Displaying items by tag: lighthouses
#loophead – The 2013 tourist season at Loop Head Lighthouse in County Clare commences this weekend as the West Clare landmark opens to the public for the first time this year.
The 19th century lighthouse will be opened for its third successive season on Saturday and will remain open each weekend, including Easter Weekend and Bank Holidays, up to and including September. Clare County Council says 12 full-time and part-time jobs will be created when the Lighthouse reopens.
Loop Head Lighthouse, located at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary, is steeped in history and rich in maritime heritage with its origins dating back to the 1670s. The existing tower style lighthouse was constructed in 1854 and was operated and maintained by a keeper who lived within the lighthouse compound. In January 1991, the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation, and today is in the care of an attendant and is also monitored by the CIL. In July 2011, Clare County Council, with the support and cooperation of CIL, Shannon Development and Loop Head Tourism, opened the Lighthouse as a visitor attraction on a trial basis.
The Lighthouse made national headlines last year when Taoiseach Enda Kenny, whose own grandfather was a Lightkeeper at Loop Head during the 1930s, and his family visited the historic maritime building. Dr. Aleida Guevara March, the eldest daughter of revolutionary figure Ernesto "Che" Guevara, also visited in late September, while the Lighthouse was one of 400 lighthouses and lightships in 50 countries to participate in the 15th International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend.
17,423 people (13,441 adults, 3,982 children) visited the lighthouse during the May to September opening period in 2012. 71% of the total visitor figure was represented by domestic visitors, of which approximately 50% were holidaymakers and 35% were day-trippers, with local visitors accounting for the remainder. Overseas visitors accounted for 29% of the total figure. It is estimated that the 18-week opening period was worth approximately €650,000 to the local economy.
Speaking ahead of the weekend opening, Gerard Dollard, Director of Services with Clare County Council said: "Clare tourism, particularly the sector in the Loop Head Peninsula, has benefited greatly from this visitor project and we look forward to welcoming thousands of people to the Lighthouse again this year. This is a very special year being the year of the Gathering and also the year in which Kilrush will host a 10 day programme for the National Famine Commemoration in May. The opening of the lighthouse complements the existing, quality tourism product on offer in the Loop Head Peninsula and wider West Clare area."
#LighthouseTender – The Commissioners of Irish Lights ILV Granuaile (2000/2,625grt) an aids to navigation tender vessel, is undergoing steel modification works while berthed in Dublin Port, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Work on the 79m long tender which is moored at Sir John Rogersons' Quay close to the East-Link Bridge, is been carried out by Arklow Marine Services.
The work involves fabricating of a new radar mast, installation of calorifier units and modifications to the bridge.
Steel work modifications entail fitting under deck strengthening in way of ROV pads which are to be in accordance and to the approval of Lloyds.
Killybeg based Barry Electronics are supplying and fitting a new radar which requires a new mast with existing steelwork and platform being removed.
The new calorifier unit which is to replace existing plant will be piped in using 316 stainless steel pipe materials. It is expected the quayside work be completed by the middle of this month.
ILV Granuaile is the third tender to carry the name of the famous Mayo pirate Queen.
She was built by the Damen Shipyards Group, where the hull and superstructure were completed in Romania in Galati, the largest port town on the River Danube.
Following launching, she was towed through the Black Sea to the Netherlands for fitting out at another Damen shipyard, where work included the installation of electronic equipment.
#Shipping - The General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland (GLA) have announced that ships in the Port of Dover, its approaches and part of the Dover Strait can now use eLoran radio navigation technology as a backup to satnav systems like GPS and Galileo.
The ground-based eLoran system provides alternative position and timing signals for improved navigational safety.
The Dover area, the world's busiest shipping lane, is the first in the world to achieve this initial operational capability (IOC) for shipping companies operating both passenger and cargo services.
This recent announcement represents the first of up to seven eLoran installations to be implemented along the East Coast of the United Kingdom.
The Thames Estuary and approaches up to Tilbury, the Humber Estuary and approaches, and the ports of Middlesbrough, Grangemouth and Aberdeen will all benefit from new installations, and the prototype service at Harwich and Felixstowe will be upgraded.
Although primarily intended as a maritime aid to navigation, eLoran could become a cost-effective backup for a wide range of applications that are becoming increasingly reliant on the position and timing information provided by satellite systems.
