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Displaying items by tag: Galway Harbour

Where else in the world would you hear yourself being addressed as Loveen but in Galway - and that's the name of a 96-year-old gleoiteog which is being blessed today (Oct 16) in the Claddagh Basin.

The historic vessel which was built by the Reaneys of Galway’s Spanish Arch was bought from the late Nicky Dolan in 2011 with the support of the former mayor and Labour councillor Niall MacNelis.

It was presented to the Port of Galway Sea Scouts, to help continue the culture and tradition of hooker sailing into the next generation

It has been restored, plank by plank, by expert boatbuilders Coilín Hernon, Ciarán Oliver and a large team from the Galway Hooker Sailing Association (GHSA).

The association, which has over 100 volunteers, began the project in 2019 and continued with careful restrictions through last year’s Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lovely Anne, a late 19th-century gleoiteog, already restored by the GHSA, will join a flotilla today to welcome the Loveen on to the water.

The Port of Galway Sea Scouts and the GHSA are hosting this afternoon’s celebration at Nimmo’s Pier on the Claddagh basin from 2 pm to 4 pm.

Free ticket admission can be obtained on this link here

Published in Historic Boats

Galway RNLI towed a 20-foot half-decker that got into difficulty off Barna to safety last evening.

The pleasure/fishing vessel experienced mechanical issues after it left Galway docks and started drifting.

The crew contacted the Irish Coastguard which then tasked the Galway lifeboat shortly before 7 pm.

Galway Lifeboat volunteer crew Brian Niland (Helmsman), Martin Oliver, Lisa McDonagh and James Rattigan located the vessel with three crew on board.

RNLI deputy launch authority Seán Óg Leydon said that the crew "thankfully had the means to contact the Coastguard directly " for help before the situation escalated.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Galway's 96-year old gleoiteog Loveen has marked a key stage in its restoration with the nailing of its "whiskey plank".

At a "low key" ceremony, the final plank was secured and the occasion was marked with a "modest" round of whiskey.

The Loveen had been bought by Nicky Dolan shortly before his passing in 2011.

Frankie Dolan, Station Officer with Galway Fire and Rescue Service, Frankie is a cousin of the late Nicky Dolan who was the last owner of The LoveenFrankie Dolan, Station Officer with Galway Fire and Rescue Service, Frankie is a cousin of the late Nicky Dolan who was the last owner of The Loveen Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

It was presented to the Port of Galway Sea Scouts the following year.

Daniel Concannon of Port of Galway Sea Scouts inspects the Loveen. Galway Hooker Sailing Club are restoring the Loveen on behalf of the Sea Scouts.Daniel Concannon of Port of Galway Sea Scouts inspects the Loveen. Galway Hooker Sailing Club are restoring the Loveen on behalf of the Sea Scouts Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

A restoration project began in 2019, which was spearheaded by Galway Hooker Sailing Club with the enthusiastic support of the sea scouts.

Coilin Hernon with his sons Einde and Coilin Og at the Loveen at Galway Harbour. The Hernon family are boatbuilders and key members of keeping the tradition of Galway Hookers alive Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy Coilin Hernon with his sons Einde and Coilin Og at the Loveen at Galway Harbour. The Hernon family are boatbuilders and key members of keeping the tradition of Galway Hookers alive Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Founder members of the club are the Oliver family of the Claddagh, and their aim is to continue to support the tradition of Galway hooker sailing, and the culture around it, into the next generation.

A poster details of the Loveen projectA poster details of the Loveen project Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Ross Forde, Club Director, gives a helping hand to his son Jamie at hammering in a nail on the LoveenRoss Forde, Club Director, gives a helping hand to his son Jamie at hammering in a nail on the Loveen Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Daniel Concannon of Port of Galway Sea Scouts hammers in a nail on the LoveenDaniel Concannon of Port of Galway Sea Scouts hammers in a nail on the Loveen Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

 Tina Concannon, Club Secretary, hammers home a nail on the Loveen Tina Concannon, Club Secretary, hammers home a nail on the Loveen Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Published in Galway Harbour
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Galway Bay Sailing Club's Yannick Lemonnier has launched his Mini Transat yacht 'Marcel forever' at Galway Docks.

