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Displaying items by tag: River Liffey

The histories, life and culture of five port towns in Ireland and Wales as Afloat previously reported, will feature in a film and exhibition in Dublin during Heritage Week 2022.

These events have been produced by Aberystwyth University and the University of Wales Trinity Saint Davids as part of Ports, Past and Present, an international project led by University College Cork (UCC) which explores the history and cultural heritage of the ports.

Project leader Professor Claire Connolly from University College Cork said: “The Ports, Past and Present project frames voices, images and stories from across the five ports, enabling new forms of engagement with a shared past.”

The film, 'At the Water’s Edge: Stories of the Irish Sea’, showcases stunning views of the landscapes and wildlife of the Irish Sea coast. Through stories told by local people, it explores the interconnected history of the ports of Dublin and Rosslare Harbour in Ireland, and of Fishguard, Holyhead and Pembroke Dock in Wales, as well as the three ferry routes connecting them. Stories include those of dock workers and kayakers, local historians, and wildlife lovers.

Dublin residents Gary Brown, Shane O’Doherty, Audrey Mac Cready, Jenny Kilbride, John Hawkins, Séan Potts, Mick Foran, and Kay Foran are among those who feature in the film, sharing their stories of living and working in the area. Shane O’Doherty describes the links between the landscape and history in Dublin Bay, while Kay Foran shares her memorable stories of signing up as a rare female dockworker.

The film screens at the Port Centre, Dublin Port, at 5 pm on Saturday, August 13. Email Rita Singer to request a free ticket to the screening: [email protected]

With thanks to Dublin Port Company for their support of this event.

Meanwhile, the ‘Creative Connections’ exhibition showcases inspiring works by 12 creative practitioners who have worked with communities across the five ferry ports to present their unique heritage stories through storytelling, community art, photography, film and a radio play. This work is led by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

The exhibition will be launched at a special reception at 6 pm on Tuesday, August 16 in EPIC’s Liffey Corner gallery space, at the CHQ building. Tuesday’s reception will include readings and a short film showing. The exhibition runs from August 13 to August 21, with further events scheduled throughout the week.

To sign up for the Creative Connections exhibition launch reception and related events, visit here

The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Co-operation Programme. The project is led by UCC in partnership with Aberystwyth University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and Wexford County Council.

Published in Dublin Port
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There was a Lffeyside handover on Friday of the 'All in a Row' cheque of €13,000 raised in aid of the Irish Refugee Council at the Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club in Ringsend, Dublin.

The much-needed funds raised came from May's Charity Concert featuring Phelim Drew and House Band and will go towards the needs of Ukrainian children who sadly arrived in Ireland without parents this year.

Published in River Liffey

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland, took to the waters of Dublin Bay to take part in the annual ‘Casting of the Spear’ ceremony, the first time the tradition has been observed since before the pandemic.

The ‘Casting of the Spear’ is a tradition dating back 531 years for the incumbent Lord Mayor, who becomes Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port. The title of Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port has been bestowed on the Lord Mayor of Dublin for over 20 years.

Historical records show that the maritime tradition of the Casting the Spear dates back to 1488 when Thomas Mayler, who was then Lord Mayor of Dublin, rode out on horseback and cast a spear as far as he could into the sea – this was to mark the city’s boundaries eastwards. Centuries later, the re-enactment ceremony reminds us of Dublin’s role as a port city in medieval times and highlights Dublin Port’s remarkable history since its establishment as a trading post some 1,200 years ago.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland said: ''I am absolutely thrilled to have had the honour of Casting of the Spear and marking the eastern boundary of our City. I feel privileged being the Honorary Admiral of the Port for the duration of my term of office.

This ancient tradition of marking the City's maritime boundary with a spear has always fascinated me. It also highlights the strategic economic importance of Dublin Port to our City and indeed our country and how it has grown and developed over the centuries.''

Dublin Port CEO Eamonn O’Reilly commented at the ceremony: “I would like to thank Lord Mayor Gilliland for her participation in this year’s annual Casting of the Spear ceremony as we celebrate our heritage as a port city. It is heartening to be able to return to these time-honoured traditions after the disruption of the last few years. Looking back, now more than 530 years, it is extraordinary to think that our city’s boundaries were established by Thomas Mayler’s spear in the waters of medieval Dublin. Today’s re-enactment symbolises Dublin Port’s continued commitment to preserving an understanding of the history that binds the port and the city together.”

Published in River Liffey

The Dublin Bay Old Gaffers (DBOGA) two-day regatta at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey was also a casualty of the weekend's nor'easter.

Disappointingly, the planned Parade of Sail on the capital's river had to be cancelled in the gusty winds. 

