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Displaying items by tag: Lough foyle

#MarineWildlife - Lough Foyle area environmental group Celebrate Water is organising a family afternoon to highlight the wealth of marine wildlife off the Inishowen Peninsula this Saturday 6 September.

As the Derry Journal reports, the day will see Greencastle's coastguard station in Co Donegal open to the public with an special exhibition on the area's whales and dolphins, followed by a talk by local wildlife expert Emmett Johnston on how to spot cetacean species and identify them for the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.

These events and more on the day follow Celebrate Water's live strandings training course last month, organised in the way of some controversy over the issue of what to do in the event of mass strandings of cetaceans on Irish shores.

The Derry Journal has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#CruiseDonegal – Having sailed from Belfast, the 51,000 tonnes Crystal Symphony anchored this morning off Greencastle from where as previously reported, Donegal Co. Council are backing the Loughs Agency to upgrade facilities.

The visit of Crystal Symphony is an impressive sized cruiseship to Lough Foyle. The €170,000 investment in Greencastle is to develop the lucrative cruise trade to the north-west. The aim is to increase cruise-based visitors to tour the Inishowen Peninsula, with Malin Head been the main destination attraction.

Crystal Cruises, operators of the ultra-luxury 900 passenger-plus cruise line won three first-place awards from CruiseLine.com's Bon Voyage magazine. The online publication's panel of experienced cruise editors chose the winners for the first annual Editor's Choice awards, giving Crystal five accolades overall – more than any other luxury line.

Among the categories won was for Best Refurbished Ship in which Crystal Symphony was awarded Silver. The 238m long cruiseship having recently undergone a $15 million redesign.

The redesign for example involved a newly-styled Avenue Saloon, one of the ship's most popular venues. The piano bar retains its 19th-century gentlemen's club feel with rich mahogany woods, buttery leathers, and luxe velvets. So click HERE for a peak and more!

Published in Cruise Liners

#MarineWildlife - The Irish Examiner reports on efforts to save an injured porpoise calf that was found beached on the shores of Lough Foyle yesterday (25 February).

Local people managed to help the young marine mammal, which has a wound on its tail fin, back into deeper water - but strong wind and wave action forced it into the stream of the Bredagh river.

It currently appears to be struggling in the mix of saltwater and freshwater, the latter of which can cause kidney and skin serious problems if cetaceans are exposed to it for extended periods.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#LoughFoyleMonster - Could Lough Foyle be hiding its very own version of the legendary Lough Ness Monster? As the video above attests, some witnesses to a mysterious sighting in the lake recently seem to think so.

According to The Canadian, a glimpse of what appears to be a large rock-like creature just breaching the surface of the water was captured by a group on the lough.

“It's really difficult to determine what species of creature it was," said one of the group. "I really don't think this can be a whale. I've seen whales, but I've never seen one swim like this before. Also, the pattern on it doesn't really look like it’s a whale.”

But before we all get too excited, consider that the group who made the video admitted that they were shooting for a student film called Fishing With David Lynch - a film and TV director well known for his other-worldly twists on reality.

Published in Inland Waterways

#INLAND WATERWAYS - It was a hotly anticipated find - but the image of what appeared to be a rare German submarine in the depths of Lough Foyle turned out to be a ghost.

RTÉ News reports that a team brought in to verify a sonar image captured by a search and rescue team from Mallow have confirmed that it was a 'sonic illusion'.

Northern Ireland's Environment Minister Alex Attwood called in the experts after the search team discovered what looked like the outline of a midget U-boat on the lough bed near Derry.

The possibility was a real one, as the lough had been a major naval base during the Second World War.

But a full survey of the lough revealed that the original image was an apparition caused by sonar distortion.

"There is no doubt for a moment there was a thrilling possibility which has now not come to pass," said the minister. "I do share a sense of disappointment."

RTÉ News has more on the story, including images and video, HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#FERRY NEWS – After a gap of six months the Greencastle-Magilligan ferry service across Lough Foyle reopened over the St. Patrick's weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The return of the 10-minute cross border route, which offers an alternative to a road journey of nearly 80kms /50 miles was announced by Donegal County Council and Limavady Borough Council.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the route operated by Lough Foyle Ferry Company is a joint initiative of the two councils and  for the remainder of this month the service will be running to a weekend-only schedule.

Sailings however are to increase to a regular daily service, subject to weather conditions, between 1st April-30th September.

