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Displaying items by tag: Lough Erne

The Lough Erne branch of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) welcomes the return to Lough Erne where boat owners with craft on the waterways can enjoy once more the beautiful scenery of this part of County Fermanagh, with the proviso that they adhere to the Executive’s advice about social distancing and practice good hand hygiene.

The suggested recommendations by the IWAI are:-

1. Please ensure that you are travelling directly to and from your boat, not stopping for supplies on your journey. You should prepare in advance and consider what provisions you will need when you are doing your weekly food shopping.

2. Be aware of the following surfaces and avoid contact if possible:

  • Locked Gates, Keypads or access restrictions
  • Water taps and shore power bollards
  • Handrails, benches, light switches, boat or jetty cleats, and other frequent touchpoints
  • Shared use trollies or wheelbarrows, fuel drums or pumps
  • Where you do make contact with the above surfaces, ensure you do not touch your eyes, mouth, nose, or face until you have thoroughly washed or sanitised your hands.

3. Water taps should not be used at this time – please bring a supply of safe drinking water with you to your boat.

4. Please be aware that trolleys may not be available - consider how you will carry your belongings to/from your boat, limiting close contact with others through repeated trips.

5. While visiting your boat and within marinas, practice and maintain social distancing at all times. Please be patient and courteous to other marina and lough users. Take your time and allow sufficient 2-metre physical distance to pass on jetties. Use finger jetties or stay aboard your boat until it is safe to pass.

6. Please remain on your own boat and do not board others’ boats to socialise regardless of how tempting this may be. 

7. Should you choose to cruise at this time, please be mindful that your actions have consequences. Owners should ensure their boats are well maintained and fully de-winterised following a protracted period of not being used; and that weather conditions, health conditions, and level of boating experience can all influence the likelihood of requiring assistance from emergency responders. Owners should also check which marinas and facilities around the Lough are open. Plan and prepare to spend time afloat completely self-sufficiently. This may include electric and water supplies on public jetties. It is also recommended that you do not pass through stretches where it is necessary to operate lock gates in order to minimise the risk of cross-contamination.

It should be noted that currently, all toilets and other marina facilities will be closed in compliance with Government guidance and that even simple helpful tasks like throwing/receiving a rope from a mooring vessel increases your risk of contracting or spreading the virus and should be avoided where possible.

Finally, the Lough Erne branch of IWAI says “ while we have all worked hard and made sacrifices to reach a point where it is considered safe to return to the lough, please do not become complacent. The threat of contracting Covid-19 is still very real, and we all have a responsibility to limit it’s spread”.

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Shared stories of folklore and the history of spiritual sites around Lough Erne will be the subject of a public meeting at Waterways Ireland HQ in Enniskillen later this month.

Hosted by Waterways Ireland in partnership with the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership, the community outreach event encourages locals around the Fermanagh waterway to drop in and share their stories and folk tales, as well as memorabilia and photographs, that only they would have.

Doors will be open from 1pm to 8pm on Monday 27 January, with the Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis at Queen’s University Belfast on hand to record these oral histories and more for posterity.

The project will also inform the development of the Lough Erne Spiritual Trail, an initiative of Waterways Ireland and the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership.

Eleven significant spiritual and/or ecclesiastical sites have been selected, including Devenish Island, White Island (North), Davy’s Island, Inishmacsaint, Caldragh (Boa Island), Cleenish, St. Ronan’s Aghalurcher, Galloon, Killadeas, Derryvullen and Tievealough.

Published in Inland Waterways

The traditional Lough Erne Cot is a vessel unique to Upper and Lower Lough Erne and used there for possibly 2000 years. It was popular for transporting goods, people and cattle around the islands in the lakes in County Fermanagh and some versions are still used today for carrying cattle.

The cot was uniquely suitable for this purpose, being flat bottomed, wide in the middle and narrow in its turned-up ends. Some were surprisingly long at 15 to 18 metres. But the latest design of the ‘cot’ commissioned by the RSPB, is a far cry from the original. It’s a 15m custom-made 14-ton vessel built by Welsh marine engineers and workboat builders Mainstay Marine Solutions.

