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Displaying items by tag: Clare Island

Achill Island RNLI was involved in the medical evacuation of a patient from Clare Island at the weekend.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched at 9.29 am on Saturday (14 August) under Coxswain Dave Curtis and with five crew members on board. It followed a request from the Irish Coast Guard to assist with the evacuation of a patient from the island. Sea conditions were flat calm at the time and the weather was overcast with some drizzle.

The all-weather lifeboat Sam and Ada Moody arrived at Clare Island at 9.51 am. Four crew members proceeded to go ashore and prepare a safe landing site for the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 from Sligo which was also tasked to the scene. The lifeboat crew then assisted the island nurse and the crew of Rescue 118 with transferring the patient to the aircraft before they were airlifted to the hospital.

Speaking after the call out, Achill Island RNLI Coxswain Dave Curtis: ‘We were happy to help and would like to wish the casualty well. We train regularly for situations like this and this call out was a good example of a good inter-agency response from our own volunteers here in Achill and our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

An official confirmation of a new five-year contract for the provision of a subsidised ferry service to Clare Island off Co. Mayo has been welcomed by Deputy Michael Ring.

The €1 million contract has been agreed between the Department of Rural and Community Development and O’Malley Ferries (Clare Island) Ltd. and will provide for four daily return sailings from Clare Island to Roonagh pier on the mainland.

In addition to the core service, the operator will also provide an additional extra weekly ‘fast ferry’ sailing that will be scheduled at the island community’s discretion.

The contract came into effect (yesterday) and the contract cost is estimated to be €1,020,000 over the next five years.

The Connaught Telegraph has more.  

Published in Ferry

Deputy Alan Dillon, Fine Gael Spokesperson on Tourism & Sport, welcomed confirmation from Rural & Community Development Minister, Heather Humphreys TD, that her Department will be increasing daily ferry sailings to Clare Island.

A tender recently issued by her Department only required a minimum of two return services daily. This meant that something as simple as a medical appointment might require an islander having to sacrifice an entire day to travel to the mainland.

The ferry service will now be increased to four return sailings daily, which should prove a real game changer for people living on the island. In addition to increasing tourism opportunities.

More here reports Mayo Advertiser that follows a campaign by islanders to improve the service

Published in Ferry

110 years ago Robert Lloyd Praeger brought a group of eminent European scientists to Clare Island to map the flora, fauna, geology and archaeology of the small, exposed Atlantic island off the coast of Mayo. The Royal Irish Academy’s New Survey of Clare Island, a unique multidisciplinary endeavour that together with Praeger’s first Clare Island Survey provides an invaluable body of research informing future conservation of the natural and built heritage of Ireland and Europe.

In a new book, New Survey of Clare Island. Volume 9: Birds, published on Monday, 17 August to celebrate Heritage Week 2020, the editor Tom Kelly traces the story of the birds from Clare Island.

One of the most dramatic changes has been the arrival on Clare Island of the formidable and spectacular seabird the Great Skua—or Bonxie—which now breeds further south in Ireland than it does in Great Britain. This unexpected change—a species moving south rather than vice versa—at a time of global warming remains to be explained.

Great SkuaA Great Skua Photo: Richard T. Mills

Clare Island became separated from Ireland about 8,000 years ago by rising sea levels brought about by the melting of the massive ice sheets that formed during the last Ice Age. Although this dramatic event would have had a minimal impact on the birds that made the island their home.

The Lapland bunting and the snow bunting probably arrived first, followed by more sedentary species including the rock ptarmigan and gyrfalcon as well as many wildfowl and wading bird species.

In the three millennia that followed the formation of Clare Island, mature woodland developed allowing a woodland bird community to develop.

clare island bird bookThe Clare Island survey

Neolithic man arrived about 4,000yBP (years Before Present). Over the succeeding 3,500 years or so, the woodland element was gradually removed and about 400 years ago the modern agricultural landscape was established. The woodland bird community on Clare Island has become mostly extinct probably because its habitat gradually disappeared over the millennia, In addition, the famines of the early to mid-nineteenth century had an impact on the ecology of the inhabited offshore islands. The abandonment of land as a result of famine, and the peoples who occupied that land, is well known to cause the departure of synanthropic bird species.

Nevertheless, agricultural activity and the expansion of grasslands created opportunities for seed-eating species and ground-nesting forms such as the skylark and meadow pipit and migrants such as the northern wheatear and corncrake, and the extraction of peat created opportunities for wetland species. Well-known species such as the house sparrow, European robin, song thrush and perhaps the barn swallow have colonised the island.

Published in Marine Wildlife

An investment of €525,000 is to be put into four piers and harbours in Co. Mayo.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed announced details of a €3.1m package to assist 10 coastal local authorities undertake and as Afloat previously reported funding to complete 58 developments of harbours repair projects and slipways owned by them.

The package, reports Connaught Telegraph, provides funding for maintenance and repair works in addition to supporting the ongoing development and enhancement of harbour facilities including some marine leisure developments.

The Mayo works announced include Roonagh Pier as Afloat also reported on where provision of a new crane and safety improvement works is to cost €150,000.

For other coastal development works and locations click here. 

Published in Ferry

Clare Island residents and also those on Inishturk, off the west Mayo coastline, are calling on the Irish government for urgent help.

In the past two months 52% (see: January story) of their scheduled ferries have been disrupted due to dangerous conditions at Roonagh Pier, west of Louisburgh.