The Galway sailmaker is embarking on the first part of his Mini campaign that features a 600-mile race from Douarnenez in Western France. It's a campaign that will ultimately see Lemonnier (50) compete in the Mini Transatlantic Race this September. 

Johnny Shorten, Commodore of Galway Bay Sailing Club presented the GBSC Logo to the solo sailor ahead of his departure.

Lemonnier, who runs the Quantum Sails loft in Galway City, recently told Afloat recently that when he got into top-level competitive sailing on his native waters in the Bay of Biscay at the age of 26, his foremost ambition was to race the Mini Transat 6.5 across the Atlantic. Read more on this here

The Mini Transat yacht 'Marcel forever'The Mini Transat yacht 'Marcel forever'

Published in Galway Harbour
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Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan has said Galway could become a stage for the America's Cup yacht race in the future.

The harbourmaster was commenting as the port outlined its vision for a new “urban quarter” with a dedicated cultural space, a “repurposed” inner basin and high rise waterfront residential development.

The “vision” unveiled by the port yesterday, involves development of some seven hectares (17 acres) of inner docklands for housing, commercial and recreational use.

The new vision for Galway Port sees high rise waterfront residential developmentThe new vision for Galway Port sees high rise waterfront residential development

A substantial portion depends on Galway securing approval for its long-planned harbour extension.

However, some 33 per cent of the area could be developed for residential use in advance of port relocation, its chief executive Conor O’Dowd said.

Around 2,000 residents in total could be accommodated in Galway’s inner dockland, O’Dowd said.

Most of the buildings proposed in the “vision” would be approximately six storeys high, but this would be the subject of public consultation, he said.

Galway Harbour Development an aerial viewGalway Harbour Development an aerial view

The Galway dockland centre pier has been earmarked for a cultural facility, and the port is “very open” to public proposals on this, O’Dowd said.

Some 22,300 sq metres (5.5 acres) would be earmarked to develop new public spaces for the city and repurpose the inner dock basin for marine recreation, he said.

Proposed public amenities include the development of “cross-city walking and cycle routes, multi-purpose cultural and event spaces, recreational water sport facilities and a completely re-imagined” street network that turns “towards the sea”, he said.

Capt Sheridan said that the port had hosted Ireland’s first Volvo Ocean Race stopover in 2009 and the finish of the race in 2012.

It has also hosted three national sea festivals in Galway, and is on the route for the Round Britain and Ireland race in May, 2022.

“I think we are well capable of hosting the America's Cup down the road,” he said.

Known as the oldest international contest still held in any sport, the America's Cup involves matches races between the yacht club that currently holds the trophy and a club that is a challenger.

Any club that meets the specific requirements of the contest – held for over a century on the US east coast before it moved to Fremantle, Australia in 1987 and subsequent venues – has the right to challenge the yacht club that currently holds the cup.

The America's Cup is currently held by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, which was successful in defending its title in Auckland in March 2021.

“These modern super yachts require very little water depth, and Galway bay is a natural amphitheatre for such events,” Capt Sheridan said.

“We dreamed about a port expansion many years ago, and we are now tantalisingly close,”he said.

“ When the Volvo ocean races called here in 2009 and 2012, we were the smallest port in the world on their route – and yet in 2009, Galway was deemed the most successful stopover in its 39-year history,” he said.

O’Dowd said the port’s planning application for a new, deep water port - which was the subject of a Bord Pleanála hearing in 2015 -is at an “advanced stage”.

The plan involves reclaiming some 24 hectares in the inner bay, and the port says a significant “hurdle” was overcome with recent approval of its proposal to provide compensatory land for lost habitats.

