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Displaying items by tag: Connemara

An aquaculture start-up is celebrating the launch of its first seaweed farm in Connemara, as vegan business magazine Vegconomist reports.

US-based Sea&Believe develops ingredients for food and cosmetics using Palmaria palmata, a red seaweed more commonly known as dillisk or dulse and one that’s recognised for its high nutritional value as well as other health benefits.

The company says it is working with a group of scientists in Galway to develop a sustainable and durable farming process for dillisk in a region notably prone to extreme weather, while also exploring new commercial applications for its natural properties.

Vegconomist has more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquaculture
Tagged under

At a recent awards ceremony, some 14 members of Clifden RNLI’s fundraising branch received long service medals recognising their combined 400 years of fundraising in Connemara.

As a fully independent charity organisation, the RNLI relies on donations to fund its lifesaving work. The Clifden lifeboat crew are on call 24/7 but they require ongoing training, well maintained equipment, lifeboats and shore equipment to carry out their mission of saving lives at sea.

None of this would be possible without the dedication, commitment and drive of our local fundraisers who have each dedicated many years to supporting their local coastal community.

The commitment and selflessness of Clifden’s fundraising volunteers was acknowledged by Danny Curran, RNLI regional engagement manager.

Speaking at the ceremony, he said: “I know how much thought and effort goes in raising every euro for our charity and I’m extremely grateful to the volunteers here today who have worked tirelessly on this goal for decades. In rain, hail and snow; every week, every month, every year, you have ensured we can keep our life saving services running.

“These awards are not just to celebrate the fundraising volunteers for their incredible achievements over many years but also their families and friends who play a key role in supporting our work.”

Long service award recipients include Padraig Mc Donagh from Kilkerrin who is the longest serving fundraiser in the branch, having dedicated an incredible 55 years to Clifden RNLI; Eileen and Oliver Coyne from Cleggan, who are responsible for the legendary RNLI Christmas hamper raffle; and Anne Marie Bennett, outgoing chair of the fundraising branch and highly valued RNLI volunteer.

A special moment was observed for Lavinia Joyce who sadly passed away in August this year. Lavinia was the first chairperson of the Clifden/Connemara fundraising branch, or the “Clifden Ladies Guild” as it was known when she joined in 1992. Her enthusiasm, dedication and sense of purpose to be involved with the RNLI was infectious. She was an inspiration to all of us and an absolute lady. Rest in peace, Lavinia.

Clifden RNLI Long Service Awardees 2023:

  • Geraldine Heanue
  • AnneMarie Bennett
  • Padraic Griffin
  • Stewart Freeman
  • Collin Mullen
  • Paraic Mc Donagh
  • Percy Hyland
  • Oliver and Eileen Coyne
  • Jacqueline Hannon
  • Nancy Duffy
  • Lavinia Joyce
  • Ann Day
  • Thomas King
Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer crew of Clifden RNLI were called out on Friday morning (25 August) at 7.30am to assist a stranded yacht off Connemara.

The vessel with two sailors on board had come into difficulty to the south-west of Inishark, which is west of Inisbofin.

Both of Clifden’s lifeboats launched: the inshore Atlantic 85 helmed by Daniel Whelan with Shane Conneely and Chris Nee as crew; and the all-weather Shannon class St Christopher with John Mullen as coxswain, James Mullen, Joe Acton, Neil Gallery and Alan Kearney as crew.

They were assisted from the shore by Tom Guy, John Heffernan and Sean Mercer.

Sea conditions at the time were moderate, with Force 5 winds and good visibility.

On arriving at the scene, the crews found the sailors to be well and in good spirits however the propeller and rudder on their yacht had become badly entangled with ropes.

The lifeboat volunteers set about establishing a tow line and brought the casualty vessel and the passengers back to safety at Cleggan Harbour.

Speaking after the rescue, Mullen said: “The sailors today did the right thing in calling for assistance when they ran into difficulty and I am delighted we were able help. Our volunteer crew did a great job of ensuring a speedy, safe and successful operation this morning.

“I’d like to thank the two sailors who kindly offered to buy breakfast for the crew after we reached the shore. The breakfast was most welcome after an early start saving lives at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The rejection is a major setback for Údaras na Gaeltachta, the Gaeltacht development authority, which based its jobs growth strategy on employment the new marine park would create.

