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Displaying items by tag: Aran Islands

Aran Islands RNLI carried out a medical evacuation on Saturday after a cyclist fell.

The volunteer crew had assembled at the lifeboat station for a routine training exercise at 12 noon on Saturday (6 July) when a cyclist fell off their bike nearby.

The casualty was seen by a doctor and then stretchered onto the lifeboat with the assistance of Aran Fire and Rescue.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain Aonghus O Hiarnain, with four crew members onboard, and went to Rossaveel. Weather conditions were good at the time, with clear skies, moderate seas, and a north-westerly force five wind.

On arrival, the lifeboat crew proceeded to hand the casualty into the care of a waiting ambulance crew.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Aran Islands RNLI launched to the aid of an injured cyclist on Inis Oírr on Monday afternoon (24 June).

The volunteer crew on Inis Mór were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat just after 1pm following a report from the Irish Coast Guard that a cyclist was injured on the neighbouring island and required a medical evacuation.

The lifeboat launched under coxswain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin with four crew members onboard.

Weather conditions at the time were good with slight seas, clear skies and a south westerly Force 4 wind blowing.

Arriving on scene, the crew received a handover from the island doctor before assisting the patient onboard the lifeboat, on which they were then safely transferred to Ros a Mhíl and into the care of a waiting ambulance crew.

Speaking following the call-out, Ó hIarnáin said: “We would like to wish the casualty a speedy recovery from their injury and thank the island doctor and our colleagues in the ambulance service for responding and working with us to bring the patient safely ashore so they could get further treatment.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

As Storm Kathleen is forecast to sweep up the Atlantic seaboard, Aran Ferries has cancelled a number of sailings to the Aran islands this weekend.

The company which runs its ferry service from Ros-a-Mhíl, Co Galway, says there will be no sailings on either Saturday or Sunday to Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr.

Sailings to the largest island, Inis Mór, are also cancelled on Saturday, April 6th.

However, Aran Ferries says it will issue an update on the situation for Sunday sailings to Inis Mór by Saturday evening.

Rough seas breaking over the pier at Inis Oírr were photographed by resident Paddy Crowe on Friday evening.

A long campaign by Inis Oírr residents for a safer pier has resulted in a tender being issued for works to be carried out this year.

Met Éireann is forecasting strong, gusty southerly winds reaching storm force at times and widespread showers, some heavy, and there is an orange warning in place for Galway and Mayo.

Winds will ease somewhat on Sunday afternoon, but will continue fresh to strong and gusty, with highest temperatures of 12°C to 15°C.

Published in Weather

Crews from the Aran Islands and Galway RNLI stations took part in a joint training exercise on inner Galway Bay this past Saturday (27 January).

The training was an opportunity for the crews from the two flanking stations to work together on a number of boat-handling and seamanship exercises to prepare for future joint search and rescue missions.

Brian Niland, helm with Galway RNLI who led the exercise for the Galway crew said: “We were delighted to welcome the Aran Islands RNLI crewm onboard the all-weather Severn class lifeboat David Kirkaldy, to Galway for a training exercise off Salthill.

“It was impressive to see the larger Aran Islands lifeboat and see how the two lifeboats can work side by side.

“The training was a great learning experience for both crews and will help us when we are requested to launch together, to help those in danger in the water. Our volunteer lifeboat crews spend many hours training so we can meet the dangers and challenges we face at sea.”

Galway RNLI crew on board the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Binny leaving Galway Port with the Aran Islands RNLI crew on board the all-weather Severn lifeboat David Kirkaldy | Credit: RNLI/Aoife MorrissyGalway RNLI crew on board the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Binny leaving Galway Port with the Aran Islands RNLI crew on board the all-weather Severn lifeboat David Kirkaldy | Credit: RNLI/Aoife Morrissy

Aran Islands RNLI coxswain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin said: “Saturday’s training exercise was a good chance to meet the Galway crew and show what the lifeboat from each station is capable of.

“The type of lifeboat a station has depends on geographical features, the kind of rescues the station is involved in and the cover provided by neighbouring lifeboat stations.

“Our Severn class lifeboat is designed for the offshore long jobs we face in the toughest weather, while the Galway Atlantic class lifeboat is one of the fastest in the fleet and is ideal for rescues close to shore, near cliffs and rocks which may be inaccessible to our all-weather lifeboat. Working together we are able to carry out search and rescue throughout Galway Bay.

“Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, RNLI lifeboat crews are ready to answer the call to rescue. If you see someone in trouble at the coast call 112 or 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The legendary “Craggy Island” will once again be recreated on the Aran island of Inis Mór when it hosts the annual TedFest in March.

