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Displaying items by tag: Connemara

#Unmanned - Following our previous alert for an unmanned yacht off the Galway coast, the mini-yacht has been found after making landfall.

Kaitlyn Dow's self-built vessel Lancer was launched off the US coast four months ago as part of a high-school marine science project.

The now final-year student at Waterford High School in Connecticut tracked her sailboat by GPS across the Atlantic as it inched towards Galway Bay and Connemara.

It was finally recovered this past Saturday 17 September by eight-year-old Maedhbh Ní Ghionnáin on an island near her home in Lettermore, as The Day reports.

After her aunt received an email from Dow asking for any details of her boat's whereabouts, Maedhbh's family had been keeping a lookout before they found it on a beach virtually on their doorstep.

“In the middle of the day we went walking by the sea, and then we saw this white thing,” said Maedhbh, who also shared the story of her remarkable discovery with Raidió na Gaeltachta.

The news comes a month after another unmanned research sailboat was reported off the Kerry coast after nearly three years in the North Atlantic.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Rescue - Galway Bay FM reports that a man was recovering from hypothermia last night (Tuesday 13 September) after his boat sank off Connemara.

The man had set out from Clifden earlier in the day headed for Ardoileán, or High Island, off northwest Connemara, when the transom securing the engine to his vessel fell off.

Visitors walking near Cleggan heard his cries for help when he managed to swim the shore, and he was later transferred to hospital in Castlebar for treatment.

Published in Rescue
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#Inishbofin - Archaeologists say a decorated stone found recently on Inishbofin was once part of a 'lost' castle stronghold of Connemara's 'pirate queen' Grace O'Malley, as The Irish Times reports.

References to two castles held by the O'Malley clan on the island off Connemara in the Middle Ages -- part of a string of fortifications along the coast -- have been confirmed only by minor traces, such as a window fragment at Dún Gráinne.

But the doorway stone recently identified within the 100-year-old boundary wall of Daly's pub is said to be the strongest evidence yet of a castle last recorded on 19th-century maps of the island.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#Archaeology - It was quite a turn-up for the books on Omey Island recently as a US student found a 12th-century brooch in the sand on the Connemara tidal island.

As The Irish Times reports, the rare kite brooch was discovered by chance by McKenna McFadden while on a field trip with fellow New York University students led by Michael Gibbons, a local archaeologist.

It's since been identified as being 900 years old, and will be offered to the collection of the National Museum.

Omey Island is also the subject of a new book charting its remarkable history, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Island News

#OmeyIsland - Omey Island in Connemara is the subject of a new book by a local woman charting its remarkable history.

Strands of Omey's Story by Bernadette Conroy shows there's much more to the lands off Claddaghduff than the annual beach horse race, as Galway Bay FM reports.

Despite not being a true island, as its only cut off from the mainland when the tide is in, Omey has seen its population dwindle from over 100 a century ago to just a single resident in more recent years.

Published in Island News
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#WildAtlanticWay - Minister of State for Tourism Patrick O’Donovan has announced almost €1.125 million in funding from Fáilte Ireland’s Capital Grants Allocation for two key projects along the Wild Atlantic Way.

A grant of is being made available to Galway County Council will receive €896,000 for the Connemara Greenway, while a grant of €225,000 is being allocated to the Office of Public Works (OPW) towards the first phase of development of new visitor facilities on Great Blasket Island.

“I am delighted to announce these grants today as these two important tourism attractions will provide a serious contribution to the future success of the Wild Atlantic Way," said the minister last Wednesday (13 July).

"Tourism moves in a very competitive global market and capital development is one means by which we can ensure that we are fighting fit to win a good portion of overseas visitors and, thereby, gain a return on this investment through increased revenue and jobs regionally.”

The grant for the Connemara Greenway will fund a new section of the route from Cloonbeg to Athry, running adjacent to Ballynahinch Castle, with a view to completion in May 2017.

This development is part of a wider plan for the Clifden to Oughterard Greenway that will link up with the planned Greenway from Galway city to Oughterard – ultimately resulting in a 78km Galway to Clifden Greenway offering a cycling experience from city to coast with international appeal for cycling enthusiasts.

The Blasket Centre, meanwhile, is located on the Wild Atlantic Way at the halfway point of the Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula. It was developed as a heritage and visitor centre honouring the unique community who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until 1953.

