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Displaying items by tag: Aran Islands

The symbiotic relationship between the Aran Islands and the centuries-old fishing currach is explored in a new installation at the country’s westernmost arts centre, Áras Éanna on Inis Oírr.

The commissioned artists include John Behan RHA, one of Ireland’s most acclaimed sculptors. Behan is no stranger to the exhibition’s theme, having previously created a seven metre-long bronze ship, titled ‘Arrival’, for the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Sadia Shoaib, a Pakistani artist and asylum seeker, has also contributed to the outdoor exhibition, Curacha, which marks 21 years of Áras Éanna.

The work of Kathleen FureyThe work of Kathleen Furey Photo: Cormac Coyne

Shoaib researched the Aran Islands for her piece, and says she was inspired by the traditional woven stitch of the islands and its butterflies for her "Mandala style" depiction of a spiritual journey through layers.

Connemara artist Kathleen Furey depicted a Harry Clarke stained glass window painting of St Gobnait from the Honan Chapel in Co Cork on her currach, which is on view at Inis Oírr church.

Dara McGee, the centre’s artistic director since 2017, commissioned 21 six-foot currachs as canvases for 22 artists in total as part of the anniversary project.

“We had to do something outdoors for the 21st anniversary because of Covid-19,” McGee explained.

“Currachs are made of timber and canvas covered in tar, and canvas is one of the materials that has been used by artists for painting on,” he said.

The fleet of traditional craft were built by Tom Meskell, Eugene Finnegan, and Carmel Balfe McGee,

McGee, who is himself an artist, set designer and painter, said the participants were given “free rein”, and each currach “reflects the artist’s own personality and style”.

Pat Quinn's work for the Curracha exhibition Photo: Colm CoynePat Quinn's work for the Curracha exhibition Photo: Cormac Coyne

He paid tribute to the artists that he contacted from “Donegal to Kerry” for their enthusiasm.

The completed installations form an outdoor art trail on the island to comply with Covid-19 guidelines, while seven of them are displayed in Áras Éanna. The exhibition will continue until September.

Once a weaving factory, the building housing Áras Éanna lay derelict for some time before Mick Mulcahy, an artist, spent time there in the 1990s.

The state helped to finance the refurbishment of the centre, owned by Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Gaeltacht development agency.

Read The Times here

Published in Historic Boats
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Aran Islands RNLI's volunteer crew came to the aid of a cyclist who fell off his bike today (Monday 19 July).

The crew were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat at 12.19 pm. A male visitor to the island for the day required further medical attention after falling off his bicycle.

The patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat by both the local fire service and the lifeboat crew at the pontoon at Kilronan Harbour.

The lifeboat launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew and headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Conditions at the time of launching were good, with calm seas, a light southwest breeze and clear visibility.

Speaking after the call out, Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O'Donnell said: 'The crew responded without delay, and we got the patient on his way to the care needed. We would like to wish him a speedy recovery.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Galway Bay Sailing Club is expecting 50 boats or more to participate in the club's August's Lambs Week event that features sailing around the Aran Islands with stopovers in Rossaveal, Kilronan and Roundstone.

The event runs from August 19th to 23rd.

A group of Galway Bay volunteers are working on mooring blocks, berthing arrangements, racing handicaps and schedules, food and refreshments, safety, and fashion (polo shirts!).

More here

Published in Galway Harbour
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The volunteer crew at Aran Islands RNLI were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat just after 8pm yesterday (Sunday 4 July) to a woman in need of medical attention on Inis Mór, the largest of the Galway Bay island chain.

With the patient safely transferred aboard the lifeboat by the crew following COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the lifeboat — under coxswain Tommy Dirrane with a full crew — headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Weather conditions at the time of launching were good with calm seas and a light westerly breeze blowing, with fair visibility.

Speaking after the callout, Dirrane said: “There was a great response time from the crew which ensured we could promptly get the patient on her way to the medical attention she needed. We would like to wish the patient a speedy recovery.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer crew on Inis Mór were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat just before noon yesterday (Tuesday 8 June) by the Irish Coast Guard for a medevac.

A woman on the neighbouring island of Inis Oírr was in need of medical attention, and due to fog she was unable to leave by a scheduled flight.