Páirc na Mara, which was to be located in Carna in the Iorras Aithneach area of the Gaeltacht, had attracted significant marine interest when proposals were initially rolled out.

The plan was welcomed by members of the Carna and Cill Chiaráin communities.

However, the initial planning application was turned down by Galway County Council in 2021.

Bord Pleanála has given several reasons for rejecting the appeal. It highlighted lack of information on potential impact of climate change, and impact on water levels and the water supply in sources nearby.

Udaras na Gaeltachta, has said it is awaiting a copy of the full inspector’s report before commenting further.

Published in Galway Harbour
Tagged under

The “do not consume” notice on public water affecting over 5,000 households in south Connemara has been lifted with immediate effect by Irish Water.

The agency says water is safe to drink for the “majority” living in An Spidéal and Na Forbacha, but those living in the network served by the Ros-a-Mhíl reservoir have been issued with a “boil water” notice.

This is to protect public health until additional remedial works are complete, Irish Water says.

The “do not consume” notice in place since September was issued due to reported high levels of manganese in the public water supply, which involved extensive flushing of the system to remove.

Businesses and some residents have been critical of the lack of communication over the issue by Irish Water. Tankered water, which then had to be boiled, was made available at a number of collection points.

Irish Water’s drinking water compliance specialist Dr Pat O’Sullivan acknowledged the impact the “do not consume” notice had on the 5,675 customers supplied by An Spidéal’s public water supply and thanked them for their patience while Irish Water and Galway County Council worked to have it lifted.

“ We would like to thank all the residents and businesses who were affected by this notice for their patience and cooperation while it was in place to protect public health,”Dr O’Sullivan said.

“We would also like to acknowledge and thank our colleagues in Galway County Council who worked tirelessly to address what was a challenging and complex issue. This notice has now been lifted, in consultation with the Health Service Executive and Environmental Protection Agency, following an extensive sampling and testing process to ensure that the water is safe to drink,” Dr O’Sullivan added.

He explained that the Boil Water Notice for those served by the Ros-a-Mhíl reservoir has been put in place due to the low levels of chlorine and detections of coliform bacteria in this part of the supply network. Works are ongoing to address this issue, he said.

The area affected includes approximately 250 customers in Ros-a-Mhíl.

A map of the area is available to view on the supply and service section of water.ie. A “boil water” notice will also be hand-delivered to the properties affected, Irish Water said.

It said experts from Irish Water and Galway County Council are assessing the situation with a view to having the notice lifted as quickly as possible.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will be contacted directly about this notice, it says.

Water must be boiled for:

  • Drinking
  • Drinks made with water
  • Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating
  • Brushing of teeth
  • Making of ice - discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges. Make ice from cooled boiled water

Irish Water says that anyone who has concerns can contact our customer care team on 1800 278 278 or log onto the water supply and service section of water.ie for information.

A property’s eircode can also be entered on the water quality section of water.ie to check if it is included.

Published in Island News

A Connemara lobster fisherman has become a television star in the Netherlands over his role in a highly successful dating series.

As The Irish Examiner reports, Turbot island fisherman and farmer John O’Toole was hired to take a Dutch couple out fishing as part of the grand final in the highly successful dating series, Boer zoukt vrouw (“Farmer wants a wife”).

70-year-old widower Hans de Roover, who breeds horses in Noord Brabant in Netherlands, had signed up for the dating show last year. Having received replies from almost 90 applicants, he had chosen Connemara as the location for filming with one of his final four potential partners.

And 60-year old divorcee Annette Verschuure, from Zeeland, rose to the challenge. After the couple were flown to Dublin, they travelled west to Galway and Clifden, where they had been booked into the Abbeyglen Hotel.

Farmer Hans de Roover with his new love, Annette Verschuure, at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, ClifdenFarmer Hans de Roover with his new love, Annette Verschuure, at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Clifden

“So I took them out from Fahy pier down the end of the Sky Road, and a bit around the inlet as the sun was setting, ”O’Toole says. “I had set a few pots out and, of course, there were lobsters in them!”

“I asked them if they would like to handle the pots but they weren’t so keen. Annette was full of chat, and Hans had his arm around her. But then I noticed the colour draining from his face and knew it was time to head home!”

“Oh, we had such a wonderful time,” Verschuure recalls of the visit to the west of Ireland.