As regular Afloat readers know, the strong winds also cancelled the entire Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) Saturday Programme at Dun Laoghaire. The big seas on Saturday led to a reduced start for the annual Lambay Race but nevertheless vintage edition as part of the successful staging of the three day Wave Regatta at Howth Yacht Club. 

Afloat understands plans are now afoot to incorporate the cancelled DBOGA Poolbeg event into September's Howth DBOGA Round the Island (for the Leinster Plate) outing in early September. 

Meanwhile, the season will now see a cruising emphasis for PYBC with members heading off on summer cruises. The PBYC yacht Paradiso has already departed for Norway via the Faroes.

Published in Dublin Bay Old Gaffers

Dave Kelly's All in a Row River Liffey Currach group are running a benefit music gig this Friday in Ringsend in aid of Ukraine for the Irish Refugee Council. 

Doors open at 7:30 pm for the gig this Friday (27th of May) at St Patrick's Church in Ringsend in Dublin. The tickets are €15. 

The gig features the Drew House Band with Phelim Drew performing their show "Remembering Ronnie."

All funds will go directly to the Irish Refugee Council's fund for women and children arriving in Ireland, helping them with books, clothes and uniforms, says Kelly. 

The link for tickets is here.

Published in River Liffey
Tagged under

The Airport Police & Fire Service Rowing Club has thanked River Liffey-based St. Patrick’s Rowing Club in Dublin city for the loan of its quad boat to train for this year’s ‘challenging’ club charity event.

‘Endeavoar 2022’ is a 250-kilometre coastal row along the West Coast of Ireland in aid of the three Dublin Airport Authority staff charities which are, St. Francis Hospice, Feed our Homeless and The Mater Foundation.

Part of the challenge will be to climb Sceilg Mhíchíl and then continue north passing The Blasket Islands, The Cliffs of Moher, The Burren and finally into Galway Bay.

The club says this “three-day event will be one of the most challenging and spectacular we have ever attempted”.

Unfortunately, strong winds thwarted plans for the scheduled May 19th start but it is hoped to make the attempt again in September.

“Thanks to St. Patrick's Rowing Club for allowing us to train using their boat and to Portmagee Rowing Club for giving us their offshore quad during the event. Without their kindness we could not attempt this challenge”, the club ytold followers on social media.

Thanks to St. Patrick's Rowing Club for allowing us to train using their boat

The donate page is here

Published in Coastal Rowing

The 'mystery' to local observers of just who was behind the impressive 15-boat strong RIB raid fleet powering across Dublin Bay last Sunday morning was answered this week on social media when it emerged the boats, ranging from 5 to 8 metres in length, were freshwater visitors from the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) Powerboat Branch.

The River Shannon ribbers, which included three jet skis, took in a River Liffey spin via Grand Canal Dock in the city centre as well as heading out into the Bay to Dun Laoghaire Harbour, followed by a 12km run in some bumpy southerly conditions down to Greystones Harbour in County Wicklow.

"We waited so long to do our first RIB run with the IWAI Powerboat Branch, and it was FANTASTIC! After seeing Dun Laoghaire, Greystones and Dublin city from these new perspectives, I wouldn't wish to live anywhere else but beautiful Éire", said one of the RIB crews online.

Published in RIBs
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Three currachs were successfully launched on the River Liffey yesterday to the sound of traditional music tunes and the boats were blessed in a ceremony at Poolbeg in Dublin city.

As Afloat reported earlier, the boats were launched by the Draíocht na Life rowing group.

Traditional Boats of Ireland Editor Criostoir Mac Cartaigh officiated at the proceedings, saying that it's not every day you see three currachs being launched on the same day, especially in Dublin.

The three currachs are launched at the slipway next to Stella Maris Rowing Club Photo: AfloatThe three currachs are launched at the slipway next to Stella Maris Rowing Club Photo: Afloat

One currach is a racing version, built in Connemara and used on the Liffey.

'Cairde' was recently restored by Micheál Ó Maoilchiaráin from Carna in Conamara who took off the old canvas in favour of fibreglass.

A revamp of a Conamara racer, named 'Cairde', from left to right;  Peter Carey and Tom Jordan Photo: AfloatA revamp of a Conamara racer, named 'Cairde', from left to right;  Peter Carey and Tom Jordan Photo: Afloat

New hardwood and pins alongside a nice new paint job finished off the job.

'Sáile', a two-seater and a three seater, 'Faoileán', were built by Ed Tuthill, a Liffey rower, and both were put together in Clane, Co Kildare.

The three-seater was built during the lockdown.

A two seater currach, named Saile, meaning 'woods salted by the sea' from left to right;  Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Frank Tate Photo: AfloatA two seater currach, named Saile, meaning 'woods salted by the sea' from left to right;  Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Frank Tate Photo: Afloat

Mac Cartaigh praised the skill, passion and bravery of the builders who have contributed a huge amount to currach building and getting people out rowing on the Liffey.

