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Displaying items by tag: Aran Islands

Clusters of Covid-19 have resulted in medical evacuation of two young people from the largest Aran island of Inis Mór at the weekend.

As The Times Ireland edition reports, the HSE has confirmed an “increase in Covid infection activity” on Inis Mór.

The two medical evacuations took place in separate airlifts to University Hospital Galway. It is understood that both patients are in their early twenties.

The hospitality sector has been identified as the source of a number of clusters of Covid-19 on the island over the past fortnight, although the HSE said it could not comment on individual cases or outbreaks.

It is believed that the outbreaks occurred when the island’s vaccination programme was almost complete. A minority of cases were among fully vaccinated people, while several were among people who had received only their first dose of a vaccine.

The two smaller islands of Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr have remained clear of any similar outbreak to date.

The HSE told The Times that its public health and community healthcare west sections had been “liaising with businesses and health professionals” on Inis Mór to ensure “testing and tracing are being carried out promptly”.

HSE personnel have conducted Covid-19 PCR swab tests on Inis Mór on a number of days over the past week.

Inis Mór and Mayo’s Achill island have been booked as locations during the months of August and September for filming The Banshees of Inisherin, starring Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell. The film is based on an unpublished play written by Martin McDonagh, as part of his Aran Islands trilogy.

Heather Humphreys, the rural development minister, cancelled a scheduled trip to Inis Mór last Friday, but visited Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr to approve a series of new projects as part of the government’s “Our Rural Future” programme.

Two weeks ago the HSE West director of public health, Dr Breda Smyth, warned of a “dramatic increase” in cases across the western region in a five-day period, with figures doubling in Co Mayo and tripling in Co Galway.

Read The Times here

Published in Island News
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The symbiotic relationship between the Aran Islands and the centuries-old fishing currach is explored in a new installation at the country’s westernmost arts centre, Áras Éanna on Inis Oírr.

The commissioned artists include John Behan RHA, one of Ireland’s most acclaimed sculptors. Behan is no stranger to the exhibition’s theme, having previously created a seven metre-long bronze ship, titled ‘Arrival’, for the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Sadia Shoaib, a Pakistani artist and asylum seeker, has also contributed to the outdoor exhibition, Curacha, which marks 21 years of Áras Éanna.

The work of Kathleen FureyThe work of Kathleen Furey Photo: Cormac Coyne

Shoaib researched the Aran Islands for her piece, and says she was inspired by the traditional woven stitch of the islands and its butterflies for her "Mandala style" depiction of a spiritual journey through layers.

Connemara artist Kathleen Furey depicted a Harry Clarke stained glass window painting of St Gobnait from the Honan Chapel in Co Cork on her currach, which is on view at Inis Oírr church.

Dara McGee, the centre’s artistic director since 2017, commissioned 21 six-foot currachs as canvases for 22 artists in total as part of the anniversary project.

“We had to do something outdoors for the 21st anniversary because of Covid-19,” McGee explained.

“Currachs are made of timber and canvas covered in tar, and canvas is one of the materials that has been used by artists for painting on,” he said.

The fleet of traditional craft were built by Tom Meskell, Eugene Finnegan, and Carmel Balfe McGee,

McGee, who is himself an artist, set designer and painter, said the participants were given “free rein”, and each currach “reflects the artist’s own personality and style”.

Pat Quinn's work for the Curracha exhibition Photo: Colm CoynePat Quinn's work for the Curracha exhibition Photo: Cormac Coyne

He paid tribute to the artists that he contacted from “Donegal to Kerry” for their enthusiasm.

The completed installations form an outdoor art trail on the island to comply with Covid-19 guidelines, while seven of them are displayed in Áras Éanna. The exhibition will continue until September.

Once a weaving factory, the building housing Áras Éanna lay derelict for some time before Mick Mulcahy, an artist, spent time there in the 1990s.

The state helped to finance the refurbishment of the centre, owned by Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Gaeltacht development agency.

Read The Times here

Published in Historic Boats
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Aran Islands RNLI's volunteer crew came to the aid of a cyclist who fell off his bike today (Monday 19 July).

The crew were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat at 12.19 pm. A male visitor to the island for the day required further medical attention after falling off his bicycle.

The patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat by both the local fire service and the lifeboat crew at the pontoon at Kilronan Harbour.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew and headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

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

Speaking after the call out, Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O'Donnell said: 'The crew responded without delay, and we got the patient on his way to the care needed. We would like to wish him a speedy recovery.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Galway Bay Sailing Club is expecting 50 boats or more to participate in the club's August's Lambs Week event that features sailing around the Aran Islands with stopovers in Rossaveal, Kilronan and Roundstone.