The pier experiences huge Atlantic swells and can be inaccessible for weeks at a time.

As a result O’Grady’s Clare Island Ferry Co. is forced to sail to Cloughmore in Achill Island, which is a commercial pier, unsuitable for foot passengers.

If the islanders sail to Achill, they then have to travel 50 miles by taxi around Clew Bay to collect their cars which are left at Roonagh.

The situation is causing them huge disruption and unnecessary misery.

More on the story from The Connacht Telegraph.

Published in Ferry

A ferry operator in Co. Mayo has issued a call for break-water and new pier facilities at Roonagh, Louisburgh.

According to The Connaught Telegraph, the Clare Island Ferry Co. (O'Grady) posted a photograph on ts Facebook page of Roonagh (yesterday) with the following statement.

"Goes to show we really need a break water and a new pier with shelter for our island vessels, in order for daily access for passengers, cargo and for our island to survive."

Published in Ferry

One hundred years ago, Irish naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger led a survey of the natural history and cultural heritage of Clare Island in Co Mayo at a level of detail greater than any area of comparable size at that time.

Almost a century later, the Royal Irish Academy set about repeating the exercise with the intention of assessing and evaluating change on the island over the intervening years.

In his new book Clare Island, which launches this Saturday 5 October on the island itself, John Feehan distils the results of the two great surveys with elegance and enthusiasm to shine a spotlight on the richness of life surviving there.

Feehan, a longtime broadcaster on cultural and heritage issues, interweaves the natural and cultural heritage of the island and shares his wider ecological knowledge to help us understand the role each species plays in the life of this remarkable place.

“Few places on Earth, and none elsewhere in Ireland, have yielded such a concentrated inventory of knowledge about the natural world,” says Michael Viney, who has described Feehan as “one of Ireland’s top ecologists and communicators of nature”.

Clare Island by John Feehan is available now from the RIA, priced €40.

Published in Book Review

#clareisland – Buoyed by the recent profile received by Clare Island in the Irish Times Best Place to Go Wild in Ireland competition, Clare Island Adventures are planning an exciting new event for the August Bank Holiday weekend. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to put together a water-loving team of four to six people to build a raft and then race it around a 300 metre course in Clew Bay.The organisers are challenging towns, villages, islands, companies and rival sports clubs to take one another on in what promises to be a barrel of laughs for both spectators and participants. They will provide all safety gear and raft-building materials. All you need to do is show up in a swimsuit with a can-do attitude and a determination to complete the course.

Heats will take place on Sunday morning with the final taking place in the early afternoon and finish in time to watch the Mayo match which kicks off at 4pm. There will be prizes awarded to the top 3 places, plus a Best Fancy Dress team prize. Entry is €60 per team.

And weather permitting the music will be pumping and the barbecue will be smoking, making it a fun day out for spectators and participants alike. To encourage you to make a weekend out of it, there's an all-in deal on offer of two nights B&B in the hostel, return ferry and raft-building entry for €74 per person.

Families looking for entertainment for the whole weekend are also encouraged to come a day early with a family fun day taking place on the blue flag beach on Saturday afternoon. Kayaking, snorkelling and beach games will all be on offer.

Those planning to visit the island for the bank holiday, or any time in July or August, will also be interested to know that there is a new shuttle bus service operating between Westport and Roonagh five days a week. It departs from Westport Adventure Hub, James Street, where tickets for bus and ferry can be purchased together. Leaving Westport at 10.15am and Roonagh at 5.15pm.
For more information check here. To enter a team in the raft building championships email them on [email protected] or phone 087 3467713.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#MaritimeFestivals - If you’re looking for a buzzing destination to spend the August bank holiday weekend, consider Clare Island in Co Mayo for the first Raft Building Championships, which promises seaside festival fun for all ages.

The organisers at Clare Island Adventures are challenging towns, villages, islands, companies and rival sports clubs to put together teams of four to six people to build a raft, then take one another around a 300-metre course in Clew Bay in what's expected to be a barrel of laughs for both spectators and participants alike.

Clare Island Adventures will provide all safety gear and raft-building materials. All you need to do is show up in a swimsuit with a can-do attitude and a determination to complete the course.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three places, as well as for the best dressed team – so the team theme is just as important as how you perform on the course!

Back on dry land, meanwhile, the music will be pumping and the barbecue will be smoking (weather permitting, of course).

Heats will take place on Sunday morning with the final taking place in the afternoon at approximately 4.30pm, allowing time for teams and spectators to get the ferry back to the mainland if they’re not staying on the island for the night.

To encourage you to make a weekend out of it, there’s an all-in deal on offer of two nights B&B in the hostel, return ferry and raft-building entry for €74 per person.

Families looking for entertainment for the whole weekend are also encouraged to come a day early with a family fun day taking place on the Blue Flag beach on Saturday afternoon. Kayaking, snorkelling and beach games will all be on offer.

Those planning to visit the island for the bank holiday, or any time in July or August, will also be interested to know that there is a new shuttle bus service operating between Westport and Roonagh five days a week.

The bus departs from Westport Adventure Hub on James Street, where tickets for bus and ferry can be purchased together. Buses leave Westport at 10.15am and Roonagh at 5.15pm.

For more information on the Raft Building Championships check out www.clareislandadventures.ie. To enter a team (the entry fee is €60 per team), contact 087 346 7713 or [email protected]

Published in Maritime Festivals
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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 2023 Date

The 2023 50th Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Saturday, 22nd July 2023

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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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