As Afloat previously reported, not only will it transport livestock but also machinery, equipment and people and its deck space can be altered depending on the cargo. It can also be dismantled into sections for ease of road transportation.

The grazing of cattle on the islands helps ground-nesting birds by providing cover. The livestock creates a suitable structure of grass and vegetation to form an ideal habitat for breeding wading birds including curlews, lapwings, redshanks and snipe to nest and raise young.

The boat has been named the ‘Joe Magee’ after a former RSPB Fermanagh warden who had noticed the alarming decline in wading birds during his time there. The new cot was acquired through the Co-operation Across Borders for Biodiversity (CABB) project, which receives financial support from the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). CABB is improving the habitat for breeding wading birds at several sites in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and blanket bog habitat in NI, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

RSPB NI has operated a cot to transport livestock between islands on Lower Lough Erne since 1991. The original was designed by Joe Magee but needed to be replaced due to wear and tear.

RSPB NI area manager Brad Robson explained: “The cot is used throughout the year. We move about 150 cattle and 60 sheep back and forth to our managed islands, as well as livestock to other privately owned islands. In its first voyages, the new vessel will be used to bring livestock off for the winter”.

Joe Magee added: “We originally used a wooden cot, which a farmer let us use, and then we built our own.  “Although at first it had no engine on it, and we had to tow it using another boat. So eventually we got an engine and that made life easier. “I knew that across the island of

Ireland curlew numbers were dropping, so it’s important that work is still being done to look after them.”

Mr Robson said the RSPB's work is essential and by using cattle to manage the grassland they can give curlews "the best possible opportunity that they can rear young successfully”.

Underlining the importance of this part of the project, Gina McIntyre - CEO of the SEUPB - said: “The curlew is one of a number of endangered priority species identified in the environmental protection measures within the EU INTERREG Programme. This new cot is a fantastic example of the tangible impact that EU INTERREG funding is having in safeguarding the natural environment and protecting endangered species, on a cross-border basis. Due to this intervention by the CABB project, curlews will have a much better future. I also want to commend Joe for his commitment to conservation.”

You can read more here

Published in Ferry
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Carrybridge RNLI is looking for new volunteer crew members to join its search and rescue service on Lough Erne.

The station, on the River Erne between the upper and lower loughs, is now calling on potential recruits to come forward and learn how they can get involved in helping the charity continue to save lives at sea and on inland waterways.

Later this month, on Thursday 21 November from 7pm, the lifeboat station will be hosting an open evening for all interested candidates to learn more.

Originally part of Enniskillen RNLI, Carrybridge RNLI was established in 2002 due to the increase in pleasure boating activity on Lough Erne.

In October 2015, a new station was officially opened and a larger Atlantic 85 lifeboat was placed on service in November 2017, to replace the older Atlantic 75 and to join the existing rescue water craft (RWC).

To date the lifeboat, Douglas Euan and Kay Richards, and RWC have launched 41 times on service in addition to weekly training exercises.

Stephen Scott, Carrybridge RNLI lifeboat operations manager, is now calling on any potential volunteers to come along to the open evening and find out more.

“We are looking for anyone aged 17 years and over who is willing to offer some of their free time to join what I believe to be one of the most exhilarating and rewarding voluntary services that is out there,” he said.

“While experience on the water is helpful, every volunteer receives first-class training from the RNLI and learns new skills which can benefit them in many walks of life. Lifeboat crew members need to have a reasonable level of fitness.”

Anyone who feels they have the time and commitment to volunteer for the charity which is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is asked to email Stephen at [email protected]

While the official entry was thirty-one for the 2019 J24 Irish National Championships at Lough Erne Yacht Club, twenty-eight made it to the first start line including five under 25 teams writes Elaine O'Mahoney.

The under 25 team from Royal Cork Yacht Club at their first J24 event were unfortunate to have broken a mast immediately after the start of the first race but thanks to the efforts of Lough Erne Yacht Club they are being loaned another boat to enable them to compete in day two. The 2019 AGM took place after racing and Brian McDowell from Howth Yacht Club stepped down as President.

