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Displaying items by tag: Connemara

The search for a missing sailor off the Connemara coast has been stood down after a body was located this morning (Sat).

Identity details for the body have not yet been confirmed.

However, the sailor reported missing on Thursday evening (June 6) has been named locally as Conor McLoughlin of Foynes Yacht Club in Co Limerick, who sailed the “Peggy M”.

It is understood that Mr McLoughlin’s small dinghy became detached or went adrift off the Carna area of Connemara and he swam out after it.

RTÉ News reported that a Mayday call was issued from a vessel near Oileán Máisean (Mason island), a short distance off Carna, shortly before 6 pm on Thursday. Mr McLoughlin had been sailing with his wife, Bernadette.

An extensive air-sea search was initiated by the Irish Coast Guard, involving RNLI lifeboats from Aran and Clifden, the Irish Coast Guard Shannon-based helicopter, Cleggan Coast Guard, local fishing vessels, divers and volunteers walking the shoreline.

RNLI Clifden lifeboat coxswain James Mullen paid tribute on RTÉ to the number of people who had turned out to help, including fishing vessels and shore searchers, and said the response was a testament to the generosity of the local community.

The search effort focused on a coastal area from Oileán Mhic Dara (MacDara’s island) to Ceann Mhása ( Mace Head).

Southwesterly winds made conditions more challenging for those involved on Friday.

Published in News Update
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A search operation is under way off Connemara for a sailor reported missing after attempting to retrieve a small dinghy, as RTÉ News reports.

A mayday call was issued from Oileán Máisean, off Carna, before 6pm on Thursday evening (6 June) and RNLI volunteers from Clifden and the Aran Islands have been tasked to the scene.

Local reports suggest the missing man is a well-known member of Foynes Yacht Club, who is understood to have swum out after the dinghy when it came detached from the yacht he was sailing with a companion.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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A Connemara camping and caravan site overlooking Omey island has been awarded gold level certification by the Sustainable Tourism Network (STN).

Clifden Eco Beach Camping and Caravanning Park is currently the only campsite in Ireland to hold this certification, STN says.

The family business run by Tatjana and Kris Acton is located on the Aughrus peninsula and overlooking Omey island in Co Galway.

It says it has always had a focus on sustainability since it was first certified back in 2014. The 2024 reissue of their gold award follows a detailed onsite audit by an independent auditor.

Some of the highlights of its sustainability efforts include:

  • Banning toxic formaldehyde-based camper toilet solution and insisting on an eco-friendly product instead since 2014.
  • Banning plastic water bottles and single use plastics since 2014.
  • Becoming Europe’s first certified climate neutral campsite in 2015.
  • Sourcing spring water from beneath its sand-bearing soils which is free from chemicals.
  • Limiting the amp of power to each camping pitch to conserve energy.
  • Use of 100% green energy through their provider.
  • Forgoing the use of hard stands (concrete) for pitches so that the site can be returned to a green-field site easily and quickly.
  • Providing a pick-up service for customers that travel by public transport.
  • Providing bikes for customers.

The business also demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement - another essential element of sustainability.

Planned future initiatives include:

  • Upgrading the facilities to increase accessibility for people with disabilities, highlighting a dedication not just to environmental sustainability but also to social responsibility.
  • The introduction of smart meters and solar panels to further their use of renewable energy sources.
  • The introduction of QR codes at each pitch point, which both enhances visitor experience but also reduces paper use.

Speaking about the certification, Kris Acton states “This independent certification is important for us because it allows us to talk to an Irish and international audience about our sustainability. It says we are a sustainable business at the highest level. The audit is very evidence based.”

Tatjana adds, “The learning we got as we worked with STN as we worked towards recertification was priceless. The environmental education we are getting is second to none and it’s ongoing as we engage with STN.

The campsite sits in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for bottlenose dolphins and is a designated machair habitat site.

Machair sites are beach/sand dune habitats backed by peatland/wetlands and support pollinators and wading birds amongst other species.

Rob Rankin, STN director, said it was a “ remarkable accomplishment”.

“We are so impressed with this business. They prove that a small operation can be truly powerful leaders when it comes to sustainability. We are just delighted to see them reaping the rewards of their hard work,”he said.

The independent audit uses criteria recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

The GSTC is an independent non-profit UN-mandated organisation that has developed criteria that serve as globally accepted standards for sustainable tourism.

Published in Coastal Notes
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A new cruise venture in Galway Bay, rowing training and seaweed and shellfish gathering are among marine activities profiled in a new maritime TV series on Irish language television station TG4.

