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Displaying items by tag: Lahinch

#surfing – Surfing, yoga, belly dancing: it's time to head for the beach and dip your toes in the sea! Lahinch will be heating up as host town to hundreds of women at Mermaids, the Irish Surfing Association's national women's weekend, on the 14/15th June.

The Mermaids weekend is an opportunity to learn to surf - or to improve your skills - under the watchful eyes of some of Ireland's top female surfers. Skilled female surf instructors, alongside past and present female members of the Irish Surf team, will give participants a fun, safe and inspirational surfing experience.

Mermaids is a surfing weekend that provides women (and girls) with an opportunity to meet and share information and advice on surfing while introducing newcomers to the sport in an all female environment. The event brings women of all ages and surfing abilities together in a celebration of women's surfing in Ireland. Whether you are 8 or 80 - if you are interested in surfing, this is an opportunity to learn more!

The weekend is about learning, inspiring others and sharing your excitement and enthusiasm for surfing. Everyone is encouraged to enjoy their time in the water whilst also learning about surfing technique and water safety. Out of the water, new friendships are made and surf stories are shared during the beach lunch, yoga, belly dancing and night time entertainment.

Activities include surfing lessons and coaching (equipment provided); talks on all aspects of surfing; yoga; beach lunch; and belly dancing! There is no requirement to book, just turn up. Attend the full weekend, one day or half a day. Registration between 9am and 3pm on Saturday (last surfing lesson going into the water at 3pm) and 10am-2.00pm (last lesson going into the water at 2pm) on Sunday.

Mermaids is hosted under the Women in Sport Initiative, run by the Irish Sports Council, to encourage more Irish women to participate in sport.

Published in Surfing
Tagged under

#Storm - A special report on the extent of damage caused by the recent storms in Galway City has estimated the cost of repairs at more than three-quarters of a million euro, according to Galway Bay FM.

The figure includes estimated costs of repairing footpaths and public use facilities damaged by the extreme winds and flooding experienced citywide - and in particular the beaches and promenade at Salthill, which more the brunt of the Atlantic swells and high tides.

In addition, repairs to Leisureland in the seaside suburb are pegged at half a million euro alone.

Further down the West coast in the storm-ravaged Clare town of Lahinch, The Irish Times reports that a start-up surf school has had a horrendous start to the year, losing its van to the floodwaters that caused significant and expensive damage to the promenade.

Published in Coastal Notes
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#Flooding - Seaside residents in the popular surfing spot of Lahinch in Co Clare were evacuated yesterday (3 January) after massive swells driven by strong storm-force winds encroached half a kilometre inland.

According to The Irish Times, the emergency came amid some of the worst weather ever experienced in the West Clare coastal town.

Aside from flooding homes throughout the town, the storm surges collapsed metal fencing on the shorefront and sent concrete wall cappings some 50 metres across the promenade car park.

Nearby, part of the old pier in Liscannor were destroyed by the violent wind and wave action, while the 150-year-old base of the Irish Coast Guard's Doolin unit was also damaged, with the road leading from the base to the pier broken up.

Elsewhere in the country, records were broken in Dublin as the River Liffey saw its highest ever tide, breaking its banks near Heuston Station yesterday afternoon.

The Irish Independent reports that Wolfe Tone Quay and Victoria Quay were closed for an hour while Dublin City Council workers pumped the floodwaters from the roads.

In the coastal suburb of Clontarf - the worst-hit area of the capital, experiencing its worst flooding in a decade - seafront businesses were spared when floodwaters stopped just metres from their doors.

Meanwhile, Galway and Cork remain on high alert as high tide brings floodwaters to city streets, with the Salthill Promenade still a no-go area.

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

#Ambergris - The idea of 'whale vomit' is surely off-putting to most, but to high-end perfume companies it's worth more than gold - much to the delight of two Irish surfers who believe they've found a lump of the stuff.

The Irish Daily Star, via IrishCentral, reports that Alan Davey and Brian Miller discovered the turnip-sized lump of what appears to be whale excrement on the beach at the popular surfing haunt of Lahinch on the Co Clare coast.

And if it turns out to be the product of a sperm whale, it might well contain the valuable substance known as ambergris - produced in their digestive tract, and traditionally used as a key ingredient in perfumes - and could fetch the pair a cool €50,000.

A similar find on a beach at Morecambe in Lancashire last month could be worth as much as €115,000 to its finder, according to The Guardian.

Published in Coastal Notes

#SURFING - Ireland can no longer claim to be the surfing world's best kept secret, as the Irish Examiner reports, as thousands of waveriders of all skill levels now flock annually to the west and northwest coasts to sample the swell.

Indeed, Ireland is arguably the hottest place to be for surfing right now, and RTÉ Travel rounds up the best spots to hit the water around the coast - including some that might surprise you.

