Head in Cork on 11 June and Slea Head in Kerry a day later.

Killer whales are a rare sight so close to the shore but they are no strangers to Donegal - as last year's appearance of a well known orca pod in Lough Swilly demonstrates.

However, fears were expressed earlier this year that that particular family, often seen off the coasts of Scotland and Ireland, is on the 'brink of extinction'.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Tourism - The world-class surfing hotspot of Sligo has failed to make the grade in Fáilte Ireland's long list of leading tourism towns for 2013, according to the Irish Independent.

The north-east county was among a surprise selection of areas known for their maritime and waterways attractions - such as Westmeath on the Shannon and Galway, host of last year's Volvo Ocean Race finale - that were not featured in the Irish tourism board's list of 45 towns and villages put forward for the Highly Commended Tourism Towns award, part of the National Tidy Towns Awards to be announced later in the year.

Counties on the water that did make the cut include Clare and Mayo, with five towns each on the list, Kerry with four - including last year's winner Portmagee - and Donegal and Waterford, represented three times each.

The top prize winner, to be announced by Fáilte Ireland in November, will receive €10,000 in supports for tourism marketing and development.

Though Sligo is conspicuous by its absence, Donegal's triple placing shows the north-east region is a big tourism attraction - and the Tripclocker blog says surfing is at the forefront of that.

With Ireland's exposure to the open Atlantic giving is "better waves more often", according to Killian O'Kelly of Bundoran's Turn n' Surf, there is a wide variety of surf beaches stretching from Donegal to Clare in particular with swells for all levels of experience.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#Surfing - Two national broadcasters will base themselves in Bundoran this week ahead of the Sea Sessions Surf Music Festival at the weekend.

Today FM’s KC Show will broadcast live from the Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat Station tomorrow 19 June and Thursday 20 June, while 2FM will broadcast from the Sea Sessions from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 June, giving the seaside town unprecedented national media coverage for five days.

As part of a recent Discover Ireland promotion on Today FM, listeners were asked where to send the various shows to on their holidays. Listeners to the KC Show had a choice of sending him to Dingle or Donegal and following thousands of votes, Donegal came out on top.

One of the locations suggested was Bundoran, and the RNLI Lifeboat station at the pier was chosen as the home for the KC Show for two daily broadcasts this week complete with live musical guests Walking With Cars and new Irish act Daithi.

No sooner will Today FM have packed up than the 2FM Roadcaster will be rolling into the Main Beach car park and preparing to broadcast from the Sea Sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The national state broadcaster will give the festival unprecedented coverage with over 20 hours scheduled live from the beachfront. Jenny Greene, Cormac Battle, Ruth Scott and Paddy McKenna will all host their shows live across the weekend.

Bundoran tourism officer Shane Smyth commented: "I am thrilled that not one but two national broadcasters will be in town this week. It will be a welcome boost to the ongoing promotion of Bundoran as a destination.

"Speaking as Bundoran RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer also, I’m obviously delighted that the RNLI will benefit from two days of national coverage and I know that KC and his team are keen to find out more about the lifeboat service here in Bundoran."

Smyth added: "The guys from 2FM had a great time when they were here a few weeks ago and we look forward to welcoming them again over Sea Sessions weekend. Last time they were here they brought scorching sunshine with them – let’s hope they do the same again!”

Sea Sessions is Ireland's "biggest and best" surfing and music festival and returns for its sixth successive year in 2013. Based in Bundoran, the festival also includes surf tour events in Lahinch, Co Clare and nearby Sligo.

Published in Surfing

#MarineWildlife - Another beaked whale stranding has been recorded on the Irish coast just weeks after two of such creatures were found in Donegal.

A ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) made the discovery at Aillebrack in Co Galway on the evening of 27 May.

The 5m carcass of a female - like the female and juvenile found in the northwest - is thought to be either a True's or Sowerby's beaked whale.

Mick O'Connell, strandings officer with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), says the latest stranding "raises new questions", with suspicion that its death may be linked to the face of the Donegal pair earlier this month.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, beaked whales are a rare occurrence in Irish waters, with the last record before this month' stranding made in 2009.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Two dolphins saved from stranding on a beach in Donegal leapt from the water "as if to say thank you" after their rescue by a local fish farmer.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that salmon farmer Shea Coyle and his father Michael acted quickly after noticing what at first looked like two upturned surfboards on Downings beach near Fanad.

But what looked from afar like surfboard fins turned out to be the fins of two dolphins that had become trapped in the sand.

Shea described how the dolphins were "trying desperately to wriggle free" before he leant a hand to heave them back into the water.

"After about 10 minutes I got one dolphin safely out into deeper water and he stayed there whilst I got to work on the other."

Once the second dolphin was free, the pair "just took off" - and were later seen by the Coyles from a nearby peer, giving what might just have been a show of thanks.

