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Displaying items by tag: Shannon

#canoe – A blind journalist, canoeist and past pupil at ChildVision's national education centre for blind children will paddle the River Shannon in aid of ChildVision this weekend. Wesley Bourke and his paddling partner Aisa Cooper will take on the 360km (225 mile) feat from August 16th-19th, covering 100km per day for the first three days. The challenge will begin at Dowra in County Cavan and cover the counties of Leitrim, Roscommon, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, Galway, Clare and Tipperary as they make their way to Limerick.

"No blind person has ever done this before but I'm confident we'll not only complete the challenge, but we'll get it done on schedule," said Bourke. "And ChildVision really deserves every support you can give them, and I hope everyone along the route will be generous in supporting them, and us, too."

Wesley was diagnosed with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy at a eighteen while he was completing an apprenticeship with the Air Corp, leaving him with less than 15% vision. He attended ChildVision's integrated post-primary school, Pobal Scoil Rosmini, to complete his Leaving Certificate. Graduating in 1998 Wesley went on to study International relations at the University of Hull and Kings College London. He now works as a journalist at An Cosantóir, the Defence Forces magazine.

An adventure enthusiast, Wesley recently completed the Devizes – Westminster International Canoeing Marathon with Aisa, paddling over 200km in a two man kayak in preparation for this event. Wesley and Aisa are members of the Celbridge Paddlers Canoe Club, Co. Kildare.

The pair will take to the Shannon in a K2 kayak on August 16th to raise funds for ChildVision, Ireland's only national education centre for blind children. ChildVision works with over 800 families throughout the country providing educational resources and facilities for blind children.

Published in Canoeing
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#COASTGUARD - The Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter was dispatched to the Donegal coast on Friday night to rescue a young boy seriously injured in a farming accident.

As the Clare Herald reports, Rescue 115 - which only entered service a month ago - was called on to make the long-distance journey after the Sligo coastguard chopper was grounded by technical problems.

The mission put Shannon's new Sikorsky S92A craft's long-range capabilities and specialist medical equipment to the test, as it flew from Clare to Tory Island via Sligo General Hospital to evaculate the six-year-old boy, airlifting him to Letterkenny General Hospital for treatment.

As previously reported on, the Irish Coast Guard took delivery of the new chopper at its Shannon base earlier this year as part of the rescue service's €500 million deal with CHC Ireland to revamp the aircraft fleet. Shannon is the only base to receive a brand new helicopter as part of the contract.

Equipped for dedicated search and rescue operations, the Sikorsky S92A provides coverage for deep Atlantic Ocean missions, services Ireland's offshore islands and provides rescue cover on the west coast from Cork to Galway.

Published in Coastguard

#inland – The Largest Boat Rally to ever travel to Limerick will arrive at the Hunt Museum this weekend the 30th-1st July as part of an organised tour to Kilrush for boaters from all over the inland waterway system.

Over 80 boats are expected to take part in this momentous event as they depart in groups from 5.30am on Saturday and Sunday morning leaving Killaloe & Ballina and heading to Parteen Weir, Ardnacrusha and down into Limerick City itself.

This rally is extremely special in that many of the boaters have never made the journey through the lock and into Limerick before. This 'newbies' rally where boats travel 'in company' is designed to show inland waterway boaters the joys of travelling through Ardnascrusha and into the city and as they travel under the guidance of highly experienced boaters from the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) , any 'fear of the unknown' is greatly reduced.

Éanna Rowe Head of Marketing & Communications, Waterways Ireland confirmed "Waterways Ireland is delighted that the moorings in Limerick City are ready to receive such a large flotilla, as all the works have been completed over the winter in preparation for more boat traffic through Limerick. That fact that these boaters are mostly new visitors to Limerick is to be greatly welcomed. I hope their experience is highly enjoyable and that they stay longer on their next journey."

Dave Mc Cade and Noel Griffin Organisers of the Rally stated "The IWAI is delighted to be bringing this rally into Limerick, and the Open Day on Sunday 1st July is a great opportunity for local people to come down and visit us on Arthurs Quay and behind the Hunt Museum."

Published in Inland Waterways
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#shannon –  Waterways Ireland has successfully completed dredging maintenance in Limerick City around Sarsfield Lock and the Abbey River undertaken over the Winter & Spring of 2011/12 so the city is once again open to boating traffic.

This contract was challenging due to the requirement to execute the works during the winter, out of the boating season. The Abbey River experienced very high flows at this time of year as a result of operations at Ardnacrusha Power Station and part of works were undertaken in a tidal zone of the river. Meticulous planning by Waterways Ireland and the contractor was required to ensure the dredging was carried out safely and effectively in reduced daylight hours, under strict environmental guidelines with severely limited access and traffic restrictions within the city. The contract resulted in the removal of approximately 20,000 tonnes of sediment deposits from the navigation channel in the Abbey and Shannon Rivers.