The series Pobal Cois Fharraige profiles the stretch of coast along Galway Bay running west from Na Forbacha to Ros an Mhíl in south Connemara.

It is widely known as Cois Fharraige, and, due to its proximity to Galway city, it is a popular tourist destination and home to a creative and vibrant rural community.

The series was filmed over the summer months of 2023 in the company of some of Cois Fharraige’s “characters” during their busiest time of year, the producers state.

The first episode of Pobal Cois Fharraige interviews Breda Hughes from An Spidéal Tidy Towns Committee, along with Diarmuid Ó Conghaíle and his rowing crew during their final training session before the Féile an Spidéil regatta.

It also films Féile an Spidéil organisers, who are hoping for fair weather and a fiercely competitive day of boat racing, and Tony Antaine Ó Curraoin and his son Antoine from An Cnocán Glas on one of their trips to the shore to collect shellfish and seaweed.

The second episode of Pobal Cois Fharraige interviews Tommy and Patrick Connolly, who are embarking on a journey with their new business venture, Galway Girl Cruises.

Tommy & Patrick Connolly of their new business venture Galway Girl CruisesTommy & Patrick Connolly of their new business venture Galway Girl Cruises

It visits Coláiste Chamuis as hundreds of students start to arrive at the Irish college, and films Sorcas Le Croí, an Irish language circus that has arrived in the area - including local student Colm Seoighe from Ros an Mhíl who will perform in the circus for the very first time.

It also profiles Caoilfhionn de Bhaldraithe from Sruth Yoga as she sets up her beach yoga classes, and visits the Ceardlann craft village in An Spidéal, where the owner of An Spailpín Fánach, Gearóid Ó Murchú, is celebrating a special occasion.

Caoilfhionn de Bhaldrithe from Sruth Yoga on the beach with her yoga classesCaoilfhionn de Bhaldrithe from Sruth Yoga on the beach with her yoga classes

Pobal Cois Fharraige begins at 8pm on Thursday June 6th 2024 on TG4, and is produced by Aniar TV.

Published in Maritime TV
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Clifden RNLI’s volunteer crew in western Connemara launched on Thursday evening (25 April) to rescue a sailor from the upturned hull of his sailing boat in Clifden Bay.

At 8.45pm the lifeboat crew were tasked by Malin Head Coast Guard following a call from a member of the public who had observed the sailor in difficulty from the shore.

The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Joyce King was quickly launched, helmed by Joe Acton with crew Alan Pryce and Shane Conneely. They were assisted by John Brendan Mannion on the shore.

The lifeboat arrived on scene, a short distance out in Clifden Bay, to find the casualty clinging to the hull of his upturned boat. The sailor, who was wearing a life vest, had been in the water for some time and was cold but in good spirits otherwise.

The crew transported the sailor back to shore to warm up and then set about righting the sail boat and towing it back to a safe mooring in the bay.

Speaking about the call-out, Clifden RNLI helm Joe Acton said: “With this current spell of good weather, we expect to see people enjoying water sports and boating activities around our coasts.

“We want everyone to enjoy the water and come home safely. Please always remember to wear a life jacket when out on the water, always carry a mobile phone or VHF radio to call for help in an emergency. Boats should have an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) which is registered and regularly maintained.

“The volunteer crew at our station are on call 24/7. If you get into difficulty, or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

An aquaculture start-up is celebrating the launch of its first seaweed farm in Connemara, as vegan business magazine Vegconomist reports.

US-based Sea&Believe develops ingredients for food and cosmetics using Palmaria palmata, a red seaweed more commonly known as dillisk or dulse and one that’s recognised for its high nutritional value as well as other health benefits.

The company says it is working with a group of scientists in Galway to develop a sustainable and durable farming process for dillisk in a region notably prone to extreme weather, while also exploring new commercial applications for its natural properties.

Vegconomist has more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquaculture
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At a recent awards ceremony, some 14 members of Clifden RNLI’s fundraising branch received long service medals recognising their combined 400 years of fundraising in Connemara.

As a fully independent charity organisation, the RNLI relies on donations to fund its lifesaving work. The Clifden lifeboat crew are on call 24/7 but they require ongoing training, well maintained equipment, lifeboats and shore equipment to carry out their mission of saving lives at sea.

None of this would be possible without the dedication, commitment and drive of our local fundraisers who have each dedicated many years to supporting their local coastal community.

The commitment and selflessness of Clifden’s fundraising volunteers was acknowledged by Danny Curran, RNLI regional engagement manager.

