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Displaying items by tag: Wild Atlantic Way

Islands along the Wild Atlantic Way not surprisingly are among seven in a list of islands within Irish and UK waters which draw attention as there’s something about crossing the sea that makes a holiday feel proper.

As BreakingNews adds staycations are all the rage right now for obvious reasons, but cars and trains lack the intrepid glamour of boats and planes, and when you visit an island it feels like you’ve entered a new and exciting ecosystem.

Island hopping begins at home. Here are some awesome islets that can help save your holiday, on both sides of the Irish Sea…

...where Cape Clear off Cork in the south west, the Aran Islands in Galway Bay and Claire Island further to north along the Wild Altantic Way in Co. Mayo proudly feature among the seven islands.

So take a snapshot read of these islands and beyond to those in UK waters by clicking here.

Published in Island News

Off Ireland's west coast a potential ecological disaster was averted when the Naval Service intervened to prevent a cargoship laden with oil from crashing against rocks.

Aqua Transporter, reports Irish Examiner, was carrying 32,000 cubic tonnes of fuel and two cubic tonnes of lubricating oil, had lost power and was drifting towards rocks. If it had collided, its contents would have caused a major pollution incident along the Wild Atlantic Way.

The Coast Guard contacted the Naval Service after receiving a request for help from the ship's Norwegian skipper, who reported he had lost engine power and was drifting. Fortunately, LÉ Niamh was on routine patrol just a few miles away.

The navy ship, under the captaincy of Lieutenant Commander Claire Murphy, responded to the early morning emergency request on Tuesday to help the cargo ship and its crew of six. It was drifting a few miles off Slyne Head, near Galway.

More about the incident by clicking here. 

Afloat.ie adds the Norwegian flagged 60m fish-carrier in recent days departed Rathmullen, Co. Donegal is now docked at the Port of Galway in the Dun Aengus Dock. 

Published in Navy

Keem Bay on Achill Island has made the grade among the 50 best beaches in the world, according to a top travel website.

And as The Irish Post reports, the Co Mayo coastal beauty spot was ranked among the best even of that number, placing just outside the top 10 of Big 7 Travel’s selection.

Keeping company with the gorgeous turquoise waters of the Adriatic and eastern Mediterranean, the West Indies and other breathtaking tropical paradises, we think that’s good going for the Wild Atlantic Way.

Published in Coastal Notes

#ferries - A new service has been launched by Bus Éireann in partnership with Doolin Ferry Company for people to explore the Wild Atlantic Way, reports GalwayDaily.

The new Route 350 which operates from Galway offers a combined bus and ferry service exploring the sights of the Wild Atlantic Way with tour of the Cliffs of Moher or a day ticket out to Inis Oírr.

Customers can avail of two combined ticket options which each cost €38.50 for both the bus ticket and either a 1-hour ferry tour of the Cliffs or a trip out to Inis Oírr.

The bus route also offers a regular service from Galway, through Doolin and on to Ennis that runs up to six times daily.

Bus Éireann describe the new route as a “great value day trip option to visit Ireland’s most popular tours destinations along the very popular Wild Atlantic Way.”

To read more and where to buy tickets, click here. 

Published in Ferry

Force 10 winds forecast for this weekend will attract eight of the world’s more fearless windsurfers to Ireland’s Atlantic coast for a competition three years in the making.

As BreakingNews.ie reports, the precise date and venue for the Red Bull Storm Chase along the Wild Atlantic Way have not yet been decided, being influenced by where the squalls currently tracking towards Ireland ahead of two major storm systems will make landfall.

But if conditions prove optimal, the brave boarders will take to the big waves — judged on the size of their high-flying jumps, their artistry in the air and their overall style amid winds in excess of 100kmh.

BreakingNews.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

#Angling - A new project on the River Easkey in Co Sligo which has improved and developed angling access to the wild salmon river between Sligo and Ballina has now been completed.

The project, which was delivered by River Easkey Angling Association, received support from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) via the National Strategy for Angling Development.

Structures such as footbridges, stiles, and ladders were installed along the river, which is located on the Wild Atlantic Way, while walkway routes on the banks of the salmon and trout fishery were also improved.

The work took place upstream of the famous Workhouse Bridge as part of the second phase of this project which initially involved similar works downstream of the bridge last year.

In total, the project has delivered eight new access points to angling, 13 footbridges ranging from three to four metres in length, and five kilometres of improved trail access.

Sean Canney, Minister of State for responsibility for inland fisheries, said on Wednesday (23 January): “I welcome the continuing efforts of Inland Fisheries Ireland in delivering under the National Strategy for Angling Development in partnership and collaboration with local angling clubs and community groups nationwide.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland committed €23,500 in total to support the Easkey project with €10,000 awarded in 2017 and a further €13,500 granted in 2018.