The work programme was carefully planned approximately 18 months in advance and involved extensive consultation with National Parks and Wildlife Service, Shannon Foynes Port Company, Inland Fisheries Ireland & Limerick City Council (Planning, Roads, Environment and Waste sections) to minimise the impact of the essential maintenance works on the sensitive habitats that have become established within the Shannon estuary.

Licences to undertake the work were secured in October 2011 and continual monitoring ensured that the works were carried out in full compliance with current environmental legislation. In addition the consultations developed into regular communications during the progress of the contract and also involved the local rowing clubs and city councillors.

The contract was undertaken in three phases as a result of differing site requirements and conditions. The first phase from the Custom House Quay to Sarsfield Lock was undertaken in October 2011 and required the employment of a pontoon mounted excavator with barges. Barges transported the material to Sarsfield Lock where a temporary loading area was constructed for load out to lorry.

The second phase of the contract was undertaken in December and involved the removal of material from the Baals Bridge area of the navigation. Flow conditions in the river dictated the employment an innovative amphibious excavator. Access for this excavator was achieved through the Park Canal and the existing Lock, where it was able to operate directly in the river at low tide conditions. Removal of the material was via an agreed temporary loading area at Baals Bridge

The third phase of the contract, undertaken in February involved the removal of material from the Georges Quay area of the navigation. Work in this area was undertaken last as additional environmental studies and approval was required to protect the Lamprey Eel. Flow conditions in the river dictated a different removal method that employed a smaller pontoon-mounted excavator with an anchorage system. Removal of the material was via an agreed temporary loading area at Georges Quay, immediately adjacent to the Barrington Hospital, direct to lorry and disposal.

All dredged material removed from the Abbey River was transported to a licenced disposal facility in accordance with current disposal legislation and the Traffic Management Plan agreed with Limerick City Council, which was designed to minimise traffic disruption in the city centre.

It is anticipated that this maintenance work will greatly enhance the key asset that the navigation provides to Limerick City and help stimulate greater use of the marina by boats. The improved mooring facilities will also enable the boating enthusiast to access the extensive public amenities available in the city centre, including many restaurants, bars, shops and museums amongst other attractions.

Published in Inland Waterways
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#GANDELOW – Traditional Gandelow rowing races will be held on the river Shannon in Limerick City on Saturday, May 19th 2012. The day will begin with a reception and presentation of boats, followed by public talks and racing.

The event is a celebration of historic Limerick City and Shannon estuary river ways. It also celebrates the building of five Gandelows, river boats which were once an integral part of the economic life of the City. Though naval in style, Gandelows continue to contribute richly to the architectural mix that makes up the built City.

It is also a celebration of the work of the ILEN Wooden Boat Building School who, in collaboration with river folk and community groups, have come together to build five boats and stage a cultural and educational river event.

The programme is as follows:

Morning Programme, Venue Strand Hotel:

10.30am – Reception and presentation of Limerick city's new fleet of Gandelows

11.00am – Public Lectures in the City & Harris Suite, Strand Hotel

11.15am – Lecture by Anthony Keane OSB – 'They sailed to the sea in ships',

Anthony Keane is a Benedictine Monk & Forester. He has been a monk of Glenstal Abbey for more than thirty years and is also a founding director of the AK Ilen Company as well as a Gandelow Races organiser.

12.00pm – Lecture by Lance Lee USA – Wooden Boatbuilding & Community Education

Lance Lee, founder of several incarnations of The Apprenticeshop Maine USA, of Atlantic Challenge International, and of the Tremolino! Project, has worked on numerous boatbuilding projects with hundreds of students and boatbuilders – all over the world.

His journey in wooden boatbuilding education began in 1968 and when many men would be winding down, Lance Lee continues to embrace new challenges. One of his recent projects, was working with boatbuilder Brady Gow to build a smaller version ofTremolino, the lateen-rigged balancelle (a Mediterranean workboat) used by Joseph Conrad to run guns for the royalist cause between Marseilles and Catalonia in the late 1800s. This should prove to be a most stimulating and inspiring lecture.

1.00pm – Lunch break

Afternoon Programme, Racing between Sarsfiled Bridge and Shannon Bridge

2.30pm – Launch of boats

3.00pm – First of three races commences

4.30pm – Prize giving and closing address

For more information please call Mobile 086 2640479 or email: [email protected]

Published in Inland Waterways
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#TITANIC - The Titanic memorial cruise was yesterday forced to turn back just 100 miles from the southwest coast of Ireland after a passenger fell ill, BBC News reports.

The Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter at Shannon was dispached to the MS Balmoral to retrieve BBC cameraman Tim Rex, 56, who was struck by a non-life threatening heart condition, according to the Irish Independent.

Rex, who was covering the memorial sailing for the BBC, was treated by ship's doctors before being airlifted to hospital as a precaution.

The emergency happened just hours after the ship departed Cobh, the last port of call of the ill-fated Titanic before it sank in the North Atlantic on 14 April 1912.