“It was such an adventure,” she laughs. “And because no one in Ireland knew who we were, apart from the fact that we had a film crew following us, we could actually be a couple !”

Suspense – as in who the farmer might choose for his or her partner - is key to the Dutch series, which has been running for over 12 years and now attracts some 3. 5 million viewers.

Read more in The Examiner here

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

If Tim Ryan could be transported back to any time in his life it would undoubtedly be the hours he spent on the ferries crossing the Severn to England and back. He did it 11 or 12 times a year with his parents and sister - and each journey was as adventurous as the last.

“It was just like going abroad,” the 67-year-old retired headteacher told WalesOnline from a quiet corner of Wales where he is hellbent on recreating those memories for future generations. It’s been a 23-year mission which is now finally beginning to bear fruit.

“My father had a sister in Burnham-on-Sea and my mother was from Wiltshire, so we were on the ferries a lot,” he said, proudly standing aboard the Severn Princess which has found its way home in remarkable circumstances.

It now sits beneath Brunel's rail bridge just metres from where it used to be moored on the River Wye from 1959 to 1966. The Princess - alongside the Severn King and Queen - offered the only means of crossing for motorists before the construction of the M48 Severn bridge.

Now we’ve got the ferry here I’d hope the long-term plan would be to get the bridge all cleaned up and maybe a visitors centre here. There’s a long way to go.”

For Tim, now coordinator of a modest team which makes up the Severn Princess Preservation Trust, it has been a labour of love long in the making. “One of our members Richard Jones is the grandson of Enoch Williams,” Tim said. “Enoch was the owner of the Old Passage Severn Ferry Company and operated the three ferries.

For much more on the former river ferry's fascinating journey to home waters, click here. 

In addition, according to Wikipedia, the wrecked vessel was found full of fertiliser, having been discovered in 1999 by Dr. Richard Jones, as alluded above.

The derelict ferry had been put under a demolition order by Galway County Council, however the Severn Princess Restoration Group was set up urgently so to save and acquire the ferry for a guinea.

After repairs this enabled a five-day tow across the Irish Sea to Beachley that took place in 2003. 

Published in Historic Boats

The Conamara family of sailors known as Clann Johnny Jimmy Pheaitín are profiled in a documentary on TG4.

Pádraig, Jimmy and Seáinín are “Na Jimmys”, associated with the Galway Hooker An Mhaighdean Mhara.

The programme “Bádóirí- Na Jimmys” interviews the trio and some of the other relatives well known for their knowledge of sailing and the sea on Inis Mhic Cionnaith island and An Cheathrú Rua in south Conamara.

Pádraig, Jimmy and Seáinín are “Na Jimmys”Pádraig, Jimmy and Seáinín are “Na Jimmys”

One relative, shipwright Pat Michael is finishing his Galway Hooker, a piece of art being built in the shed next door to home, and the Jimmys’ uncle, Johnny Jimmy, relates how he and his two brothers were the best rowers in Ireland and in England in the 1960s.

John Darba talks about Inis Mhic Cionaith, where he was raised, and the stories told by Jimmy an Oileáin, while Johnny Healion recalls when the Mhaighdean Mhara was still hauling peat to the Aran Islands, as he now prepares to launch his most newly built hooker.

Pat agus na ladsPat agus na lads

“Bádoirí-Na Jimmys” is on TG4, December 29th, at 8.15 pm and also available to view online here

Published in Maritime TV
Tagged under

A Connemara business group has expressed frustration over an apparent lack of enthusiasm by Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys in a privately funded museum that would celebrate Marconi’s connections with Connemara.

As The Times Ireland edition reports, the wireless pioneer’s historical links with Connemara, along with those of transatlantic aviators Alcock and Brown, and telegraphist Jack Phillips would be marked by the museum project.

Phillips’s selfless actions in continuing to broadcast from the ship’s wireless room saved over 700 lives during the sinking of the Titanic.

"The privately funded museum would celebrate Marconi’s connections with Connemara"

After the ship struck an iceberg in April 1912, Phillips sent “SOS” and “Come Quick Danger” (CQD) distress messages on Marconi equipment by Morse code to nearby ships until the power cut.

Clifden hotelier Brian Hughes says the museum project has enlisted the support of Sean Mulryan of Ballymore Homes who is “more than happy to fund and support this great project”.

