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Displaying items by tag: Achill Island

#IslandNews - A glass-floored viewing platform jutting out over the Atlantic Ocean on Achill Island has got officials excited about its potential to attract tourism.

But locals are concerned that the project could mar the area's special views with an eyesore.

As the Mayo News reported last month, funding has been secured to develop the so-called 'Signature Discovery Point' at Keem Beach on Ireland's largest coastal island.

Keem Beach is one of 35 locations along the Wild Atlantic Way in Co Mayo that will share in the €257 million funding pot.

And the ambitious plans for the area – that also features as part of the new Galway-Mayo Blueway – include a viewing platform over the waves and rocky shore near the old coastguard station, along the lines of the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

But the reaction among the Achill community has been mixed, with support for the initiative by development company Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiúil Acla tempered by comments from local sculptor Ronan Halpin, who expressed concerns over the "visual intrusion" and "sustainability" of such a unique engineering project.

“Keem Bay is one the most beautiful and unspoilt places in our country. Its isolation and seclusion are a major part of its inherent charm," he added. "The proposal to build a glass walkway at the top of Moiteóg would seem to fly in the face of all this natural beauty and majesty."

The Mayo News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#IslandNews - A native Achill Islander believes he's discovered the only photo of the area's famous Deserted Village taken while it was still inhabited.

As Paddy Gallagher told The Irish Times, he was searching for images of Achill online when he came across a page from a 1915 issue of National Geographic magazine with a caption suggesting it was documenting village life on the east coast.

But Gallagher knew it was a photo of the Co Mayo island, and armed with a copy of the magazine ordered from eBay he set out to find the precise location and hopefully surprise whoever was living there today.

That's when he realised it was the Deserted Village, a collection of 80 unmortared stone houses all but abandoned after the Famine by 1852, and last occupied as a 'booley village' by young farmers from nearby Dooagh in the 1940s.

However, as the photo shows, at least one family seemed to still make its home in the village a century ago.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#Dolphins - It was a happy Easter for one young dolphin that was rescued from stranding on Achill Island by some quick-thinking coastguard volunteers.

As TheJournal.ie reports, the juvenile dolphin was one of two reported stranded on Keem Beach early on Sunday morning.

On arrival at the scene, the local Irish Coast Guard team found one of the two had died, but officer-in-charge Colin Honeyman leapt into action to save the remaining youngster.

Taking to the sea in his wetsuit, and with some help from a nearby fishing boat, he swam with the dolphin under his arm out to deeper water, where "he seemed to get a new lease of life and just swam off - he really went for it."

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Surfing - Students from all over Ireland will be taking to the waves off Achill Island for this weekend's Irish Surfing Intervarsities, as the Mayo Advertiser reports.

Keel Beach will be the venue for the two-day contest that kicks off tomorrow Saturday 22 March, and will see top wave riders from 11 institutions show their stuff in the surf - while organisers promise a party atmosphere for spectators on land. The Mayo Advertiser has more on the sorry HERE.

In other surfing news, Mullaghmore in Co Sligo will host the third annual Conference in Surfing Medicine this coming September.

According to Surfer Today, the gathering to be convened by the European Association of Surfing Doctors on 9-13 September will discuss the dangers posed by the increasingly extreme surf at one of the world's premier big wave spots.

Peter Conroy will be among those speaking during the week, giving the surfer's perspective on surfing in the harshest of conditions.

Published in Surfing

#MarineWildlife - Achill Island locals have proposed that the 20-metre fin whale beached on Keel Beach over Christmas - and buried just before the New Year - be preserved in some form as a heritage attraction for the region, as the Galway Advertiser reports.

The inspiration comes from the residents of West Cork village Kilbrittain, who were successful in securing permissions to recover the buried remains of a similarly sized whale in 2009. The whale skeleton was since put on display as a big tourism draw.

Similar proposals by Baltimore locals in 2012 after a fin whale became trapped in the town's harbour were scuppered when Cork County Council dumped its remains at sea.

Achill Islander and Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) member John O'Shea says that making an attraction out of the whale skeleton would connect people with the area's whaling history, which has changed profoundly over the past century from one of slaughter to preservation.

The Galway Advertiser has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

#MarineWildlife - There's a "fantastic opportunity to witness the second largest animal on the planet close up" on Achill Island over the next few days after a male fin whale was stranded on Keel Beach on Christmas Eve.

The 20-metre-long marine giant live stranded on the beach but died some hours later, as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group reports. It is as yet unknown what caused the fin whale to strand, but samples of skin, blubber, muscle and baleen have been taken for assessment.

TheJournal.ie repeats Achill Coast Guard's warning for anyone coming to see the whale to stay on the shore and not venture into the surf as the strongest storm in 15 years continues to sweep the country.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Rescue - The Irish Times reports on a "lucky escape" in Co Mayo yesterday (22 December) after a car plunged into deep water on Achill Island.

The driver of the vehicle was quickly rescued by the island's Irish Coast Guard unit after her car came of the road near Keel Lake in gale-force weather conditions, and was left teetering on an underwater ledge above a 25-metre drop.

Sadly a similar incident in Co Roscommon just hours before had a tragic end when the driver of a car that went into a lake could not be revived, though his passenger managed to escape the vehicle.

The Irish Times has much more on these stories HERE.

Published in Rescue

#NewsUpdate - The Irish Times is reporting that a women has drowned while swimming off Achill Island yesterday afternoon (Thursday 10 October).

Local coastguard members responded to an emergency call just after 3pm yesterday after the woman, who was swimming with a group at the time, got into difficulty.

Her body was recovered from the water to Purteen Pier in Achill, Co Mayo, where she was pronounced dead at the scene by a local doctor.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#Kitesurfing - It will be last kite flying when Ireland's kitesurfers take to the water on Achill Island this weekend 28-29 September to battle some of the best in the world at the final stop on the Irish Kitesurfing Tour Competition.

As the Mayo Advertiser reports, the kitesurfing event will be celebrated on dry land, too, with the Battle for the Lake Music and Kite Festival, as spectators watch all the action on Keel Lake - considered one of the world's best spots for the sport - and enjoy live music, a funfair and BBQ on the lakeshore.

The Mayo Advertiser has more on the story HERE.

Published in Kitesurfing

#RNLI - Achill Island RNLI responded to two separate incidents off the Mayo coast last Sunday 14 July.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was first requested to launch in the early hours of Sunday morning and again in the evening of the same day.



The crew on board the station’s all-weather lifeboat responded to a call-out a few minutes into Sunday morning when a red flare was reported to Malin Head Coast Guard Radio Station. 

The flare was believed to have been seen on the Westport side of Clew Bay. The lifeboat searched the area but nothing was found and the crew returned to station at 3am.



The second incident happened at around 7.30pm when a cruiser with four people on board reported to Malin Head Coast Guard that it had engine problems and was disabled. 

This was in the vicinity of Old Head on the south side of Clew Bay, and the Achill lifeboat was requested to assist the vessel.

af

The casualty vessel was towed to Old Head Pier by another boat that was close by, and the lifeboat ensured that all were safe before returning to station.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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