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Displaying items by tag: Galway Bay

Salthill’s Blackrock Diving Tower reopened yesterday (Wednesday 12 August) with Galway city officials keeping a watchful eye after it was closed following reports of overcrowding, according the Connacht Tribune reports.

Access to the tower was barred on Tuesday amid social distancing fears as crowds made the most of the sunny weather to take a dip in the warming waters of Galway Bay — which may have also helped keep alive two paddle boarders rescued earlier today after 15 hours at sea.

A spokesperson said the council will continue to monitor crowds at the tower to ensure social distancing in the queue to the platform is maintained.

The Connacht Tribune has more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour

Following a major search and rescue operation on Galway Bay overnight and this morning (13 August 2020), two women have been found safe and well off Inis Oir after spending 15 hours out at sea.

Former Galway RNLI lifeboat crew member and current shore crew member and fisherman Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan joined the search early this morning and discovered the two women on their boards holding on to a lobster pot about two miles south west of Inis Oir.

Despite spending the night out on the water in extreme conditions, the women did not require medical attention. They had drifted almost 20 miles when discovered. They were taken onboard the fishing vessel, the Johnny O, and after disembarking, walked up the pier where they were medically assessed by Coast Guard personnel.

The 23-year-old woman and 17-year-old teenager who are cousins, had gone paddle boarding at about 9 o’clock last night from Furbo Beach when a sudden north wind blew them out to sea. A relative of the women raised the alarm and the Irish Coast Guard immediately launched a major search and rescue operation which continued throughout the night and today.

Galway RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat at 10pm (last night) and stayed out throughout the night changing crew three times. They were joined immediately by the Aran Island RNLI all-weather lifeboat and the Irish Coast Guard Rescue helicopter 115 from Shannon. Two further Coast Guard Rescue helicopters from Sligo and Waterford joined this morning, along with Coast Guard lifeboats from Oranmore/Maree, Cashla Bay and Doolin while the Civil Defence carried out a search along the north shore co-ordinated by the Gardai. Galway Flying Club and Aer Arann also joined the search.

There were scenes of jubilation and joy in both Galway and Aran Island RNLI Lifeboat stations when fisherman Patrick Oliver rang the Galway Lifeboat station with the good news.

Barry Heskin, Galway RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said the two women kept their heads and did the right thing: ‘We are absolutely delighted that it has all worked out well.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton has praised the coastguard, Garda and local volunteers for their quick response in the rescue of two missing paddle boarders in Galway Bay today, Thursday 13 August.

As reported earlier on Afloat.ie, the two young women were found clinging to a lobster pot marker off Inis Oírr in the Aran Islands after a major overnight search and rescue operation.

Naughton, the Fine Gael TD for Galway West, said: “I would like to offer my sincere gratitude and thanks to all members of the Irish Coast Guard, An Garda Síochána and local volunteers who worked tirelessly overnight and this morning in the search for the two missing paddle boarders since the alarm was raised last night.

“Their quick thinking and bravery have resulted in the safe return of two young ladies to their families today.

“The appreciation of the work of our emergency services can be heard in the shared sigh of relief not just across Galway, but indeed nationwide, as the good news reached us this afternoon.

“Thankfully this most recent event has had a happy ending; however, it is imperative for us all to be vigilant of the sea and the elements as we enjoy our coastline during the fine weather.

“Just last month I launched the newly updated Safety on the Water website in collaboration between the coastguard, RNLI, Water Safety Ireland, Irish Sailing and BIM. I would invite everyone to familiarise themselves with the guidance that has been provided by those who know our waters the best by visiting www.safetyonthewater.gov.ie

Published in Galway Harbour

The two young women paddleboarders who went missing off Furbo on the northern shore of Galway Bay at 8 pm yesterday evening have been found alive and well clinging to a lobster pot marker off Inisheer, the most easterly of the Aran Islands.

As Afloat reported earlier, the pair were the subject of major search operation las night and this morning.

While the waters of the Bay are relatively warm this year, with 19 degrees centigrade being recorded close in off Furbo beach, it is nevertheless little short of miraculous that they should have survived for more than 16 hours, for although both were wearing lifejackets, neither was wearing a wetsuit.

More follows on this good news story on Afloat.ie.

Published in Galway Harbour
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An extensive air and sea search is underway in Galway Bay after two young women who set out on stand-up paddleboards from Furbo last evening failed to return to shore.

The two women are aged 17 and 23 and from Galway, are believed to have left Furbo beach at around 8 pm on Wednesday.

The alarm was raised at 9 pm when they had not returned.

The women were wearing buoyancy aids, but not wetsuits. Sea conditions were calm but with an offshore north-westerly breeze.

The RNLI Aran island and Galway lifeboats, the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon and Sligo-based helicopters and Doolin and Costello Coast Guards have been searching throughout the night for the two women, while local volunteers have also been combing the coastline.

Galway RNLI operations manager Mike Swan said that lifeboat crews combed the sea area throughout the night.

“The search area had focused on the inner Galway bay area and had extended west to Black Head,” he said.

Salthill Garda station is coordinating the search, working with the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI, and a meeting took place in Spiddal this morning.

