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Displaying items by tag: Connemara

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 water.ie. 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 water.ie for information.

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

Published in Island News

A Connemara lobster fisherman has become a television star in the Netherlands over his role in a highly successful dating series.

As The Irish Examiner reports, Turbot island fisherman and farmer John O’Toole was hired to take a Dutch couple out fishing as part of the grand final in the highly successful dating series, Boer zoukt vrouw (“Farmer wants a wife”).

70-year-old widower Hans de Roover, who breeds horses in Noord Brabant in Netherlands, had signed up for the dating show last year. Having received replies from almost 90 applicants, he had chosen Connemara as the location for filming with one of his final four potential partners.

And 60-year old divorcee Annette Verschuure, from Zeeland, rose to the challenge. After the couple were flown to Dublin, they travelled west to Galway and Clifden, where they had been booked into the Abbeyglen Hotel.

Farmer Hans de Roover with his new love, Annette Verschuure, at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, ClifdenFarmer Hans de Roover with his new love, Annette Verschuure, at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Clifden

“So I took them out from Fahy pier down the end of the Sky Road, and a bit around the inlet as the sun was setting, ”O’Toole says. “I had set a few pots out and, of course, there were lobsters in them!”

“I asked them if they would like to handle the pots but they weren’t so keen. Annette was full of chat, and Hans had his arm around her. But then I noticed the colour draining from his face and knew it was time to head home!”

“Oh, we had such a wonderful time,” Verschuure recalls of the visit to the west of Ireland.

“It was such an adventure,” she laughs. “And because no one in Ireland knew who we were, apart from the fact that we had a film crew following us, we could actually be a couple !”

Suspense – as in who the farmer might choose for his or her partner - is key to the Dutch series, which has been running for over 12 years and now attracts some 3. 5 million viewers.

Read more in The Examiner here

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

If Tim Ryan could be transported back to any time in his life it would undoubtedly be the hours he spent on the ferries crossing the Severn to England and back. He did it 11 or 12 times a year with his parents and sister - and each journey was as adventurous as the last.

“It was just like going abroad,” the 67-year-old retired headteacher told WalesOnline from a quiet corner of Wales where he is hellbent on recreating those memories for future generations. It’s been a 23-year mission which is now finally beginning to bear fruit.

“My father had a sister in Burnham-on-Sea and my mother was from Wiltshire, so we were on the ferries a lot,” he said, proudly standing aboard the Severn Princess which has found its way home in remarkable circumstances.

It now sits beneath Brunel's rail bridge just metres from where it used to be moored on the River Wye from 1959 to 1966. The Princess - alongside the Severn King and Queen - offered the only means of crossing for motorists before the construction of the M48 Severn bridge.

Now we’ve got the ferry here I’d hope the long-term plan would be to get the bridge all cleaned up and maybe a visitors centre here. There’s a long way to go.”

For Tim, now coordinator of a modest team which makes up the Severn Princess Preservation Trust, it has been a labour of love long in the making. “One of our members Richard Jones is the grandson of Enoch Williams,” Tim said. “Enoch was the owner of the Old Passage Severn Ferry Company and operated the three ferries.

For much more on the former river ferry's fascinating journey to home waters, click here. 

In addition, according to Wikipedia, the wrecked vessel was found full of fertiliser, having been discovered in 1999 by Dr. Richard Jones, as alluded above.

The derelict ferry had been put under a demolition order by Galway County Council, however the Severn Princess Restoration Group was set up urgently so to save and acquire the ferry for a guinea.

After repairs this enabled a five-day tow across the Irish Sea to Beachley that took place in 2003. 

Published in Historic Boats

The Conamara family of sailors known as Clann Johnny Jimmy Pheaitín are profiled in a documentary on TG4.

Pádraig, Jimmy and Seáinín are “Na Jimmys”, associated with the Galway Hooker An Mhaighdean Mhara.

The programme “Bádóirí- Na Jimmys” interviews the trio and some of the other relatives well known for their knowledge of sailing and the sea on Inis Mhic Cionnaith island and An Cheathrú Rua in south Conamara.

Pádraig, Jimmy and Seáinín are “Na Jimmys”Pádraig, Jimmy and Seáinín are “Na Jimmys”

One relative, shipwright Pat Michael is finishing his Galway Hooker, a piece of art being built in the shed next door to home, and the Jimmys’ uncle, Johnny Jimmy, relates how he and his two brothers were the best rowers in Ireland and in England in the 1960s.

John Darba talks about Inis Mhic Cionaith, where he was raised, and the stories told by Jimmy an Oileáin, while Johnny Healion recalls when the Mhaighdean Mhara was still hauling peat to the Aran Islands, as he now prepares to launch his most newly built hooker.