A spokesperson for Titanic Memorial Cruises confirmed that despite the delay, the ship is still on schedule and is expected to arrive at the Titanic wreck site as planned on Saturday.

Published in Titanic

#INLAND – The Winter Mooring period in Public Harbours on the Shannon Navigation and the Shannon –Erne Waterway has ends onSat 31 Mar 2012. Thereafter the Navigation Bye-law No. 17(3) applies and vessels should not berth in the same harbour for longer than the statutory period of five consecutive days nor more than a total of seven days in any one month. The full notice from Waterways Ireland is downloadable below.

Published in Inland Waterways
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#COASTGUARD - The Irish Coast Guard has taken delivery of its new search and rescue helicopter at its Shannon base, The Irish Times reports.

As previously reported on, Sikorsky completed production of the new S-92 helicopter for the Irish Coast Guard last December under the rescue service's €500 million deal with CHC Ireland to revamp the aircraft fleet.

The deal will also see the coastguard's remaining four Sikorsky S-61s replaced by second-hand S-62s from Scotland over the coming months.

Training with crews at Shannon is set to begin shortly ahead of the S-92's first public demonstration at the centenary of the Titanic’s departure from Cobh in Cork Harbour.

Meanwhile, it is expected that the Air Corps may be offered an upgraded air ambulance role, after they were ruled out as contenders for search and rescue work amid some controversy.

The Department of Health has reportedly been in exploratory talks with private firms regarding the provision of an inter-hospital emergency air transfer service, as called for by the Roscommon Hospital Action Group.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#COASTGUARD - Sikorsky has completed production of a new S-92 helicopter for the Irish Coast Guard under the rescue service's €500 million deal with CHC Ireland.

The US-based helicopter firm and CHC formalised the purchase on Wednesday (21 December) with Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds during a hand-over ceremony at the S-92 commercial helicopter assembly facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

Equipped for dedicated search and rescue (SAR) operations, the helicopter will provide coverage for deep Atlantic Ocean missions, service Ireland's offshore islands and provide rescue cover on the west coast from Cork to Galway.

The new aircraft will be based at Shannon and will replace the current coastguard SAR helicopter, a Sikorsky S-61, which has given 20 years of unbroken service.

According to Sikorsky, the S-92 is equipped with advanced systems and hardware, including an automated flight control system that enables the pilot to fly pre-programmed search patterns and perform delicate hover manoeuvres; a wireless intercom allowing a rescue swimmer to communicate with the crew; radio transceivers to communicate with ships and rescue services; a weather radar and infrared sensor; and a digital video system to record rescues.

Reynolds said the new helicopter - which joins four second-hand machines on a 10-year lease - represents a stepped improvement in Ireland's ability to care for and service its seagoing, coastal and island communities.

"I am very happy that the Coast Guard will operate what I consider to be the leading SAR helicopter in the world," he added.

As reported earlier this year on, the new chopper is part of a deal that raised questions from a Fine Gael TD over allegations that a competing tender did not have a "good reputation".

Fergus O'Dowd questioning the contract with CHC Ireland after receiving documents in which Chris Reynolds said the Air Corps – whose helicopters are supplied by AgustaWestland - were uneqipped for the role and that no cost saving would be made if they took on the service.

Published in Coastguard

The potential for developing a 'transhipment port' on the Shannon Estuary topped the agenda of meetings held by Sean Kelly MEP and leading US politicians and business people at Jacksonville, USA - home to one of the largest commercial cargo ports on the Atlantic Coast.

International maritime consultant, John Martin, recently identified the Shannon Estuary as having potential for a bulk transshipment centre due to its 16 meter depth waters. Most UK and European ports have channel depth of just 10 meters, limiting the size of vessels that can be accommodated. This is a gap in the cargo market that Shannon can fill according to Mr Kelly.

"The study by Mr Martin indicated feasibility for the establishment of a port at Shannon to receive cargo vessels drawing in excess of 15 meters and particularly dry bulk goods. The cargo could be broken down in Shannon (Ships of 15+ metres draft) and shipped in smaller tonnage vessels (ships of 6.4 to 12.5 metres draft) to Nordic countries and European smaller ports. Mr Martin also pointed out that there could be significant savings for shipping companies using this method when transporting dry bulk goods when compared to using ports with limited water depth.

"The development itself would represent a multi-million boost for the region, creating employment both directly and indirectly through spin-off industries. It is an idea I would like to see fully investigated and that is why I raised the issue with US politicians on my visit to Jacksonville in the last few days, as part of my work as a member of the EU-US Parliamentary Relations Committee.

"Ireland and the US enjoy a proud tradition as trading partners and location-wise, a port facilitating North American shipping companies is very logical. US Senators, Congressmen and business leaders reacted positively to the idea and it is something I will pursue further as an MEP for Ireland South," Mr Kelly concluded.

Amongst those present at the talks was a US citizen with Kerry ancestry - Mike Breen the Senior Director International Department at Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Jerry Mallot - President at Cornerstone Regional Development Partnership.

Published in Ports & Shipping
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