The Marine Institute based in Oranmore has launched its rigid inflatable, along with a number of local craft, and the institute’s ocean sciences staff are also working on the tide and current modelling to assist the search crews.

Residents living close to the coast from Barna west to Spiddal have been asked to check the shoreline near their homes.

Update 11 am Thursday, August 13

Statement from the Irish Coast Guard on search operation for two missing females

The Irish Coast Guard Coordination centre at Valentia are currently coordinating an extensive search of Galway Bay after two females aged 17 and 23 who were paddleboarding at the time were reported overdue last night at 10:05 pm just off Furbough, Co. Galway. All available Air and Marine Rescue assets are currently being utilised in the search and the Coast Guard are liaising with An Garda Siochana at Salthill in an effort to locate the two missing females. Any sightings or information should be reported to the Coast Guard at MRSC Valentia on 112 or 999.

Published in Galway Harbour

When two Galway children set sail with their parents for a circuit of the North Atlantic last summer, little did they know they wouldn’t be homeschooling on their own.

Nor was “pandemic” on the list of potential hazards as Lilian (12) and Ruairí (10) Quinlan-Owens, and their parents Vera and Peter, headed south in heavy winds from Kinvara, Co Galway all of 14 months ago.

Brighter sunshine, a westerly wind and an effervescent welcome greeted the family of four on Monday as they sailed their 13m yacht Danú of Galway into Parkmore several hours before high tide.

To the strains of The Ships are Sailing, played by Josephine Boland and PJ Howell, they threw a line ashore and wiped away a tear or two, in between wide smiles.

Navigating the rain forest on the Maroni river in French Guiana and collecting rock from Dominica island’s famous Boiling Lake in the Caribbean were among highlights recounted by Lilian on deck.

Reaching the Sahara desert before sunrise after a seven-day trek across the Atlas mountains in Morocco, and swimming with sharks, stingrays, eagle rays and other coral reef fish were some of her brother Ruairí’s best memories.

“I did miss my friends, “Lilian said.

When they had to quarantine after the full impact of Covid-19 hit, it was off the small island of Barbuda north of Antigua, where islanders left fresh vegetables and fruit for them on the beach.

They had undergone several quarantines by the time they sailed in yesterday, after a ten-day trip from the Azores north to the Aran islands.

The family had been en route from Guadeloupe in the Caribbean to the island of Montserrat when they heard about Covid-19 lockdowns.

At that stage, Danú had taken them to northern Spain, where they walked in the Picos de Europa mountain range, and to Morocco, where they trekked across the Atlas mountains to ride camels in the Sahara desert.

The couple are both scientists, and Vera is a hydrographer for Infomar, the national seabed mapping programme jointly managed by the Marine Institute and Geological Survey Ireland.

Vera, Lilian (12), Ruairí (10) and Peter Quinlan-Owens on their arrival into the Aran islands after 14 months in the Atlantic on their yacht, Danú of Galway. The family arrived home to Kinvara on MondayVera, Lilian (12), Ruairí (10) and Peter Quinlan-Owens on their arrival into the Aran islands after 14 months in the Atlantic on their yacht, Danú of Galway. The family arrived home to Kinvara on Monday Photo: Vera Quinlan-Owens

On passage from the Cape Verde Islands to French Guiana last December, they deployed an Argo float which sinks to 2,000m to collects ocean data for climate change research.

The float had already been signed before departure by classmates of Lilian and Ruairí at Kilcolgan Educate Together primary school, some of whom were on hand for yesterday’s (mon) homecoming.

En route home via the Azores, they had to ration their water and ask for a top-up of fuel from a passing tanker.

After leaving that Portuguese archipelago, Danú was almost 400 nautical miles south of the Irish coast when the family had to “hove to” or take down all the sails, secure the tiller and batten down the hatches as they were hit by 35-knot winds.

“We rode out the conditions over ten hours, and were hit by two “growlers” where a huge wall of water swept over Danú, knocking the rails right down under before she came back up,” Vera Quinlan-Owens said.

“The boat was brilliant, but my heart did flutter a bit – thankfully, the kids slept right through it all,” she said.

They hit another system of force six to seven winds when closer to the Aran Islands, making it impossible to navigate the Gregory sound.

Vera’s father, Fergus and his wife Kay Quinlan on their 12m cutter, Pylades and the Minogue family from Kinvara had sailed out to meet them on Inis Mór.

Participating craft in the “Lambs weekend” cruise in company hosted by Galway Bay Sailing Club also celebrated their adventure.

Yesterday’s final leg home under sail was marked by a large banner held by school friends at Parkmore pier, welcoming the “gallant crew”.

Published in Cruising
Tagged under

After spending much of the past two months on her own in the Atlantic making her way home from the Caribbean via the Azores, the Quinlan-Owens family’s 43ft ketch Danu found her crew being swept up into a socially-controlled welcome home party last in Kilronan. The Galway Bay Sailing Club flotilla co-ordinated by Cormac Mac Donncha in the “Lambs Weekend” cruise-in-company arrived in on a busy programme which had already taken them to Rossaveal and is today (Saturday) taking some on round Slyne Head to Inishbofin, while others will either stay on in Kilronan through Saturday night or else make the passage today to Roundstone, where tomorrow night (Sunday) sees the "Grand Gathering” as the boats return from Bofin.

