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Displaying items by tag: Irish Lights

#OPEN HOUSE – Starting today is Open House Dublin weekend (5-7 October), which is an exploration of the vitality of Dublin through its architecture for people and to experience free of charge. A host of buildings otherwise normally closed to the general public are available to visit including maritime related tours.

An architectural tour of Dublin's Docklands quarter on board a Liffey sightseeing boat is to be presented by Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn T.D. Also taking transport while on a tour of buildings along Dun Laoghaire will be a yacht excursion along the south Dublin Bay coastline.

The Commissioners of Irish Lights, whose striking landmark headquarters in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, will be open to public tours. Further along the waterfront, close to the harbour's East Pier, is the National Maritime Museum of Ireland (NMMI) which is also to welcome visitors noting the opening hours on Sunday are between 11am to 5pm.

Please note that availability to these events which represent a handful in an extensive programme are subject to various viewing arrangements, as some had to be pre-booked, while others are based on a first-come first-served basis. For further details consult www.openhousedublin.com

Published in Boating Fixtures

#LIGHTSHIPS – As each day passes, quite literally chunks of Irish maritime heritage are been rapidly consigned to history, as work on scrapping the former lightship ALF Skua takes place on the North Quay in Arklow, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As the vessel lies forlornly alongside her River Avoca berth, a blowtorch cuts away in earnest at the steelwork. In tandem a crane-grabber lifts large sections of the red painted ship and loaded into an awaiting quayside truck.

What remains as of this week is only the hull, as the bridge, deckhouse structure and lantern have gone, having said that the latter structure was removed years ago.

When the lightship was towed into the port, several elected members of Arklow Town Council, with a seafaring back-round prevailed in the public body to acquire the lantern. The structure however still remains yet to be located to an appropriate site, as according to the council they have no definite plans for the lantern, though it is envisaged that it would be at least placed in a municipal location.

For decades the lightship served several stations off the Irish coastline, having been completed in 1960 by Philip & Sons of Dartmouth for the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL). Constructed of steel, the 134 foot lightship, cost £124,128 when launched in the Devon shipyard, though her crew were replaced when converted to an automatic light float (ALF) in 1981/82.

The vessel's designation as an ALF lasted for more than two decades until Irish Lights sold the lightship to Arklow Shipping Ltd in 2005, however she has since changed hands while moored in the Co. Wicklow port.

Nearby to where the Skua is berthed, a lantern belonging to an older lightship fleetmate, the Albratross (built 1925), was kept to form a distinctive landmark at the entrance to Arklow Marina.

With the diminishing Skua, it is believed that only two such ships survive on this island. The ALF Kittiwake (built 1959) as previously reported on Afloat.ie is in Dublin Port, however she shifted berths several months from her prominent position opposite the 02 Theatre to the jetty within Alexandra Basin, which is hidden away from general view in the working port.

The other lightship the Petrel, was built by Dublin Dockyard between 1913-15. She remains as a floating clubhouse for the Down Cruising Club in Strangford Lough, having been towed to the lough by the lighthouse tender ILV Isolda during the late 1960's.

As for the last lightship to serve, the honour was left to the ALF Gannet. She was stationed at South Rock, off Co. Down until her decommissioning in 2009 when Irish Lights replaced the lightship with a new 'Superbuoy'.

Published in Lighthouses

#PROPERTY HQThe Irish Times reports that the Dublin based former headquarters of the Commissioners for Irish Lights are to be offered for sale at €2.85 million on the instructions of Nama – a 89 per cent per cent drop on the €26 million paid for the block in 2006 by Pembroke Partnership.

Wesley Rothwell of CBRE says the building, (located on 16-19 Pembroke Street in Dublin 2), has not been occupied since it was sold, is now in need of extensive refurbishment.

The property became redundant when the Commissioners relocated in 2008 to a brand new custom-built HQ on the waterfront within Dun Laoghaire Harbour. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the distinctive landmark building is to be open to the public next Sunday as part of the Open House Dublin Weekend.