"Our primary concern at the GLA is for the safety of mariners," said Ian McNaught, chief executive of Trinity House, "But signals from eLoran transmitters could also provide essential backup to telecommunications, smart grid and high frequency trading systems vulnerable to jamming by natural or deliberate means.
"We encourage ship owners and mariners to assess eLoran in this region and provide feedback to the GLA on its performance."
P&O Ferries has installed an eLoran receiver on its new vessel Spirit of Britain. She will be based at Dover and is one of the largest passenger ships the busy Dover/Calais route has ever seen.
"Accurate real-time positional information is essential for the safe navigation of ships with modern electronic charts," said Captain Simon Richardson, head of safety management at P&O Ferries.
"Satellite navigation systems are vulnerable to degradation of signal strength and our ships have also experienced occasional loss of signal.
"We welcome the development of a robust alternative to provide redundancy in real-time positional information and we see eLoran as the most effective solution to countering the problem."
Commenting on the announcement, Britain's Shipping Minister Stephen Hammond said: "I congratulate the General Lighthouse Authorities on this initiative which seeks to improve navigational safety in what is the busiest shipping channel in the world, through the development and deployment of technology. I look forward to receiving reports of its effectiveness."
#Lighthouses – Ever fancied a break staying in a lighthouse, away in some remote stretch of coastline, then look no further.
The Irish Landmark Trust, have five such lighthouse properties dotted around the coast in which the public can rent on self-catering basis.
Get to experience breath-taking views and stunning backdrops from these beautifully restored lighthouses. To view further details of each lighthouse and how to make a booking, click the links below.
For information about the role of the Irish Landmark Trust, whose remit is to save interesting and unusual 'landmark' properties throughout the island of Ireland, and to re-use them, once restored, as good quality self-catering holiday accommodation visit: http://www.irishlandmark.com/about/about-us.aspx
#LighthouseLecture- An illustrated lecture: 'Round Ireland Lighthouses Tour' by John Donnelly and Brian Maguire will be held next Wednesday (16th Jan.) at Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, Ringsend, in the heart of Dublin Port.
Donnelly and Maguire worked as Engineers for the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL). Between them they have seventy year's experience covering the period when the lighthouses were manned and their subsequent automation.
Their presentation will feature the history of the various lighthouses along with numerous photographs and personal anecdotal memories.
The lecture starting at 20.00hrs is part of Public Les Glenans Irish Winter Lecture Series and an entry fee of €5 will be in aid of the RNLI.
#JOINT EXERCISE – A replenishment at sea exercise (RAS) was carried out between the ILV Granuaile of the Commissioners of Irish Lights and the Naval Service CPV L.É. Ciara (P42) earlier this week.
The exercise is part of ongoing cooperation between CIL and the Naval Service for the purposes of demonstrating the aids to navigation tender capability in providing RAS operations to the naval fleet. Such operations would allow extending their potential endurance and operational flexibility much further offshore.
During the exercise three tonnes of freshwater was delivered in 15 minutes (12 tonnes per hour) but fuel and cargo may also be transferred.
#PORTS & SHIPPING REVIEW - Over the last fortnight Jehan Ashmore has reported from the shipping scene where Celtic Link Ferries celebrated their first year in service of the ro-pax ferry Celtic Horizon which operates the Rosslare-Cherbourg route.
Also in Rosslare, Stena Line's Fishguard ferry Stena Europe attempted to berth in high winds which led to the vessel making contact with the bow of Irish Ferries cruiseferry Oscar Wilde.
Further ferry news, though from Cork where last weekend saw the final end of season round-trip sailing to Roscoff operated by Brittany Ferries cruiseferry Pont-Aven.
According to the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO), Irish Ports are in a good position to capitalise on the growing demand for offshore renewable energy services.
Following the tallship Tenacious 'Open Day' in Dublin Port in late October, the 65m long barque returned to Dublin Bay, but instead made an overnight visit to Dun Laoghaire with 28 crew trainees on board. Her owners the Jubilee Sailing Trust are looking for volunteers to carry out tasks while she undergoes dry-dock this month.
Turnover in the Dublin Port Company has edged fractionally higher in 2011 at €69.1m and operating profit also slightly increased by €0.8m to €27.8m on 2010 figures.
An apt office location for Decisions (D4H) a software firm specialising in emergency response technology has made its new home at a building block adjacent of the Baily Lighthouse in Dublin Bay.
The Howth Head lighthouse is the last in the State to become fully automated, and the vacancy in the adjacent offices is being filled by Decisions [D4H].