The festival, inspired by the television series Father Ted with the late Dermot Morgan, has become a significant bookmark for the island’s tourist season with a weekend of “high-jinx” and harmless fun.

Set to run from Thursday, March 7th to Sunday, March 10th this year, it promises “copious cups of tea and sandwiches, a lot of red tank-tops, nuns on the run, priests on the pull, map-cap costumes, and of course a bishop getting a kick up the arse”.

Highlights will include the annual Lovely Girls Competition, Blind Date with Eoin McLove (Patrick McDonnell), Mrs Doyle Lip Sync Showdown, The Craggy Cup, Ted's Got Talent, Matchmaking with Nellie, The Priests Dance Off, TedMaster, The Hobby Horse Show, The Craggy Comedy Craic Den, The Reverse Wheel of Death and the Father Ted Prizeless Quiz.

Tedfest 2024 - (from left to right) Martin Boyle from Glasgow, Michael Mee from Yorkshire, Joanne Gorman from Finglas  pictured at TedFest on the island of Inis Mór being chased by Dinosaurs Photo: Gareth ChaneyTedfest 2024 - (from left to right) Martin Boyle from Glasgow, Michael Mee from Yorkshire, Joanne Gorman from Finglas  pictured at TedFest on the island of Inis Mór being chased by Dinosaurs Photo: Gareth Chaney

This year the music line-up includes a 15-piece band called the Circus Ponies. All activity will take place at the Aran Islands Hotel on Inis Mór, which has the space to accommodate the Music Stages, the Craggy Craic Den and a full extended line-up.

Preliminary events in Galway include the annual TedFest Table Quiz in Massimo's on Tuesday, 5th March and the TedFest Toilet Duck Awards in the Róisín Dubh on Wednesday, 6th March.

The organisers say that all accommodation on the island with “rooves, heating and running water” is now fully booked by TedFest revellers. However, there are currently spaces at the Aran island glamping village near Cill Rónain.

Organisers advise on the website "please do not buy a ticket unless you have privately sourced accommodation, or permission from another ticket holder to sleep with them.

Details on glamping are here

Published in Island News
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As the RNLI launches its annual Christmas fundraising appeal, with a focus on the generations of families who have volunteered their time and commitment to ensure the charity’s lifesaving service has continued for nearly 200 years, there will be a new coxswain this Christmas on the Aran Islands.

Aonghus Ó hIarnáin started volunteering with the RNLI at 17 and always had a desire to move up in the organisation and become a coxswain.

“When my fiancée Treasa and I had moved home from Australia and then had our daughter, I had to start working away on ferries and research vessels as an engineer again,“ he says. “This wasn’t ideal as I was spending a lot of time away.

“When the coxswain job came, I committed myself to training and preparing for the job. I was fortunate to be offered the job then which I gladly accepted. It suits us as we want to stay on the island to raise the family and stay close to both our parents and this job allows us to do so.”

As coxswain, Aonghus is in charge of the lifeboat and her crew at sea and as such, he is all too aware of the importance of training.

Aran Islands RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Aran IslandsAran Islands RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Aran Islands

“Regular training for everyone on the crew is important,” he says. “Everyone needs to get familiar with the person they are onboard with so that when a call out comes, you know that the person next to you is going to do their part correctly and safely.

“It is rare that the same crew do two call-outs after each other, so knowing that no matter who shows up, they have the same standard of training is important for the search and rescue capability of the station. It allows the coxswain on the day to have full confidence in the crew and allows the crew to have full confidence in whichever coxswain is in command on the day.

“Allowing the crew to get as much time on the lifeboat as possible is important. Practice makes perfect and when you see a trained person in an emergency, its shows by the level of calmness they have at that critical time.”

The role of full-time coxswain can be busy, says Aonghus: “The job is demanding time-wise, and it is difficult for the family more so. There have been several times where we plan on going for dinner, for example, only for the pager to go off and then you are gone for a few hours.

“There is a need to know where somebody is at all times. For example, on a weekend if Treasa goes for a walk or to the shop and I have our baby on my own, if the pager goes off then we need a plan for where Treasa is gone so that I can collect her with our baby and then they come to the station with me and take my car or that I bring the baby to the station and get Treasa’s parents, who are living close the station, to collect her. This is the side that people don’t see when you are full-time on call.

“Credit goes to Treasa for adapting to this and having patience with me as the demands of the job take me at uncertain times day or night. Without her support, it wouldn’t have been possible to take this job and make it work. She understands how vital the RNLI is to the island and the west coast and that we signed up to help keep it going.”

