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Displaying items by tag: River Shannon

RTÉ News reports that a 12-year-old girl was hospitalised after an incident on the River Shannon in Limerick city yesterday morning (Saturday 23 February).

It’s understood that she was one of four girls on a boat that overturned in the river near the Old Salmon Weir.

The casualty became trapped underneath as her hair tangled with the boat’s outriggers, according to BreakingNews.ie.

An eyewitness said the girls’ rowing boat was in a fast current and had broken in two.

“I’m haunted all day. It’s the screams. I can still hear the girls screaming, ‘help, help help’,” said local man Danny Ryan, who rang 999 as he watched the scene unfold.

The casualty was freed from the boat by a team of firefighters trained in river rescue who were alerted while on patrol at the time.

Elsewhere, the Irish Coast Guard were involved in a ‘difficult’ rescue of two people from Poll na Péist on Inis Mór in the Aran Islands, which previously hosted the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

Published in News Update

Planning an inland waterways cruise this spring or summer? Or simply curious to explore the wonders of Ireland’s longest river from anywhere in the world?

Now you can visit the River Shannon virtually thanks to the new boaters-eye view on Google Maps.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, ‘river view’ images from this past summer’s Google Trekker survey of the River Shannon went live on Google Maps in December.

In conjunction with Waterways Ireland, the Google Trekker Loan Programme toured from Lough Allen to Loop Head gathering data for what amounts to “the first such water-based collection of imagery on the island of Ireland”.

Waterways Ireland pitches the project as “an invaluable tool in terms of promoting the Shannon Navigation as a destination for recreation, tourism, mindfulness, education and heritage appreciation, encouraging visitors to the area”.

But it will also be of use to communities along the waterway “to highlight this heritage asset and foster as sense of place”.

The Google Trekker footage of the Shannon River is now live on Google Maps and can be viewed via the ‘Street View’ function.

Published in Inland Waterways

All water users along the River Shannon are being urged to take precautions after confirmation of an outbreak of crayfishrayfish plague on a stretch of the Al River.

This river is one of the main tributaries to the River Shannon in Athlone and flows westerly, entering the Shannon downstream of the weir.

A small number of dead freshwater crayfish were reported on the river last week. DNA analysis by the Marine Institute has now confirmed that crayfish were infected with the fungus-like organism responsible for causing crayfish plague.

Further analysis is still ongoing to establish if there may be any links between this and previous outbreaks of crayfish plague.

Crayfish plague only impacts native white-clawed crayfish. Fish and other freshwater animals are not affected.

The disease infects species of crayfish and experience elsewhere indicates the disease can cause up to 100% mortality in white-clawed crayfish species.

Agencies including the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Westmeath Municipal and County Councils will be working together to erect signage along the Al River and information will be on the Westmeath County Council website.

Crayfish plague is recognised as a very significant threat to the survival of the globally threatened white-clawed crayfish in Ireland.

The disease is considered fatal to all infected native crayfish and the experience in other countries is that where outbreaks occur there is complete extermination of white-clawed crayfish populations. It is spread invisibly in water and the infectious stage may be moved to other river and lake systems on equipment, boats and machinery.

The crayfish plague comes from the North American species of crayfish, which are now widespread in the UK and on the continent of Europe. To date there are no known records of these American species in Ireland and it is against the law to bring them into Ireland, to sell them, distribute them or release them.

This is the seventh confirmed outbreak of the disease in the whole of Ireland since it was first found in 2015 in Co Cavan, followed by four separate confirmed outbreaks in 2017 and one confirmed outbreak in Northern Ireland earlier this year.

The closest known previous outbreak to this was one in the Lorrha in Co Tipperary and it is not known how the disease could have spread to the River Al at this time.

Anyone involved in activities in the Al River and River Shannon should observe the ‘Check, Clean and Dry’ protocol once they leave the river and before visiting any waterway again. This includes community and local authority clean-up groups, survey work, as well as anglers and all recreational water uses.

All wet gear (boats, clothing and equipment) should be checked for any silt or mud, plant material or animals before being thoroughly cleaned and finally dried.

