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Displaying items by tag: river barrow

The start date for works on the proposed Barrow Blueway has been announced by Kildare County Council in conjunction with Laois County Council and Waterways Ireland.

When complete, the scheme will provide a multi-activity 46km off-road, flat and accessible public space and leisure route along the inland waterway – together with approved paddling trails for on water access – running from Lowtown in Kildare, through the towns of Rathangan, Monasterevin, Vicarstown, to Athy.

The proposed upgrade will improve access to the beautiful Barrow Way, both on and along the water, offering an enhanced experience to walkers, cyclists, wheelchairs users, paddlers and families.

Works are to commence on Wednesday 15 July at Milltown Bridge, some 3km north of Athy, with localised closures to facilitate the upgrade of the towpath. The duration of works this year will be around 16–18 weeks.

The works will be carried out in accordance with all environmental and planning conditions and under the oversight of an ecological clerk of works, to ensure any potential negative environmental impacts are avoided and ecological mitigation is implemented in accordance with legislation and best practice.

What’s being touted as a “top tourist attraction” is due to be complete early 2022 and “will not only offer a huge economic boost, positively influencing economic growth opportunities, it will also increase that sense of community, create exciting opportunities for both recreation and ways to experience many of the community's interesting places from new perspectives”, according to the project partners.

Kildare County Council will keep the public updated as works progress on the blueway scheme, which is funded by the Government of Ireland under Project Ireland 2040.

Published in Inland Waterways

Proposals for a new blueway along the River Barrow have been blocked by planners who objected to the scheme for a hard surface along the 115km of towpath.

But as The Irish Times reports, many locals and users of the waterway believe what the Barrow and the communities along its reach really need are better promotion.

Earlier this month, An Bord Pleanála rejected plans long in the offing for the Barrow Blueway, a new cycling and walking path between Lowtown in Co Kildare and St Mullins in Co Carlow.

Hundreds of Barrow locals had their say at public meetings, with campaigners against the path plans — among them broadcaster Olivia O’Leary — citing the existing grassy surface as more than suitable for walkers.

Others saw the blueway as “a fantastic opportunity” to save business such as pubs which have been closing at a rapid rate in rural areas, and raised the question of boggy or overgrown stretches that are a deterrent to visitors.

But others still argue that with proper maintenance and a weight of a promotional campaign behind it, the existing path would prove a major tourism attraction both domestically and abroad.

“I have people coming from the States, Canada, Australia, Europe, UK and they are just flabbergasted at how incredibly gorgeous it is, and they can’t believe there is nobody on it,” said local canoe tour operator Charlie Horan.

Those sentiments are shared by environmental journalist Lenny Antonelli, who tweeted that the Barrow is “already walkable, paddle-able and often cycle-able too.

“The Barrow doesn't need a greenway, but it does need better marketing and promotion, particularly within Ireland, and better facilitates for visitors. Imagine if all its derelict lock cottages became bothies for example?”

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#InlandWaterways - The scale of the New Ross bypass project for the layperson is as dizzying as its bridge over the River Barrow is going to be high.

For starters, the Killkenny People writes the scheme is 26 years in the making - from its humble beginnings in Kilkenny and Wexford County Development Plans in 1993 and 1994 for an additional river crossing around New Ross.

So to begin with, getting the project over the line took decades in terms of route selection, bridge options, an oral hearing, scheme approval, design, Compulsory Purchase Orders, tendering and all that an infrastructural development of this size entails.

Then there’s the task constructing 13.6km of dual carriageway which will boast Ireland’s longest bridge once it is completed.

For further reading on this impressive project, click here. 

Published in Inland Waterways

#Crayfish - Large numbers of dead freshwater crayfish have been reported in the River Barrow in the stretch from Carlow to Graiguemanagh.

It has been confirmed using DNA analysis that the cause of death was crayfish plague.

This is the fifth outbreak of the disease to be found in Ireland in the last two years, and follows just weeks after an outbreak in North Tipperary.

It is feared that if the disease spreads further, then it will threaten the survival of the entire Irish population of white-clawed crayfish, an endangered marine species.

This worrying situation is being investigated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Marine Institute.

All the agencies involved in managing and protecting the rivers in Ireland are concerned that another outbreak has been detected, and are reiterating their advice and guidance to all users of the river to implement routine cleaning and drying of their equipment once they leave the river and before using it again.

This is especially important as it is known that the crayfish plague organism can be carried on wet equipment to new sites. Containment of the outbreak is essential to prevent spread to other as yet unaffected populations in Ireland.

