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Displaying items by tag: Connemara

Cleggan Coast Guard in Connemara is long overdue a permanent base — and a local TD insists the village’s airstrip is the answer.

As the Connacht Tribune reports, Éamon Ó Cuív says it is unacceptable that the coastguard service for north Connemara has been seeking a fixed abode for so long.

A number of sites are being considered by the OPW — but Deputy Ó Cuív says none would be more suitable than the State-owned Cleggan Airstrip.

The Connacht Tribune has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

With a nice southerly breeze, 19 Flying Fifteens hoisted their sails early morning for the last race of the Connemara league.

As Afloat reported previously, a rejuvenated fleet in County Galway is boasting one of the largest fleets in the country with up to 27 actively club racing. 

The course laid meant plenty of tacking down the bay rounding the cannon rock buoy and head for the finish line in the next neighbouring bay Cuan an fhir Mmhór where the finish line was in front of Caladh Thaidhg pier.

With good upwind sailing out of Casla Bay came a split in the fleet with the western side of the bay paying off. Leading at the Mark was Ronán O Briain (Ffingers crossed IRL 3588) closely followed by his cousin Niall O'Brien (Mind over Matter IRL 275) in third was Martin Griffin (Havoc IRL 3145). Next came the leader of the eastern boats, Christopher Griffin (Fraoch Geal IRL 3383) a couple of boat lengths behind.

With the wind freshening and spinnakers flying the reach to Caladh Thaidhg was swift. There was no change at the top of the leaderboard as they crossed the line in front of several spectators gathered along the shore.

Race 1 results top 6

  1. Ronán O'Briain (Fingers crossed IRL 3588)
  2. Niall O'Brien (Mind over matter IRL3275)
  3. Martin Griffin (Havoc IRL 3145)
  4. Christopher Griffin (Fraoch Geal IRL 3383)
  5. Cian&liam O'Conghaile (user-friendly IRL 3397)
  6. Micheál O'Conghaile (Stork GBR 3403)

The boats gathered again, and the second race was ready for the off for the return journey home. Niall o Brien got off to a great start and was leading at the mouth of the bay, followed closely by Martin Griffen, Ronan o Briain and Clíona ní Bhriain (Simply red IRL 3203) once past the turning mark at cannon rock the spinnakers started to go up, and the standings changed.

Race 2 results top 6

  1. Ronán O'Brien (Fingers crossed IRL3588)
  2. Niall O'Brien (Mind over matter IRL 3275)
  3. Micheál O'Conghaile (Stork GBR 3403)
  4. Martin Griffin ( Havoc IRL 3145)
  5. Cian & Liam O Conghaile (User-friendly IRL 3397)
  6. Cliona O'Brien (Simply Red IRL 3203)

The league results and prizes were given on the pier afterwards.

With the 2020 league top six finishers as follows:

Overall winner 2020

  1. Niall o Brien (Mind over matter IRL 3275)
  2. Cian & Liam o Conghaile (User-friendly IRL 3397)
  3. Martin Flaherty (The Real thing IRL 3108)
  4. Martin Griffin. (Havoc IRL 3145)
  5. Ronán o Brien (Fingers crossed IRL 3588)
  6. Cliona o Brien (Simply Red IRL 3203 )
Published in Flying Fifteen
Tagged under

Discovery of the remains of a “drowned” prehistoric house in north Connemara may be further evidence of sea-level rise along the Atlantic coast in the last millennium.

As The Sunday Times reports today, parts of a small prehistoric dwelling covered by sea except at low spring tide have been identified by archaeologist Michael Gibbons and engineer Shane Joyce on the coast south-west of Clifden, Co Galway.

The site is in a sheltered “lagoon-like setting” on the tip of the Faul peninsula, at the junction of Clifden and Ardbear bays.

Gibbons said that the structure is similar in size to early Neolithic houses, and it is protected from tidal surges by Oileán Gearr or Islandagar, a small island on its western side.