The committee would like to thank Brian and also Martin O’Reilly and Sinéad Enright who are also stepping down this year, for all their hard work and commitment to the association over the past few years. We would also like to wish newly elected President Mark Usher from Greystones Sailing Club the very best of luck and to welcome Tadgh O’Loinsigh from Tralee Bay Sailing Club as the Under 25 representative on the new committee.

We asked three boats to give a summary of their first day of racing at the J/24 National Championships in Lough Erne Yacht Club.

Reports from the Fleet

The forecast said “ten knots, gusting close to twenty”, but as the fleet made its way to the race course it was clear that the “Breeze was on” for Day 1.
The starts were hectic with twenty-eight boats fighting for front row positions, the fleet got away clean for three of the four races.
The upwind legs were a battle between finding flatter water and picking your way through the wind shifts across the broad Lough. There were gains to be made on both sides of race course and all through the fleet boats traded positions with only small margin making the difference of often multiple places.
The front half of the fleet was always still tightly packed as they approached the first windward mark, and with spinnakers hoisted and powerful gusts, the downwind legs in the first couple of races were fun and felt short.
The leeward gate created opportunities as the fleet split each time for a second lap.
By the time the warning signal for Race 3 was raised, the breeze showed signs of dropping a little and about half the fleet made the change to their larger head sail. On balance, those who stuck with Jib’s probably fared better during the next race and only by Race 4 had the wind moderated enough to make sailing with the J24’s big Genoa really manageable.
With testing wind conditions and a very competitive fleet every place was fought for and as is so often the case in big fleets consistency was the key to success on day 1. After four races completed and still no discard, the McCormacks Stouche from Foynes Yacht Club managed to stay just ahead of Flor O'Driscoll's team in Hard on Port. Behind them and still in the running to grab the National title are the local team of JP Caldin on Il Ricco and Headcase owned and sailed by the first graduates of the Howth YC J24 “Under 25” development programme.
Day 2 promises a little less wind but even more competition. - Brian Raftery - Gossip

Windier conditions today than expected gusting 25/26 kts easily. Some excellent close racing, testing the crew's boat handling and tactical skills. A great job from the race committee getting all four scheduled races in. Roll on day two. - Team Jumpin’ Jive

So glad to be out here in Enniskillen what a fantastic venue to compete in. Our teams first time racing here and it didn’t disappoint. While our results weren’t as good as we would have originally hoped we had a great day on the water all the same. OOD Derek Bothwell and his team set great courses which made for extremely competitive and nail-biting races for us all day long. We were met with testing conditions at the beginning of the day which gradually eased. It took us a while to get the boat going but we dusted off the cobwebs and eventually got into the groove. We are happy to say our results improved as the day progressed. Hopefully, our performance will continue to improve tomorrow and the day after. - Foynes Yacht Club Under 25 Team

Published in J24
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On Saturday 18 May 2019, rowers and supporters gathered at Knockninny Quay in preparation for the start of the voyage writes Ken Wilson of Lough Erne Heritage

The V Rev. Fr Gerard Alwill P.P. Derrylin gave us a blessing and encouragement for our onward journey, he passed on apologies for Reverent Alastair Donaldson who was attending the Church of Ireland General Synod.

The V Rev. Fr Gerard Alwill PRev. Fr Gerard Alwill P.P. Derrylin gave the crew a blessing and encouragement

The Lough Erne Cots left and rowed towards Carrybridge additional rowers join us before leaving for Bellanaleck. On arrival at Bellanaleck we had a very pleasant surprise, Mary welcomed us all with tea/coffee tray bakes and sandwiches which set everyone up for the final leg to Enniskillen. When we arrived at Enniskillen on completion of our first day we were welcomed by rain.

On Sunday 19 May 2019 the rowers left Enniskillen at 8.30am rowing towards Devenish stopping at Trory, where members of Belturbet Rowing Club joined us for the final leg of the voyage to Inishmacsaint. All arrived safely at Inishmacsaint just after noon.

The first recreation of the St Ninnidh voyage since the 6th Century, it may be the start of a pilgrim route on Lough Erne.

I must mention one of the oldest running outboards on Lough Erne, my 1933 Marston Seagull. It was ideal to power our pilot boat which was required on the narrow stretches downstream from Carrybridge on the first day of the St Ninnidh Voyage from Knockninny to Enniskillen. No pilot boat required on Lower Lough Erne, so I "had" to row the 8 miles from Castle Island to Inishmacsaint solo.