Speaking at the ceremony, he said: “I know how much thought and effort goes in raising every euro for our charity and I’m extremely grateful to the volunteers here today who have worked tirelessly on this goal for decades. In rain, hail and snow; every week, every month, every year, you have ensured we can keep our life saving services running.

“These awards are not just to celebrate the fundraising volunteers for their incredible achievements over many years but also their families and friends who play a key role in supporting our work.”

Long service award recipients include Padraig Mc Donagh from Kilkerrin who is the longest serving fundraiser in the branch, having dedicated an incredible 55 years to Clifden RNLI; Eileen and Oliver Coyne from Cleggan, who are responsible for the legendary RNLI Christmas hamper raffle; and Anne Marie Bennett, outgoing chair of the fundraising branch and highly valued RNLI volunteer.

A special moment was observed for Lavinia Joyce who sadly passed away in August this year. Lavinia was the first chairperson of the Clifden/Connemara fundraising branch, or the “Clifden Ladies Guild” as it was known when she joined in 1992. Her enthusiasm, dedication and sense of purpose to be involved with the RNLI was infectious. She was an inspiration to all of us and an absolute lady. Rest in peace, Lavinia.

Clifden RNLI Long Service Awardees 2023:

  • Geraldine Heanue
  • AnneMarie Bennett
  • Padraic Griffin
  • Stewart Freeman
  • Collin Mullen
  • Paraic Mc Donagh
  • Percy Hyland
  • Oliver and Eileen Coyne
  • Jacqueline Hannon
  • Nancy Duffy
  • Lavinia Joyce
  • Ann Day
  • Thomas King
Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer crew of Clifden RNLI were called out on Friday morning (25 August) at 7.30am to assist a stranded yacht off Connemara.

The vessel with two sailors on board had come into difficulty to the south-west of Inishark, which is west of Inisbofin.

Both of Clifden’s lifeboats launched: the inshore Atlantic 85 helmed by Daniel Whelan with Shane Conneely and Chris Nee as crew; and the all-weather Shannon class St Christopher with John Mullen as coxswain, James Mullen, Joe Acton, Neil Gallery and Alan Kearney as crew.

They were assisted from the shore by Tom Guy, John Heffernan and Sean Mercer.

Sea conditions at the time were moderate, with Force 5 winds and good visibility.

On arriving at the scene, the crews found the sailors to be well and in good spirits however the propeller and rudder on their yacht had become badly entangled with ropes.

The lifeboat volunteers set about establishing a tow line and brought the casualty vessel and the passengers back to safety at Cleggan Harbour.

Speaking after the rescue, Mullen said: “The sailors today did the right thing in calling for assistance when they ran into difficulty and I am delighted we were able help. Our volunteer crew did a great job of ensuring a speedy, safe and successful operation this morning.

“I’d like to thank the two sailors who kindly offered to buy breakfast for the crew after we reached the shore. The breakfast was most welcome after an early start saving lives at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The rejection is a major setback for Údaras na Gaeltachta, the Gaeltacht development authority, which based its jobs growth strategy on employment the new marine park would create.

Páirc na Mara, which was to be located in Carna in the Iorras Aithneach area of the Gaeltacht, had attracted significant marine interest when proposals were initially rolled out.

The plan was welcomed by members of the Carna and Cill Chiaráin communities.

However, the initial planning application was turned down by Galway County Council in 2021.

Bord Pleanála has given several reasons for rejecting the appeal. It highlighted lack of information on potential impact of climate change, and impact on water levels and the water supply in sources nearby.

Udaras na Gaeltachta, has said it is awaiting a copy of the full inspector’s report before commenting further.

Published in Galway Harbour
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The “do not consume” notice on public water affecting over 5,000 households in south Connemara has been lifted with immediate effect by Irish Water.

The agency says water is safe to drink for the “majority” living in An Spidéal and Na Forbacha, but those living in the network served by the Ros-a-Mhíl reservoir have been issued with a “boil water” notice.

This is to protect public health until additional remedial works are complete, Irish Water says.

The “do not consume” notice in place since September was issued due to reported high levels of manganese in the public water supply, which involved extensive flushing of the system to remove.

Businesses and some residents have been critical of the lack of communication over the issue by Irish Water. Tankered water, which then had to be boiled, was made available at a number of collection points.

Irish Water’s drinking water compliance specialist Dr Pat O’Sullivan acknowledged the impact the “do not consume” notice had on the 5,675 customers supplied by An Spidéal’s public water supply and thanked them for their patience while Irish Water and Galway County Council worked to have it lifted.

“ We would like to thank all the residents and businesses who were affected by this notice for their patience and cooperation while it was in place to protect public health,”Dr O’Sullivan said.