Gibbons said it was further evidence of a “drowned prehistoric landscape”, which has been researched and dated by NUI Galway palaeoecologists Prof Michael O’Connell and Dr Karen Molloy.

O’Connell and Molloy have estimated that sea levels rose by as much as four metres on the Atlantic coast in later prehistory - as in 1,000 years ago – with Galway Bay being younger than originally estimated.

Prof O’Connell said that it was “quite reasonable” to suggest the structure identified by Gibbons and Joyce may be early Neolithic, given that sea level rise occurred in the late Neolithic period.

O’Connell and Molloy’s work focused on tree stumps, believed to be bog pine, which have been exposed at low tide by storms dating back to 2010, along with pollen analysis of coastal peat deposits.

Gibbons said that a shell midden dating from 4,000 BC on the Errislannan peninsula, just south-west of the Faul location, was also evidence of Neolithic settlement by early farmers.

Read The Sunday Times report here

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

SmartBay Ireland have collaborated with the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) to launch a new scholarship scheme for a candidate from the Connemara Gaeltacht to begin a Master’s research programme.

Commencing in November 2020, the new programme aims to develop post-primary educational resources in the field of marine renewable energy.

And the scholarship, which is now open for applications, is designed to fund and support a candidate in the Connemara Gaeltacht Region — while also driving awareness around ocean literacy, marine renewable energy, and sustainability through education in local schools.

The successful candidate will receive full funding support to the value of €44,500 over the duration of the 24-month project, which will focus on the preparation and delivery of educational resources at post-primary level, in both English and Irish.

SmartBay Ireland general manager John Breslin said: “This scholarship is an excellent opportunity for the successful candidate not only to advance in their career, but to be at the forefront of developing educational resources and make a positive and lasting impact on the post primary curriculum.”

Applications are open until noon next Wednesday 16 September for candidates with experience as a post-primary educator, preferably in the field of science, with demonstrable proficiency and fluency in the Irish language.

“This is a very exciting opportunity which would suit an enthusiastic candidate with a passion for education, the marine and sustainability,” said Dr Róisín Nash, a lecturer at GMIT.

“At a time when research and management of essential marine resources are key features of a sustainable future, this is a unique project with lots of opportunities for the candidate to be creative and influential in incorporating marine and renewable energy into the classroom.”

The SmartBay Ireland Postgraduate Research Scholarship is funded by the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, the Marine Institute, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Full details on the postgraduate research scholarship and application procedure are available from GMIT website HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea

Clifden RNLI has rescued a sailor who got into difficulty on a 36ft yacht this afternoon. The volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to launch at 3.20 pm by the Irish Coast Guard following a report that a yacht was in difficulty somewhere between Cleggan and Inishbofin Island.

As communication with the casualty was poor initially, a decision was made to launch Clifden RNLI’s inshore lifeboat in addition to the station’s all-weather lifeboat.

Weather conditions at the time were fair with a Force 3 northerly wind and a slight sea.

The inshore lifeboat helmed by Daniel Whelan arrived on scene first, some 10 miles from Clifden. The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and checked that the one man onboard was safe and well. A crew member then transferred onto the yacht to set up a tow.

Clifden RNLIThe yacht under tow by Clifden RNLI

On arrival of the all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain John Mullen, the tow was passed from the inshore lifeboat to the all-weather lifeboat. The all-weather lifeboat then towed the yacht safely back to shore with the Atlantic 85 lifeboat alongside.

Speaking following the call out, Clifden RNLI Coxswain John Mullen said: ‘We would like to commend the sailor for raising the alarm when he got into difficulty, that is always the right thing to do, and we would like to wish him a safe onward journey.

‘As the summer continues and we enjoy some good weather, we would remind everyone regardless of their activity at sea, to always respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket, always have a means for calling and signalling for help and ensure everyone onboard knows how to use it. Always check the weather forecast and tide times before heading out and make sure someone on the shore knows where you are going and when you are due back. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

On the western edge of Europe lies a unique culture that depended and fought with the Atlantic Ocean for thousands of years.

