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Displaying items by tag: Galway Harbour

When the funeral of Galway fishermen Martin and Tom Oliver left Claddagh church yesterday, the silence among hundreds of people lining the route was broken only by the roar of the river Corrib and the gentle sound of wind in canvas sails.

Three Galway Hookers had moored in the Claddagh Basin, with musician Sharon Shannon on board the deck of one of the vessels playing soft airs on her accordion.

Three Galway Hookers gathered at Claddagh ChurchThree Galway Hookers moored in the Claddagh Basin

Martin, who was almost 62, and his son Tom (37) died within 24 hours of each other after a fishing accident on their potting vessel on the north side of Galway Bay last Monday.

Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard, who opened a book of online condolences, paid tribute to the two men as “salt of the earth” and “the best of friends”.

He noted that it was only a few weeks since he had recognised the role of Martin’s relatives, Patrick and Morgan Oliver, in rescuing two paddleboarders, Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn, in Galway Bay last August after 15 hours at sea.

Several generations of the Oliver family have been associated with the lifeboat service, and members of the RNLI and the fishing communities along the coast and on the Aran islands travelled to pay their respects.

Galway RNLI volunteers and members of the Galway Sea Scouts formed a guard of honour outside the church, where a private Mass was celebrated by Fr Gerry Jennings of Salthill parish, assisted by Fr Donal Sweeney of the Claddagh’s Dominican community.

Afterwards, Martin’s daughter and Tom’s sister Susanne and her mother Eileen were consoled by many friends, and relatives, as the city centre came to a standstill and construction work stopped as a mark of respect.

Crew with Badóirí an Cladaigh and the Galway Hooker Sailing Club had rigged the gleoiteog Manuela - named after the late Swiss student Manuela Riedo - along with the leath-bhád Croi an Cladaigh, and the bád mór Naomh Crónán in full sail in the Claddagh basin.

A Garda escort led the cortege over Wolfe Tone bridge and around by Long Walk and into Galway docks, as people lined both sides of the streets.

Two orange flares were released on the water surface, and members of Galway Bay Sailing Club then lit hand-held flares on the dockside, where State research ship Celtic Voyager and a number of fishing and angling vessels were berthed. 

Flares were lit at Galway Docks and Harpist Flares were lit and harpist Úna Ní Fhlannagáin (left) played at Galway Docks

The rich chords of harpist Úna Ní Fhlannagáin resonated as members of the Oliver and Griffin families cast flowers at the water’s edge in bright sunshine. 

The cortege paused for a few moments at the docks, and more tears were shed before the two hearses continued up to Rahoon cemetery overlooking the city. In the graveyard, the father and son – who had been inseparable in life - were buried side by side.

Galway harbourmaster Brian Sheridan said it was a “profoundly sorrowful tragedy for the Oliver family, and the wider fishing community”.

Published in Galway Harbour
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Galway City Council has opened an online book of condolences for Martin and Tom Oliver, the father and son who died after a fishing accident in Galway Bay earlier this week.

Tom Oliver (37) was pulled overboard their vessel on Monday afternoon while working on pots on the north side of Galway Bay west of Salthill. His father, Martin, raised the alarm, and Galway RNLI was tasked to the scene by the Irish Coast Guard.

Lifeboat crew administered CPR en route to Galway docks and Tom Oliver was taken by ambulance to University Hospital, Galway but did not survive.

Martin Oliver (62) died early on Tuesday morning. Both men were from a well known and highly experienced fishing family from the Claddagh area of Galway.

Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard said that a “dark cloud hangs over the city as the sudden departure of two gentlemen has left a void in the lives of so many.” 

“Rest in peace, Martin and Tom Oliver, you will be sorely missed by so many near and far. My deepest sympathies to their families at this sad time," Mayor Cubbard said.

The online book of condolences will remain open for a week until November 11th here

Published in Fishing
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The Galway fishing and wider marine community is in shock over the death of a young fisherman from a well known Claddagh family on Monday afternoon.

The fisherman, whose name has not yet been released, was working on the deck of his father’s vessel when he was thrown overboard.