“We would also like to acknowledge and thank our colleagues in Galway County Council who worked tirelessly to address what was a challenging and complex issue. This notice has now been lifted, in consultation with the Health Service Executive and Environmental Protection Agency, following an extensive sampling and testing process to ensure that the water is safe to drink,” Dr O’Sullivan added.

He explained that the Boil Water Notice for those served by the Ros-a-Mhíl reservoir has been put in place due to the low levels of chlorine and detections of coliform bacteria in this part of the supply network. Works are ongoing to address this issue, he said.

The area affected includes approximately 250 customers in Ros-a-Mhíl.

A map of the area is available to view on the supply and service section of A “boil water” notice will also be hand-delivered to the properties affected, Irish Water said.

It said experts from Irish Water and Galway County Council are assessing the situation with a view to having the notice lifted as quickly as possible.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will be contacted directly about this notice, it says.

Water must be boiled for:

  • Drinking
  • Drinks made with water
  • Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating
  • Brushing of teeth
  • Making of ice - discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges. Make ice from cooled boiled water

Irish Water says that anyone who has concerns can contact our customer care team on 1800 278 278 or log onto the water supply and service section of for information.

A property’s eircode can also be entered on the water quality section of to check if it is included.

Published in Island News
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The 2024 Vendée Globe Race

A record-sized fleet of 44 skippers are aiming for the tenth edition of the Vendée Globe: the 24,296 nautical miles solo non-stop round-the-world race from Les Sables d’Olonne in France, on Sunday, November 10 2024 and will be expected back in mid-January 2025.

Vendée Globe Race FAQs

Six women (Alexia Barrier, Clarisse Cremer, Isabelle Joschke, Sam Davies, Miranda Merron, Pip Hare).

Nine nations (France, Germany, Japan, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, and Great Britain)

After much speculation following Galway man Enda O’Coineen’s 2016 race debut for Ireland, there were as many as four campaigns proposed at one point, but unfortunately, none have reached the start line.

The Vendée Globe is a sailing race round the world, solo, non-stop and without assistance. It takes place every four years and it is regarded as the Everest of sailing. The event followed in the wake of the Golden Globe which had initiated the first circumnavigation of this type via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn) in 1968.

The record to beat is Armel Le Cléac’h 74 days 3h 35 minutes 46s set in 2017. Some pundits are saying the boats could beat a sub-60 day time.

The number of theoretical miles to cover is 24,296 miles (45,000 km).

The IMOCA 60 ("Open 60"), is a development class monohull sailing yacht run by the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA). The class pinnacle events are single or two-person ocean races, such as the Route du Rhum and the Vendée Globe.

Zero past winners are competing but two podiums 2017: Alex Thomson second, Jérémie Beyou third. It is also the fifth participation for Jean Le Cam and Alex Thomson, fourth for Arnaud Boissières and Jérémie Beyou.

The youngest on this ninth edition of the race is Alan Roura, 27 years old.

The oldest on this ninth edition is Jean Le Cam, 61 years old.

Over half the fleet are debutantes, totalling 18 first-timers.

The start procedure begins 8 minutes before the gun fires with the warning signal. At 4 minutes before, for the preparatory signal, the skipper must be alone on board, follow the countdown and take the line at the start signal at 13:02hrs local time. If an IMOCA crosses the line too early, it incurs a penalty of 5 hours which they will have to complete on the course before the latitude 38 ° 40 N (just north of Lisbon latitude). For safety reasons, there is no opportunity to turn back and recross the line. A competitor who has not crossed the starting line 60 minutes after the signal will be considered as not starting. They will have to wait until a time indicated by the race committee to start again. No departure will be given after November 18, 2020, at 1:02 p.m when the line closes.

The first boat could be home in sixty days. Expect the leaders from January 7th 2021 but to beat the 2017 race record they need to finish by January 19 2021.

Today, building a brand new IMOCA generally costs between 4.2 and €4.7million, without the sails but second-hand boats that are in short supply can be got for around €1m.

©Afloat 2020

Vendee Globe 2024 Key Figures

  • 10th edition
  • Six women (vs six in 2020)
  • 16 international skippers (vs 12 in 2020)
  • 11 nationalities represented: France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Japan, China, USA, New Zealand (vs 9 in 2020)
  • 18 rookies (vs 20 in 2020)
  • 30 causes supported
  • 14 new IMOCAs (vs 9 in 2020)
  • Two 'handisport' skippers

At A Glance - Vendee Globe 2024

The 10th edition will leave from Les Sables d’Olonne on November 10, 2024

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