It is the native sailboat, the Galway Hooker, that sustained this poorest of communities, and the new generation of these same families of sailors still sail the coast of Connemara, now racing to be champions.

TG4’s documentary Bádóiri, now in its second series, follows the historic boats as they awaken from the long Connemara winter, only to find new contenders aboard for this season’s Galway Hooker Racing League regattas.

The preparations have started in earnest, and the show will keep up with the sailors as they race each other in the first of the summer’s races.

In series one we saw the family owned boats battle one another for the coveted prize of All-Ireland champions. In this new series, we introduce a new boat and a new family to the fleet.

Young and eager to impress, this new crew from The Truelight become a racing force to be reckoned as all the crews push themselves and their boats to their limit.

This second series also delves deeper into sailing families lives and histories.

An illness to one of the skippers bring the boatmen together where they share their personal stories as well as their hopes and fears from their sailing culture. Towards the end of the series, the racing and rivalry becomes more intense and the waters become treacherous.

Producer and director Donncha Mac Con Iomaire says: “There are few societies in the world where a 200-year-old boat is the epicentre of the same family for two centuries.

“The maritime community of Connemara never underestimates the Atlantic, and the unity of their families cannot afford to succumb to failure at sea. This ancient world that works hard and plays hard is what is still most genuine culture of Ireland.”

Bádóiri returns tonight, Thursday 5 March, at 8pm on TG4.

Published in Historic Boats

Members of the Connemara/Clifden RNLI Lifeboats Fundraising Branch gathered at the Station House Hotel in Clifden recently to acknowledge the contributions and retirements of some longstanding members.

Area fundraising manager Tony Hiney, who is himself set to retire this year, joined with Clifden RNLI fundraising manager AnnMarie Bennett and chairman Pearse Hyland to present the awards.

Geraldine Heanue of Letterfrack received an award in recognition of her retirement after more than 20 years service as a fundraising officer.

Stuart Freeman of Ballynahinch was presented with an award for long service on his retirement, having volunteered as an RNLI box collector and fundraiser for over 40 years.

A posthumous award was presented to Ann and Catherine Coyne in recognition of Clifden man Owen Coyne’s longstanding support of the lifeboats during Flag Day and church gate collections.

Margaret Wallace was also recognised for her volunteering for collections and retirement from the fundraising team.

Bernie Davis received an award for excellence in volunteering for her long-running annual participation in the Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon in support of Clifden RNLI.

Although unable to attend on the day, Michael Mullen also received an award for excellence in fundraising for his annual darts competition in memory of his son Mikey Mullen, who was tragically lost at sea.

Mikey’s mother Laurence Inglebach also received an award for excellence for her annual fundraising Clifden Lifeboat 10k Run earlier this year.

‘Without the time and energy of our fundraising volunteers, the crew would simply not be able to carry out the lifesaving work that they do’

Speaking at the gathering, AnnMarie Bennett thanked everyone in attendance for their consistent and long standing support of the lifeboats in Connemara.

“The Clifden RNLI has grown and developed hugely over the years and the generosity and dedication of all our fundraising volunteers is what helps this to happen,” she said.

“Without the time and energy of our fundraising volunteers, the crew would simply not be able to carry out the lifesaving work that they do, and we are all extremely grateful for everything you have done in support of the lifeboats.

“Your generosity and time has saved lives and helped families and our community in so many different ways over the years.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Giant “fire sculptures”, a community dinner, jazz lunch and a walk to Omey island are among activities planned for Conamara Sea Week’s programme based in and around the Quaker village of Letterfrack.

Ecologist Gordon D’Arcy is participating in a schools programme, and students from primary to third level have created images for the “After the Light” parade tonight, Wed October 23rd, from 7pm.