As Afloat reported earlier, the vessel was working on pots between Blackrock and Silver Strand on the north side of Galway Bay when the incident occurred.

There was a light swell at the time, but visibility was good. The alarm was raised at lunchtime and the Irish Coast Guard tasked the Galway inshore lifeboat.

Upon arrival, the lifeboat crew took the casualty on board and administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation en route to Galway docks. The young man was then transported by ambulance to University Hospital, Galway.

The lifeboat crew were helmsman Martin Oliver, Brian Niland, Lisa McDonagh and Declan Killilea.

Published in Fishing
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Galway’s Claddagh Quay is the location for a 24-hour digital art exhibit which has been weather-proofed for the Atlantic elements.

Climate crisis is the theme of “Mirror Pavilion”, which was designed by John Gerrard as Galway 2020 European cultural capital commission.

Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) engaged Gerrard, an award-winning Irish international artist known for his site-specific work, and he has spent the last two years on the project.

 John Gerrard's Mirror Pavilion Photo: Colm Hogan John Gerrard's Mirror Pavilion Photo: Colm Hogan

Entitled “Corn Work”, the exhibit will recall the history of grain milling on one of Europe’s fastest flowing rivers for its short length.

The seven-metre cubed structure is clad in a highly reflective mirror on three sides, while a fourth high resolution LED wall displays a series of digitally created and choreographed characters.

Named the Straw Boys, the figures perform a “symbolic wheel of production”.

The “Mirror Pavilion” is a free, non-ticketed event, running at the Claddagh until September 26th.

It aims to provide a mirror image to “Leaf Work”, another virtual world created by Gerrard for the pavilion in a second location - Derrigimlagh bog in Connemara - from October 11th to 31st.

Derrigimlagh Bog was the transmission site for the first transatlantic radio signal from the Marconi station in 1907, and landing place for Alcock and Brown’s first-ever transatlantic plane crossing in 1919.

The Connemara exhibit is billed as a “response to the solar cycle and changing temperatures, their movements in tandem with the changes of the seasons”.

The “Mirror Pavilion” will be “presented within, and cognisant of, Government Covid-19 guidelines”, GIAF states.

Compliance with the guidelines, social distancing and limited attendance is also emphasised for Galway 2020’s re-imagined programme from September to next March.

As part of the 2020 programme, seven artists, writers and composers from across Europe have produced a series of standalone artworks for exhibition and radio broadcast, entitled Aerial/Sparks.

The artwork was inspired by participation in research expeditions onboard the Marine Institute Ireland’s RV Celtic Explorer.

Galway City Museum is hosting a multi-disciplinary exhibition relating to archaeology, architecture, cultural landscapes associated with islands, including “never-before-seen material” from the 1990s archaeological excavations at Dún Aonghasa on the Aran island of Inis Mór.

Artist John Gerrard will speak to GIAF artistic director Paul Fahy in a live-streamed event from Galway City Museum at 6 pm on Thursday, September 3rd.

Published in Galway Harbour

Marinas and public slipways around the coast are due to open next week as part of a phased lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan has said the port’s public slipway and its marina will be open to those living within five kilometres.

Sailing is permitted within HSE guidelines, once landing ashore is not beyond five kilometres of a boat owner’s primary residence.

However, no visiting leisure craft are permitted to enter the marina under procedures drawn up to match HSE Covid-19 guidelines.

Hand sanitisers have been installed at the marina gangway, social distancing must be observed and any boat owners requiring the crane for boat lifts will have to complete a self-declaration of health, Capt Sheridan has said.

Galway City Council has opened up beaches, but car parks at all but Silver Strand remain closed.

Bathing water quality testing won’t begin until June 1st. Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill remains closed until June 8th, when there will be restricted use. Salthill’s promenade will re-open with social distancing.

Galway City Council is also establishing a “city mobility team” to examine “wider footpaths, safer cycling facilities, traffic restrictions and supporting businesses who may need the use of public space for social distancing purposes”.

The Government has sanctioned re-opening of “outdoor public amenities and tourism sites, such as car parks, beaches and mountain walks” as part of phase one from Monday, May 18th.