Waterways Ireland, which manages the Barrow navigation, has issued a marine notice calling all recreational, commercial, private and public body water users (boaters, walkers, swimmers, kayakers, rowers, machine operators, etc) to operate a temporary ban on moving watersport and angling equipment and other equipment or machinery that comes in contact with the water, out of or into the Barrow and all affected catchments.

People are also asked to alert the authorities of any mass mortality of crayfish or sightings of unusual crayfish that might be non-native species (such as crayfish with red claws, or of an unusually large size).

Published in Marine Wildlife

#NewService - An established Wexford boat tour operator writes Independent.ie is due to start a new river cruise service by bringing people on the Barrow by 2019.

New Ross Municipal District Director Eamonn Hore told last week's meeting of the body at Tintern Abbey that Kilmore Quay man Declan Bates has been planning the business venture - which will see up to 13 people employed - since 2013.

The vessel will be able to take between 90 and 150 people and would employ nine onboard staff on year one, running from mid-March to mid-October.

Describing the proposal as 'really exciting,' Mr Hore said the River Barrow is under utilised.
'There is a whole story to be told about the River Barrow. We want this to be a large scale, flagship experience linking Waterford and New Ross,' Mr Hore said.

The vessel is expected to cost around €1m and would run from opposite the Granville Hotel in Waterford city centre, to New Ross quay and back daily from March to October.

For more on this new venture, click here.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Angling - New research from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has revealed the state of fish stock levels and the different species present within the River Barrow catchment.

The River Barrow is Ireland’s second longest river after the River Shannon, and this research is the first large scale catchment-wide survey undertaken in the popular angling waterway to assess the status of all fish species present.

The IFI report reveals that 39% of water sites surveyed on the catchment had high or good fish status.

The ecological fish classification status of various sites was calculated as part of the survey to assist with future fisheries management plans. This included assessment of 35 of the River Barrow’s main channel sites and a further 83 sites within the river’s sub catchments.

Overall, ‘High’ fish status was recorded on five per cent of sites, and ‘Good’ status was assigned to 34% of sites.

The positive fish status was recorded in the upper reaches of the River Barrow main channel above Mountmellick, Co Laois, downstream of weirs where flow and habitat conditions were more favourable for a larger range of fish species, and generally in the middle and lower sub-catchment river systems.

However, more than 60% of the sites were cited as moderate fish status or less.

The main reasons for less than good fish status were poor water quality, poor habitat, the presence of artificial barriers impeding migratory fish passage and possible competition from the invasive dace species.

Further investigation of these sites will be required prior to the implementation of mitigation measures such as improvements to water quality, habitat enhancement works to improve spawning and nursery areas or tree planting to provide cover for fish.

In addition to classifying the fish status of the sites, the species of fish present were audited as part of the research.

More than 10,000 fish were caught and released as part of the survey with a total of 14 fish species and one hybrid (mix) species identified.

Dace, an invasive fish species, was the commonest species in the main channel sites, followed by roach, perch and juvenile salmon, while salmon and brown trout were the commonest species in the sub-catchment rivers.

Pike were found in 54% of the main channel sites surveyed and brown trout were recorded at 45% of these sites.

Other fish species logged included minnow, gudgeon, eel, stone loach, three-spined stickleback and flounder, as well as roach-bream hybrids.

“This survey is the first of its kind within this large catchment area and it tells us a great deal about what is happening on these sites,” said IFI senior research officer Dr Fiona Kelly.

"It is evident that we have an abundance of different types of wild fish species present; however we also know that there are challenges for the catchment in terms of water quality, habitat and invasive species which will need to be addressed. Ultimately, this research will inform future fisheries management and protection strategies.”

IFI says it encourages all stakeholders on the River Barrow to support the conservation and protection of the river, its tributaries and the species contained within it.

It also hopes that community groups will consider what they can do to improve its water quality and ecology and create a healthy water environment for the benefit of all users.

Published in Angling
#canal – The IWAI National Council hears the details of the impact the current proposals for Canal Bye- laws will have on boating traffic on the Grand and Royal Canals and the River Barrow.