“I also want to congratulate the River Easkey Angling Association on its excellent development ethos. They are a progressive group that helpfully operates an open policy for holders of a State Salmon License with season and day tickets available for access,” he added.

Suzanne Campion, head of business development at IFI, said: “The River Easkey Angling Association has done fantastic work in developing this area as an angling destination. While completing this project and working closely with our project officers, they have given due diligence to everything from financial and environmental governance to biosecurity considerations ensuring the conservation and protection of this wonderful resource.”

Alan Spencer, assistant secretary of the River Easkey Angling Association, expressed the club’s thanks to Inland Fisheries Ireland’s staff for all their help and support during the project, as well as gratitude to landowners who permitted the club and its contractor access to the river through their property.

Published in Angling

#CoastalNotes - Eugene Garrihy a Clare businessman writes The Irish Examiner has criticised the results of a new survey that has labelled Doolin a “litter blackspot."

Mr Garrihy, father of Dancing with the Stars celeb and Fair City actor Aoibheann Garrihy, operates Doolin2Aran Ferries and yesterday described the results of the Irish Business Against Litter litter survey as “grossly unfair”.

This summer, Mr Garrihy’s firm has invested €3m in its operations with the commissioning of the 200-seater Star of Doolin on the Doolin-Aran Islands route.

For further reading click here.

Published in Coastal Notes

#IslandNews - Costing €3 million is a new state-of-the-art ferry to serve the Aran Islands which will arrive in Doolin, Co. Clare next week.

The eco-friendly Star of Doolin writes Galway BayFM has been commissioned by the Garrihy’s family run-business, Doolin2Aran Ferries.

The ferry has been built in La Rochelle, France, and will stop in Brest and Dingle before arriving in Doolin at around 8.30am on Tuesday.

Afloat adds that the owners of the 200 -passenger capacity newbuild also operate a sister company, Dublin Bay Cruises with a former west coast islands ferry, St. Bridget.

 

Published in Island News

#CruiseLiners - Ultra-luxury expedition cruiseship, Silver Cloud anchored in Galway Bay recently as part of clockwise tour of Ireland and where today the ship is docked in Killybegs, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The call off the Port of Galway on Tuesday was the second Silverseas Cruises caller. The operator’s new flagship Silver Muse made a visit earlier this month to become the first caller this season.

A flotila of the cruiseships' zodiac tenders took guests ashore to the 'City of the Tribes'. They disembarked at the port's outer pier leading to the entrance of the Dun Aengus dock basin. 

Silver Cloud is a Bahamas flagged ship that at 17,014 gross registered tonnes is deemed small today in cruiseship terms, however the Monaco based operator offers luxury at the top end of the market. They have 9 cruiseships and last year the Silver Cloud was refurbished.

According to Silversea, they provide the highest space to guest and crew to guest ratios in expedition cruising. In the case of Silver Cloud there are 257 guests served by a crew 223.

Among the facilities is an explorers’ lounge, bar, boutiques, pool deck, spa, fitness centre and a photo-studio. In addition to the Connoisseur’s Corner offering cognacs and cigars for purchase.

Accommodation consists exclusively of luxurious suites where 80% of them feature verandas.

Prior to making the anchorage call off Mutton Island in Galway Bay, Afloat monitored the ice-class 157m Silver Cloud depart Pembroke Dock, south Wales having sailed from the English Channel.

The cruiseship's first destination following the call to Milford Haven estuary was in Irish waters at the spectacular backdrop of the Skelligs, Co. Kerry. This is where the cruiseship extended its role by offering guests access to 16 zodiacs.

Other water-based equipment includes 16 kayaks opening up opportunities when cruising globally to explore through greater independence.

During the cruise leg from Galway Bay to Killybegs, Silver Cloud yesterday called off the Aran Islands at Kilronan, Inishmore. The anchorage call was followed by another off Clare Island on the approaches to Clew Bay.

The 1994 built cruiseship has since docked in the Donegal port this morning.

Published in Cruise Liners

#StarWars - Tourism Ireland’s latest ad campaign for the Wild Atlantic Way has gone literally stratospheric, as RTÉ News reports.

Skellig Michael is front and centre in what Irish tourism chiefs are calling their ‘first space tourism campaign’, which saw a billboard sent more than 33km skywards on a weather balloon.

The brief clip aims to capitalise on the growing hype for the new Star Wars film The Last Jedi, in which the UNESCO World Heritage site features prominently.

It’s not the first time Tourism Ireland has pushed the Kerry coastal island as a destination for Star Wars fans, and visitor numbers have skyrocketed since it appeared at the end of the previous instalment in the film saga two years ago.

But The Last Jedi, which opens next week, is expected to boost interest in other parts of the Wild Atlantic Way, too, with various scenes shot in picturesque spots between Cork and Donegal.

Published in Island News
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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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