Thank you to all who actively took part on this historic voyage. The weather was with us and everyone enjoyed themselves, a great example of team effort by the Lough Erne Heritage members who contributed so much to this event and thanks in no small measure to all the willing volunteers who gave their time and endurance to make this project become the significant event that it is. Well done indeed to all the rowers young and old. Thank you to Michael McPhilips who accompanied Lough Erne Heritage on both days taking stills and moving images documenting the St Ninnidh voyage.

Lough Erne Heritage trustee Liam Boyle came up with the inspirational idea of attempting this voyage and I for one am glad that we as a team made it a reality.

Lough Erne Heritage recreated the St Ninnidh journey as part of the ERNE Programme which has been made possible by a National Lottery Heritage Fund award, thanks to the money raised by National Lottery players.

The Links Across the Lough programme will bring rowers from all areas round the Lough together. This programme is being delivered by Insight Solutions, working in partnership with Lough Erne Heritage, on behalf of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

The project is supported by the European Union’s Peace IV Programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Brian Osborne Trustee.

Published in Historic Boats
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The Fermanagh and Omagh Community Planning Partnership are reviewing the content of their 2030 Community Plan as required by legislation.

To assist in the first stage of this process, they are undertaking a ‘light touch’ community engagement to reaffirm and prioritise the key priorities for the district — which includes Lough Erne — moving forward.

The engagement will close on Thursday 30 May. Interested parties can assist in the delivery of the 2030 Community Plan by taking a moment to complete a short survey HERE.

For further information, contact the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Planning and Performance Team on (+44) 0300 303 1777, text phone (+44) 028 8225 6216 or email [email protected]

Community-led planning is also in focus for Ireland's second largest lake, Lough Corrib, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Inland Waterways
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A new community heritage project in Co Fermanagh focuses on raising awareness and preserving the heritage of traditional boat building and the cultural heritage of the people who lived on and around the shores of Lough Erne.

The ERNE Programme, which runs until June 2020, has been made possible by a UK National Lottery Heritage Fund award of £56,400 thanks to the money raised by lottery players.

This funding will help the programme establish a network of groups around Lough Erne, offer training opportunities for local volunteers to learn new skills, and develop a website with a ‘virtual museum’,

Other initiatives include interactive educational materials for schools, hosting Heritage in Action rowing regattas and an exhibition in June 2020 to showcase the heritage from around the inland waterway.

Welcoming the funding award, Gabriel Fitzpatrick, Lough Erne Heritage chair, said: “This project will enable local people to explore and share local history. We are pleased to have the opportunity to bring people together and tell the story.”

Jim McGreevy, of The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s NI committee, added: “We feel this project focusing on the strong boat building, rowing and associated heritage will complement our significant investment into the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership project.

“We’ve just launched our new five-year funding framework which outlines how we will continue to inspire, lead and resource the heritage sector.

“This new project is a great example of the projects we want to fund, it plans to explore important local heritage, involve a wider range of people in the project and to share everything that they uncover. We wish the project team well as they embark on their project.”

Formed in 2015, Lough Erne Heritage encourages research about Lough Erne, its traditional boats and the people who built and used them. In 2016, together with Cavan Town Men’s Shed, Lough Erne Heritage built two traditional Lough Erne Cots in order to demonstrate how they would have been used.

Published in Historic Boats

The Lough Erne Landscape Partnership is recruiting for the full-time position of Heritage Project Manager, based in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

The successful candidate will work closely with local project partners, taking the lead on developing and delivering a suite of projects within the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership.

This “exciting” role will enable the right candidate to deliver projects to promote, protect and conserve the built, cultural and natural heritage of the Lough Erne area on and off the waterway.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 27 January. An application pack containing all information on the post is available from the LELP website.

Published in Jobs

On the 22nd and 23rd September, as a major part of Festival Lough Erne, two regattas for Lough Erne Cots were organised in Enniskillen by Lough Erne Heritage. Lough Erne Heritage is a registered charity formed as a constituted group in March 2015 to promote and preserve the maritime heritage of Lough Erne. Lough Erne Cots, unique to Lough Erne, were a key feature of so much of the transport of people, livestock and of imported and exported goods for hundreds of years on Lough Erne.

