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Displaying items by tag: Books

A new children’s book focusing on the local history and mythology of the North West Connemara region has been launched this week in Co Galway.

And a portion of the proceeds is being donated to the Clifden RNLI lifeboats for their dedication to saving lives at sea.

Local author and youth worker Marie Feeney has produced From Our Ancient Land to Bountiful Sea, an informative and often humorous collection of local history and folklore tales with illustrations by Gary Kendellen.

These tales include accounts of the famous engineer Alexander Nimmo, who designed many piers and bridges in the Connemara area, and a blend of local history and myths that will appeal to locals and visitors alike.

Marie’s first book The Cleggan Disaster comprehensively and poignantly detailed the tragic drowning of 45 men from the fishing communities of Cleggan, Claddaghduff and Inishbofin and the Inishkeas, and also benefitted the local RNLI lifeboats.

Author Marie Feeney with her children Ronan, Diarmuid and Michaela at Sallerna Beach in Cleggan, Co Galway (Photo: Marie Feeney)Author Marie Feeney with her children Ronan, Diarmuid and Michaela at Sallerna Beach in Cleggan, Co Galway | Photo: Marie Feeney

On the launch of her new book, Marie said: “The coastline of Connemara, while exceptionally beautiful is also treacherous and mostly utilised by people who use it either for pleasure or their livelihood.

“Thankfully in our community, we have a dedicated RNLI volunteer team who provide an invaluable service by saving lives each year, sometimes in the most challenging environments.

“The philosophy of the RNLI is astounding. The purpose to save lives, their vision to save everyone, their volunteer ethos, their charitable and community base. Every life matters, and of course their maritime expertise is crucial.”

From Our Ancient Land to Bountiful Sea is now on sale locally in Connemara at The Clifden Bookshop, Letterfrack Country Shop, Gala Cleggan and Sweeney’s Claddaghduff. The book is also available online at the inConnemara Bookshop.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

An encounter with late poet and sailor Danny Sheehy enlivens author Philip Marsden’s adventure along Ireland’s wild Atlantic way, as he writes for The Irish Times.

Marsden had set out to research a book about mythical islands — which took shape as his recently published The Summer Isles — when he was joined by Sheehy in Dingle for a revealing chat that took in everything from the intricacies of boat building to the dangers of the Irish coast that lay ahead.

As it happened, their meeting occurred just weeks before Sheehy lost his life after his naomhóg capsized off Portugal, while Marsden was navigating the Hebrides towards the end point of his own journey.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Book Review

From Enda O’Coineen, in business and adventure, we can learn much. The man sails on a sea of obsession in life — guided only by the goals he sets himself.

He became the first ever Irish entry to qualify for the Vendée Globe. When he didn’t succeed in the solo circumnavigation at his first attempt, due to a broken mast, his default mode was to try again — and he sailed into the history books.

In his daily jousts with the elements at sea, the entrepreneur concludes that for every risk, there is a massive potential for reward and giving back.

But he is alarmed by rules, regulations and controls, hidden in the name of safety and security. Fundamental freedoms are being lost, he says.

The genius is in understanding the balance.

Every four years, an elite group of sailors endeavours to sail single-handed, non-stop in a circumnavigation of the planet, through the most unpredictable and perilous conditions imaginable.

They are the competitors in the Vendée Globe — one of the most arduous, challenging and dangerous events in sport. These sailors know the real adversaries are the waves and the weather, the ice and isolation.

The 2016 race had an Irish skipper competing for the first time, as Irish businessman Enda O’Coineen sailed the Kilcullen Voyager into the annals of sailing history.

But this grand solo voyage did not go to plan.

Also the subject of a documentary that screened as part of the IFI Documentary Festival last month, Enda O’Coineen’s bid to complete the Vendée Globe has been recounted in his own words in a new book.

Journey to the Edge: An Amazing Story of Risk-Taking in Business and Adventure, by Enda O’Coineen, is available from the Afloat shop at €14.99.

