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Displaying items by tag: Aran Islands

Aran Islands RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat responded to a medical evacuation request from Inis Mór on Tuesday (5 September).

The patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat under the supervision of the volunteer crew at the pontoon at Kilronan Harbour and the lifeboat headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour.

Conditions at the time of launching were fair with a Force 4 north-easterly wind blowing and slight seas.

The crew on Tuesday’s call-out were coxswain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin, mechanic Mairtín Eoin Coyne and crew Áine Ní Fhlaithearta, Alan O'Flynn and Caelan Cullen Quinn.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Aran Islands RNLI has come to the aid of eight people in two separate incidents over the weekend after two yachts got into difficulty.

The volunteer crew spent six hours at sea on Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday morning (23 July) after responding to a request to launch their all-weather lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 10.58 pm on Saturday.

An 11.2m yacht with seven onboard was in difficulty two nautical miles northeast of Kilmurvey Bay.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain Declan Brannigan and a full crew onboard and headed straight for the yacht.

Conditions at the time of launching were tough, with poor visibility, squally showers, a west to south-west force five wind blowing and a 3m sea swell.

Arriving on scene, the crew assessed the situation and were happy the crew aboard the yacht were in good health and in no immediate danger. The yacht was drifting as the steering had stopped working completely.

A decision was made to establish a tow line, but it was difficult to maintain due to the conditions.

A discussion between the lifeboat crew and the Coast Guard resulted in Casla Coast Guard being tasked to the scene, 1.5 nautical miles south of Cannon Rock light. A tow line was established between Casla Coast Guard and the yacht. The lifeboat proceeded to escort the vessels into Casla Bay where in calmer waters, the Casla Coast Guard was able to get the yacht alongside them and guide her safely into Rossaveal Harbour.

The Aran Islands lifeboat returned to Kilronan at 5.20 am.

Meanwhile, the volunteer crew were also requested to launch the lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 6.26 pm last Friday (21 July).

A 15m yacht was in difficulty in Casheen Bay, north of the Aran Islands.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain Declan Brannigan and a full crew and headed straight for the yacht.

Conditions at the time of launching were challenging with moderate visibility, a 2-3m sea swell and a south-west force 6 wind blowing.

Arriving on scene, the crew assessed the situation, and established the yacht with one person onboard was in no immediate danger.

A tow line was established and once clear of a nearby fish farm, the sailor was able to start his engine and the tow line was dropped.

The lifeboat guided the yacht out past Ceann Golam and towards Cannon Rock and the entrance to the channel for Rossaveal harbour. The yacht proceeded safely towards the harbour unaided.

Speaking after the call outs, Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain Declan Brannigan said: 'Saturday was a long night for the volunteer crew but the benefits of regular training paid off. Experience is earned from showing up. I am extremely proud of how they conducted themselves. There was a great response time from the crew for both call outs and in the first call out on Friday, we were able to get to the yacht quickly, and tow the sailor out safely. Saturday’s call out proved more challenging with the conditions and the hours of darkness but again, we were delighted to bring all seven to safety. Calling the Coast Guard for assistance in both cases was correct.

‘Even in the summer conditions can change quickly and push even the most experienced sailors out of their comfort zones. We would encourage everyone to be fully trained in the usage of all their equipment onboard ahead of their planned trip at sea.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI carried out a medical evacuation on Wednesday afternoon (19 July) after a visitor had a biking accident.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 3.31pm and proceed to the pontoon at Kilronan on the island of Inis Mór, where the patient was transferred safety aboard before the lifeboat headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the awaiting ambulance.

Conditions at the time of launching were good, with calm seas and a light breeze.

Speaking after the call-out, coxswain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin said: “This was another fast response time from the volunteer crew. We wish the patient a speedy recovery.“”

Joining Ó hIarnáin on the call-out were mechanic Mairtín Eoin Coyne and crew members Mairtín Dé Bhailis, Daniel O’Connell and Ciarán O’Donnell.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer crew of Aran Islands RNLI were requested to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat at 6.05pm on Monday (10 July) to attend a person on Inis Mór who was experiencing a health issue and indeed of further medical attention.

The patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat at Kilronan Harbour under the supervision of the volunteer crew. The lifeboat then launched under coxswain Aonghus O hIarnáin and a full crew for the mainland.

Conditions at the time of launching were good, with a Force 3 northerly wind blowing.

It was the second call-out in three days for the Aran Islands volunteers, who were also requested to launch early on Saturday morning (8 July) after a yacht broke its mooring at Kilronan Harbour and had run aground close to a rocky beach.

Shortly after 6.30am on Saturday, the Severn class lifeboat launched under coxswain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin and proceeded towards the yacht in challenging conditions, with a strong Force 8 southerly wind blowing.

Two members of the volunteer crew then launched the Y-boat, the 3m inflatable boat aboard the lifeboat, to allow the crew to get to the yacht in shallow water.