Pat agus na ladsPat agus na lads

“Bádoirí-Na Jimmys” is on TG4, December 29th, at 8.15 pm and also available to view online here

Published in Maritime TV
Tagged under

A Connemara business group has expressed frustration over an apparent lack of enthusiasm by Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys in a privately funded museum that would celebrate Marconi’s connections with Connemara.

As The Times Ireland edition reports, the wireless pioneer’s historical links with Connemara, along with those of transatlantic aviators Alcock and Brown, and telegraphist Jack Phillips would be marked by the museum project.

Phillips’s selfless actions in continuing to broadcast from the ship’s wireless room saved over 700 lives during the sinking of the Titanic.

"The privately funded museum would celebrate Marconi’s connections with Connemara"

After the ship struck an iceberg in April 1912, Phillips sent “SOS” and “Come Quick Danger” (CQD) distress messages on Marconi equipment by Morse code to nearby ships until the power cut.

Clifden hotelier Brian Hughes says the museum project has enlisted the support of Sean Mulryan of Ballymore Homes who is “more than happy to fund and support this great project”.

Hughes says considerable money has already been spent on survey studies and plans by architects and engineers.

A group met Minister Humphreys and Minister of State for Transport and Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton in November 2020, and Hughes said they formed the impression that both ministers were “fully in favour” of the project.

The business group explained that the museum could become a “jewel” on the Wild Atlantic Way, attracting up to 500,000 visitors annually and providing 40 direct and indirect jobs.

The design would also ensure that it is a “net zero carbon museum”, Hughes said.

The proposed location is at the State-owned airport site near Cleggan, which is owned by the Department of Rural and Community Development as part of its responsibility for islands.

The airport was developed to link Cleggan to Inishbofin, as part of a wider Government plan to improve air access to and from west coast islands, but the air link was never realised.

The proposed museum would focus on how Guglielmo Marconi sent and received wireless messages between his wireless station in Nova Scotia and Derrygimlagh, Connemara in October 1907.

In 1908, Marconi took on telegraphist John George “Jack” Phillips to work alongside him in Marconi station, and Phillips subsequently got a job as chief wireless telegraphist onboard the Titanic.

The museum would also mark the landing by British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown at Derrygimlagh on June 14th, 1919, completing the first non-stop air crossing of the Atlantic.

Hughes said the group has received positive support from Fáilte Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

“ We are still waiting to get a letter from Ms Humphreys’s department, giving us permission to put in an application for planning permission,” he said.

The Department of Rural and Community said that “there are a number of issues arising for consideration within the department, including a proposal to construct a Coast Guard station on the site”.

“Until these issues have been fully examined, the department will not be in a position to agree to the group’s request,” it said.

Read more in The Times Ireland edition here

Published in News Update

A loggerhead turtle believed to originate from the waters around the Canary Islands has died despite the best efforts of Galway Atlantaquaria staff after it was found washed ashore in Connemara.

As RTÉ News reports, the 50kg turtle was discovered on Muighinis Beach near Carna in a comatose state and on the advice of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group was taken to the national aquarium in Salthill.

However, Galway Atlantaquaria confirmed on social media that the adult female loggerhead turtle “never regained consciousness”.

It’s suspected that the turtle, who had been named Macdara after the patron saint of Connemara fishers, was blown off course during Storm Barra earlier this month into the colder North Atlantic.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The State agency responsible for the protection of freshwater fish and habitats is investigating an incidence of farmed salmon recovered from the Connemara Fishery.

Officers from Inland Fisheries Ireland’s (IFI) Western River Basin District in Galway were alerted by anglers fishing for wild Atlantic salmon on the Dawros River in Letterfrack, more commonly known locally as the Kylemore River.

The anglers had reportedly captured fish with poorly formed fins and other distinguishing features associated with farmed salmon.

Scientists from IFI inspected various fish samples from the river and have confirmed that the fish are of “aquaculture origin” and are not wild Atlantic salmon.

The discovery is a serious cause for concern for IFI, according to its head of operations Dr Greg Forde.

“The Dawros Rivers have been designated a special area for conservation for wild Atlantic salmon and we are seriously concerned about the impact that farmed salmon could have on this native species,” he said.

“For example, farmed salmon could potentially transfer disease or could interbreed with the indigenous wild salmon population of this river.

“Salmon spawn during the month of December and each river has a genetically unique salmon stock. Early indications are that the farmed salmon, due to their size and development, could be capable of spawning this winter and interbreeding with wild fish, thereby weakening the natural genetic pool unique to the Dawros River.”

IFI says its investigations to determine the source of the escape are ongoing. The State agency has notified the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which is responsible for the issuing of aquaculture licences.

In an appeal to owners and operators of salmon fish farms around the country, Dr Forde said: “To protect and conserve wild Atlantic salmon for both current and future generations, it is absolutely essential that all salmon aquaculture installations are completely secure and farmed fish are not allowed to escape into the wild.”