The port applied for a rarely used derogation of the EU Habitats Directive –the ‘Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest’ (IROPI) clause – and this has now been approved by the EU and referred to the Minister for Housing and Local Government.

If approved, the port company forecasts a completion date for the deepwater extension of 2032.

Published in Galway Harbour
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The Port of Galway has secured consent to provide compensatory habitat in return for its proposed harbour extension.

An Bord Pleanala has confirmed that the development qualifies to be considered under a derogation of the EU Habitats Directive, which allows projects to be built for "Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest". (IROPI).

The port, which is restricted by tide, applied in 2014 for a €126m expansion.

This would involve the reclamation of 24 hectares from the sea bed and extensive development of deepwater berth space.

Bord Pleanála said that certain elements of the proposed development would have a significant adverse impact on Galway bay, with permanent loss of reef, mud and sand habitats in a candidate special area of conservation.

In its submission, the port has offered compensatory habitat which it would restore.

An Bord Pleanála says it approved the IROPI case for several reasons:

It says it “concluded that the proposal presents an integrated development that enhances the social, economic and recreational benefits of the port for the wider benefit of the population of Galway and its regional hinterland”.

“The enhancement of port facilities also aligns with the European transportation policy promoting ‘short-sea shipping’ as a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable alternative to road transport,” it says.

“The enhancement of the port serving the region will therefore align with European, national and regional policies in favour of balanced spatial and economic development,” it says.

“The port and the tradition of maritime trade is fundamental not just to the economy of Galway but also to its culture and identity,” it says.

“The social and economic benefits of the project include positive impacts to tourism, marine research and development, including offshore renewable energy, urban regeneration and marine leisure opportunities,” it says.

Port of Galway chief executive officer Conor O’Dowd welcomed the confirmation as a “positive further step in the planning process”.

An Bord Pleanála says it has asked the Minister of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to “consider the adequacy of the compensatory measures proposed by the applicant”.

It has also asked the minister to “advise as to whether there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest to enable consideration of the proposed development to proceed”.

Published in Galway Harbour

No fire brigade, no doctors, no ambulance service – when a problem arises at sea, seafarers have to tackle it themselves.

That’s what makes the seafarer a “special breed” who is always “solution-focused”, according to Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan.

The challenges of Covid-19, Galway’s position as a hub for renewable ocean energy, and its plans for expansion are among issues that Capt Sheridan spoke to Wavelengths about this week as part of the podcast’s occasional series on ports around the coast.

Galway secured a first Irish stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race, in 2009, and its finale in 2012. There were also three national “seafests” in the harbour, organised by the Marine Institute.

In May 2022, Galway will host a stopover for the Round Britain and Ireland Yacht Race, when some 40 competing yachts are anticipated to berth over a four day period.

“It gives a little bit of a parting in the clouds...when things are so dark,” Capt Sheridan says.

There’s also “a poet in everybody”, he adds, and Storm Ophelia in 2017 inspired one such piece which he wrote, and which he read for the podcast.

Listen below

Published in Wavelength Podcast

With its new format and course recently announced, RWYC Round Britain & Ireland Race that calls to Galway Bay next summer entry opens this Friday.

Commodore of the Royal Western Yacht Club, Chris Arscott, said, “The new format now allows for either double-Handed or four-handed crews. As the RWYC was the first club to introduce shorthanded offshore racing in the world, it is in our DNA to continue to develop and support this discipline. We are introducing a 4-handed class to offer a step-change from fully-crewed to perhaps tempt others to join the ever-growing double-handed and solo racing world. Partial crew changes are also allowed in each stopover, allowing for more crews to enjoy this amazing race, if not in its entirety but to be part of a Round Britain and Ireland team.”

