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Displaying items by tag: lighthouses

#LighthouseGrant - A grant of €299,000 was announced by Minister of State for Tourism, Michael Ring TD last week via the Fáilte Ireland Capital Programme, to the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

The grant is to develop a new visitor facility building on a site adjacent to Fanad Head Lighthouse. The project will incorporate a new car park as well as facilities for visitors, a ticket desk and an interpretation area.

Fanad Head Lighthouse is located in Co. Donegal on the eastern shores of the Fanad peninsula in an area recognised for its scenery and has been designated a Signature Discovery Point within Fáilte Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way initiative.

The Minister Ring commented: 'While recent technology advances mean that much of the old physical infrastructure at lighthouse stations is no longer required for core operations, the Commissioners of Irish Lights is to be commended for recognising that these properties are of important heritage value and preserving them as a tourism asset. Today's grant will allow Fanad Lighthouse to fully play its natural part as a truly spectacular stop along the Wild Atlantic Way'.

"The lighthouse itself is due to open to visitors this summer and will offer a unique visitor experience as well as provide an insight into the role of lighthouses in Ireland's past, as well as the lighthouse keeper's way of life. Visitors will have access to the top of the lighthouse with unsurpassed views of the Atlantic and the surrounding coastline. It will be a great asset to the region."

Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn emphasised: 'We are more than happy to invest in this project and we believe that it will significantly build on the experience for visitors to this part of Donegal. The project is a perfect fit for the Wild Atlantic Way, which continues to develop and evolve, and an attraction such as Fanad resonates very much with both the 'culturally curious' and 'great escapers' – those overseas market segments to which the Wild Atlantic Way particularly appeals'

The nvestment follows a recent €500,000 refurbishment of Fanad Lighthouse by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, who have also redeveloped the former lighthouse keepers' houses into three self-catering units.

In addition, the Commissioners recently launched a new initiative entitled the Great Lighthouses of Ireland partnership. This initiative will bring together 12 lighthouses in Ireland and Northern Ireland and includes the marketing, preservation and conservation of our important maritime and lighthouse heritage.

The partnership was created to deliver an experience that is motivating and inspiring and fully leverages the Wild Atlantic Way's potential.

Published in Lighthouses

#Tuskar200th – The Tuskar Rock Lighthouse off Ireland's south-east coast celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.

The lighthouse perched on the Tuskar Rock 7 miles off Co. Wexford is a familar sight to those taking ferry services in and out of Rosslare Harbour. 

For two hundred years the lighthouse has helped provide safe navigation to mariners and sailors alike since its light was first exhibited on 4 June 1815. 

The white tower is topped with a light that operates at night and in poor visibility during daylight hours.

Paraffin vapour burners were the light source until the light was converted to electric on 7th July 1938.

Electricity allowed the use of a 3000 W lamp giving two white flashes every 7.5 seconds.

On 31st March 1993 the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation and the keepers were withdrawn from the station.

The station is in the care of an Attendant and Assistant Attendant and the aids to navigation are also monitored via a telemetry link from the Commissioners of Irish Lights headquarters in Dun Laoghaire.

There is a much more detailed history of the lighthouse courtesy of Irish Lights which has dedicated a page on the their website here.

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#Lighthouses - Lighthouse keeping is a 'lost tradition' in Ireland as the coastal network of Irish lights has converted to automation.

But there's still one last holdout, as the Journal.ie reports – not to mention the many former lighthouse keepers who have a lifetime of stories to share.

One of them is Gerald Butler, who today serves as attendant keeper at Galley Head lighthouse, included in the new Great Lighthouses of Ireland tourism initiative.

But his career – which began in 1969 at the age of 19, following his family's maritime leanings – previously took him to nearly every lighthouse in the State, including the isolated Fastnet Rock.

Sadly it's a profession that Ireland will never see again upon the retirement of Ireland's last keeper at Hook Lighthouse in Co Wexford.

“Once the era changed and the light keepers were gone the tradition went with them,” said Butler, who thinks what's "most important now is to preserve the history and preserve the heritage."

TheJournal.ie has much more on the story HERE.

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#IrishLightsScilly – ILV Granuaile, the Commissioners of Irish Lights aids to navigation tender is understood to have carried out work for the first time within waters of the Isles of Scilly, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The tender's call in this week of St. Patrick's Day followed a departure from Irish waters in which she has responsibility around the entire coast of this island.

It was when she headed through St. Georges Channel is where she passed in the opposite direction the containership Coronel. The only vessel that operates between the Irish and Welsh capitals had departed Cardiff bound for Dublin.

ILV Granuaile has worked previously off the UK's South West coast but prior to this area she headed into the Bristol Channel to call into Swansea Docks where Trinity Lights have a depot in King's Dock. Likewise of Irish Lights, the general lighthouse authority (GLA) of Trinity House has responsibility for the safety of shipping and mariners in waters off England, Wales and the Channel Islands.

Following an overnight call, she was off Porthcawl. She then took a longer passage across the Bristol Channel to pass off Ilfracombe and offshore of the estuary leading to Appledore. This is where the Navy Service latest newbuild OPV90 was built by Babcock Marine. As reported before, James Joyce had completed recent builders sea-trials.