Disinfectant or hot water (over 40 degrees Celsius) should be used to clean all equipment and this should be followed by a minimum 48-hour drying period (preferably longer, up to a week).

Members of the public will see any dead or dying crayfish should report this to National Parks and Wildlife Service, Westmeath County Council, or Colette O’Flynn at the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford at [email protected]

Anyone who suspects they have seen a non-native species of crayfish are asked to take a picture of it showing the underside of the claws and submit via the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s invasive species record form or direct to Colette O’Flynn.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Athlone Shannon Feastival this weekend 8-9 September expects to attract thousands of people to the Midlands town to take part in and enjoy the action packed lineup of activities on and off the Shannon and Lough Ree waterways.

This year's Feastival is the opening act to the World Canals Conference from 10 September, expected to attract over 400 delegates from all over the world to Athlone.

The Radisson Blu Festival Marquee, located at the walls of Athlone Castle, will be the hub for the festival, hosting workshops, talks, demos and kids’ entertainment.

The Feastival’s official launch event takes place on Saturday afternoon at 4pm when the Sheraton chefs will be busy shucking oysters to accompany Guinness from Sean’s Bar and jazz at the Feastival HQ.

Vikings are landing and will set up the Sheraton Viking Settlement at The Strand, where visitors can experience Viking life by exploring the medieval village and seeing weapon making, embroidery, medieval cooking and more.

On Saturday evening, local chefs sharpen their knives and wield their tongs for the Viking BBQ Cook-Off at 6pm, an event sure to satisfy the appetite.

On Sunday, why not treat yourself by visiting the Sirana Spa Wellness Area for some pampering? Or for a bit more action, watch the local crews as they battle it out to be crowned ‘Champions of The Shannon’ in the leisure boat rowing races.

Professional flyboarders take centre stage at 4pm as they hover over the river performing a variety of amazing stunts and tricks.

The Flogas Demo Kitchen hosts a series of foodie talks, cooking demos and tasty treats all afternoon. And at 6pm Viking Mike casts off and sets sail for a Viking whiskey cruise hosted by Midlands Whiskey Experiences.

Cafés and restaurants participating in the Feastival Food Trail all weekend include The Fatted Calf, Kin Khao, Thyme, Smoke BBQ, The Corner House Bistro, Fine Wine & Food Company, La Cucina Di Angelo, Radisson Blu Hotel, Hodson Bay Hotel, Sheraton Athlone Hotel and The Prince Bar, with more to be announced.

Fashion puts its best foot forwards at The Feastival Fashion Trail. Burgess department store hosts a series of workshops from 11:30am on Saturday with Kathryn Byrne of Your Image Matters, and Athlone Town Centre hosts a ‘Style Squad’ event with stylist Rebecca Rose and Tanya from the My Little Love Stories blog from noon to 4pm.

Meander the Music Trail around Athlone’s pubs featuring sessions at Sean’s Bar, The Snug, The Castle Inn, Fiddler’s Bar, The Malt House, Sheraton Athlone Hotel Bar, the Quayside Bar at the Radisson Blu Hotel, The Prince Bar, and the Waterfront Bar in the Hodson Bay Hotel.

The Artisan Food Village, open Saturday and Sunday, will showcase the best of locally produced food from producers including Kilbeggan Chocolate, Tara Jams, Wild Irish Foragers, KO Kombucha, Quarrymount Farm, Durrow Mills, Behan’s Fruit & Veg, Harvest Café, Radisson Blu Hotel, Prince of Wales Hotel and more.

Other highlights of the weekend include:

  • Heritage boat spectacle and cruiser flotilla.
  • Whiskey walking tours and tastings with Athlone Whiskey Tours.
  • Performances by The Band of the 2nd Brigade and recitals of ‘Poetry in the Park’ at Athlone Castle.
  • Free guided tours at selected times at Athlone Castle and Luan Gallery.
  • ‘Reflections’, a special Waterways Ireland archive exhibition at Abbey Road Artist Studio and Luan Gallery.