The software company was started by emergency responders who develop remote service technology for oil exploration, hazmat workers, firefighters, coastguards and more the world over.
[D4H]'s new location will house the company's engineers, customer service staff and management.
#PORTS & SHIPPING REVIEW - Over the last fortnight Jehan Ashmore has reported from the shipping scene, where the European Commission hosted a major ports conference on the EU policy framework for ports.
Irish Ferries won 'Best Ferry Operator' in an award held in Birmingham, which was presented by Group Leisure, a leading British travel trade publication.
A brand new Irish flagged cargoship, Huelin Dispatch (2012/2,545grt) struck a rock while on its maiden voyage from Southampton to the Channel Islands. No crew were injured and the vessel was re-floated and then proceeded to dry-dock in Falmouth.
Large cruiseship operators could be a source of funding for the proposed redevelopment of Galway Port, a Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications has been told.
Next year cruise passengers will be able for the first time to travel directly from Ireland to Norway on a major cruiseship from Cobh operated by Royal Caribbean International.
The 98 year-old HMS Caroline, berthed in Belfast, is to be given a lifeline, after the Stormont Assembly is to allocate £100,000 for restoration work on the famous World War I warship.
An industrial dispute over crew salaries and conditions at Brittany Ferries which ran for ten days ended earlier this week and where sailings on the Cork-Roscoff route returned to service yesterday.
The former headquarters of the Commissioners for Irish Lights in Dublin 2 is for sale at €2.85 million on the instructions of Nama, which is 89% drop on the €26 m paid for the block in 2006 by Pembroke Partnership.
A report by the MCIB was published into the grounding of Arklow Raider (2007/2,999grt) at the mouth of the River Boyne in 2010, nobody was injured and no pollution occurred.
One of the last surviving Irish lightships, ALF Skua which was automated in the early 1980's, finally ended her days as work on scrapping took place on the banks of the River Avoca in Arklow.
Today marks the final day of the Open House Dublin weekend, which was organised is to make architecture more accessible to the public and free of charge. Among the events today are guided tours (first come, first served basis) of the current headquarters of the Commissioners of Irish Lights and the National Maritime Museum of Ireland also located in Dun Laoghaire. For details visit www.openhousedublin.com
#LIGHTSHIPS – As each day passes, quite literally chunks of Irish maritime heritage are been rapidly consigned to history, as work on scrapping the former lightship ALF Skua takes place on the North Quay in Arklow, writes Jehan Ashmore.
As the vessel lies forlornly alongside her River Avoca berth, a blowtorch cuts away in earnest at the steelwork. In tandem a crane-grabber lifts large sections of the red painted ship and loaded into an awaiting quayside truck.
What remains as of this week is only the hull, as the bridge, deckhouse structure and lantern have gone, having said that the latter structure was removed years ago.
When the lightship was towed into the port, several elected members of Arklow Town Council, with a seafaring back-round prevailed in the public body to acquire the lantern. The structure however still remains yet to be located to an appropriate site, as according to the council they have no definite plans for the lantern, though it is envisaged that it would be at least placed in a municipal location.
For decades the lightship served several stations off the Irish coastline, having been completed in 1960 by Philip & Sons of Dartmouth for the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL). Constructed of steel, the 134 foot lightship, cost £124,128 when launched in the Devon shipyard, though her crew were replaced when converted to an automatic light float (ALF) in 1981/82.
The vessel's designation as an ALF lasted for more than two decades until Irish Lights sold the lightship to Arklow Shipping Ltd in 2005, however she has since changed hands while moored in the Co. Wicklow port.
Nearby to where the Skua is berthed, a lantern belonging to an older lightship fleetmate, the Albratross (built 1925), was kept to form a distinctive landmark at the entrance to Arklow Marina.
With the diminishing Skua, it is believed that only two such ships survive on this island. The ALF Kittiwake (built 1959) as previously reported on Afloat.ie is in Dublin Port, however she shifted berths several months from her prominent position opposite the 02 Theatre to the jetty within Alexandra Basin, which is hidden away from general view in the working port.
The other lightship the Petrel, was built by Dublin Dockyard between 1913-15. She remains as a floating clubhouse for the Down Cruising Club in Strangford Lough, having been towed to the lough by the lighthouse tender ILV Isolda during the late 1960's.
As for the last lightship to serve, the honour was left to the ALF Gannet. She was stationed at South Rock, off Co. Down until her decommissioning in 2009 when Irish Lights replaced the lightship with a new 'Superbuoy'.