So why was ILV Granuaile working off the Scilly Isles, the reason is that one of the trio of Trinity House vessels, THV Patricia is undergoing her special five-year drydock in Hull. Last year ILV Granuaile underwent a more extensive 15 year Special Survey and Drydocking' at Cork Dockyard.

During her Scilly stay and offshore of Hugh Town on the largest island is where the main freight-only cargship, Gry Maritha was operating.

Both vessels this afternoon departed for the mainland, with the cargoship calling within the small confined dock of Penzance Harbour. Whereas the Irish lighthouse tender took up a position offshore of the Cornish port.

In January, Northern Lighthouse Board, the third GLA, deployed NLB Pole Star that involved a brief call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The call of the tender which otherwise has juristriction along with NLB Pharos of Scottish and Manx waters was concurrent to the 'Granuaile' making a more recent call to Cork Dockyard last month

Published in Lighthouses

#SPARbuoys – The second of a pair of Finnish Spar tube type buoys has been deployed by the Commissioners of Irish Lights at the Bennet Bank station on the outer fringes of Dublin Bay,writes Jehan Ashmore.

ILV Granuaile, the aids to navigation tender carried out the deployment on Tuesday, a day after the first Spar buoy (a type used in the Baltic Sea) was deployed further south in the Irish Sea at the West Blackwater station off the Wexford coast.

CIL in co-operation with Meritaito Ltd, a Finnish state company are carrying out a comparison programme for performance and survivability tests on the spar buoys at the two Irish Sea stations and which are part of the Dublin Bay Digital Diamond Project.

The slim profile of Spar buoys, are particularly well suited to the Baltic's ice conditions, though they can suffer from conspicuity problems when compared with conventional buoys.

By deploying the Spar buoys, the Irish Sea trials will determine visible and radar conspicuity performance of the slimmer spar structures in comparison to the profile of the existing conventionally shaped buoys.

Trails are expected to run for 12 months and mariners are advised to maintain a safe distance from these buoys during the trial timeframe.

The Spar buoys are of the same light and daymark display as those of the existing buoys will be established in close proximity to both of the Irish Sea stations.

To consult the Notice to Mariners, showing Spar buoys locations, CLICK HERE.

Published in Lighthouses

#BalticSPARbuoys – The first of two Finnish 'Spar' tube type buoys was deployed in the Irish Sea yesterday by the Commissioners of Irish Lights as part of a trial comparison programme of these buoys normally used in Baltic Sea ice-flow conditions, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie last May, CIL announced its association with a Finnish state-owned company Meritaito Ltd to carry out performance and survivability tests on the spar buoys at two Irish Sea stations. The trials are part of the Dublin Bay Digital Diamond Project.

The first station to be deployed a Spar Buoy was at the West Blackwater off Co. Wexford which involved the CIL's aids to navigation tender ILV Granuaile, recently returned from dry-dock following a spell in Cork Dockyard.

The slim profile of Spar buoys are particularly well suited to the Baltic's ice conditions, though they can suffer from conspicuity problems when compared with conventional buoys.

By deploying the Spar buoys, the Irish Sea trials will determine visible and radar conspicuity performance of the slimmer spar structures in comparison to the profile of the existing conventionally shaped buoys.

The trails are expected to run for 12 months and mariners are advised to maintain a safe distance from these buoys during the trial.

The Spar buoys are of the same light and daymark display as those of the existing Irish Sea buoys and will be established in close proximity to both of these stations.

According to the CIL website Notice to Mariners (No. 12 of 2014) the first Spar buoy is 300 metres to the east of the West Blackwater Buoy. The second Spar bouy will likewise be 300 metres but to the north of the Bennet Bank on the eastern fringes of Dublin Bay.

Deployment of the second Spar buoy at Bennet Bank is scheduled to be later this week or at the weekend depending on weather conditions.

To consult the Notice and charts showing Spar station sites, CLICK HERE.

Published in Lighthouses

#DryDocking - ILV Granuaile (2000/2,625grt) departed Cork Harbour and is bound for Rosslare Harbour this evening having undergone dry-docking, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Among the work carried out on the Commissioners of Irish Lights tender at Cork Dockyard were some service work done on thrusters and re-chroming of crane rams.

The Dutch Damen Group which built the vessel at their Romanian yard in Galati, had also undergone in Cork Dockyard last year a major '15 Special Survey & Dry-Docking'. The Rushbrooke yard fought off stiff competition for the EU tender as part of a €650,000 project to enable continued operation to Lloyds +100A1 Classification.

ILV Granuaile yesterday morning departed a river-berth for sea-trials. This involved the 79m long lighthouse tender pass Cobh to where a pair of UK registered factory trawlers berthed following detention off the Blaskets by the Naval Service.

She then headed beyond Roches Point Lighthouse, marking the entrance to Cork Harbour from where a circuit was made at sea before returning to the dockyard. 