Published in Vendee Globe

Richard and Rita Kennedy’s sailing trip around Ireland was meant to be a 10-week journey. It ended up an odyssey spread over two summers.

But the time was more than well spent, as their leisurely sail became an exploration of an Ireland rarely experienced.

And now the voyage is recounted in a new book which launches in Birr, Co Offaly this Friday (6 September).

Round Ireland by Slow Boat is based on a detailed diary kept by Richard Kennedy as he and his wife set out on their sailing boat Seachrán on what was intended to be a “dream sailing journey” — and eventually became much more than that.

“It is also the story of the landscapes and seascapes we encountered, our adventures and misadventures, and the people we met in the many coastal communities around our shores,” he says.

“It was an unhurried journey, taking five months in total, and in that time we experienced, almost universally, the often unseen kindness of people.”

The charming story also recounts the “formidable challenges mingled with moments of wonder and serendipity” as they followed the island’s meandering coastline, taking in its varied environments and people.

Round Ireland by Slowboat is published by Throughthechair Publishing, priced €15, available from RoundIrelabdBySlowBoat.net

Round Ireland by Slow Boat

Published in Book Review

#MarineWildlife - Ireland’s whales and dolphins feature in a new atlas of the country’s wildlife, as The Irish Times reports.

The Atlas of Mammals in Ireland 2010-2015, published by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, maps the distribution of 77 mammal species both on the island and in its territorial waters.

Cetaceans account for almost a third of this number, among a whopping 68 species of whales and dolphins that frequent Irish waters.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s Dr Simon Berrow relates his long-term study of the Shannon Estuary’s thriving population of bottlenose dolphins in a book that celebrates an encouraging national habitat for species that struggle not so far from our shores.

Afloat.ie readers might remember a previous atlas concentrating on Ireland’s abundance of marine mammals that was published in 2013, and for which this new book makes a useful comparison.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#OmeyIsland - Omey Island in Connemara is the subject of a new book by a local woman charting its remarkable history.

Strands of Omey's Story by Bernadette Conroy shows there's much more to the lands off Claddaghduff than the annual beach horse race, as Galway Bay FM reports.

Despite not being a true island, as its only cut off from the mainland when the tide is in, Omey has seen its population dwindle from over 100 a century ago to just a single resident in more recent years.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#WaterSafety - Irish Water Safety's "long and proud history" has been paid tribute in a new book by author Tiarnan O'Sullivan

The History of Irish Water Safety is the culmination of two years of research by the Cork-based writer, who has been involved with IWS since 2002 both as a pool and beach lifeguard and as an instructor and committee secretary.

The result, published just in time for Christmas, comprises 288 pages of reflections and remembrances from people involved in the organisation right back to its very beginnings in 1945.

Available to order from Irish Water Safety, The Long Walk, Galway or online via [email protected], the book costs €25 for the hardback edition and €15 for the paperback.

Published in Water Safety

#Burren - The unique landscape of the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way is the subject of a new book by one of Ireland's leading photographers.

This Is The Burren, Carsten Krieger's photographic ode to the world-famous region, will be launched by Rose Hynes, a native of North Clare and chairperson of Shannon Group plc, in Hyland's Burren Hotel in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, this Sunday 29 November.

The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher – which, along with Waterford's Copper Coast, was last week designated with UNESCO Global Geopark status, as the Irish Examiner reports – is among Ireland’s most enigmatic and magical landscapes.

The 176 photographs featured in This Is The Burren – some of which are featured on Krieger's website HERE – capture the essence of the Burren, including its weathered karst landscape, the ever-changing light; the exotic flora; the elusive wildlife; the tombs, cairns, forts and churches; and the people who call the Burren their home.

Carsten Krieger, who was born in Germany, visited the Burren after learning it was the inspiration for JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth. More visits followed before he and his wife finally decided to move to Co Clare to be close to the unique landscape.