The award-winning festival, which has been running since 1984, is focused on the community, with a strong environmental focus.

“Myth, magic and a hint of madness” is promised for the mid-week parade, involving students from five primary schools, local crèches, Youthreach, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) Letterfrack, the Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board and the Brothers of Charity.

An “active age club” lunch and music at Rosleague Manor takes place on Thursday, October 24th, and that same evening a community dinner in Veldon’s Seafarer will offer food made by award-winning chef Jonathan Keane of the Lodge at Ashford.

Artist Mo West will open a sea week “small works” art exhibition at Connemara National Park on Saturday (Oct 26), and John O’Halloran will lead a walk on Sunday to Omey island, meeting at Claddaghduff church at 10.30am.

The programme, including music of all genres, continues until bank holiday Monday, and further information is available by phoning 085 1154629 or check the website here

Published in Maritime Festivals
Tagged under

Five people were rescued off North Co Antrim yesterday afternoon (Friday 30 August) when their 33ft yacht got into difficulty near Rathlin Island.

Red Bay RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat 1.20pm following a report that the yacht was struggling to make headway in difficult conditions at sea some five miles south-east of Rathlin.

Two of the crew onboard the yacht — which was on passage to Carrickfergus — were also suffering from seasickness, Red Bay RNLI says.

The lifeboat crew set up a tow and brought the vessel to Ballycastle. Speaking later, Red Bay RNLI press officer Paddy McLaughlin said: “Conditions at sea were challenging this afternoon and the crew made the right decision to call for help.”

Elsewhere, Clifden RNLI in Connemara launched its new all-weather lifeboat for the first time on Thursday afternoon (29 August) to reports of a RIB adrift and in danger in Ballinakill Bay between Letterfrack and Renvyle.

However, it was the D class inshore lifeboat Celia Mary which was first on the scene — where volunteers found two people on a 5.5m RIB with engine failure that was very close to the rocky shore in worsening weather conditions, with a Force 6 wind at the time.

Lifeboat helm Thomas Davis agreed with the two people on board the RIB that the vest course of action was a tow back to shore, which was safely completed.

Davis said: “We were glad to be able to help these people recover their boat today.

“We also wish to remind all water users in Connemara to contact the coastguard or emergency services at the earliest opportunity when things go wrong — we would always rather launch and be stood down than risk other possible outcomes.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A man whose leg got trapped on the Connemara shoreline during a rising tide was brought to safety in a multi-agency rescue on Thursday evening writes Lorna Siggins

The incident occurred when a couple were out walking at Slackport on Slyne Head, close to Ballyconneely, according to the RNLI Clifden lifeboat station.

The man fell on the shoreline, trapping his leg badly in some rocks and was unable to free himself. RNLI Clifden station press officer Catherine Pryce says the location was close to the high watermark in a rising spring tide.

The RNLI Clifden lifeboat and Cleggan Coast Guard volunteers, along with the Irish Coast Guard Rescue 118 helicopter from Sligo responded after the couple raised the alarm.

Clifden’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched with Joe Acton at the helm, along with the station’s Mersey class all-weather lifeboat under the command of coxswain James Mullen.

“ The Atlantic 85 was first on the scene and crewman Alan Pryce went ashore to assess the situation and administer first aid. Alan was quickly joined by two more crew members from Clifden’s all-weather boat,” Ms Pryce said.

The man’s injuries were assessed, and he was winched up to safety by the Sligo helicopter crew.

Clifden’s RNLI lifeboat station took delivery of a new all-weather Shannon class lifeboat earlier this week, which will increase the station’s range and capability.

‘This was an urgent and very serious call out and the crew located and assisted the casualty very quickly,” Clifden RNLI operations manager John Brittain said.

“ It has been a very busy week for our station with the arrival of our new Shannon class lifeboat, and the crew once again demonstrated that they are always there to respond when needed, working closely and effectively with our Coast Guard colleagues," Mr Brittain added.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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