This weekend the Irish Coast Guard lifted its advisory on staying off the water but urged people to observe the “current 2x5 rule, as in two-metre physical distance and five km travel distance”,

Irish Coast Guard spokesman Gerard O’Flynn thanked the public for its co-operation and warning that that there is still a Government focus on protection of frontline services and saving lives.

The new Irish Coast Guard statement was not issued with the RNLI, although both bodies issued joint statements over the last month advising people not to take to the water.

Published in Irish Marinas

Dublin may have the highest number of cases of Covid-19 infection, but it is least exposed of all Irish counties to the economic impacts, a new report says.

The Atlantic seaboard reliance on tourism and recreation, including the marine sector, and service industries is making it more vulnerable, with Kerry has been identified as the hardest hit, the report by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly says.

It identifies Galway as the city most likely to be severely affected, followed by Waterford, Limerick, Cork and Dublin in that order.

The report bases its information on numbers of commercial units operating in sectors which are likely to be worst affected, including mining and quarrying, construction, non-essential retail and wholesale services, food and accommodation, arts, recreation and entertainment, hairdressing, beauty and fitness.

It notes these are sectors which rely on human interaction and have been forced to close or downsize dramatically, due to social distancing measures. The nature of their business largely prevents them from operating remotely.

The report calculates that Kerry has 53.8 per cent of its commercial units operating in the sectors, and is likely to be hardest hit as a county.

It is followed by Westmeath at 51 per cent, Donegal at 50.6 per cent, Cavan at 50.5 per cent and Clare at 50.4 per cent, the report estimates.

The report says that exposure is “generally lower in more urban-based counties” as “such counties rely more on economic activities that are capable of operating remotely” – as in activities such as finance, ICT and professional and technical services.

It says the county with the lowest “Covid-19 exposure ratio” is Dublin, with 39.4 per cent of its commercial units operating in the sectors likely to be worst affected.

It calculates Cork is also cushioned, with 44.4 per cent of its commercial units in worst affected sectors, while Carlow is at 44.7 per cent, Waterford is at 45.8 per cent and Wicklow is at 46 per cent.

It says that in “absolute terms”, Dublin has the highest number of commercial units operating in the most exposed sectors at 14,360 units, followed by Cork at 8,144 units, Galway at 4,253 units, Kerry at 3,263 units and Donegal at three.

It says that Galway city and suburbs have 46.1 per cent of commercial units operating in the sectors likely to be worst affected, “in line with the corresponding ratio for the State as a whole”

The report for three regional assemblies by economist John Daly was prepared to identify which geographical areas in Ireland are more likely to be exposed to economic disruption caused by the necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It uses information from the GeoDirectory commercial database, as of September 2019.

Analysing the impact on a regional basis, it says the northern and western region has the highest “COVID-19 exposure ratio”, with 48.6 per cent of its commercial units operating in the worst affected sectors.#

The southern region has 47.2 per cent of its commercial units operating in the most affected sectors, while the eastern and midland region has the lowest “COVID-19 exposure ratio” at 43.6 per cent, the report says.

It notes that in absolute terms, the eastern and midland region had the highest number of commercial units operating in the sectors likely to be worst affected at 29,637 units, followed closely by the southern region at 27,583 units and the northern and western region at 16,515 units.

Published in Shannon Estuary

The unsung role of port pilots has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan.

“Without the pilots, everything would stop - they really are a national asset,” Capt Sheridan has said.

Capt Sheridan was commenting as he confirmed that key supply lines are being kept open by ports during the pandemic.

"Without the pilots, everything would stop"

He said there had been an overwhelmingly positive response to the light beamed from Galway city’s Nimmo’s pier last weekend as part of the Shine-A-Light initiative broadcast on RTÉ television.

An aerial view of the beam, and of the illuminated port and city, was filmed by Electric Skyline (see vid below)

Published in Galway Harbour

Near gale force and gusty south-west winds have forced a  change of venue for a Galway 2020 International Women’s Day event on board the Naval Service patrol ship LÉ Niamh on Sunday morning.

The patrol ship was to have hosted “Ragadawn”, an outdoor sunrise performance by international poet and sound artist Caroline Bergvall.