The lifeboat launched under coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew amid good weather conditions with calm seas, a light southerly wind and fair visibility.

Once at the pier in Inis Oírr, the patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat under the supervision of the volunteer crew, following COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. The lifeboat then headed straight for Rossaveal Harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Speaking after the callout, O’Donnell said: “The crew responded without delay and we got the patient on her way to the care she needed as quickly as possible. We would like to wish the patient all the best.

“As we head into the summer months, please heed all safety advice for leisure activities on the water. Never swim alone, always let someone know when you are due back ashore if going to sea. Always bring a mobile phone to contact someone and always wear a lifejacket.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Weather permitting, a flotilla of wooden-built Galway hookers will escort an aluminium-built passenger ferry out on the first leg of its maiden voyage between Galway city and the Aran islands this morning.

Several gleoiteogs with Galway Hooker Sailing Club aim to accompany the new Aran Island Ferries fast ship out past Mutton island.

As Afloat reported previously, Named Saoirse na Farraige (freedom of the sea), the 400-seat passenger ferry was built in Hong Kong for Aran Island Ferries, the company run by the O’Brien family of An Cheathrú Rua, Co Galway.

It offers a longer sea trip but faster overall journey west from Galway city to Inis Mor.

It is almost 40 years since the O’Briens took their first passengers in the Galway hooker, An Tonaí, and then purchased their first passenger ferry named the Dún Aengus in 1983.

The family company now has a fleet of five-passenger ferries, and their routes between Ros-a-Mhíl and the three Aran islands will be complemented by the new 40-metre ship on the Galway city- Inis Mór route.

The vessel built in Cheoy Lee Shipyards in Hong Kong has a speed of 20 knots, and its master is Donegal man and former pelagic fisherman Shane McCole.

It has a capacity for 394 passengers – as in a 306 passengers on the main deck, divided into two seating areas, and a semi-covered space for 88 passengers on the top deck.

However, the ferry will be carrying reduced capacity to meet with Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.

Passengers leaving for Inis Mór at 9.30am from Galway docks will have the option of a return journey via the Cliffs of Moher in Clare.

The Doolin2Aran Ferries company in Doolin, Co Clare, also offers cruises below the sea cliffs from Doolin pier.

Saoirse na Farraige claims to have “ the cleanest exhaust emission” of any ferry on Irish waters.

It is fitted leather seating, charging points and plasma screens – earning it the local nickname of “GoBus” at sea – and it has a wheelchair lift.

The O’Briens say the new route will create 15 new jobs, after what has been “a tough year for all involved in tourism”.

The Port of Galway has welcomed the first passenger ferry service from the city to the Aran Islands since 2005.

The combined Aran Island Ferries fleet of six vessels has a total facility for 1,420 passengers when at full capacity.

Ticket prices for a return journey on Saoirse na Farraige from Galway docks will be:

Adult: €49, Student/Senior: €44, Child: €25

Published in Ferry
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After 35 years of dedicated service, Aran Islands RNLI mechanic Johnny Mulkerrin retires today.

Johnny is one of Aran Islands RNLI’s longest-serving crew members having first joined the volunteer crew in 1984, as soon as he turned 17. His early passion for the lifeboat came as a child growing up watching his father, John Snr, also an active lifeboat volunteer, respond to his pager and go to the aid of those in difficulty at sea.

Having completed his secondary education on Inis Mór, Johnny went on to do a block laying course and worked in the building trade for a time while continuing to serve as a volunteer crew member on the station’s all-weather lifeboat.

In 1987, he became the emergency mechanic for Aran Islands RNLI and then in 1993 he became the station’s full-time mechanic.

From the Barnett class through to the current all-weather Severn class lifeboat, Johnny has throughout his 35 years with the charity, seen many changes as the technology on the lifeboats advanced bringing huge benefits to the area Aran Islands RNLI covers and the people it serves.

Johnny who has been on over a 1,000 call outs and recently received a 30-year Long Service Award from the RNLI recognising his selflessness, courage and commitment, said it was hard to pick out a stand out rescue. However, his abiding memory will be ‘any call where we brought a person or people home to their families. That was always a good call’.