Published in Waterfront Property

#twitterbuoy – Up to the minute information on the progress of the 39,000 mile Volvo Ocean Race – headed for Galway in three weeks time – will be "tweeted" to millions around the world from a high tech "Twitter Buoy" which will "go live" in Galway Bay.

The Galway 'Twitter' Buoy was launched by the Irish Lights Vessel "Granuaile"  as previously reported by Afloat.ie at a location close to Mutton Island and will transmit a constant flow of data on the race, the weather conditions being experienced by the sailors and other ocean and meteorological data.

The Galway 'Twitter' Buoy will be accessible on Twitter @Galwaybuoy. Its information stream will also be passed onwards through Facebook and the Internet. It will transmit from today until mid July.

The launch of the service – a Volvo Ocean Race first - has come about through a collaboration between the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the Marine Institute, Techworks Marine, Smartbay Ireland and IMERC partners, (Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster).

The eight metres high navigational buoy is fitted with multiple environmental sensors and electronic transceivers including AIS (Automatic Identification system) and RACON (Radar beacon) and will 'tweet' the whereabouts of the Volvo boats as they head for the nail biting Race Finale in Galway. Photo:Andrew Downes

Published in Lighthouses

#LECTURES – Pádraig Laffan will present his lecture on 'Dublin Bay and the Kish Light' next Tuesday (20th March) starting at 8pm in the Foxrock Parish Centre. The Co. Dublin venue is located at the rear of the R.C. Church.

All are welcome to the lecture (admission €3) which is part of a monthly held talks programme run by the Foxrock Local History Club. For further information visit www.foxrocklocalhistory.ie/page7.html

Published in Boating Fixtures
#MARINE RESCUE EXERCISE-By coincidence two separate emergency exercise practise drills took place yesterday off Dalkey Island, the first involved a 12,921dwt tanker in broad daylight while the second exercise involved lifeboats under pitch-dark conditions, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The tanker Cumbrian Fisher (PHOTO) had arrived in the afternoon, anchoring unusually close to the island, to the south-east off The Muglins Lighthouse (to read more click HERE). While waiting for a berth in Dublin Port, she engaged in a lifeboat-drill practice which involved launching an orange-coloured fully enclosed lifeboat which was lowered into the water from the vessels' stern cradle-crane.

Crew kitted in similarly bright orange coloured sea safety-survival suits entered the lifeboat before it plunged into the water. The activity was observed through the binocular-scope which overlooks Coliemore Harbour with excellent views across the sound to Dalkey Island, Dublin Bay and Howth Peninsula.

The binocular-scope does not require payment to operate and was unveiled in 2008 in memory of local resident the late Dr. John de Courcy Ireland, the 'father' of maritime Ireland (to read more click HERE). He was for 26 years a honorary secretary of the local RNLI station in Dun Laoghaire and a staunch campaigner of Irish maritime affairs.

Each Monday a routine lifeboat practice is conducted by the 47ft Trent class ALB (all-weather lifeboat) RNLB Anna Livia (info and PHOTO). Last night's drill also involved the new D-class ILB (inshore lifeboat) RNLB Réalt na Mara which was named earlier this year by Kathy Kenny, wife of RTE presenter Pat Kenny.

Under the cover of darkness the crew of the ILB Realt na Mara simulated an 'injured casualty' on the island where the casualty was prepared to be taken off by stretcher from the island's small harbour. From there the casualty was transferred to the larger RNLB Anna Livia which lay offshore. During the exercise, powerful searchlight beams from the ALB provided essential light to assist in the transfer operation.

Asides the lifeboats, there is plenty of wildlife to observe on the rocky outcrops at Maiden Rock, Clare Rock and Lamb Island, which forms the second largest island after the main island of 22-acres, where a resident herd of goats have been part of the local community for over 200 years.

As for the South Korean built Cumbrian Fisher, she too has close connections with these waters as she was named in Dublin Port in 2005. She is a frequent caller to Dublin bringing bulk liquid products from the oil refinery in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire which is a major supplier, serving the demands of the capital.