Published in Angling

Ros an Mhíl/Rossaveal could become a hub for marine renewable energy projects, if plans by Údarás na Gaeltachta come to fruition.

The board of the Gaeltacht authority has recently approved funding to plan the development of a 30-acre site it owns near the Connemara harbour.

Údarás na Gaeltachta says its study will include a review of the marine renewable energy sector and its potential opportunities, as well as “the requirements and advantages that Ros an Mhíl harbour and Gaeltacht companies have to meet future demands and to benefit from same”.

The organisation says renewable energy will be central to its 2021-2025 strategy, which is set for publication early next year, adding that Ros an Mhíl “has been long identified by Údarás na Gaeltachta as a strategic resource”.

Chair of the board Anna Ní Ghallachair said: “We are happy that Údarás na Gaeltachta will be in a position to undertake this study on the opportunities for renewable energy in the Ros an Mhíl area.

“This is a strategic sector for Údarás, and indeed for the whole country. If we are to halt climate change, we must avail of all opportunities there are to generate clean energy.”

Údarás na Gaeltachta hopes to issue tenders on etenders in the weeks ahead so that work can commence early in the new year.

The news comes after similar moves have been mooted for the Shannon Estuary, while in Cork a new strategic partnership aims to improve communication with the wider marine community as the pace of offshore wind farm development picks up.

Published in Power From the Sea

A new children’s book focusing on the local history and mythology of the North West Connemara region has been launched this week in Co Galway.

And a portion of the proceeds is being donated to the Clifden RNLI lifeboats for their dedication to saving lives at sea.

Local author and youth worker Marie Feeney has produced From Our Ancient Land to Bountiful Sea, an informative and often humorous collection of local history and folklore tales with illustrations by Gary Kendellen.

These tales include accounts of the famous engineer Alexander Nimmo, who designed many piers and bridges in the Connemara area, and a blend of local history and myths that will appeal to locals and visitors alike.

Marie’s first book The Cleggan Disaster comprehensively and poignantly detailed the tragic drowning of 45 men from the fishing communities of Cleggan, Claddaghduff and Inishbofin and the Inishkeas, and also benefitted the local RNLI lifeboats.

Author Marie Feeney with her children Ronan, Diarmuid and Michaela at Sallerna Beach in Cleggan, Co Galway (Photo: Marie Feeney)Author Marie Feeney with her children Ronan, Diarmuid and Michaela at Sallerna Beach in Cleggan, Co Galway | Photo: Marie Feeney

On the launch of her new book, Marie said: “The coastline of Connemara, while exceptionally beautiful is also treacherous and mostly utilised by people who use it either for pleasure or their livelihood.

“Thankfully in our community, we have a dedicated RNLI volunteer team who provide an invaluable service by saving lives each year, sometimes in the most challenging environments.

“The philosophy of the RNLI is astounding. The purpose to save lives, their vision to save everyone, their volunteer ethos, their charitable and community base. Every life matters, and of course their maritime expertise is crucial.”

From Our Ancient Land to Bountiful Sea is now on sale locally in Connemara at The Clifden Bookshop, Letterfrack Country Shop, Gala Cleggan and Sweeney’s Claddaghduff. The book is also available online at the inConnemara Bookshop.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Cleggan Coast Guard in Connemara is long overdue a permanent base — and a local TD insists the village’s airstrip is the answer.

As the Connacht Tribune reports, Éamon Ó Cuív says it is unacceptable that the coastguard service for north Connemara has been seeking a fixed abode for so long.

A number of sites are being considered by the OPW — but Deputy Ó Cuív says none would be more suitable than the State-owned Cleggan Airstrip.

The Connacht Tribune has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
Page 1 of 7

West Coast of Ireland Offshore Racing Association (WIORA)

The West Coast of Ireland Offshore Racing Association (WIORA) objective is to promote an annual programme of yacht racing for the West Coast of Ireland.

WIORA aims to encourage and promote participation in and knowledge of racing and seamanship. It does this by developing yacht racing between yacht clubs on the west coast and hosting an annual regatta known as the West Coast Championships. The championships are rotated between west coast clubs. 

WIORA was formed in 1976. WIORA is affiliated with the Irish Cruiser Racing Association.

The association burgee is a pennant with a background of St. Patrick's Blue and overlaid with an emblem of St. Brendan's Cross, which is of saffron colour. 

WIORA is open to members of yachts clubs located on the west coast of Ireland, from Mizen Head to Malin Head and the waters of Lough Derg and Lough Ree, and sailors outside thee areas who may wish to participate at the WIORA annual regatta.

The membership association has a Commodore and committee.

Annual membership is €10.

WIORA Championships

WIORA 2022 will run over three days, from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th June at the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland on the Shannon Estuary

WIORA 2023 will be held at Kilronan on the Aran Islands

WIORA 2024 will be held at Foynes Yacht Club on the Shannon Estuary

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