Displaying items by tag: Shannon Estuary
#MarineWildlife - In a week that saw the Isle of Man's first sighting of a humpback whale for three years, BBC News reports on the strange discovery of a rare species of dolphin two miles inland from the shore in Co Donegal.
The carcass of an Atlantic white-sided dolphin was found on a hillside near Meenbanad with head injuries - but no one knows how it got there.
Pádraig Whooley of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) said it's most likely that someone found the dead cetacean on the beach and took it to the hillside to decay so that its skeleton could later be retrieved.
The dolphin is thought to be one of a pod that beached at Traigheanna Bay in Dungloe on 21 June. The species is a rare sight in Irish coastal waters, said Whooley, because they tend to feed much further out at sea.
In other stranding news, the IWDG reports that a bottlenose dolphin who live stranded at Beal in Co Kerry last summer has been recorded in the Shannon Estuary with her calf on a number of occasions this month and last.
The Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation has more on the sightings of the dolphin they now call Sandy Salmon.
#medieval – Two medieval carvings that mysteriously went missing from Scattery Island in the Shannon Estuary more than 150 years ago have been located and are to be returned to the island as part of a Gathering event next month.
According to the Scattery Island Heritage & Tourism Group the stone artefacts were removed from the former monastic settlement in County Clare by a sea captain during the mid-19th century.
Their location was only identified earlier this year when the Group was contacted by a local family who had the artefacts for safekeeping (*see Notes to Editor) having discovered them more than 50 years ago.
The artefacts have been verified professionally and dated to the 12th and early 15th centuries by medieval stone carvings expert Jim Higgins (Heritage Officer for Galway City Council) and Dr Catherine Swift, Director of Irish Studies at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick.
Rita McCarthy of the Scattery Island Heritage & Tourism Group said the carvings will be returned to the island on July 7th as part of the Scattery Island Gathering.
She explained: "We are very grateful to local man Padraig de Barra, who for many years has held the artefacts for safekeeping and is keen to see them returned to Scattery Island. We understand that the Captain of the 'Erin Go Bragh' passenger ship, Francis Kennedy removed the artefacts from the island and used them as garden ornaments at his home in Cunningham Terrace in Kilkee. Sometime after his death in 1865 the artefacts were brought to St Senan's Well in Kilfeeragh where they remained until the 1960s whence they were discovered by Padraig. However, the stone carvings were never returned to the island due to concerns for their security."
Scattery Island, which has been uninhabited since 1979, is located approximately one mile from Kilrush in the Shannon Estuary and is home to a monastery founded in the early 6th century by St. Senan. The island features the ruins of six churches and one of the highest Round Towers in Ireland at 120 ft. high. The Vikings invaded Scattery during the early 9th century but Brian Boru later recaptured the island, which is also known as Inis Cathaigh. Scattery also served as a place of safe harbour for the Spanish Armada and as a defence outpost for the English Government.
Commenting in the upcoming Gathering event and imminent return of the carvings to the island, Ms. McCarthy stated: "The unveiling of these artefacts will be the focal point of the weekend which will feature a range of events promoting one of Ireland's least known monastic settlements. We are inviting former island inhabitants and anyone with a connection with Scattery or indeed, its rich history to join us on the weekend of July 5-7th."
The Scattery Island Gathering begins on Friday 5th July with the opening of a photographic exhibition by Dr Bernadette Whelan of the University of Limerick's History Department, which is sponsoring the event. The exhibition will run for one week at Quay Mills in Kilrush.
The Gathering at Scattery will be officially launched on Saturday 6th July. The day also will feature a Historical Re-enactment by Crack'd Spoon Theatre, Guided Island Tours and a Kids Treasure Hunt. The day concludes with a lecture on Brian Boru and Scattery's Viking settlers by Dr. Cathy Swift of Mary Immaculate College and Leonore Fisher, who specialises in Irish medieval history.
On Sunday 7th July, there will be a welcome ceremony for 'old and new friends to Scattery' followed by the unveiling of the artefacts. Sunday will also feature a number of events showcasing Scattery's rich maritime history including Curragh racing and a Water Cannons display.
Monica Meehan, Gathering Clare coordinator congratulated Scattery Island Heritage & Tourism Group for their efforts in promoting "one of County Clare's most important heritage sites".
She continued: "This Gathering event will help to promote the island as a visitor destination in West Clare and will help to inform locals and visitors to the County of its rich and varied history. We are delighted to be able to support this Festival and we would urge anyone with an interest in or connection with the island to attend some of the events taking place next month."
The Scattery Island Gathering is one of almost 170 events and festivals coordinated by the County Clare Gathering Steering Committee during 2013. Other events scheduled to take place during the coming weeks include Welcoming Claire to Claire (23 June), The Online Academy of Irish Music Gathering (1 July), Beal Boru Ringfort Gathering (4 July) and the Kilkee Playwright Festival (12 July).