The trawlers Wiron 5 and Wiron 6 are 55m in length and have a Dutch crew of 14 each. They were detained for alleged fishery infringements by the OPV L.E. Samuel Beckett (P61) which escorted the vessels to Cobh and then she headed upriver to berth in Cork City quays.

Published in Lighthouses

#PoleStar – Northern Lighthouse Board's aids to navigation tender NLB Pole Star which normally serves in Scottish waters and also has responsibility for the Isle of Man, made a brief call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour over the weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The presence of Pole Star in Irish waters is not unusual as on occasions, operations require the deployment of these specialist ships between the three General Lighthouse Authority (GLA).

The GLA are the Commissioners of Irish Lights, Northern Lighthouse Board and Trinity House which works in English and Walsh waters and those of the Channel Islands.

During Pole Star's overnight Friday-Saturday call to Dun Laoghaire, the harbour is where CIL are headquartered and is also the homeport of ILV Granuaile, which is understood to be at Cork Dockyard.

As Afloat.ie previously reported, she underwent last year a '15 year Special Survey Dry-docking' awarded to the Rushbrooke based facility that beat off stiff competition from other European yards.

At this stage, it is uncertain if the call to Cork (or for layover period?) was directly to do with the deployment of Pole Star. The vessel  departed the Dublin Bay harbour yesterday for Belfast Lough and today headed up the Firth of Clyde bound for Greenock.

Pole Star (2000/1,174grt) the smaller of the two NLB vessels, is otherwise an Oban based buoy-laying vessel which can also carry out hydrographic surveys.

Combined, the GLA's have a fleet of six ships in which CIL's ILV Granuaile built also in 2000, was the first in terms of ship design of the lighthouse umbrella organisation to have her working deck positioned aft. i.e. at the back of the ship where buoys are stowed to and from deployment.

At the time of Granuaile's introduction, this far improved design was followed suit by her GLA counterparts. However, Trinity House's THV Patricia, dating from 1982, remains as the sole survivor of the traditional forward located working deck arrangement between the superstructure and bow.

Notably, she is the only tender to accommodate paying-passengers (numbering 12) who can join the vessel as she carries out her routine duties.

Published in Lighthouses

#Lighthouses - The Irish Examiner reports on the new All-Ireland Lighthouse Trail that's planned to launch next summer, eventually linking 20 lights across the border.

The initial phase of the project, which was first announced more than a year ago, will see redevelopment of five lighthouses in Antrim, Down and Donegal, including Fanad Head Lighthouse.

And it's envisaged it will complement the Wild Atlantic Way coastal tourism route from Donegal to Cork.

The Commissioners of Irish Lights website has more on the All-Ireland Lighthouse Trail, which will link up 20 of the island of Ireland's more than 70 lights.

Plans are also in motion to provide for accommodation along the route, plus visitor centres to highlight each lighthouse's story and heritage.

Published in Lighthouses

#Lighthouses - Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe today announced an agreement with his UK counterpart Minister John Hayes for light dues paid by ships coming into ports in Ireland and the United Kingdom from April 2015.

Light dues fund the aids to navigation – lighthouses, buoys, beacons and radio aids – operated by the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL) in Ireland, and by Trinity House and the Northern Lighthouse Board in the UK.

The three lighthouse authorities, their integrated working arrangements and the single operating system for light dues represents a long-standing co-operation between Ireland and the United Kingdom.

A joint Ireland-UK consideration of the light dues system has resulted in an agreement to maintain the single light dues operational area and to improve the collection and enforcement system for light dues.

This will be of particular benefit to the CIL in relation to light dues payable at Irish ports.

“I welcome this agreement, as I believe the single light dues area has worked well over many years, particularly for the shipping sector," said Minister Donohoe. "It also avoids the need to pay light dues separately in Ireland and the UK, which would have imposed additional costs on shipping on Ireland-UK routes.

"To keep this arrangement in place it is of course important that the shipping sector plays its part in paying its liabilities for light dues promptly. The Commissioners of Irish Lights play a vital maritime role in providing aids to navigation from which the shipping sector benefits, and light dues are a key element of CIL’s funding.”

The minister also referred to CIL’s success in implementing its strategic and operational restructuring programme and in reducing its operational costs by more than 30% over five years.

“CIL has shown its ability to operate as an efficient and dynamic organisation. The agreed arrangements will be in place for a trial period up to March 2018, and monitored for their cost-effectiveness and sustainability.

"I can confirm that the Irish light dues rate will remain at €0.60 per net registered tonne for CIL’s upcoming fiscal year from Apr 2015 to Mar 2016.

"As part of my commitment to CIL and to maritime safety, my department will continue to contribute towards CIL’s costs during the trial period up to March 2018.”

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The Ilen is the last of Ireland’s traditional wooden sailing ships.

Designed by Limerick man Conor O’Brien and built in Baltimore in 1926, she was delivered by Munster men to the Falkland Islands where she served valiantly for seventy years, enduring and enjoying the Roaring Forties, the Furious Fifties, and Screaming Sixties.

Returned now to Ireland and given a new breath of life, Ilen may be described as the last of Ireland’s timber-built ocean-going sailing ships, yet at a mere 56ft, it is capable of visiting most of the small harbours of Ireland.

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