However, due to the potential impact of the wind on the sound systems, the sell-out event will now take place in the Druid Theatre, Galway at 7 am on Sunday, March 8 th – within walking distance of the ship at Galway docks.

LÉ Niamh arrived into Galway under the command of Lieut Cdr Claire Murphy on Thursday in preparation for international women’s day.

It is almost 12 years since Lieut Cdr Roberta O’Brien became the first female commander of a navy patrol vessel – the LÉ Aisling -  and that handover ceremony took place in Galway, the city which the ship had been twinned with.

Galway 2020 cultural producer Liz Kelly has paid tribute to the Naval Service and Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan for agreeing to participate in the event.

 “Ragadawn” is described as a unique outdoor sunrise performance by international poet and sound artist Caroline Bergvall.

It comprises a “multisensory composition for two live voices, a dawn chorus of multiple recorded languages, alongside a special vocal work for soprano by Gavin Bryars”,  and it “invites audiences to follow the slow rising of day”.

The composition draws on “ancient and contemporary musical and literary sunrise traditions”, with  “breath patterns, poetic voice, song, languages, electronic frequencies and passing sounds”

It aims to recall  “the cyclical patterns that connect all beings both to nature and society, and the awakening of mind and body”, and is described as “a powerful and moving voice performance that reconnects audiences to time, place and to each other”.

 The event is one of a number programmed by Galway 2020 over this weekend to mark international women’s day.

Published in Navy

Galway’s harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan has paid tribute to the “safe haven” offered by the city’s St Nicholas’s medieval church as it marks its 700th anniversary writes Lorna Siggins

The illuminated clock tower was an aid to navigators, and the alignment of Nimmo’s pier and the St Nicholas church spire indicated the entrance point to the shipping channel over centuries, Capt Sheridan noted at a special service on Sunday evening.

Christopher Columbus is believed to have prayed there before setting sail to the Americas, and the church was named after St Nicholas of Myra, the patron saint of seafarers, Capt Sheridan said. Records from 1585 show that Galway was the busiest port on these islands then after London and Bristol.

"Christopher Columbus is believed to have prayed there before setting sail to the America"

He recalled how ships’ horns in Galway port responded this past new year’s eve when the church bells marked the beginning of the 700th-anniversary celebrations.

The bells rang again 700 times at the weekend, and President Michael D Higgins and deputy Galway mayor Cllr Donal Lyons were among hundreds of people welcomed by Rev Lynda Peilow to the anniversary service.

Participants included Bishop of Tuam Patrick Rooke, the Catholic bishop of Galway Dr Brendan Kelly, Rev Canon John Auchmuty of St Columba’s Parish church in Belfast, Fr Tudor Ghita of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Fr Des Foley of Galway’s Augustinian church, pupils of St Nicholas’s primary school and many parishioners.

The proceeds of the collection were divided equally between the RNLI and Galway OS, a local children’s charity.

A history of Galway market, which has traded outside the church for centuries, is among a number of events planned for both the Galway European capital of culture and the anniversary year, and 700 trees will be planted on Earth Day.

Galway capital of culture’s opening outdoor ceremony had to be cancelled due to Storm Ciara at the weekend, but Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard received the European title at an indoor reception attended by EU Trade commissioner Phil Hogan.

Published in Galway Harbour
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In ancient Greece, the Halcyon days of calm in time-honoured mythology occurred at the mid-winter solstice. Yet after Galway Port received such a battering from Storm Elsa as recently as last Wednesday night, most folk would have been more than content with a period of only reasonably normal wind strengths on this weekend of the Winter Solstice.

But the ancient traditions had their way - as is so often the case in the West of Ireland. As the turning of the astronomical year approached, a total calm came over the dock to provide mirror-like reflections of floodlit waterfront buildings and the seasonal decorations on boats in the marina.

We’re told that by Christmas Day itself, there’ll be more boats fully decked out with festive lights. But for now, the fact that it was flat calm on December 21st after they’d been experiencing winds of up to 73 knots on the night of December 18th is something of a miracle in itself.

Published in Galway Harbour
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