After publishing his first book, Carsten moved on to other projects, but said: "The Burren always stayed close to my heart and in all the books I have made over the past decade the Burren pops up in each of them in one way or another."

Carsten returned to the Burren to take more photographs in 2011, a project that turned into his latest book.

"Although four years sounds like a long time I could easily have spent another couple of years exploring and photographing the Burren, and most likely will do so. Every trip brings something used and unexpected and a reason to return another time," he said.

Cllr James Breen, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, described the book as "a valuable photographic record of one of the jewels in the Irish tourism crown."

He added: "Carsten's photographs illustrate perfectly how remarkable the landscape of the Burren really is and why the work of organisations such as the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Geopark in heritage management and sustainable development throughout the region is critical.

"The book also is a tribute to how man and nature are deeply entwined in the Burren and have shaped each other over the millennia."

Carol Gleeson, project manager for the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, said her and her team were "delighted to have been able to support Carsten and the publication of this book which demonstrates the enormous wealth of history and geological significance associated with the Burren and Cliffs of Moher."

She continued: "Since 2006, Clare County Council has been working in the Burren to develop a truly sustainable tourism destination that gives direct benefits to the local community, promotes and celebrates local culture and produce, preserves the environment and provides a great experience for our visitors.

"Carsten's photographs gives credence to this amazing landscape and the wide range of fantastic work that is ongoing throughout the Burren through sustainable practices."

Carsten Krieger's This Is The Burren, which is introduced by local author and broadcaster PJ Curtis, is published by The Collins Press and is available in all good bookstores and online at www.collinspress.ie.

Published in Coastal Notes

#RNLI - Christmas came early at Donaghadee Primary School yesterday (Tuesday 24 November) as children enjoyed a reading of an RNLI festive story.

Accompanied by Rookie the RNLI Reindeer and coxswain Philip McNamara, Donaghadee RNLI’s deputy second coxswain John Ashwood read The Big Christmas Rescue to a group of pupils in Primary One.

The kids were able to hear about the station’s all-weather lifeboat and learned about the lifesaving service that the RNLI provides.

The story is set on a wet and windy Christmas Eve night. But when Santa crashes his sleigh in the sea, volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew members go to the rescue.

The Big Christmas Rescue children’s book is also customisable, making it a perfect seasonal gift.

It can be personalised to put young readers at the centre of a magical festive story, and the gift-giver can select the name, gender and skin tone of the child in the story, making it a truly unique present for their own special little person.

"I really enjoyed reading the story to the children," said Ashwood. "They all seemed to enjoy the book and it was great to tell the children about the lifesaving service we provide at the RNLI.

"The Big Christmas Rescue is a really beautiful book and it’s the perfect gift for children this Christmas. I love the way the book can be personalised, putting readers at the heart of the story. Importantly, all profits from sales of the book will help the RNLI continue to save lives at sea."

To order a personalised copy of The Big Christmas Rescue, go to RNLISHOP.org/BigRescue. The last order date for the book to guarantee delivery before Christmas is Sunday 13 December 2015.

All profits from book sales will be used to fund the charity’s lifesaving services, delivered by volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards who between them rescued 10,496 people last year – more than 1,400 across the island of Ireland alone.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Diving - One navy man's "accidental entry" into diving in the 1960s was the birth of what is today Ireland's most advanced underwater unit.

As the Irish Examiner reports, a new book by Martin Buckley titled The Ninth Ship - The Irish Naval Diving Section charts the history of the Naval Service's subaquatic division, which began when Lt Joe Deasy was sent to the UK for months of torpedo anti-submarine training.

Diving happened to be part of the curriculum, and Lt Deasy returned to Haulbowline in 1964 as the Naval Service's first qualified diver.

Within a decade the navy had chalked up its first major team diving operation, on the IRA gunrunning vessel Claudia, and later built a reputation as rescue experts, assisting in the wake of 1979's Bantry oil tanker explosion and the Air India disaster in 1985 among others.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Diving
Tagged under
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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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