The event runs from August 19th to 23rd.

A group of Galway Bay volunteers are working on mooring blocks, berthing arrangements, racing handicaps and schedules, food and refreshments, safety, and fashion (polo shirts!).

More here

Published in Galway Harbour
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The volunteer crew at Aran Islands RNLI were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat just after 8pm yesterday (Sunday 4 July) to a woman in need of medical attention on Inis Mór, the largest of the Galway Bay island chain.

With the patient safely transferred aboard the lifeboat by the crew following COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the lifeboat — under coxswain Tommy Dirrane with a full crew — headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Weather conditions at the time of launching were good with calm seas and a light westerly breeze blowing, with fair visibility.

Speaking after the callout, Dirrane said: “There was a great response time from the crew which ensured we could promptly get the patient on her way to the medical attention she needed. We would like to wish the patient a speedy recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer crew on Inis Mór were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat just before noon yesterday (Tuesday 8 June) by the Irish Coast Guard for a medevac.

A woman on the neighbouring island of Inis Oírr was in need of medical attention, and due to fog she was unable to leave by a scheduled flight.

The lifeboat launched under coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew amid good weather conditions with calm seas, a light southerly wind and fair visibility.

Once at the pier in Inis Oírr, the patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat under the supervision of the volunteer crew, following COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. The lifeboat then headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Speaking after the callout, O’Donnell said: “The crew responded without delay and we got the patient on her way to the care she needed as quickly as possible. We would like to wish the patient all the best.

“As we head into the summer months, please heed all safety advice for leisure activities on the water. Never swim alone, always let someone know when you are due back ashore if going to sea. Always bring a mobile phone to contact someone and always wear a lifejacket.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Weather permitting, a flotilla of wooden-built Galway hookers will escort an aluminium-built passenger ferry out on the first leg of its maiden voyage between Galway city and the Aran islands this morning.

Several gleoiteogs with Galway Hooker Sailing Club aim to accompany the new Aran Island Ferries fast ship out past Mutton island.

As Afloat reported previously, Named Saoirse na Farraige (freedom of the sea), the 400-seat passenger ferry was built in Hong Kong for Aran Island Ferries, the company run by the O’Brien family of An Cheathrú Rua, Co Galway.

It offers a longer sea trip but faster overall journey west from Galway city to Inis Mor.

It is almost 40 years since the O’Briens took their first passengers in the Galway hooker, An Tonaí, and then purchased their first passenger ferry named the Dún Aengus in 1983.

The family company now has a fleet of five-passenger ferries, and their routes between Ros-a-Mhíl and the three Aran islands will be complemented by the new 40-metre ship on the Galway city- Inis Mór route.

The vessel built in Cheoy Lee Shipyards in Hong Kong has a speed of 20 knots, and its master is Donegal man and former pelagic fisherman Shane McCole.

It has a capacity for 394 passengers – as in a 306 passengers on the main deck, divided into two seating areas, and a semi-covered space for 88 passengers on the top deck.

However, the ferry will be carrying reduced capacity to meet with Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.

Passengers leaving for Inis Mór at 9.30am from Galway docks will have the option of a return journey via the Cliffs of Moher in Clare.

The Doolin2Aran Ferries company in Doolin, Co Clare, also offers cruises below the sea cliffs from Doolin pier.

Saoirse na Farraige claims to have “ the cleanest exhaust emission” of any ferry on Irish waters.

It is fitted leather seating, charging points and plasma screens – earning it the local nickname of “GoBus” at sea – and it has a wheelchair lift.

The O’Briens say the new route will create 15 new jobs, after what has been “a tough year for all involved in tourism”.

The Port of Galway has welcomed the first passenger ferry service from the city to the Aran Islands since 2005.

The combined Aran Island Ferries fleet of six vessels has a total facility for 1,420 passengers when at full capacity.

Ticket prices for a return journey on Saoirse na Farraige from Galway docks will be:

Adult: €49, Student/Senior: €44, Child: €25

Published in Ferry
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After 35 years of dedicated service, Aran Islands RNLI mechanic Johnny Mulkerrin retires today.

Johnny is one of Aran Islands RNLI’s longest-serving crew members having first joined the volunteer crew in 1984, as soon as he turned 17. His early passion for the lifeboat came as a child growing up watching his father, John Snr, also an active lifeboat volunteer, respond to his pager and go to the aid of those in difficulty at sea.

Having completed his secondary education on Inis Mór, Johnny went on to do a block laying course and worked in the building trade for a time while continuing to serve as a volunteer crew member on the station’s all-weather lifeboat.