Currently there are no visitor facilities on the island but the new grant will assist the OPW in their overall development of the site by funding new facilities and services on the island, expected to be completed later this summer.

“These grants are an investment in the visitor experience on the ground," said Fáilte Ireland chief executive Shaun Quinn. "While the Wild Atlantic Way has been warmly received at home and abroad, it is still an evolving project. It is vital that we continue to invest in the project to ensure that we open up its full potential.

"We have great natural landscapes along the west coast but we must also ensure that we have top class tourism infrastructure, whether facilities or interpretation, to match them.”

Minister O’Donovan also recently launched a new Fáilte Ireland Grants Scheme for Large Tourism Projects, which will provide a pool of €65 million in investment to develop new, or boost existing, tourism experiences and attractions across Ireland.

The scheme, which will run from 2016-2020, is now open for applications from the public, private and voluntary sectors including community groups. Under the scheme, capital grants in excess of €200,000 and up to a maximum of €5 million will be available.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#Shipwrecks - Two new shipwrecks have been discovered in Connemara in areas known to be used by smugglers in centuries past, as The Irish Times reports.

Currach fisherman John Bhaba Jeaic Ó Conghaíle found the skeletal remains of what's thought to be an 18th-century vessel at Cuan Chaisín in Ceantar na nOileáin.

Elsewhere, Fahy Bay resident Michael Barry located a second wreck, believed to date from the 19th century, near his home on the northwest Connemara coast – inshore from the Spanish Armada wreck Falco Blanco Mediano.

The area is known as the birthplace of sea captain George O'Malley, one of the most notorious smugglers of his day.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#AranIslands - Inverin near Rossaveal in Connemara has been selected as the mainland terminal for the new Aran Islands air service tender, as Galway Bay FM reports.

The news will be some consolation to islanders angered by last year's award of the tender to Executive Helicopters, who planned to fly from the islands to Carnmore some 50km to the east of the Rossaveal ferry link.

That tender was cancelled at the end of September, with the previous contract with Aer Arann Islands later extended at the 11th hour, though it is set to expire this coming October.

More recently, MEP Marian Harkin visited the European Commission with two locals to voice their concerns over the particulars of any new tender for the vital air connection between the Aran Islands and the mainland.

Galway Bay FM has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

A Connemara man was convicted of an illegal fishing offence at Derrynea District Court on the 14th January. Before the court was Dara Conlon of Baile Liam, Spiddal, Co. Galway, who pleaded guilty to the possession of an illegally caught salmon at Spiddal Pier on the 2nd July, 2015. Mr. Conlon was observed fishing with a net close to the shore, not far from the mouth of the Boluisce River, and when searched he was found to be in possession of a salmon, which had been concealed under the net in his boat.

Judge Mary Fahy heard that the Boluisce River already suffers from very low salmon stocks, and due to the collapse in fish numbers it is now closed for angling. Conservation of the returning fish is very important to ensure as many salmon as possible can spawn, and to improve the low stock numbers. Given the importance of every fish to the river, she rejected the defence’s application to apply the Probation Act, and convicted Mr. Conlon on the charge of illegal possession of a salmon, fining him €100 with €450 costs.

Commenting on the case, Dr. John Conneely of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), said: “The Boluisce River salmon stocks are extremely low compared to historical levels, and their survival in the river is under threat. Much investment of time and effort has gone into habitat improvement to improve fish stocks, and it is frustrating to see illegal fishing targeting a very vulnerable stock of fish. IFI Officers are committed to protecting the fish stocks of the catchment, and will continue to rigorously enforce fisheries legislation.”

CEO of IFI, Dr Ciaran Byrne, noted the importance of Salmon angling to rural areas, stating: “Such environmental crimes not only affect salmon stocks but also the ability of rural areas to attract visitors, support jobs and remain vibrant communities. I strongly urge the public to report any incidents of poaching or pollution to the IFI confidential 24 hour hotline on 1850 347424 and protect the fish, their habitat and rural communities.”

Published in Fishing
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#FishFarm - Long-term solutions for freshwater treatment at Connemara fish farms are a priority as one local company seeks planning permission for a new pipeline, according to Galway Bay FM.

The moves come in the wake of recent controversy over illegal extraction of freshwater from lakes used to treat amoebic gill disease in salmon farms.

Údarás na Gaeltachta is now investigating longer-term freshwater availability for the growing aquaculture industry in south Connemara. Galway Bay FM has more HERE.

Published in Fishing
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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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