Hughes says considerable money has already been spent on survey studies and plans by architects and engineers.

A group met Minister Humphreys and Minister of State for Transport and Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton in November 2020, and Hughes said they formed the impression that both ministers were “fully in favour” of the project.

The business group explained that the museum could become a “jewel” on the Wild Atlantic Way, attracting up to 500,000 visitors annually and providing 40 direct and indirect jobs.

The design would also ensure that it is a “net zero carbon museum”, Hughes said.

The proposed location is at the State-owned airport site near Cleggan, which is owned by the Department of Rural and Community Development as part of its responsibility for islands.

The airport was developed to link Cleggan to Inishbofin, as part of a wider Government plan to improve air access to and from west coast islands, but the air link was never realised.

The proposed museum would focus on how Guglielmo Marconi sent and received wireless messages between his wireless station in Nova Scotia and Derrygimlagh, Connemara in October 1907.

In 1908, Marconi took on telegraphist John George “Jack” Phillips to work alongside him in Marconi station, and Phillips subsequently got a job as chief wireless telegraphist onboard the Titanic.

The museum would also mark the landing by British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown at Derrygimlagh on June 14th, 1919, completing the first non-stop air crossing of the Atlantic.

Hughes said the group has received positive support from Fáilte Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

“ We are still waiting to get a letter from Ms Humphreys’s department, giving us permission to put in an application for planning permission,” he said.

The Department of Rural and Community said that “there are a number of issues arising for consideration within the department, including a proposal to construct a Coast Guard station on the site”.

“Until these issues have been fully examined, the department will not be in a position to agree to the group’s request,” it said.

Read more in The Times Ireland edition here

Published in News Update

A loggerhead turtle believed to originate from the waters around the Canary Islands has died despite the best efforts of Galway Atlantaquaria staff after it was found washed ashore in Connemara.

As RTÉ News reports, the 50kg turtle was discovered on Muighinis Beach near Carna in a comatose state and on the advice of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group was taken to the national aquarium in Salthill.

However, Galway Atlantaquaria confirmed on social media that the adult female loggerhead turtle “never regained consciousness”.

It’s suspected that the turtle, who had been named Macdara after the patron saint of Connemara fishers, was blown off course during Storm Barra earlier this month into the colder North Atlantic.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Every Year Ireland's Search & Rescue Services deliver emergency life saving work on our seas, lakes and rivers.

Ireland's Water Safety Agencies work hard to provide us with the information we need to keep safe, while enjoying all manner of water based activities.

There's no better fun than getting out on the water but being afloat is a responsibility we all need to take seriously.

These pages detail the work of the rescue agencies. We also aim to promote safety standards among pleasure boaters, and by doing so, prevent, as far as possible, the loss of life at sea and on inland waters. If you have ideas for our pages we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected]

Think Before You Sink - Wear a Lifejacket

Accidents can happen fast on water and there may not be time to reach for a lifejacket in an emergency therefore don't just carry a lifejacket - wear it; if it's not on you, it can't save your life.

Irish Water Safety's Safe Boating Alert:

Check condition of boat and equipment, hull, engine, fuel, tools, torch.

Check the weather forecast for the area.

Check locally concerning dangerous currents and strong tides.

Do not drink alcohol while setting out or during your trip.

Carry an alternative means of propulsion e.g. sails and oars or motor and oars.

Carry a first aid kit on board and distress signals (at least two parachute distress rockets, two red hand flares).

Carry a fire extinguisher, a hand bailer or bucket with lanyard and an anchor with rope attached.

Carry marine radio or some means of communication with shore.

Do not overload the boat - this will make it unstable.

Do not set out unless accompanied by an experienced person.

Leave details of your planned trip with someone ashore - including departure and arrival times, description of boat, names of persons on board, etc.

Wear a Lifejacket at all times.

Keep an eye on the weather - seek shelter in good time.

In Marine Emergencies, call 999 or 112 and ask for Marine Rescue.

Lifejackets Checklist

Ensure Cartridges have not been punctured and are secured firmly.

Ensure all zips, buckles, fasteners and webbing straps are functioning correctly and adjusted to fit the user.

Check that fitted lights are operating correctly.

Ensure that Automatic Inflation devices are fully serviced and in date.

Check that the valve or lifejacket is not leaking.