‘For the time you give at the RNLI, you will receive good training, good memories, and a great sense of achievement after every call as you know you are making a difference’

As for what he finds most rewarding, Aonghus says it’s a combination of the people you meet, the training and skills you gain and the opportunity to make a difference.

“You also have the chance to work alongside members of the community ranging in ages and experiences and backgrounds that you would normally never get the chance to work with,” he says. “Along with this, you are keeping a vital lifesaving service going on an island which needs it.

“For the time you give at the RNLI, you will receive good training, good memories, and a great sense of achievement after every call as you know you are making a difference. I started my journey in the RNLI 13 years ago and I have never looked back and it has served me well.”

Whatever weather winter throws at them, RNLI crew members like those on the Aran Islands are ready to battle the elements to save lives at sea. Their rescues are only made possible by the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training and equipment needed by lifeboat crews.

As he prepares for his first Christmas on call as coxswain, Aonghus says: “There’s no feeling quite like bringing someone home safe to their families — especially at Christmas. But as crew we couldn’t launch our lifeboat without kind donations from the public which fund the kit, training and equipment we need to save others and get home safely to our own families.”

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal, and enable the charity to continue its lifesaving work, visit

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Ireland’s national seabed mapping programme, INFOMAR completes its Bluescale Map Series with the release of its stunning map of the Aran Islands.

Now all 18 maps in the series are available for free to the public, in English and now as Gaeilge.

Staring on 11 August this year, INFOMAR released a new instalment each week in its series of bespoke, high-resolution bathymetric maps of Irish coastal waters.

Developed by a dedicated team of hydrographers, data processors and cartographers, the maps highlight the topography of the coast in remarkable detail.

Thomas Furey, INFOMAR joint programme manager at the Marine Institute, emphasised the dual significance of this release.

“The Bluescale Map Series is a testament on our commitment to both data quality and improving public accessibility of data,” he said. “The release of all maps as Gaeilge also represents our efforts in promoting linguistic inclusivity and connecting with Gaeltacht communities nationwide.”

The full map of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay in the Irish language, released along with all 17 other maps as Gaeilge | Credit: INFOMARThe full map of the Aran Islands and Galway Bay in the Irish language, released along with all 17 other maps as Gaeilge | Credit: INFOMAR

The series’ final map of the Aran Islands showcases some of Ireland’s most unique and dynamic coastal landscapes.

The Aran Islands are a group of three islands at the mouth of Galway Bay, off the West Coast of Ireland, with a total area around 46 sq km (18 sq mi). From west to east, the islands are Inis Mór (Árainn), which is the largest; Inis Meáin, the second-largest; and Inis Oírr, the smallest. There are also several islets.

The islands’ geology is mainly karst limestone, related to the Burren in Co Clare to the east, not the granites of Connemara to the north. Solutional processes have widened and deepened the grykes of the limestone pavement.

Pre-existing lines of weakness in the rock (vertical joints) contribute to the formation of extensive fissures separated by clints (flat, pavement-like slabs). The rock karstification facilitates the formation of subterranean drainage.

Speaking about the addition of maps as Gaeilge, Seán Cullen, INFOMAR joint programme manager at the Geological Survey Ireland said: “These maps aim to offer Irish Speakers an opportunity to engage with marine science in their native tongue and provide a means of communicating complex scientific data to the broader public.”

Michael Gillooly, interim CEO of the Marine Institute added: “The Gaeltacht constitutes 25% of the overall Irish coastline so I am delighted to see this new series of unique maps now available as Gaeilge.”

Published in Environment

The Aran islands have linked up with a new energy agency which has been established for west Galway.

Gníomhaireacht Fuinnimh an Iarthar (GFI), as it is called, is one of three local energy agencies established to support homeowners, communities and small businesses.

It was formally launched at an event in An Cheathrú Rua yesterday (Thurs).

The aim is to encourage homes and businesses to implement retrofit energy upgrades in the region as part of the LEAP (Local Energy Agencies in Peripheral Regions) project.

As previously reported by Afloat, the three Aran islands have a very active energy co-operative, Comharchumann Fuinnimh Oileáin Árann Teo (CFOAT).

It has been instrumental in setting up the new energy agency for the Galway islands and West Galway, as in the Connemara Gaeltacht.

Published in Island News
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Aran Islands RNLI carried out a medical evacuation from Inis Meáin on Monday afternoon (6 November).

Volunteers’ pagers went off at 3.14pm following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to go to the aid of a patient on the island neighbouring Inis Mór who was in need of further medical attention.

The lifeboat launched from the pontoon at Kilronan Harbour with a full crew and headed straight for Inis Meáin.

