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Displaying items by tag: Galway Harbour

Galway Bay Sailing Club, comfortably ensconced in their fine clubhouse at Renville New Harbour near Oranmore at the head of Galway Bay, can look back at many ups and downs during the fifty years of sailing development they've experienced from small beginnings in the city in 1970, until now they're one of the pre-eminent clubs on the West Coast in all areas of sailing.

Yet even the most sadistic theatrical director would scarcely have green-lighted a storyline in which – just as the final details for a year's long Golden Jubilee celebration in 2020 were being put into place by Commodore John Shorten and his committee – the Black Beast from the East, otherwise the Pandemic, crept into place to dominate everyone's lives and blast lovingly-crafted programmes into smithereens.

Work in progress? Galway Bay SC's very effective and hospitable  clubhouse at Rinvillle may have looked like "job finished" for this year's Golden Jubilee, but Commodore John Shorten and his Committee are fund-raising for further developmentsWork in progress? Galway Bay SC's very effective and hospitable clubhouse at Rinvillle may have looked like "job finished" for this year's Golden Jubilee, but Commodore John Shorten and his Committee are fund-raising for further developments

But they're a determined lot in Galway. And though initially, their main concern was that their ocean-voyaging heroes, the Quinlan-Owens family on the 43ft steel ketch Danu, should get safely home to Galway from lockdown confinement in the Caribbean, when Danu finally made port in Kilronan in the Aran Islands after a notably successful visit to the Azores during their return from the Americas, the sailors of Galway Bay were carving a season of sorts out of the times that are in it.

In fact, one of the club's most noted members, Aodhan FitzGerald - who has been both the holder (with Galwegian-by-adoption Yannick Lemonnier) of the two-handed Round Ireland Record for 14 years, while also winning the 2008 Round Ireland Race outright) has confided that the gentler pace of the permissible sailing of 2020 actually had its own special enjoyment, and the atmosphere around the club during summery evening training sessions acted as a welcome pressure-release valve for all who took part.

As for Danu's return, it so happened that a socially-distanced cruise-in-company to Inishbofin, co-ordinated by Cormac Mac Donncha (who organised last year's hugely successful Cruise-in-Company to Lorient in South Brittany) was getting under way with Kilronan the second stop as the August weekend approached, and by purest serendipity Danu got the welcome home she so richly deserved before her gallant crew had even entered the inner waters of Galway Bay.

Danu in the Caribbean last winter. Her escape from "pandemic prison" was celebrated with GBSC fellow-members in socially-distanced style in KilronanDanu in the Caribbean last winter. Her escape from "pandemic prison" was celebrated with GBSC fellow-members in socially-distanced style in Kilronan

Thus like other clubs, GBSC made the best of it afloat and ashore during 2020. But Golden Jubilees being something special, last Friday night they organised a combined Zoom session and socially-distanced clubhouse gathering to honour those who have contributed to Galway sailing for fifty years and more, and they did it so cleverly that they managed to drop a surprise Lifetime Achievement Award on Pierce Purcell totally out of the blue, as he thought he was there for something else altogether.

In a speech of appreciation of Pierce's unrivalled contribution – which pre-dates 1970 – fellow long-server Aonghus Concannon made it clear just how much GBSC and Galway Bay sailing and maritime life generally owe to Pierce Purcell's boundless enthusiasm and total generosity with his time. That said, those of us who know him rather doubt that "Lifetime Achievement" hits the target – "Successful Mid-Term Assessment" might be more appropriate……

Caught on the hop – Aonghus Concannon (left) looking properly pleased after his surprise announcement of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Pierce Purcell (right) had gone exactly according to plan Caught on the hop – Aonghus Concannon (left) looking properly pleased after his surprise announcement of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Pierce Purcell (right) had gone exactly according to plan

Other speakers (both in person and electronically) and awardees in a ceremony hosted by Andrew Drysdale with music by Lir O'Dowd included John Killeen the Chair of the Marine Institute, Galway Harbour Master Brian Sheridan, former Commodore and noted offshore racer Donal Morrissy, Pierce Purcell Jnr, Fergal Lyons, Dave Brennan, Pat Irwin, Conor Owens, Tom Foote, Vera Quinlan who received the premier cruising award, Pat Ryan and Yannick Lemonnier.

This unusual but successful ceremony was brought to a conclusion by Commodore Johnny Shorten, who in best Commodorial style congratulated the many recipients, and in talking of what the club has done and achieved in fifty years, neatly reminded everyone that no club ever thrives by standing still. He and his Officers and Committee have interesting plans for further development, and GBSC recently opened a GoFundMe page to help get the resources in place.

GBSC Commodore Johnny Shorten reminds the members that the best way to celebrate a club's Golden Jubilee is through worthwhile plans for the futureGBSC Commodore Johnny Shorten reminds the members that the best way to celebrate a club's Golden Jubilee is through worthwhile plans for the future

Isobella Irwin winning the Junior Female Sailor of the MidShipMan award at the Galway Bay Sailing Club presented by Johnny Shorten Commodore and Pat Irwin of Galway Bay Sailing ClubIsobella Irwin winning the Junior Female Sailor of the MidShipMan award at the Galway Bay Sailing Club presented by Johnny Shorten Commodore and Pat Irwin of Galway Bay Sailing Club

Rory Collins winner of the Junior Male Sailor awarded the MidShipMan award presented by Johnny Shorten Commodore and Pat Irwin Galway Bay Sailing ClubRory Collins winner of the Junior Male Sailor awarded the MidShipMan award presented by Johnny Shorten Commodore and Pat Irwin Galway Bay Sailing Club

Pat Ryan presented with the Michael Donohue Memorial Trophy for Volunteer of the year by Johnn Shorten Commodore and Captain Brian Sheridan Harbour Master Port of GalwayPat Ryan presented with the Michael Donohue Memorial Trophy for Volunteer of the year by Johnn Shorten Commodore and Captain Brian Sheridan Harbour Master at the Port of Galway

Vera Quinlan (Director of Cruising Irish Sailing Association) and Peter Owens (boat Danu) won the David Baynes Cruising Award for the best log. Presented by Johnn Shorten Commador Galway Bay Sailing Club 50th - Anniversary AwardsVera Quinlan (Director of Cruising Irish Sailing Association) and Peter Owens (boat Danu) won the David Baynes Cruising Award for the best log. Presented by Johnn Shorten Commador Galway Bay Sailing Club 50th - Anniversary Awards

Pierce Purcell Awarded the Lif1D0A0699 - Copy: Pierce Purcell -  Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Johnny Shorten Commador of the Galway Bay Sailing Club and Aonghus ConcannonPierce Purcell - Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Johnny Shorten Commador of the Galway Bay Sailing Club and Aonghus Concannon

Fergal Lyons presenting Cian and Rian Baynes of Joker, winners of the Oyster Festival Race Galway Bay Sailing ClubFergal Lyons presenting Cian and Rian Baynes of Joker, winners of the Oyster Festival Race Galway Bay Sailing Club

Fergal Lyons presenting Liam Burke, Tribal receiving the Spring Cup - Galway Bay Sailing Club 50th - Anniversary Awards night.Fergal Lyons presenting Liam Burke, Tribal receiving the Spring Cup - Galway Bay Sailing Club 50th - Anniversary Awards night. 

Published in 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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