Dublin Port has two oil jetties which cater for four tankers, where bitumen, chemicals, liquid petroleum gases, molasses and oil are handled on a 41-hectare zone with storage for 330,000 product tonnes to include 6,000 tonnes of LPG. In addition aviation fuel is frequently delivered to the terminal to satisfy the constant demand for aircraft using Dublin Airport.

Cumbrian Fisher alongside her sister Clyde Fisher where built for James Fisher & Sons and in recent years they have tended to take anchorage off Dalkey Island and off the Nose of Howth. In comparison the vast majority of vessels anchor in Dublin Bay which is divided into quadrants for the purposes of anchorage allocation.

Before the completion of the South Wall in Dublin Port, which considerably improved safer access of vessels entering the River Liffey, it was the relative deeper and sheltered waters of Dalkey Sound which were used instead as Dalkey acted as the principle port for Dublin between 14-17th centuries.

Vessels would convey cargoes which were taken to and fro by lighter to the coast where it was carried by horse and cart to nearby Dalkey before onward travel across the exposed plains to Dublin City.

To learn more about Dalkey's medieval maritime heritage with its relationship with the capital of Dublin in addition the use of Dalkey Quarry in the construction of (Kingstown) Dun Laoghaire Harbour, visit the Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre.  To read more go to www.dalkeycastle.com in addition to further information about Dalkey including the local community council newsletters click HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
As part of this year's Open House Dublin event, the striking headquarters of the Commissioners of Irish Lights building in Dún Laoghaire Harbour will be open to the public tomorrow, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The iconic coastal landmark building built by Scott Tallon Walker Architects in 2008, consists of two-interconnected buildings that house offices and a marine depot. They utilise many eco-friendly and innovative technologies to ensure sustainable building design and energy efficiency.

Regular guided tours will provide a fascinating insight into the work of the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL). The tours (first-come basis) are also available for disabled access and they start from 12 noon to 5pm, noting the last tour is 4.30pm. Location: Harbour Road, Dún Laoghaire.

Like most of the tours and events in Open House Dublin, there is no pre-booking required. Entry is FREE and on a first-come basis. For more information about what to expect from your tour or event, check the How It Works by clicking HERE.

CIL operate the 79m aids-to-navigation tender ILV Granuaile which is based at her homeport of Dun Laoghaire. The 2,625grt tender was built by the Dutch Damen Shipyard group in Galati, Romania. She was then towed to The Netherlands where further outfitting work was conducted. She entered service in 2000 and she is the third tender to be named after the Mayo pirate queen.

Occasionally ILV Granuaile can be seen moored alongside the berth adjacant to the marine depot accessed through Dun Laoghaire Marina, though she mostly calls to the harbour's western bight area, using her DP (dynamic-positioning) mode. Her design is ideally suited for buoy and chain work, search and rescue, salvage and recovery, towing, hydrographic applications, and ROV work.

She is shallow drafted at 4.4m and has heavy lifting equipment including a 20 tonne aft-mounted crane with an outreach of 20m. Accommodation is for a crew of 16 in addition there are cabins for a further 10 persons.

Published in Lighthouses
Ten boats comprising of men's, women's and mixed crews from four East Coast skiff rowing clubs set off yesterday on the end-of-season Hobblers Challenge, a gruelling 25km rowing race from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to the Kish Lighthouse and back, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Ringsend based St. Patrick's Rowing Club boat Naomh Padraig, under the coxswain of Ken Cunningham, crossed the winning line at the harbour-mouth in a time of 2:57:36 to take the coveted cup. In addition to breaking the three-minute barrier, the St Patrick's men shaved almost six minutes off the time of last year's victors, Stella Maris Rowing Club, also from Ringsend.

Courtown Harbour Rowing Club took second place in a time of 3:3:19 and third place honours went to Stella Maris Rowing Club with a time of 3:16.00. The hosts of the Hobblers Challenge, St. Michaels Rowing Club based out of the Coal Harbour, passed under the high walls of the East Pier Lighthouse and battery some two minutes later in fourth place.