#cruiserracing.ie – ICRA didn't nominate a 'Boat-of-the-Regatta' at its Tralee–based championships but with all the praise from RORC about Ireland's dual handicap system, Afloat.ie reckons we should hear it for Ray McGibney's vintage Dehler 34 Dis-a-Ray, which we know well from seeing her sitting serenely to her home mooring at Tarbert on the Shannon estuary. There, the men of the McGibney family can keep an eye on her through the lavatory window. Dis-a-Ray may rest in Tarbert, but when the McGibneys and their Foynes YC crew pile on board, she's a real goer, and no boat figured more consistently high in the combined WIORA/ICRA results under both handicap systems.
WIORA ECHO RESULTS
ECHO 0: 1st Discover Ireland 7pts; 2nd Wow (Farr 42, G.Sisk, RIYC) 16; 3rd Crazy Horse 18.
ECHO 1: TK Lean Machine (J/35, C MacDonnacha & ors, GBSC) 12pts; 2nd X-Rated (John Gordon, Mayo SC) 16; 3rd Bon Exemple (sailed C Byrne RIYC) 18.
ECHO 2: 1st Dis-a-Ray (R.McGibney, FYC) 17; 2nd Surfdancer (Elan 33, C McDonnell, RCYC) 18; 3rd Smile (R. Allen, RWIYC/GBSC) 18.8.
ECHO 3: 1st Battle (Golden Shamrock, J P Buckley FYC) 13; 2nd: Jaguar (G Fort, TBSC) 15; 3rd Powder Monkey (Sigma 33, Liam Lynch, TBSC) 22.
ICRA ECHO RESULTS
ECHO 0: 1st Discover Ireland (Reflex 38, Martin Breen, GBSC) 6; 2nd Antix (A O'Leary, RCYC) 9; 3rd Crazy Horse (N Reilly & A Chambers, HYC) 10.
ECHO 1: 1st Joker II (J/109, J Maybury, RIYC) 12; 2nd Xena (X332, Ian Gaughan, Mayo SC) 17; 3rd Dexterity (X332, Team Foynes, FYC) 17.
ECHO 2: 1st Surfdancer (C McDonnell, RCYC) 11; 2nd Dis-a-Ray (R McGibney, FYC) 12; 3rd Smile (R Allen, RWIYC/GBSC) 12.
ECHO 3: 1st Jaguar (G Fort, TBSC) 9; 2nd Battle (J P Bukcley, FYC) 10; 3rd Boojum (Sigma 33, David Buckley, TBSC) 12.
As the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation (SDWF) reports, the dolphin known as 'No 1' was sighted in Brandon Bay on Saturday 25 May swimming in a group of three.
No 1 is happily a familiar sight in the region, having been recorded most years since the project began in 1993.
"It has long been known that Shannon dolphins regularly use Tralee and Brandon Bays but how important the area is in not clear," says the SDWF on its blog. "If we are to protect the Shannon dolphins we need to ensure we identify all their important habitats and extend protection to these areas if necessary."
Meanwhile, its been confirmed that the trio of bottlenose dolphins who took up residence near Bunratty Castle in the spring have been observed in the mainstream of the Shannon Estuary.
The three were spotted on the first monitoring trip of the summer from Kilrush last week by SDWF researchers of Moneypoint.
"This demonstrates again the value of long term monitoring and the power of a photo ID catalogue to monitor the Shannon dolphins," says the SDWF blog.
In other cetacean news, an in-depth discussion of the Shannon's dolphins and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) research of bottlenose dolphins around the Irish coastline was broadcast on Derek Mooney's afternoon show on RTÉ Radio 1 recently.
#CruiseLiners – The Shannon Estuary's main port of Foynes, the gateway to mid-western visitor attractions, is to welcome three cruise callers this season, starting next week with a call by Voyages of Discovery's 15,396 tonnes Voyager, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Holland America Line's 37,845 tonnes Prinsendam is due on 13 August and the final caller will be Pheonix Reisen's 28,856 tonnes Amadea which is scheduled to visit a month later on 13 September.
Last week SilverSeas six-star rated Silver Whisper which is today calling to Invergordon, Scotland, was to open the cruiseship season on the Shannon, however this was cancelled to weather related conditions.
She along with her expedition fleetmate Silver Explorer made a recent call together in Dublin Port. Silver Whisper moored alongside a berth close to the East-Link bridge.
This particular berth is currently re-occupied by the 19,000 tonnes Belize flagged bulk-carrier Clipper Faith which is advertised for public auction under the instructions of the Admiralty Marshall of the High Court.
Members of Foynes Yacht Club are gearing up for the first leg of the Estuary Bell race, which will be taking place on Saturday, May 26. It's only of a number of activities happening at the Shannon Estuary club with its own pontoon facility writes Gerry Ryan.