“There’s a palpable air of enthusiasm around in advance of the Feastival,” said Athlone Chamber’s John McGrath. “And it’s great to see local businesses jumping on board and supporting the event in so many ways."

Published in Maritime Festivals

#WCC - Zhu Minyang completes the list of keynote speakers at the upcoming World Canals Conference in Athlone next month.

Zhu has been the chair of the World Historical and Cultural Canal Cities Cooperation Organization (WCCO) since 2012, and has also served as party secretary of the city of Jiangyin and as mayor of Yangzhou, the ‘first city of the Grand Canal’.

Zhu personally participated in the selection of China’s Beijing–Hangzhou Grand Canal for the World Heritage List in 2014. He has extensive insights and experience in the development of Chinese social organisations and contemporary social governance.

Through his leadership, the WCCO has become a platform for economic and cultural exchanges focused on the world’s canal cities.

Zhu will address the conference on how the WCCO is supporting the renovation of China’s most famous canal. Through economic and ecological restoration and investment in heritage and cultural research, it is intended that a “human community with shared destiny” will develop to create deeper co-operation and regeneration opportunities for China’s canals.

Zhu Minyang will address the conference under its first theme, ‘Restore’, which calls for reflection on how 200-year-old man-made navigations remain relevant for people today.

Over the course of the conference, a variety of speakers from across Europe, Canada and the US will detail restoration works along their waterways as well as how they ensure that no heritage value is lost in these restorations.

John McKeown will speak on restoring the Royal Canal, Roger Squires will cover new approaches to restoration, while Pam Veinotte discusses evolving heritage assets to meet modern-day needs.

Restoration of the Shannon–Erne Waterway is the subject of Joseph Gillespie’s talk, while

Rudy Van der Ween talks the re-opening of the Lower Scheldt in the city centre of Ghent in Belgium, and Rob Vrojliks puts the focus on Limburg in the Netherlands and its regional masterplan approach.

From the US, William Holdsworth will explain how the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Aqueduct restoration at Williamsport, Maryland brings history alive, while Theron Robson talks maintenance of heritage lock gates on the River Shannon, and Roger Alsater assays preservation efforts for the Göta Canal in Sweden.

‘Regenerate’ (focused on water management challenges) and ‘Reimagine’ (on engaging a wider audience with their local waterways) are the other two tracks at the World Canals Conference which begins in 37 days’ time. Details can be found on the World Canals Conference website.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - President of Ireland Michael D Higgins has been confirmed as a guest of honour at the World Canals Conference in Athlone this autumn.

“We are honoured that the President who throughout his career has demonstrated his commitment to and love of the inland waterways of Ireland, their history and culture, has agreed to speak at the conference and we look forward to hearing how he perceives the restoration, regeneration and reimagining of the waterways,” organisers said.

There are 53 days and counting till the three-day conference from 10-12 September at the Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone under the theme ‘restoring, regenerating, re-imagining’ — with various tours and sessions designed to inspire and connect delegates coming to the Midlands from all around the world.

These tours include an excursion around Lough Derg, the largest and most southerly lake on the River Shannon, that takes in the 1700s bridge linking Killable and Ballina as well as the Ardnacrusha hydroelectric plant, and will explore the challenges of doubling moorings along an old navigation.

Another technical tour will explore the North Shannon, Lough Allen Canal and the Shannon-Erne Waterway, with a stop at the Acres Lake floating boardwalk and a look at the marriage of modern and traditional locks at Kilclare.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the conference will be preceded by the three-day Shannon Athlone Feastival, highlighting local food producers in an exciting festival atmosphere with rowing, raft racing, a Viking village and demonstrations of flyboarding that wowed the crowds at the recent SeaFest in Galway.

Special rates for accommodation on board luxury cruise liners are still available, as are a range of exhibition opportunities for organisations looking to network with delegates. Details can be found on the World Canals Conference website.

Published in Inland Waterways

Masters and users of the Shannon Navigation are advised that a Smart Card system will be introduced at all locks on the navigation from 01 July 2018.

