#irishmarinas – Portmagee Marina pontoons are set for a second season of operation, built by L&M Keating Ltd, for Kerry Co Council, the 20–berth facility was opened in 2014 in the pretty port of Portmagee.
It is operated by Kilrush Marina who also operate the 120–berth County Clare facility. Most of the berths are occupied by the fleet of Skellig passenger boats that operate from Portmagee, however there are a number of berths reserved for visitors which have proved to be a very popular overnight stop off for cruising yachts during 2014.
Portmagee offers a 'traditional Kerry welcome' and the marina is situated 50m from the village main street and across the road from the popular Moorings Bar and Restaurant run by Gerard Kennedy who manages the marina. Gerard can be contacted on 087 2390010 for anyone wishing to book a berth.
The north-east county was among a surprise selection of areas known for their maritime and waterways attractions - such as Westmeath on the Shannon and Galway, host of last year's Volvo Ocean Race finale - that were not featured in the Irish tourism board's list of 45 towns and villages put forward for the Highly Commended Tourism Towns award, part of the National Tidy Towns Awards to be announced later in the year.
Counties on the water that did make the cut include Clare and Mayo, with five towns each on the list, Kerry with four - including last year's winner Portmagee - and Donegal and Waterford, represented three times each.
The top prize winner, to be announced by Fáilte Ireland in November, will receive €10,000 in supports for tourism marketing and development.
Though Sligo is conspicuous by its absence, Donegal's triple placing shows the north-east region is a big tourism attraction - and the Tripclocker blog says surfing is at the forefront of that.
With Ireland's exposure to the open Atlantic giving is "better waves more often", according to Killian O'Kelly of Bundoran's Turn n' Surf, there is a wide variety of surf beaches stretching from Donegal to Clare in particular with swells for all levels of experience.
After first hatching its harbour plan over five years ago, National Tourism Award winning village Portmagee in County Kerry now looks certain to see a new pontoon finally installed at Portmagee pier in 2013. It will be a further boost for a Kerry already popular with visiting yachts and boats.
The idea is to link the network of facilities that terminate in West Cork with new facilities in County Kerry and Portmagee will be an important link in this process.
The plans are that both local Skellig Rock tourism boat operators and up to 20 visiting yachts at any one time can use the new village pontoon once it is installed.
The facility is being developed through a local community initiative with funding from Kerry County Council and Failte Ireland.
#IRISH HARBOURS - Protesters took to the water off Kerry's piers last month in an organised swim drawing attention to proposed harbour bylaws designed to regulate the activities of water users.
“We need to make the public aware they have to make submissions,” Denise Collins told The Irish Times from Kells, which hosted one of the largest swims. “Traditional activities such as swimming will be over-regulated, we fear.”
The proposed bylaws would give Kerry County Council greater control over 16 of the county's 57 harbours and piers, including Kells, Kenmare, Portmagee, Brandon and Ventry.
Under the new bylaws, strict regulations would be placed on the use of loudhailers, landing and unloading passengers and freight, waste and even movement around the harbour.
The proposed bylaws already suffered a set-back earlier this year when Kerry County Councillors decided to restart the consultation process to allow the fishing industry, tourism operators and other interests more time to make submissions.
According to the Irish Examiner, only two submissions had been received by the council as of its January monthly meeting, despite senior council officials working for months on the draft proposals.
Cllr Toiréasa Ferris commented that the proposed charges in particular "would have huge implications for fishermen, some of whom might currently be earning only between €40 and €50 for a 14-hour day."
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, charges may also soon be hiked on yachts berthing at Ireland's main fishing harbours, a list that includes Dingle in Co Kerry.
Irish Marine Federation chairman David O'Brien expressed concern at the potential for such charges to damage "the good tourism dividend for coastal towns", noting that for every euro spent on a harbour berth, €10 was normally spent in the locality.
A yacht that was reported missing in the Atlantic between Bermuda and Ireland sailed safely into port in Co Kerry this afternoon.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Golden Eagle has been at the centre of an air and sea search operation since failing to arrive at its expected destination of Crookhaven in Co Cork on 15 September.
The yacht - crewed by a 69-year-old Norwegian and a 60-year-old New Zealander - had been out of radio contact since leaving Bermuda in mid August.
But a spokesperson for the Irish Coast Guard has since revealed that the men intentionally turned off their handheld VHF radio to save battery power until they were close to port.
The boat dropped anchor in Portmagee, Co Kerry at 3pm this afternoon, reporting only minor damage to its sails and rigging due to adverse weather which slowed their progress.
More from RTE here.