For more information visit www.loughfoyleferry.com

Published in Ferry

#CRUISE LINERS-Aside the main ports where most cruise ships visit while touring this island, Londonderry would be a less frequent destination, as such vessels only began visiting the north-west port since 1995, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Some of the leading operators though have called over the years called to the port, they are: Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Residensea, Seabourn and Silverseas.

This year's line-up will see eight scheduled calls starting in May with the 446 passenger Quest for Adventure (for more click HERE) built in 1981 and operated by Saga Cruises. A younger near-sister Astor built in 1987 is also due to call in August.

Below is a list of the cruise callers and dates.

Quest for Adventure 9 May

Marco Polo 14 July

Prinsendam 16 July

Astor 11 August

Clipper Odyssey 18 August

Princess Daphne 30 August

Albatross 12 September

Ocean Countess 15 September

The vessels will use various berths dependent upon size within the port which is run by the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners. The facilities are at the city quays, Lisahally or require anchorage off Greencastle in Lough Foyle.

Published in Cruise Liners

#PORTS & SHIPPING- Berthed at the Steam Packet Quay, Drogheda is the suction-trailer dredger Lough Foyle (1979/868grt) which is on contract work with the Drogheda Port Company, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Following the sale last month of Hebble Sand, as previously reported on Afloat.ie (clcik HERE), the Lough Foyle (PHOTO) is now the only port-owned dredger on the island of Ireland. The Londonderry Port & Harbour Commissioners (LPHC) purchased the vessel from Dutch interests in 2009. She was originally the Saeftinge, built in 1979 at the Van Goor Scheepswerf in Monnickendam.

Since her introduction she has performed previous dredging operations to include the Drogheda Bar leading into the Co. Louth port. Her most recent contract was in Waterford Estuary, from where she arrived from on Tuesday after an overnight voyage.

In addition she has worked at the new Stena Line ferryport terminal at Loch Ryan, Cairnryan, to see related report click HERE. The Scottish ferryport is due to be officially opened tomorrow, to read more including the newly introduced 'Superfast' sisters click HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#DUBLIN PORT-The former Dundalk Port Company grab-hopper dredger Hebble Sand (1963/757grt), which has been laid-up in Dublin since last Summer, was sold to new owners a month ago, writes Jehan Ashmore.

She remains berthed at the Bulk Jetty, Alexandra Basin, where she arrived from the Co. Louth port on 14 July, two days after the assets, liabilities and operations of Dundalk Port Company were transferred to Dublin Port Company by an order of statutory instrument. Against this background, Dublin Port Company decided to divest in the business of dredging resulting in placing the veteran vessel for sale.

During her career in Drogheda, she was the only dredger to be operated and owned by a port company apart from the suction-trailer dredger Lough Foyle (1979/868grt) operated by Londonderry Port & Harbour Commissioners.

Hebble Sand, registered in Dundalk has retained her original name since her launch from Richard (Shipbuilders) of Lowestoft for British Dredging. She has been kept in good condition considering a career nearing five decades. To read some of her last contracts undetaken outside her homeport, click HERE.

From a distance some people have mistaken Hebble Sand (PHOTO) to the last of the  'Guinness ships, as she bores a resemblance to the final custom-built stout tanker Miranda Guinness ( PHOTO), taken on her farewell sailing. The vessels shared a similar red funnel and black funnel, a roomy sized superstructure painted in cream above and a dark blue hull. To read more about the last of the brewery tanker-fleet click HERE.

Published in Dublin Port
At the weekend, the Greencastle-Magilligan ferry Foyle Venture (1978/324grt) made her last sailing, marking the end of a service that started on Lough Foyle in 2002, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The closure has led to 12 full-time staff and six-part staff losing their jobs. Ongoing discussions are taking place between local TDs, councillors, the ferry operator and the Minister of Transport and Tourism and Donegal County Council to try and restore the route which has also been supported by Limivady Borough Council.
Funding for the service in recent years has become more difficult as councils suffer budget cuts and there are calls for direct assistance from governments in Dublin and Stormont.

According to the Lough Foyle Ferry Company website, the directors sincerely hope that the suspension of the service will be temporary and look forward to re-commencing operations in early 2012.

The 10-minute crossing served by the 300-passenger / 44-vehicle capacity Foyle Venture (photo) provided year-round sailings. During the summer months the schedule was increased to a continuous shuttle-service as it provided a convenient short-cut for Northerners heading to Donegal.

Motorists could save nearly 80 kms (50 miles) by travelling across the Inishowen Peninsula instead of having to drive through London/Derry. In its third year of operations, the company carried its one-millionth passenger and since then the route has exceeded 2m passegers.

Published in News Update
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