The annual event (for race-route click HERE) was only re-introduced onto the race calendar last year after a break of several years. The skiffs were launched at the Coal Harbour slipway where they headed over to line-up for the starter's gun opposite the Hobbler's Memorial located on the publicly accessible Eastern Breakwater which is between the Stena Line HSS fast-ferry berth and the Dun Laoghaire Marina.

In attendance to greet the start of the race in memorial of the Dublin Bay hobblers was the RNLB Anna Livia of the local RNLI lifeboat station. The bronze memorial depicts a tower of lifejackets in commemoration of three young Dun Laoghaire hobblers who after piloting and unloading the schooner Jealous of Me in Ringsend, failed to return home.

This occupation was carried out by men also from Ringsend, Dalkey and other harbours and it was the first crew to reach a ship and throw a hook on the deck who would win the business of pilotage and unloading in Dublin Port.

Crews would think nothing of rowing out to the Kish Bank on the hope of spotting a ship. If they waited offshore and no passing trade appeared along the East Coast the craft doubled as a bed if it became too late to row home. The craft were much larger and heavier compared to the present day skiff and it is in these oarstrokes that the Hobblers Challenge follows the original race of the hobblers during the 18th and 19th centuries.

It was apt that on the same day of this year's Hobblers Challenge, the 107-year-old ketch Bessie Ellen, a former cargo-carrying vessel that represented one of the last such sail-trading ships operating in the Irish Sea, was making a passage to the east of the Kish Bank.

To read more about the un-manned Kish Lighthouse click this HERE, and for the 150 cargo tons capacity ketch built in 1904 click HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay
Yvonne Shields has been appointed as the new chief executive of the Commissioners of Irish Lights. She takes over her new role of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour based General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) next month from chief executive Dr Stuart Ruttle who held the position for the last six years.  
Commenting on her appointment the chairman of Irish Lights, Ms Sheila Tyrrell, "I am delighted that Yvonne has been appointed as our incoming chief executive. She has significant experience within the marine sector, both at national and international level, which will be a great asset to CIL in meeting present and future challenges."

For the last 19 years Ms Shields has worked in the marine sector, most recently as Director of Strategic Planning and Development at the Marine Institute since 2004. In this role she had responsibility for oversight and management of the National Marine Research Programme, EU and International Policy and Programmes, Ocean Energy, Marine Technology and the Marine Data and Information Services Group of the Marine Institute.

Prior to this she held the position of Director of Science and Technology at the Marine Institute with responsibility for Research Vessel Operations, the National Seabed Survey, Oceanographic Services and the National Data Buoy Network. In addition she has worked in the marine tourism, aquaculture and private-forestry sectors.

Published in Lighthouses

The decommissioned Codling Bank (Lanby) buoy is no longer in the water but rests firmly on a quayside in Dublin Port, writes Jehan Ashmore. In late July  the Commissioners of Irish Lights withdrew the Lanby (Large Automated Navigation Buoy) was towed by the tender ILV Granuaile to the Coal Quay where the Lanby was hoisted out of the water.

The Lanby neighbours the adjacant Hammond Lane Company which is due to demolish the structure for scrapping. The removal of the Lanby, the last to serve in Irish waters, completes the withdrawal of Major Floating Aids to Navigation (MFAs) that also consisted of Lightships.

The Lanby was replaced with a Type 1 buoy to mark the Codling Bank offshore of Arklow. The new aids to navigation buoy has a focal in excess of 5-metres is fitted with a racon and Automatic Identification System (AIS).

Apart from loading scrap-metal the Coal Quay is also used by vessels for dry-cargoes trades such as animal feed, re-cycled glass and fertiliser.

The_decommissioned_Codling_Bank_Lanby_on_the_Coal_Quay_Dublin_on_8_August_awaiting_demolition_Photo_Jehan__Ashmore_ShipSNAPS

The decommissioned Codling Bank Lanby on the Coal Quay Dublin on 8 August awaiting demolition. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

Published in Lighthouses
Page 4 of 4

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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