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Displaying items by tag: Skellig Michael

#StarWars - Tourism chiefs’ “cultural rebranding” of Skellig Michael on the back of its appearance in the new Star Wars film threatens to push visitor numbers to “unsustainable levels”, says An Taisce.

According to The Irish Times, Ireland’s national trust has urged new Culture Minister Josepha Madigan to review the impact of both filming activity and tourism at the UNESCO World Heritage site — and put a temporary halt on any future commercial filming on the Kerry coastal island.

The centrepiece of Tourism Ireland’s latest campaign for the Wild Atlantic Way, Skellig Michael has experienced a sharp rise in visitors since its link with the Star Wars movie franchise.

This has prompted concern in some quarters over the sustainability of an important heritage site and sanctuary for protected seabirds.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
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#StarWars - Tourism Ireland’s latest ad campaign for the Wild Atlantic Way has gone literally stratospheric, as RTÉ News reports.

Skellig Michael is front and centre in what Irish tourism chiefs are calling their ‘first space tourism campaign’, which saw a billboard sent more than 33km skywards on a weather balloon.

The brief clip aims to capitalise on the growing hype for the new Star Wars film The Last Jedi, in which the UNESCO World Heritage site features prominently.

It’s not the first time Tourism Ireland has pushed the Kerry coastal island as a destination for Star Wars fans, and visitor numbers have skyrocketed since it appeared at the end of the previous instalment in the film saga two years ago.

But The Last Jedi, which opens next week, is expected to boost interest in other parts of the Wild Atlantic Way, too, with various scenes shot in picturesque spots between Cork and Donegal.

Published in Island News

#SkelligMichael - Skellig Michael’s visitor season, which closes today (Tuesday 3 October), may be extended to cater for “exceptional” demand.

RTÉ News reports that the Office of Public Works (OPW) has confirmed it is reviewing a possible extension to the season, which currently runs from May to October each year.

Visitor numbers to the Co Kerry island have skyrocketed since its appearance in the new Star Wars film series.

Skellig Michael will be a central location in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, opening in cinemas around the world in mid December.

The newfound popularity of ‘Star Wars Island’ has not come without controversy, however.

Figures show nearly 14,700 tourists landed on the island in 2016 — more than 10,000 over what’s considered sustainable in the approved management plan for the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Rockfalls and other winter storm damage delayed the opening of the 2017 visitor season by a number of days, while raising concerns about the impact of tourist landings on the vulnerable site.

Meanwhile, the length of the current landing season has been challenged by a boatman on the route, who took issue with the move of the opening date from the traditional 30 March to mid May.

Published in Island News
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#SkelligMichael - Skellig Islands boatman Sean ‘Seanie’ Murphy has brought a High Court action over limits on the visitor season at Skellig Michael, as BreakingNews.ie reports.

Murphy claims the move by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to move the opening of the season from the traditional 30 March to mid May, when the island is staffed, has reduced the summer landing period by a third.

He also argues that the Transport Minister is not entitled to determine the length of the landing season, noting that the decision — apparently taken on health and safety advice from the National Monument Service, which staffs the island — was made without consultation with boatmen who ply the route to the island off the Kerry coast.

Poor weather postponed the opening of the island to visitors till this past Thursday 18 May, as RTÉ News reports, after earlier concerns that unstable rocks on the island would cause further delays.

Previously, another boatman challenged the loss of his landing permits at the Unesco World Heritage site that’s set for a tourism boom with its connections to the new Star Wars film series.

Published in Island News
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#SkelligMichael - Skellig Michael’s opening for summer visitors on 14 May has been cast into doubt by concerns over of a number of unstable large rocks following a rockfall discovered earlier this month.

Safety contractors and OPW staff are currently assessing the situation at the Unesco World Heritage site, a major location in the upcoming blockbuster movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

But according to The Irish Times, the filming activity and increased visitor numbers are not to blame for the damage on what’s been dubbed ‘Star Wars Island’ — more likely caused by heavy winter storms and burrowing by the island’s rabbits.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, evidence of a “deeply worrying” rockfall was found during pre-season checks by OPW staff on Friday 7 April.

Published in Island News

#IslandNews - A serious rockfall on Skellig Michael has been described as “deeply worrying” by a senior conservationist.

RTÉ News reports that the rockfall was discovered during pre-season checks by OPW staff last Friday (7 April), close to accommodation huts on the Co Kerry island’s Lighthouse Road.

The Unesco World Heritage site is due to open for visitors next month, with big numbers expected in the wake of its featuring in the new Star Wars movies.

OPW senior conservation architect Grellan Rourke said that if some of the “very large” rocks had come down on top of the huts “there would have been a significant threat to anyone inside”.

Experts will examine the rock slopes in question, with no confirmation of whether this would affect Skellig Michael’s opening date for visitors.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
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#SkelligRing - The Skellig Ring in Co Kerry features in Lonely Planet’s top 10 regions for globetrotters to explore on 2017.

“Ireland’s most charismatically wild and emerald stretch of coastline,” as the popular travel guide’s Best in Travel report puts it, rounds out a list that includes such breathtaking destinations as French Polynesia, Chilean Patagonia, mountainous New Zealand and the Azores.

And unsurprisingly, the biggest draw to this corner of the Wild Atlantic Way is the majestic Skellig Michael, set for another bumper tourism year in 2017 on the back of its inclusion in the new Star Wars movie series.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#SkelligMichael - The Department of Heritage has approved a film shoot by drone at Skellig Michael, despite the use of drones being prohibited on the island.

According to The Irish Times, a guide on the Unesco world heritage site has raised concerns that permission for the Fáilte Ireland shoot would make a general ban on the use of drone aircraft by visitors difficult to enforce.

“How can we instruct the public not to fly drones if it will be clear that a tourism body has been permitted to do this extensively?” said the guide, who claimed anonymity.

Previously, an experienced guide spoke out over the controversial Star Wars shoots on the island last year.

The filming for box office hit The Force Awakens and next year’s Episode VIII attracted worldwide attention to the Co Kerry islands, which have since been promoted as a tourism attraction for Star Wars fans by Fáilte Ireland.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#SkelligMichael - A longtime boatman plying the Skellig Michael route for visitors has mounted a High Court challenge against the loss of his landing permits, as The Irish Times reports.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) revoked two permits from Sean Feehan in January following his conviction of offences under the Merchant Shipping Act relating to passengers becoming ill on the boat trip to the iconic Kerry island, as detailed in the Irish Examiner.

But Feehan argues that the OPW's action was unconstitutional, citing his "exemplary" record overall since he began ferrying passengers to Skellig Michael in 1980, and adding that other boatmen found guilty of similar safety offences had not lost their licences.

Business is expected to boom in the coming months for Skelligs boatmen due to the islands' prominent role in the new Star Wars film series – though recent rockfalls at the Unesco World Heritage site mean it's a place for experienced skippers only.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#SkelligMichael - Repairs to storm damage on Skellig Michael are a priority ahead of the summer tourism season, as RTÉ News reports.

The OPW will oversee repairs to six metres of a wall between the pier and the island's South Steps, much of which has collapsed into the sea following the recent stormy winter.

Until repairs are completed, the Unesco World Heritage site has been declared unsafe for tourist landings – many thousands of which are expected this year after the rocky outcrop featured prominently in December's cinematic blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Filming on Skellig Michael for that and future Star Wars films has also been a source of controversy, with an experienced island guide speaking out recently over the impact of filming on the ancient monastic site and its vulnerable marine wildlife habit.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
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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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