In 1987, he became the emergency mechanic for Aran Islands RNLI and then in 1993 he became the station’s full-time mechanic.

From the Barnett class through to the current all-weather Severn class lifeboat, Johnny has throughout his 35 years with the charity, seen many changes as the technology on the lifeboats advanced bringing huge benefits to the area Aran Islands RNLI covers and the people it serves.

Johnny who has been on over a 1,000 call outs and recently received a 30-year Long Service Award from the RNLI recognising his selflessness, courage and commitment, said it was hard to pick out a stand out rescue. However, his abiding memory will be ‘any call where we brought a person or people home to their families. That was always a good call’.

Paying tribute to Johnny this week, Rob King, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager said: ‘Johnny has made a significant contribution to saving lives at sea off the Aran Islands for more than three decades and we are extremely grateful to him for his dedicated service throughout that time. His job as full-time mechanic ensured the operational effectiveness of the station through the operation, maintenance and repair of the lifeboat and its associated machinery and equipment. As he embarks on a new chapter, we want to thank him and wish him every good health and happiness.’

Michael Hernon, Aran Islands RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager added: ‘Over the years Johnny would have experienced all types of call outs and braved all sorts of weather and challenges at sea to help those in need. All at Aran Islands RNLI would like to wish Johnny the very best for the coming years and thank him for his years of service.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Volunteers from Aran Islands RNLI had a call out in the early hours of this morning (Monday 24 May) to medically evacuate three people involved in an accident from Inis Mór.

The crew were requested to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 3.50 am. The Inis Mór Fire Service was also tasked.

Three casualties were transferred aboard the lifeboat at the pontoon at Kilronan Harbour. The transfer between the crew of the Inis Mór Fire Service and the lifeboat crew proved challenging due to poor weather conditions at the time with very heavy rain and a strong wind blowing.

Once the casualties were safely onboard, the lifeboat under Coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew, proceeded in sea conditions that were described as choppy with a south-westerly Force 6 wind blowing. There was a 2.5m sea swell and poor visibility due to the heavy rain.

Once at Rossaveal Harbour, the casualties were transferred by the lifeboat crew to the waiting ambulances.

Speaking after the call out, Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O'Donnell said: ‘This was a challenging call out for all involved this morning. The darkness of night and the poor weather conditions made the transfer difficult, but we are trained for situations like this and were glad to be able to help and we wish the casualties a speedy recovery.

‘Despite the early hours and the poor weather conditions, our volunteers answered their pagers this morning without hesitation or delay and I would like to commend them for that as well as thank our colleagues in the other emergency services with whom we worked with to bring the three people to safety.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Connacht Tribune reports that Inis Mór in the Aran Islands will receive some €165,000 for road resurfacing works.

Bóthar Cill Mhuirbhigh gets the largest share — €90,000 — of the allocation from the Department for Rural & Community Development.

Works on the island’s ‘Low Road’ will receive €45,000, while Bóthar Iar Airne gets €31,000.

Published in Island News
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RORC Fastnet Race

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge.

For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.

The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish for 2021 is in Cherbourg via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Cherbourg.

Fastnet Race - FAQs

The 49th edition of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, UK on Sunday 8th August 2021.

The next two editions of the race in 2021 and 2023 will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin at the head of the Normandy peninsula, France

Over 300. A record fleet is once again anticipated for the world's largest offshore yacht race.

The international fleet attracts both enthusiastic amateur, the seasoned offshore racer, as well as out-and-out professionals from all corners of the world.

Boats of all shapes, sizes and age take part in this historic race, from 9m-34m (30-110ft) – and everything in between.

The Fastnet Race multihull course record is: 1 day 4 hours 2 minutes and 26 seconds (2019, Ultim Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier)

The Fastnet Race monohull course record is: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing).

David and Peter Askew's American VO70 Wizard won the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, claiming the Fastnet Challenge Cup for 1st in IRC Overall.

Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001.

The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result.

The winner of the first Fastnet Race was the former pilot cutter Jolie Brise, a boat that is still sailing today.

Cork sailor Henry P F Donegan (1870-1940), who gave his total support for the Fastnet Race from its inception in 1925 and competed in the inaugural race in his 43ft cutter Gull from Cork.

Ireland has won the Fastnet Race twice. In 1987 the Dubois 40 Irish Independent won the Fastnet Race overall for the first time and then in 2007 – all of twenty years after Irish Independent’s win – Ireland secured the overall win again this time thanks to Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain from the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland in Kilrush.

©Afloat 2020

Fastnet Race 2021 Date

The 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Sunday 8th August 2021.

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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