It’s a programme which will see quite a few collective sea miles being logged along Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard. But meanwhile in Kilronan, where Vera Quinlan and Peter Owens and their family had been relaxing since their post-Azores arrival on Wednesday night with Vera’s father Fergus and his wife Kay on their world-girdling 12m cutter Pylades, and friends Conor and Breda Minogue on their Bownan 40 Golden Harvest, the social pace was allowed to go up a carefully-monitored notch or two in the best Aran Islands style.

Conor & Breda Minogue’s Bowman 40 Golden Harvest, a Giles-designed Bowman 40 classic of 1974 vintage with which the late Michael Snell of East Ferry on Cork Harbour completed an Atlantic circuit cruiseKilronan this (Saturday) morning. In the foreground is Conor & Breda Minogue’s Bowman 40 Golden Harvest, a Giles-designed Bowman 40 classic of 1974 vintage with which the late Michael Snell of East Ferry on Cork Harbour completed an Atlantic circuit cruise. Photo: Vera Quinlan

Published in Cruising
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An elderly couple had a narrow escape when their car left the road and tumbled over rocks towards the sea at Galway’s popular Blackrock diving tower on Wednesday evening.

Emergency services including the Galway Fire and Ambulance Service, Gardai, Irish Coastguard helicopter and RNLI lifeboat volunteers were alerted after the Nissan Almera reversed over the pavement at Salthill promenade and fell about six metres (20 ft) down towards the beach.

The incident occurred at around 5 pm, just an hour after high tide, but the car did not hit the water. Several units of Galway Fire Brigade managed to free the elderly couple from the car on the rock armour.

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter which was en route from Shannon was stood down when it appeared that the vehicle was not in danger of hitting the water.

The couple was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway. It is understood that their injuries are not life-threatening.

Sgt Vincent Jennings of Salthill Garda Station said that it was a “miracle” that there were no fatalities or injuries.

“The Prom has been very busy, and this was just an hour after high tide,” Sgt Jennings said. He said onlookers gave several rounds of applause when the couple were stretchered up to the ambulance by paramedic staff.

Labour councillor Niall MacNelis, who was leaving a Galway City Council meeting in Leisureland, Salthill just after the incident happened, paid tribute to the Garda and emergency personnel.

“If it had been a warm summer’s evening, this could have been a very serious incident, and we are all glad that the couple survived,” he said.

Efforts were being made by the fire brigade to remove the vehicle from the rocks. Traffic diversions were put in place for several hours in Galway this evening.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A former Galway mayor has welcomed a move to fly flags of over 20 European countries along Salthill’s promenade.

Labour councillor Niall MacNelis welcomed the initiative as “a gesture of solidarity to European neighbours who are badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic”.

“Galway is a multicultural city, and while we have asked people to fly Tricolours as a gesture of support for our healthcare workers, we are also aware that there are people of many nationalities living and working here,” he said.

COVID FlagFlags in Salthill - a gesture of solidarity to European neighbours

Most, but not all of the EU member states, are represented on the light standards - with the non-EU state, Norway, included, and Britain’s Union Jack excluded.

Published in Galway Harbour

When Pierce Purcell and others such as the late Dave Fitzgerald and David Whitehead were trying to get Galway Bay Sailing Club into being fifty years ago, they had to deal with the reality that Galway city’s long and varied coastline presented many challenges. Access points of varying quality to recreation afloat included the Claddagh on the River Corrib itself, plus the ships’ dock accessing the Bay by a sea-lock, together with the spacious inland sea of Lough Corrib in the north of the city, dinghy sailing waters in the partially-tidal inlet of Lough Atalia, and several sheltered sea inlets to the east of the city, towards Oranmore at the head of Galway Bay.

In time, GBSC settled on headquarters at Renville, with its sheltered inlet near Oranmore, to create a proper clubhouse/dinghy park/anchorage complex. It’s there that 2020’s Golden Jubilee celebrations will begin on this Friday night (February 21st) with Pierce Purcell presenting a “Reeling in the Year” show (proceeds to the RNLI) about the eventual move ro Renville, where until 1981 they had to make do with a caravan as the main shore base for a growing range of activities.

galway bay sc2Fifty years down the line, Galway Bay SC now sails from this modern clubhouse at Renville 
However, members still fondly remember those early winter gatherings in the Salthill Hotel to the west of the city, where they diligently built a membership base which was developing as a result of pioneering dinghy sailing events in which they’d tested the usefulness of the various sailing possibilities on the city’s waterfront.

In time, however, the move to Renville became inevitable, as the growing number of keelboats required a 24-hour-accessible anchorage. But many senior GBSC members have the fondest memory of those early gatherings at the Salthill Hotel, so it’s there on Sunday (February 23rd) that a Golden Jubilee Coffee Morning will get going at noon, and if it phases into a convivial nautically-themed shared viewing of the Ireland-England Rugby Match, so be it….

Published in Galway Harbour
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