The course has also been revised to three stopovers which will offer a more balanced, accessible race both to the sailors and supporters alike. From starting in Plymouth, the venues have been announced as Galway, Lerwick and Blyth. The compulsory stopovers will remain at a minimum of 48 hours, allowing crews to rest, repair, replace (whether that be kit or crew), refuel and finally return in top shape to take on their next leg. Lastly, the race will do away with IRC certified handicaps and will instead revert to class splits on length overall.

"The race will do away with IRC certified handicaps and will instead revert to class splits on length overall"

Race Director Adrian Gray said, “Besides crew work, navigation is key to success in these races, so we are moving away from the IRC mentality and returning to our original format of classes based on Length overall as well as multihull and of course monohull. It is a format that we feel will attract real interest. We are also balancing the course to make the race more accessible, more comfortable and less of a time draw to the teams generally.

We have also received some interest from the 2 handed Olympic offshore hopefuls to join us.

After all, this is a race of 4 stages, all of similar leg lengths to that which will be on offer in FRANCE2024.”

The race starts on the 29th May, 2022.

Spaces are limited so do not hesitate in getting in touch with the RWYC team and express your interest to enter here

Published in Galway Harbour

St Patrick’s festival is being marked with an illuminated gleoiteog in Galway’s Claddagh basin this week.

The gleoiteog Manuela has been decorated with lights by Bádóirí an Cladaig, the city association dedicated to training and restoration of the traditional craft.

The vessel was named in memory of Manuela Riedo, the Swiss student who was raped and murdered in Galway in October 2007

Bádóirí an Cladaig also illuminated several of its fleet of traditional vessels in the Claddagh basin over Christmas and new year, raising spirits during the pandemic.

Almost two years ago, the training organisation launched The Lovely Anne, a 137-year-old workboat built-in 1882 by boat-wright, Patrick Brannelly.

Brannelly also built An Tónaí and the Morning Star.

After being part of the local hooker fleet in the early 1900s, the vessel was sold over 46 years ago to Jim Parkinson, who fished it for many years.


Published in Galway Harbour
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“Voyagers from the grave” read the headline in a Melbourne newspaper, The Advocate, in 1877, and the report was about three Galway men who had by then become known as “the shaughrauns”.

The previous November of 1876, four men, had set out to fish from the Claddagh in a hooker, named Saint Patrick.

In the words of the skipper, Michael Moran, he and his crewmen Michael Smith, Patrick Moran, and his uncle John Moran, made for Slyne Head, about sixty miles from Galway.

That night a tremendous storm carried the vessel 150 miles out into the Atlantic, where four days later, three survivors were rescued by a passing Swedish vessel and taken to America.

“We had no extra good fortune, and at night foggy weather overtook us. The wind sprung up, blowing a perfect hurricane. My post was at the helm where my hands became frozen. On Tuesday night the boat was half-filled with water,” skipper Moran recalled.

“It is our custom to light turf on setting out and keep the fire going. The water put it out. Although we had potatoes and fresh fish, we had no means to cook them,” he said.

“We were four days and four nights without eating. In order to break the speed with which we were driven, we lowered a basket filled with stones and endeavoured to heave to but the cable broke on Friday morning,” he said.

That same morning, they woke to find no trace of the oldest man on board, his uncle John Moran.

NUI Galway lecturer in history Dr John Cunningham has researched the “Claddagh calamity”, and he gave a recent online talk to the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society about what happened, and how the men were given up for dead and were "waked".

Dr Cunningham is a committee member of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, a member of the editorial board of its journal, and a past editor of Saothar: Journal of Irish Labour History. He is co-editor with Ciaran McDonough of a forthcoming volume commemorating the bicentenary of James Hardiman's history of Galway – Hardiman and Beyond: Arts and Culture in Galway, 1820-2020 which is due for publication in April.

Dr Cunningham spoke to Wavelengths about his findings, and first of all, describes the vessel which the four men set sail in from the Claddagh.

You can hear the Wavelengths interview below

And you can see the full lecture by Dr Cunningham here

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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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.


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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