The happy story in Donegal occurred not long after a series of dolphin and whale strandings in the northwest described as "unusual" by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Seven dolphins and two beaked whales have stranded on beaches in the northwest in events described as "unusual" by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

On the Mullet Peninsula, a group of seven common dolphins - comprising five adults and two juveniles - live stranded at Tarmon Beach on Sunday 12 May.

Though initial attempts to refloat them were successful, one of the juveniles was later found dead and the other was euthanised due to poor health.

Meanwhile in Donegal, the fresh carcass of a female True's or Sowerby's beaked whale was found on Sunday evening on Five Fingers Stand at Inishowen - some days after a reported live stranding of a Sowerby's beaked whale on the Welsh coast.

The Inishowen stranding was followed yesterday 14 May by the discovery of a dead beaked whale calf at Trawbreaga Bay, in what is believed to be a connected stranding.

Samples of the adult female were taken in order to confirm the species, either of which would mark a rare cetacean record for Ireland - the first since 2009.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#CoastalNotes - Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring today (23 April) unveiled the final route for the Wild Atlantic Way, a new coastal tourism route running from Donegal to Cork.

The minister joined Fáilte Ireland to present the final route to 300 top overseas tour operators attending Meitheal 2013, Ireland’s largest tourism trade fair.

The Wild Atlantic Way will be Ireland’s first long-distance driving route, stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in Co Cork, and offering future visitors an opportunity to discover the west coast.

The 2,500km final route was unveiled following a comprehensive public consultation process and includes 156 strategically placed discovery points for tourists along the way. 

While the route unveiled today comprises the main spine of the Wild Atlantic Way, a series of looped itineraries off the spine are also planned to further develop the experience for visitors.

Speaking today, Minister Ring said: “The Wild Atlantic Way is a very exciting project and I’m certain it will be a major tourism attraction. But to make it happen we all need to get on board.

"There has been a great response so far and I’m encouraging tourism operators, local authorities, business people and residents to stay involved to get this over the finishing line."

Overseas tour operators were given an advance ‘sneak-peek’ of the route last night at a Fáilte Ireland welcome event in the Convention Centre Dublin when they were treated to the premiere of the video trailer above to show them just what their clients can expect along the route from next year on.

Paddy Mathews, manager of destination development with Fáilte Ireland, believes the project will be a great addition to what Ireland has to offer visitors.

“Developing a route like this is an important part of ensuring Ireland is able to provide visitors with an unforgettable experience," he said. "It will open up a huge number of towns and attractions to them and showcase the scenery and unique culture of the West Coast of Ireland providing easy access to a range of experiences along the route.

“Now that the route has been finalised we will be focusing our efforts on turning all this preparatory work into a reality – an international driving route to rival the best in the world.”

Fáilte Ireland has been working with all the local authorities along the West Coast as well as the leader companies, Údaras na Gaeltachta and the Western Development Commission.

Full details of the Wild Atlantic Way are available on the Fáilte Ireland website HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#SeaKayaking - The East Inishowen Sea Kayak Symposium takes place this weekend from 26-28 April.

Hosted by Just Kayak at the shorefront in Moville, Co Donegal, the weekend costs €130 for all coaching and guides, plus two nights self-catering bed and breakfast plus lunches and an evening meal.

Friday evening will feature a talk from Elaine 'Shooter' Alexander, discussing her epic circumnavigation of Ireland by sea kayak two years ago that we followed here on Afloat.ie.

Saturday will be a full day of coaching and guided trips around the Inishowen peninsula, followed by an evening of talks from guest coaches.

The final day on Sunday features a choice of different coaching sessions - and for something a little different, chef Brian McDermott will give a demonstration of outdoor cooking which might prove handy on your next kayaking trip.

For more details and booking info visit the Just Kayak website.

In other sea kayaking news, a Plymouth couple are hoping to be the first husband-and-wife team to kayak around the British and Irish coasts.

As The Herald in Plymouth reports, Andy and Jane Morton from Bere Alston left Plymouth aboard their double kayak Persey earlier this month beginning their five-month challenge for the RNLI and a local MS charity.

You can follow the couple's progress via their website HERE.

Published in Kayaking

Rathmullan marina is a small marina pontoon at Rathmullan, a village in County Donegal is located on the western shore of Lough Swilly and is part of the Fanad Peninsula, situated roughly 12.5 miles from the Lough's entrance and 34 miles northwest of Londonderry/Derry.

The pontoon is suitable for small vessels to berth alongside at a reasonable fee and where fresh water is laid on.  There is a concrete slipway suitable for dinghy landing. The Lough Swilly ferry also operates from the pier between Rathmullan and Buncrana, a journey of 45 minutes.

Published in Irish Marinas
Page 8 of 13

The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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