As Afloat.ie reported in March, Waterways Ireland says Masters of vessels will be able to use a Smart Card or pay in cash until 01 September 2018.

From 01 September 2018 payment will be by Smart Card only.

Where bridge lifting is required at Tarmonbarry and Rooskey, a combined toll payment for the lock and bridge will be taken at the Lock.

"From 01 September 2018 payment will be by Smart Card only"

The cost of the lock passage on the Shannon will cost two units from the smart card. The cost of the lock passage on the Lower Bann will cost 1 unit. The lock passage on the Shannon-Erne Waterway will remain at 1 unit. The 10 unit card costs €6.35/£5.55 and the 20 unit card costs €12.70/£11.10.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Mike Palmer of the UK’s Waterway Recovery Group has been announced as a keynote speaker at the World Canals Conference in Athlone this September.

Chair of Britain’s national co-ordinating body for voluntary labour on inland waterways, Palmer will address the conference on the topic of ‘Waterways in Progress - the Waiting Gain’ — how restoration schemes are not just a means to an end, and can bring quantifiable benefits at every stage of their development.

Palmer is the latest of a growing list of keynote speakers to open the three-day conference at the Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone from Monday 10 to Wednesday 12 September under the theme ‘Restoring, regenerating, re-imagining’.

Delegates will also be welcomed by the two-day Shannon ‘Feastival’ on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, with Athlone hosting boat tours to taste a range of food and crafts made by local artisans.

The deadline for early bird discounts has been extended to next Friday 15 June to benefit from up to 20% off the cost of registration.

Special prices are also available for accommodation on board a luxury hire cruiser before, during and after the conference, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Festivals - The River Shannon will come alive with the Athlone River Festival later this month.

The Shannon has long been the base for festivals in the midlands centre, from the original Athlone People’s Regatta in the 1920s to the Athlone River Festival in the 1990s that was revived in recent years.

And this year, over the weekend of 30 June and 1 July, festival fever will be hitting Athlone once again thanks to Waterways Ireland and with the support of Westmeath County Council and Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat volunteers.

“Lough Ree RNLI has received huge support from the communities around Lough Ree and we would like to repay the community with a fun-filled water-based weekend for all to enjoy,” said lifeboat volunteer Damien Delaney.

Saturday 30 June will see the IWAI motor cruiser flotilla sail-past and arrival into the town, prior to the start of the TriAthlone.

On Sunday 1 July, activities start at 10.00 am with the very popular junior fishing competition organised by Athlone anglers, followed by a variety of activities including a sailing demonstration, rowing races, sub-aqua demonstration, flyboarding and the main event, the RNLI raft races — which this year come with a new junior category.

A full timetable and further information, including entry details for the raft race and contacts for interested sponsors, can be found on the Athlone RNLI River Festival Facebook page.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#RNLI - Lough Derg RNLI launched yesterday evening (Thursday 10 May) following a request by Valentia Coast Guard to assist a person on a 23ft speed boat broken down by The Goat Road on the eastern shore of the River Shannon lough.

The lifeboat, with helm Dom Sharkey, Eleanor Hooker and Ger Egan onboard, arrived on scene at 6.28pm where a passenger vessel, the Shannon Princess, was waiting by the speedboat.

Weather conditions had south-easterly Force 3/4 winds, with very good visibility.

The skipper of the speedboat had dropped anchor, but it was dragging and bringing the vessel close to rocks on the Clare shore.

An RNLI volunteer was transferred across to the casualty vessel, where the person on board were found to be safe and unharmed and wearing their lifejacket.

After a thorough check of the cruiser, it was determined that the issue was most likely an electrical failure.

The lifeboat volunteer got the casualty vessel ready for tow, lifeboat brought it to Portumna Harbour, where it was safely tied up by 6.50pm.

Dom Sharkey, volunteer helm on the Lough Derg lifeboat, said: “The skipper did the correct thing to drop anchor and to call for help immediately.

“We would like to thank the skipper of the Shannon Princess for standing by in safe water until we arrived on scene.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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