Carmel Meegan, President of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) welcomed delegates to the IWAI National Council meeting in Tullamore on 8th confirmed that the proposed bye-laws do not put user requirements, local communities or tourism at the centre of the regulations. Delegates heard –

In general –

there are reports that boats present this time last year have now left the Canals – the IWAI says this is indicative of boaters' fears and a further future drop in navigation use

Waterways Ireland have suggested that the 1800 plus submissions delivered by IWAI - during the brief consultation period of only 21 days- are letters in support of the IWAI

Submission rather than viewing these as other individual submissions recognising the effort and concern held by wider communities

Waterways Ireland imposed restrictions never previously invoked on boats travelling by Canal to the Dublin Rally in 2014 – which is celebrating 40 years of community activity

the proposed toll €75 to travel between the Grand and Royal Canals is detrimental – the IWAI advises this is the now most expensive boat crossing in Europe

the Newcomen lifting bridge will open only 8 times this year, only 96 boats are permitted to undertake the Green & Silver route around the Grand and Royal Canals this season due to restrictions of use of the Newcomen lifting bridge, significantly curtailing the emerging 'Green & Silver' route – the IWAI advises this is a major miss for domestic and international boat tourism.

Concerns aired as to the Canals and Barrow as a tourism resource have included questions in the Seanad and the Dail; County Council input; national and local press articles; television and radio interviews; community websites; blogs and Facebook pages reflecting overall national concern.

Politically, this has grown to be a very big issue and is featuring highly as politicians face into local elections this summer. The IWAI have gained the interest of local, regional and national

politicians on this matter to date, and will present our position to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht in Leinster House on 25th

The boating community is not averse to appropriate management, facility provision, and access to waterways. But boats are key attractions, as the lifeblood of the navigations, and need to be welcomed.

Published in Inland Waterways

#OnTheTV - A new series of Abhainn begins this evening on RTÉ One as the Irish-language TV programme explores Ireland's second-longest river, the River Barrow.

Described by the Kilkenny People as one of Ireland's most picturesque rivers, the programme will follow the near 200km journey from Glenbarrow Waterfall in Laois and along the Kilkenny-Carlow border - stopping along the way at such spots as Cushendale Woolen Mills - till it joins with the Nore at New Ross.

Future editions of the series will focus on the Blackwater and the Erne, taking viewers on a visually stunning journey revealing the unique personality of each river and the stories both ancient and new that tell us who we really are.

The new series of Abhainn begins on RTÉ One tonight Monday 28 January at 7.30pm.

Published in Maritime TV

#INLAND WATERWAYS - Trial dredging operations to curtail the spread of Asian clams at designated sites in the lower River Barrow are set to conclude today.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) employed the use of a a traditional cockle harvesting boat to physically remove the clams from the river bed, in an effort to explore methods of controlling or eradicating what it describes as an "ecosystem-changing invader" in other infested waters.

IFI scientists supervised the trials, using teams of divers to quantify the result of the dredging efforts.

The Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea) is "a most unwelcome addition to the fauna of the lower River Barrow". The bivalve mollusc is regarded as "one of the most notorious aquatic invasive species in the world".

First recorded in the river downstream of St Mullin’s in April 2010, subsequent IFI studies have revealed that the Asian clam is firmly established in the lower Barrow and in the River Nore downstream of Inistioge. Populations have also been recorded in the River Shannon and in Lough Derg.

In one section of the River Barrow the clam has achieved a "staggering" density of almost 10,000 per square metre.

Dr Joe Caffrey, senior scientist with IFI, said of the trial dregding: “It is imperative that every effort is made to control the expansion and spread of this highly adept invasive species.

"The results from these trials will inform future national management plans for this most unwelcome non-native species and will, at the very least, dramatically reduce the numbers of individuals in the test sites.

He added: "In tandem with these trials, research effort is being focused at producing other control methods that can be targeted as this species.”

Published in Inland Waterways

#INLAND WATERWAYS - A new study on the River Barrow and its environs recommends the development of "activity hubs, tourist trails and new angling and boat facilities", The Irish Times reports.

Waterways Ireland and Fáilte Ireland commissioned the Barrow Corridor Recreational, Tourism and Commercial Identification Survey to find ways to exploit the area's "undeveloped potential" for tourism.

The survey covered the river itself as well as its estuary and the Barrow branch of the Grand Canal. Its findings pointed to a number of areas where development is already being actioned, such as in boating and cruising, nature and wildlife, and angling.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan, who launched the study in Carlow yesterday, hailed the co-operation of the agencies and county councils involved.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
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Fastnet Yacht 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 is in Plymouth, Devon 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 Plymouth.
  • The lighthouse first shone its light on New Year’s Day in 1854
    Fastnet Rock originally had six keepers (now unmanned), with four on the rock at a time with the other two on leave. Each man did four weeks on, two weeks off

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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