Two races may be scheduled on this day, and it is proposed that racing will be around the cans. Class 1, 2 and White Sails will be on the water with this particular fixture.
The Munster Mermaid championships will be taking place in Foynes Yacht Club on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2.
It is envisaged that eight visiting boats will descend on Cooleen Point from the east coast, and five boats from the club will take part.
The Officer of the Day, Alan McEneff will be sending the fleet east of Foynes Island for racing and it is proposed to have two races on Saturday and one on Sunday in an Olympic course.
Of course, this particular event is in conjunction with the Foynes Irish Coffee festival, where large crowds are expected to travel to the village on the holiday weekend.
The Competent Crew Course is taking place on Wednesday evening's with first gun at 7.30pm. Member's are asked to be at the marina at 6.30pm.
On Wednesday, May 15 club racing continued in quite blustery conditions with 6 boats racing.
The Officer of the Day, Raymond O'Connor sent the Class 1 yachts down to the Loughill mark, and back up the estuary to the finishing club line.
Results: IRC, 1st Dexterity. 2nd Battle. 3rd Maximus. Echo: 1st Marengo. 2nd Golden Kopper. 3rd Wyte Dolphin.
Chris Egan and Dave Bevan are sailing around Ireland to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society. On their journey they will be joined by members and friends on the legs to the different ports that they will be berthing during the cruise.
A special website has been set-up to keep member's informed of the progress that the sailor's are making www.sailagainstcancer.ie
As the IWDG's Dr Simon Berrow relates, it was not an auspicious start on 2 May 1993 when the first research trip on the estuary returned after five hours without having seen a single cetacean.
But the following day brought a bounty, with 16 dolphins across three different groups located by the IWDG - the beginning of two decades of sightings and recordings for the Shannon Dolphin Project, which has identified around 230 individual dolphins to date.
Thanks to that project, we know today that at least six of those dolphins first seen in 1993 are still in the estuary as of last year.
The Shannon Dolphin Project now has a website explaining its achievements and the work of the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation (SDWF) over the years.
Meanwhile, Afloat reader Karl Grabe has also produced a spectrogram and edit of hydrophone recordings captured by Dr Berrow of Shannon dolphins just a few weeks ago.
Grabe previously uploaded a wonderful snippet of dolphins vocalising in the estuary late last year.
#ShannonEXERCISE- A two-day exercise held on the Shannon Estuary last week was a first in Europe, in that it involved testing Smartly Remotely Operated Submarines and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
The exercise replicating the scenario of a 43,000 tonne container ship 'Marée Noire' suffering hull damage when impacting with rock entering the Shannon Estuary due to loss of steering and floundering off the coast of Scattery Island.
The estuary off Co. Clare has become a key European test site for a range of highly advanced 'smart technologies' Marine Robots and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
The University of Limerick is leading the integration and deployment of the underwater and aerial technologies, within this exercise as part of a European Research Collaboration NETMAR which has Irish, UK, French, Spanish and Portuguese partners.
The exercise is a first in terms of scale and use of robotic platforms as part of Ireland's largest marine emergency response exercise to deal with a major environmental disaster.
Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) explained that it's not unusual for dolphins to forage for food in waterways that feed into the estuary, though they usually return to the main catchment on their own shortly after.
With fears that their acoustic abilities were impaired, preventing them from navigating downstream past a series of bridges and concrete pillars between them and the main watercourse, a rescue attempt had been planned for late last week.
But as the Clare People reports, this was called off as the dolphins were spotted less and less frequently in the area.
Later hydrophone tracking by the IWDG led experts to discover that the cetaceans were able to come and go as they pleased.
Despite this, dolphins only have a limited ability to survive in fresh water, and can develop serious kidney and skin problems if exposed for a significant length of time.
#clare – Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, T.D., today announced funds totalling 91,500 euro for projects at Ballyvaughan, Cappagh, Liscannor, Carrigaholt and Kilbaha harbours/piers.
"The safety works scheduled to take place at these harbours will have a hugely positive impact on the livelihoods of fishermen and other users of the piers," explained Clare Senator Tony Mulcahy. He added: "These projects are central to ensuring the safety of all users of the piers. The continued upgrading of these piers is essential to the development of both industry and tourism in the respective areas."
The funding announcement features allocations of €22,500 to Carrigaholt, €37,500 to Ballyvaughan, €9,000 to Kilbaha, and €11,250 to both Liscannor and Cappagh.
According to Senator Mulcahy: "The funding contribution from the Government covers 75% of the total cost of the relevant projects which include repairs to the pier wall in Ballyvaughan, the installation of a handrail to pier access, harbour wall and upgrade of visitor moorings at Carrigaholt, a complete remediation to the existing pier walls at Liscannor, repairs to the sea wall at Cappagh, and repairs to the harbour wall capping stones at Kilbaha."