Weather conditions at the time of launching were fair, with a westerly Force 5 wind blowing, a two-metre sea swell, squally showers and good visibility.

At the pier in Inis Meáin, the patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat under the supervision of the volunteer crew and the lifeboat headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

On the way back to Kilronan Harbour, the lifeboat undertook a training exercise with the coastguard’s Rescue 118 helicopter from Sligo in Galway Bay.

Speaking after the call-out, coxswain Declan Brannigan said: “There was a quick response time from the volunteer crew and we would like to wish the patient well.

“No matter the time, day or night, our volunteers will work to ensure we get to the patient as fast as possible and transfer them into the care of our colleagues in he ambulance service.

“We also thank our colleagues from Rescue 118 for the training exercise that followed after. Such training is essential in preparing us for joint operational activity as and when the time arises.”

The crew on this call-out with Brannigan were mechanic Tommy Dirrane, Joe Gill, Micheál Ó Culáin, Caelan Cullen Quinn and Billy Gillan.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer crew responded to two medical evacuation requests on Wednesday night (18 October).

Pagers were first activated at 7.10pm following a report that a patient on Inis Mór was in need of further medical attention. The all-weather lifeboat launched under coxwain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin and a full crew of volunteers.

Conditions at the time of launching were choppy, with an easterly Force 4 wind blowing and a two-metre sea swell.

The patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat under the supervision of the volunteer crew at the pontoon at Kilronan Harbour.

Upon transferring the patient over to the waiting ambulance at Rossaveal Harbour, the volunteers made their way home where upon arrival they were requested to launch the lifeboat again, with another patient on Inis Mór in need of further medical attention.

Weather conditions for the second medevac had a Force 5-6 easterly wind blowing with slight seas and reasonable visibility.

This second patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat and the crew headed straight for Rossaveal and a awaiting ambulance.

Speaking after the double call-out, Ó hIarnáin said: “We would like to wish both patients a speedy recovery. As always our crew never hesitate to answer the call and were delighted to be able to help.”

Aran Islands RNLI crew on Wednesday night alongside Ó hIarnáin included mechanic Mairtín Eoin Coyne, Joe Gill, Daniel O’Connell, Caelan Cullen Quinn, Billy Gillan and Michael Faherty.

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The Round Britain & Ireland Race

The 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race will feature a wide variety of yachts racing under the IRC rating rule as well as one design and open classes, such as IMOCA, Class40 and Multihulls. The majority of the fleet will race fully crewed, but with the popularity of the Two-Handed class in recent years, the race is expected to have a record entry.

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race starts on Sunday 7th August 2022 from Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK.

The 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is organised by The Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with The Royal Yacht Squadron.

It is run every four years. There have been nine editions of the Round Britain and Ireland Race which started in 1976 Sevenstar has sponsored the race four times - 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and has committed to a longterm partnership with the RORC

The 2022 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is a fully crewed non-stop race covering 1,805 nautical miles and is open to IRC, IRC Two Handed, IMOCA 60s, Class40s, Volvo 65s and Multihulls that will race around Britain and Ireland, starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes on the Isle of Wight starting after Cowes Week on Sunday 7 August 2022

The last edition of the race in 2018 attracted 28 teams with crews from 18 nations. Giles Redpath's British Lombard 46 saw over victory and Phil Sharp's Class40 Imerys Clean Energy established a new world record for 40ft and under, completing the course in 8 days 4 hrs 14 mins 49 secs.

The 1,805nm course will take competitors around some of the busiest and most tactically challenging sailing waters in the world. It attracts a diverse range of yachts and crew, most of which are enticed by the challenge it offers as well as the diversity and beauty of the route around Britain and Ireland with spectacular scenery and wildlife.

Most sailors agree that this race is one of the toughest tests as it is nearly as long as an Atlantic crossing, but the changes of direction at headlands will mean constant breaks in the watch system for sail changes and sail trim

Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race Records:

  • Outright - OMA07 Musandam-Oman Sail, MOD 70, Sidney Gavignet, 2014: 3 days 03:32:36
  • Monohull - Azzam Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, VO 65, Ian Walker, 2014: 4 days 13:10:28
  • Monohull All-Female - Team SCA, VO 65, Samantha Davies, 2014: 4 days 21:00:39
  • Monohull 60ft or less - Artemis Team Endeavour, IMOCA 60, Brian Thompson/Artemis Ocean Racing, 2014: 5 days 14:00:54
  • Monohull 40ft or less – Imerys Clean Energy, Class40, Phil Sharp, 2018: 8 days 4:14:49