Paying tribute to Johnny this week, Rob King, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager said: ‘Johnny has made a significant contribution to saving lives at sea off the Aran Islands for more than three decades and we are extremely grateful to him for his dedicated service throughout that time. His job as full-time mechanic ensured the operational effectiveness of the station through the operation, maintenance and repair of the lifeboat and its associated machinery and equipment. As he embarks on a new chapter, we want to thank him and wish him every good health and happiness.’

Michael Hernon, Aran Islands RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager added: ‘Over the years Johnny would have experienced all types of call outs and braved all sorts of weather and challenges at sea to help those in need. All at Aran Islands RNLI would like to wish Johnny the very best for the coming years and thank him for his years of service.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Volunteers from Aran Islands RNLI had a call out in the early hours of this morning (Monday 24 May) to medically evacuate three people involved in an accident from Inis Mór.

The crew were requested to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 3.50 am. The Inis Mór Fire Service was also tasked.

Three casualties were transferred aboard the lifeboat at the pontoon at Kilronan Harbour. The transfer between the crew of the Inis Mór Fire Service and the lifeboat crew proved challenging due to poor weather conditions at the time with very heavy rain and a strong wind blowing.

Once the casualties were safely onboard, the lifeboat under Coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew, proceeded in sea conditions that were described as choppy with a south-westerly Force 6 wind blowing. There was a 2.5m sea swell and poor visibility due to the heavy rain.

Once at Rossaveal Harbour, the casualties were transferred by the lifeboat crew to the waiting ambulances.

Speaking after the call out, Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O'Donnell said: ‘This was a challenging call out for all involved this morning. The darkness of night and the poor weather conditions made the transfer difficult, but we are trained for situations like this and were glad to be able to help and we wish the casualties a speedy recovery.

‘Despite the early hours and the poor weather conditions, our volunteers answered their pagers this morning without hesitation or delay and I would like to commend them for that as well as thank our colleagues in the other emergency services with whom we worked with to bring the three people to safety.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Connacht Tribune reports that Inis Mór in the Aran Islands will receive some €165,000 for road resurfacing works.

Bóthar Cill Mhuirbhigh gets the largest share — €90,000 — of the allocation from the Department for Rural & Community Development.

Works on the island’s ‘Low Road’ will receive €45,000, while Bóthar Iar Airne gets €31,000.

Published in Island News
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The Aran island of Inis Oírr is facing a water shortage with night-time rationing introduced this week.

As The Times Ireland edition reports, Irish Water and Galway County Council have appealed to the islanders to conserve water for essential use.

Night-time restrictions came into place last night (May 3) from 11 pm to 7 am and will remain indefinitely. Tourism has not yet resumed on the island, although several school tours have taken place within county boundaries.

Inis Oírr, which is the southernmost of the three Aran islands with a population of just under 300, has experienced periodic water shortages over the past decade.

It has had to receive shipments of water to relieve the situation during the summer months.

However, the extent of this shortage at an early stage of the year and with few visitors due to Covid-19 has taken the community by surprise.

Although many elderly and vulnerable islanders are now vaccinated, there is also concern among residents about the availability of water for hand-washing during the pandemic.

It is understood a site was acquired for new storage tanks and it was then deemed too expensive to construct them.

Irish Water says it is committed to a “ long term solution for the provision of drinking water on Inis Oirr”, which “will be developed” as part of a national water resources plan.

However, it is expected this will take some time, as submissions on a national draft framework plan for water resources are currently being reviewed.

Sewage Treatment on Inis Mór

On neighbouring Inis Mór, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated legal proceedings over sewage treatment.

The EPA has confirmed that the waste water works serving the public toilets and a number of properties in Kilronan village on Inis Mór are “not authorised”.

The works are “subject to a legal action in the district court with an initial date set for June 3rd, 2021”, the EPA said, stating it could not comment further.

However, the EPA confirmed it has also initiated an investigation of a separate waste water works at the Kilronan Cottages complex, which took place on April 22nd.

The Kilronan Cottages system is operated and maintained by Irish Water and the water services section of Galway County Council.

Irish Water said that Galway County Council are responsible for the collection, treatment and disposal of waste from the public toilets system on Inis Mór.

It said that Galway County Council has agreed to undertake a number of “actions” to address issues at the separate Kilronan Cottages waste water system.

Read The Times here

Published in Island News
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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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