A tow line was established to the 24ft sailing yacht and it was pulled clear of the rocks on the in coming tide before being towed safely to the pier.

The yacht, a 24ft sailing vessel was was then towed safely to the pier.

Speaking after the call-outs, Ó hIarnáin said: “There was a good outcome to the yacht rescue what could have been a tricky situation, with the weather conditions becoming increasingly challenging.

“We also want to wish the patient who took ill yesterday a speedy recovery.”

The crew on Saturday’s call-out with Ó hIarnáin were mechanic Alan O'Flynn and crew members Joe Gill, Daniel O’Connell and Caelan Cullen Quinn. On Monday’s call-out with Ó hIarnáin were mechanic Máirtín Eoin Coyne, Caelan Cullen Quinn, Daniel O’Connell and Máirtín Dé Bhailis.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

In recognition of the long career of RNLI coxswain John O’Donnell and the close relationship with the Aran Islands RNLI, last week the Galway RNLI crew presented a framed picture of the lifeboats from both stations to O’Donnell to mark his retirement.

Mike Swan, Galway RNLI lifeboat operations manager who made the presentation said: “The ties between the Galway and Aran Islands lifeboat stations go right back to the late ’90s when the Galway station was first operational.

“At that time some of the Aran RNLI crew were studying in Galway and living in the city during the week and as it wasn’t always possible for them to get back to Aran for their training exercises, they joined our crew for training.

“I’ve known John since before he joined the RNLI in 2003 and then when he became the coxswain for the Aran Islands lifeboat and I took up the role of lifeboat operations manager for Galway, our roles meant that over the years we were at meetings together with the coastguard and other emergency services, along with events and training at the RNLI bases in Dublin and Poole, England.”

Swan added: “The crews at both lifeboat stations have been on many joint rescues over the years. Although there is an imaginary line from Spiddal in Galway to Black Head in Co Clare that divides the area of Galway Bay that each station is responsible for, in reality — when there is a long rescue that requires all available resources or a search for a missing boat that has no last known location — the boundary becomes irrelevant and we work together as one crew.

“There have been many difficult nights on the water and challenging situations but when we look back on the 21 years that John was involved in the Aran Islands lifeboat, it is the friendships and camaraderie that we will remember.

“I was delighted to present a photo of our two lifeboats to John on behalf of the entire crew in Galway. In the photo you can see the Aran Islands all-weather lifeboat David Kirkaldy out on the bay with the Galway inshore lifeboat, Binny in the foreground.

“We wish John every happiness on his retirement from the RNLI and even though he will be as busy as ever, he won’t have to think about the pager going off at all hours any more.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Aran Islands RNLI responded to two medical evacuations on Wednesday evening (5 July).

The volunteer crew of the all-weather Severn class lifeboat David Kirkaldy under coxswain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin were out training just before 7pm when they were requested to launch to a person on Inis Mór who was in need of medical attention.

After the lifeboat returned to the pontoon, the patient was transferred safely aboard under the supervision of the crew and was swiftly transported to Rossaveal Harbour and the awaiting ambulance.

The second call came at 10.16pm for a person on the neighbouring Island of Inis Oírr in need of medical attention.

The lifeboat launched again under Ó hIarnáin and a full crew and headed straight for Inis Oírr. Once alongside the pier, the patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat by the volunteer crew and headed straight for Rossaveal.

Sea conditions for both call-outs were fresh, with a Force 4-5 westerly to southwesterly wind blowing and moderate seas.

Speaking later, Ó hIarnáin said: “There was a great response from the volunteer crew for the back to back call-outs tonight; they are always ready and willing to answer their pagers. We wish both patients a speedy recovery.”

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Galway Bay and the Aran Islands will mark a celebration of sailing when they host the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Championships (WIORA) from July 5th to 8th.

Arainn, as in the three islands, proved to be such an attractive location for the WIORA championships in 2017 that the event is returning this year.

The wide expanse of water between the bay and the islands is suited to all classes of racing, while there is also safe anchorage and onshore facilities.

The event will be hosted by Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC), with the support of Arainn businesses, the community, and Club Seoltóireacht Árann.

Established in 1972, WIORA involves an association of sailing clubs along the western seaboard from Sligo to Kerry, including the Shannon.

The championships rotate between these clubs each year, and at least 40 boats have entered to date this year.

Up to 200 crew and as many more supporters are expected to arrive on the largest Aran island of Inis Mór for the five-day event, hailing from Fenit, Foynes, Kilrush, Galway, Westport and Sligo.

After the success of WIORA 2017, many sailors returned afterwards with their families to holiday on the islands, according to the event organisers.

“They expressed the wish that GBSC would recreate the Aran WIORA experience this year and reboot the local sailing initiative,” WIORA 2023 public relations officer Erin Killeen says.