Bundoran is this country's surfing mecca, and for good reason. Recently making National Geographic's list of the world's top 20 surfing towns, the Co Donegal surf capital has spots for everyone from experts to beginners, and boasts a choice of 10 surf schools affiliated with the Irish Surfing Association.

Further down the coast is Sligo, renowned among the surfing elite for the giant rollers off Mullaghmore Head but also a great place for learners, especially at Strandhill and Enniscrone - although "big waves, clean waters and great surfing" are to be found anywhere along the coastline.

Mayo continues the trend, with Bertra in Clew Bay and Keel Strand in Achill standing out, while Clare is home to the famed waves at Lahinch - home turf for big wave surfer Ollie O'Flaherty.

Further along, Kerry and West Cork can boast of a number of top-class surfing destinations, including some stretches just perfect for absolute beginners.

But it doesn't end there, as even the southeast and east coasts can hold their own - as Tramore in Co Waterford and Brittas Bay in Co Wicklow can attest.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - Landlocked Laois may not be the known for its surfing prowess, but the Midlands county's waveriders have a busy winter season ahead of them, as the Leinster Express reports.

Laois Surf Club members regularly frequent the popular surfing spots of Ireland's west coast, and this autumn and winter is no exception.

First up was last weekend's Lahinch Longboard Contest organised by the West Coast Surf Club, to be followed by the annual inter-counties competition in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal on 13-14 October.

“Being landlocked in Laois is a disadvantage but not a deterrent for those of us who enjoy and love surfing, it’s such good fun, healthy and you always feel great after a two-hour stint in the water,” said club chairman Steve Kidd.

The Leinster Express has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

#COASTAL NOTES - Surfers in Co Clare have been dealt a blow as the The Irish Times reports on a swimming ban at Lahinch and two other beaches over concerns of a potential outbreak of E-coli.

The beaches at Lahinch, Kilkee and Spanish Point ae covered by the ban, which was made by Clare County Council in consultation with the Health Service Executive after traces of E-coli were found in routine quality tests of the water.

Water runoff as a result of the recent heavy rainfall over the last few weeks has been blamed for the rise in bacteria levels, which has also seen Lahinch and Kilkee have their Blue Flag status suspended until they can meet the required quality standards.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#SURFING - A young surfer from Lahinch in Co Clare is in the running for the 'biggest wave' prize in the 2012 Billabong XXL contest for his monster ride at Mullaghmore Head, The Irish Times reports.

Ollie O'Flaherty, 24, is nominated along with Devon's Andrew Cotton for the massive surf they caught off Co Sligo on 8 March last.

It was the first visit to the world-class big wave spot by O'Flaherty, a science student at NUI Galway who is a veteran of the Co Clare scene.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, it was Cotton who tackled the biggest wave on that day - a giant 50-footer - as some of the world's top surfers took advantage of the Viking swell.

Also nominated for the $50,000 (€38,280) prize is Irish-American surfer Garrett McNamara, who last year rode what is being called the biggest wave ever surfed in the world, a 90-foot goliath off Nazaré in Portugal.

According to the Irish Independent, O'Flaherty has put out a call for sponsorship so he can attend the awards ceremony next month.

"It's a massive honor to be able to represent Ireland," he said, but added that he is "pretty much on the breadline from what I'm doing".

Should he win, the Lahinch native said he intends to "put every cent back into surfing" and replace his seven broken boards.

The winners will be announced at the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards in Anaheim, California on 4 May.

Published in Surfing
A 35-year-old woman died after being swept out to sea while swimming at a beach in Co Clare yesterday, the Irish Independent reports.
The Limerick woman, named locally last night as Julie Burke, was caught in a strong current at a beach across the bay from Lahinch around 3pm yesterday afternoon.
It is understood that a number of people on the beach attempted rescue, but the woman was washed away.
Shortly afterward she was located unconscious by crewmembers from the Irish naval offshore patrol vessel LE Aisling, who took her to waiting paramedics and a rescue helicopter waiting on shore.
The woman was airlifted to Galway's University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 5.45pm.

A 35-year-old woman died after being swept out to sea while swimming at a beach in Co Clare yesterday, the Irish Independent reports.

The Limerick woman, named locally last night as Julie Burke, was caught in a strong current at a beach across the bay from Lahinch around 3pm yesterday afternoon.

It is understood that a number of people on the beach attempted rescue, but the woman was washed away.

Shortly afterward she was located unconscious by crewmembers from the Irish naval offshore patrol vessel LE Aisling, who took her to waiting paramedics and a rescue helicopter waiting on shore.

The woman was airlifted to Galway's University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 5.45pm.

Published in Water Safety
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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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