Used by the many people who lived on the islands and around the shores of the lough to support their work, they were also on special occasions raced as part of the celebrations on a holiday, for example, the Knockninny Regatta held in the 1800s and after the yacht races at Crom.

Some of the early regattas, or competitions between boats, have now been recreated by Lough Erne Heritage and others added, not only providing some fun and healthy exercise but also drawing attention to one of the main strands or aspects of the heritage of the lough, transport of goods and people by water.

Enniskillen Regatta on Saturday 22nd of September was the last in a series of five organised around Lough Erne throughout the summer of 2018. The others being Knockninny, Belleek, Belturbet and Crom. Whilst the Lough Erne Cots were provided by Lough Erne Heritage, the essential part of any regatta is the crews or teams and for this we were delighted with the support from Enniskillen Royal Grammar School boat club. Gaye Conway produced crews, some of world standard and just back from the championships in Bulgaria and some parents also supported the Regatta. One team of ladies from Row the Erne also took part. Racing took place between the Broadmeadow and the historic Irvine`s Island and in front of the viewing area on the walls of the Castle.

The winners were a team of world-class rowers from the boat club who called themselves Iain`s Men and consisting of Barney Rix, Ryan Ballantine and Michael Kennedy. To step from a modern racing machine into a craft whose design may go back 2000 years must have been quite a shock but greatly appreciated by the organisers. Runners-up were team Row the Erne, Clare Brogan, Deirdre O`Brien and Nadine Grant. Sadly neither team was able to take part in the Lough Erne Regatta the next day.

lough Foyle trad boatTracy and James Hockley with his Lough Foyle Punt built 42 years ago by William Campbell who came down to the Regatta with his wife May. A Lough Erne Clinker Boat can be seen in the background with a sprit sail

The Lough Erne Regatta the next day Sunday 23rd September saw teams gather from Knockninny, Belleek, Crom and Belturbet from where Tommy McMahon brought three Junior teams who had their own regatta within the Lough Erne Regatta. With the teams came many supporters who lined along the shore and cheered their teams on, all making a great spectacle. From a calm day on Saturday where the boats started from their marks downstream with the current, Sunday brought strong northerly winds so the boats started upstream against the current as the north wind was stronger than the current was. The regatta was run very efficiently and it was no time before the winners were announced. Of the three junior teams from Belturbet, the winning team consisted of Peter Lennon, Luke Malvanny and Josh McKiernan. The runners-up in the adult section were Team McGovern from Belleek and winners and Lough Erne Champions for 2018 was Team Murphy`s Boys.

Along with the regattas, on display was another Lough Erne cot built by Liam Boyle and a Lough Erne Clinker built rowing boat built by George and Fred Ternan. Visitors to the regatta for the weekend were James and Tracy Hockley from Derry who brought along their Lough Foyle Punt with the intention of demonstrating its sailing abilities on Sunday but sadly the demonstration had to be cancelled due to the strong winds. However whilst on display alongside the Lough Erne boats it attracted much interest and the builder, William Campbell and his wife May were on hand to explain how he built a number of these boats when living in Derry. A Drontheim from the north coast was also to be on display but had to be cancelled due to illness in the family. Had the three boats been on display the connection between the Lough Erne boats and those from the north coast would have been seen.

The regattas had three support boats on the water manned by Eugene Brazil, Liam Boyle and Brian Osbourne, very experienced lough men and all wearing Personal Flotation Devices, as did all the competitors. The support boats also set the course which involved four turning marks and two start marks. On shore was St. Johns ambulance and in the organising committee was an RYA Yachtmaster and from the world of sailboat racing an experienced National Race Officer. Great interest was displayed from the members of the public and it would appear that there will be more Lough Erne Cots on the water next year with more communities from around the lough becoming involved.

Altogether a very safe and enjoyable regatta involving many people from Fermanagh, Cavan, Donegal, Derry and further afield who gained a wonderful experience of the unique islands of Enniskillen and the perfect setting for the regatta where it is hoped to feature more traditional boats next year.

Published in Historic Boats
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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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