This year, there will be four days of racing off the northern shores of the islands. There will also be a round islands race for the bigger boats, which is described as being most spectacular when viewed from Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr because of the course's proximity to these islands.

“Sailboats cruising the western seaboard have always sheltered in Aran, but now it is becoming a sailing destination due to the islands' scenery, culture and hospitality,” Killeen notes.

“The Lambs regatta, which arose out of WIORA 2017, is now an annual cruise of about 40 boats to Connemara and Aran,” she says.

“The currach and visiting Galway Hookers are synonymous with Arainn, but it also had its own sailboat tradition and once even had a boatyard at Frenchman’s beach,” Killeen says.

Sailing and other water-based activities will soon be boosted by installing a pontoon at Cill Rónáin harbour on Inis Mór, as “this will allow people to board and get ashore 24/7 safely, no matter time or tide”, she says.

“West of Ireland sailors have competed at the highest level of international sailing with the late Commander Bill King of Oranmore in the first Round the World Whitbread Race in the ’60s and, most recently, Pat Lawless of Kerry in the same race, now called the Golden Globe Race,” she says.

“ It is hoped that the WIORA event will inspire future generations of young sailors to continue this form of participation,” Killeen says.

Published in WIORA
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The Volunteer lifeboat crew of the Aran Islands RNLI was requested to launch their All-weather Severn Lifeboat at 1.58am on Wednesday June 14 to attend to a woman with an injured ankle in need of further medical attention on Inis Mór.

The patient was brought to the Lifeboat by the Fire Service and was transferred safely aboard the Lifeboat under the supervision of the volunteer crew. The Lifeboat was then launched under Coxswain Aonghus Ó HIarnáin and headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the awaiting Ambulance. Conditions at the time of launching were good, with calm seas and no wind.

Speaking after the call, Coxswain Aonghus Ó HIarnáin said, 'it was a quick response from the crew. We got the patient on their way to receive the medical attention needed, as it was quite a painful injury. We wish them a speedy recovery.'

‘As the good weather conditions continue, we advise the public to adhere to all safety advice regarding the sea, swimming or boating. Always respect the Water.’

Later that same morning, at 9.57 am, the lifeboat was again requested to launch to attend to a person on Inis Meáin who was in need of medical attention.

The Lifeboat launched under Coxswain Aonghus Ó HIarnáin with a full crew and headed straight for Inis Meáin, Weather conditions at the time were challenging, with calm seas but a dense fog.

With the Lifeboat safely alongside the pier in Inis Meáin, the patient was transferred aboard the Lifeboat under the supervision of the volunteer crew. They then headed straight for Rossaveal harbour and the awaiting Ambulance.

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Aran Island businessman Tarlach de Blacam has called on Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys to withdraw a tender for a new cargo vessel service to Inis Meáin due to the “highly dangerous” nature of the main pier.

As The Sunday Independent reports, de Blacam of Cniotáil Inis Meáin (Inis Meáin Knitting Company) has warned that lives are at risk if the pier at An Córa continues to be used.

Two people died, and there have been several ferry accidents at the pier at An Córa on Inis Meáin since its construction.

Tarlach de Blacam of Inis MeainTarlach de Blacam of Inis Meain Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Former Gaeltacht and Islands minister Eamon Ó Cuív (FF) says he supports de Blacam’s call and says an alternative and safer pier, An Caladh Mór, should be completed and used by State-funded ferry services.

Ó Cuiv says Ms Humphreys, who has just published a new ten-year island policy this week, must respond positively to the demand on safety grounds.

A study by consultants Kirk McClure Morton in 2004 commissioned by Galway County Council and funded by the Department of the Gaeltacht stated that the pier at An Córa on Inis Meáin could only provide safe berthage for 70 per cent of the time “in a typical year”.

The 2004 report identified the alternative, An Caladh Mór, as “most suitable for providing safe and reliable access to Inis Meáin by sea”.

Read The Sunday Independent here

Published in Island News
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Just two days after their back-to-back medevac shouts, the volunteer crew at Aran Islands RNLI were tasked on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon (5 June) to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard as a person was in need of medical attention on the island of Inis Mór.

The lifeboat launched under coxswain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin and a full crew, who transferred the patient safely aboard the lifeboat and brought them straight to Rossaveal harbour. Conditions at the time of launching were good with calm seas and a light breeze.

The second call to launch came at 6.37pm for a person who needed further medical attention after a fall on Inis Mór. The patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat by the volunteer crew after being brought to the pontoon by members of the fire brigade.

Speaking after the callouts, Aran Islands RNLI volunteer press officer Lena O’Connell said: “This was a very busy weekend for the volunteer crew, but they never hesitate to answer their pagers and to help anyone in need, this is what they train for. We wish both patients a speedy recovery.

“As we head into the summer months, we advise the public to always pay heed to safety advice and if going out on the water, let someone know where you are going and when you are due back.”

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