The currachs were blessed by Fr Ivan Tonge from Ringsend.

The Draíocht na Life rowing group was formed around 15 years ago by Liffey currach rower and owner, Dave Kelly.

Tunes were played ashore by Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Frank Tate and Fionn O hAlmhain. 

TG4 were there to capture the event in the stern of Cairde and the launch was aired on Nuacht TG4 at 7 pmAs well as Afloat, TG4 were there to capture the event in the stern of Cairde and the launch was aired on Nuacht TG4 at 7 pm Photo: Afloat

Next Saturday crews from Kerry to Donegal and from Conamara to Warrenpoint will take part in the first currach races of the season in Dublin. 

Currach Launching on the Liffey Photo Gallery 

Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

The possibility that stellar jockey Rachael Blackmore, the winner of the Grand National in 2021 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year, might just be descended from a noted Dublin nautical family has emerged from traditional boat enthusiast and maritime historian Cormac Lowth’s research into the development of the Ringsend fishing community. He reveals these intriguing insights from time to time to several organisations, including fellow members of the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association at their gatherings in the hospitable Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, one of the focal points of modern Ringsend’s friendly interaction with Dublin Port.

Two hundred years and more ago, with the ending of the Napoleonic Wars, the seas of western Europe were becoming safer for fishing fleets to go about their trade. And the port of Brixham in southwest England was the Silicon Valley of fishing development in its day, leading the way in the speedy improvement of boats and equipment to enable a rapid expansion of its fishing areas from 1818 onwards.

Brixham today is mainly for tourists, but 200 years ago it was a developmental powerhouse of the fishing industryBrixham today is mainly for tourists, but 200 years ago it was a developmental powerhouse of the fishing industry

This soon brought the new state-of-the-art Brixham trawlers into the Irish Sea, where they needed a base, and it was Ringsend at the rivermouth of Dublin’s River Liffey that proved most hospitable. So much so, in fact, that many of the Brixham fisherman – the all-powerful skippers and ordinary crewmen alike – married into Ringsend families to add new surnames and fresh vitality to the community. 


This interaction and regular connection between Ringsend and Brixham lasted for around a hundred years, ended by World War I in 1914 and the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922. But by then, those distinctive Devon surnames like Biddulph, Ebbs, Upham and Blackmore were very much thought of as pure Ringsend, even if in the bigger picture - with Ringsend developing its own fishing industry with boat-building attached – the Murphy family had become dominant, with their mighty Ringsend-built fishing cutter St Patrick of the 1887 being possibly the largest vessel of the Brixham type ever built.

The Murphy family’s St Patrick at Ringsend in 1889. Possibly the largest vessel ever built of the Brixham type, she was constructed by the Murphy family and successfully fished by them for many years.The Murphy family’s St Patrick at Ringsend in 1889. Possibly the largest vessel ever built of the Brixham type, she was constructed by the Murphy family and successfully fished by them for many years.

But while Murphy is Ireland’s most frequent surname, Blackmore ranks something like 3,500th, which makes anyone thus named very special indeed. Nevertheless, there seems to have been a small but strong strain of Blackmores in Tipperary for some time, so Rachael Blackmore’s people may have got there by some means other than the Brixham-Ringsend route.


Either way, it is exactly the kind of topic for discussion enjoyed by traditional boat enthusiasts when they get together to talk of this and that, and on the evening of Friday, May 6th it’s going to be open house at Poolbeg Y&BC as the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association and their friends gather for the public presentation to Paul Keogh (an “Sailor of the Month” in January) of the international Jolie Brise Trophy for his 25 years of selfless devotion to keeping the community-owned Clondalkin-built Galway Hooker Naomh Cronan in good order and in full action afloat.

This return to normal life (after a remarkable two years-plus period in which the DBOGA have been Zoom-meeting pathfinders) will continue in the June Bank Holiday Weekend, with the three day DBOGA Regatta (aka The Liffey Regatta) at Poolbeg from June 3rd-5th, a remarkable festival in a working port.

The “City Haven” – Poolbeg YC & BC in Ringsend with its marina contrasting with the modern curves o the Aviva StadiumThe “City Haven” – Poolbeg YC & BC in Ringsend with its marina contrasting with the modern curves o the Aviva Stadium

Published in River Liffey

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has confirmed the sighting of a common dolphin in the River Liffey at the weekend.

According to, the marine mammal was spotted swimming near the Poolbeg power plant on Saturday morning (12 March) before it headed out further into Dublin Bay.

IWDG sightings officer Padraig Whooley told “This is only the second time IWDG has confirmed a sighting of a common dolphin in the Liffey system, so it is an unusual record.”

Previously a common dolphin wowed early morning city-goers when it swam up the Liffey as far as the Loopline Bridge in November 2018, as reported on

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.


While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset


While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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