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Clare County Council has announced that Loop Head Lighthouse will remain open to members of the public each weekend during the month of September.

The extension of the opening period follows on from a successful summer season that has seen 15,870 people (12,034 adults, 3,836 children) visit the 19th century landmark building.

Clare County Council, along with Shannon Development, Loop Head Tourism and the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL), opened the 19th century lighthouse to the public for the second successive summer season on 18 May last.

According to Ger Dollard, Director of Services, Clare County Council: "Loop Head Lighthouse will close at 5.30 p.m. on 3rd September next. However, we are delighted to be able to open the lighthouse each weekend during September up to the final weekend, which coincides with the Che do Bheatha festival in Kilkee. Opening hours each Saturday and Sunday during September will remain the same as the summer opening hours."

"The lighthouse visitor numbers are extremely encouraging and we look forward to building on this during September," Mr. Dollard added.

Loop Head Lighthouse, located at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary, is steeped in history and rich in maritime heritage with its origins dating back to the 1670s. The existing tower style lighthouse was constructed in 1854 and was operated and maintained by a keeper who lived within the lighthouse compound.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny's grandfather was a keeper at the lighthouse. James John McGinley took up duty at the Lighthouse as Principal Keeper on 16th January 1933. He spent 1 year and 10 months at Loop Head. He was transferred from the station in October 1934. In January 1991, the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation, and today is in the care of an attendant and is also monitored by the CIL.

Published in Lighthouses

#LIGHTHOUSES - Making strides in renewable energy and working in harmony with the country's marine resources are top of the agenda for the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL) under new chief executive Yvonne Shields.

Though its main focus will remain safety at sea through its maintenance of Ireland's coastal network of lighthouses, buoys and shipping aids, Shields tells Lorna Siggins in today's Irish Times that the agency must transform in order to pay its own way - by branching out into data and information provision for fish farms and offshore wind farms, among other services.

The 'Twitter buoy' installed in Galway for the Volvo Ocean Race finale, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, is one response to the changing face of navigation, "using next generation technologies to communicate with sea goers and navigators around our coasts".

Shields' background in the Marine Institute matches her own personal interest in the economic potential of Ireland's marine sector.

“We have 10 times our land mass out there, but it only fuels 1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP),” she says. “There’s no reason this couldn’t increase to 5 per cent and further."

Another aspect of the agency's work is co-operation with local stakeholders around the coast, such as with the RPSB on a puffin sanctuary on Rathlin Island, and a new attitude towards exploiting Ireland's lighthouse assets as tourism destinations.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Lighthouses

#LIGHTHOUSES - Loop Head Lighthouse in Co Clare, is set to re-open to the public later this year following a successful trial scheme last summer.

As The Irish Times reports, Clare County Council opened the lighthouse for an 11-week trial period last July with the support of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, Shannon Development and Loop Head Tourism.

Some 17,000 people took up the invitation to visit the 23-metre beacon, which is still in use as a navigational aid, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The consortium is now looking for consultants to help expand tourism the facility with an exhibition and interpretation plan.

Published in Lighthouses

#BUDGET - Coastguard and lifeboat services, mountain rescue and the Commissioners of Irish Lights will not face any further funding cuts in the latest Budget, according to the Minister for Transport.

The Irish Times reports that, following the reduction of his department's budget, Minister Leo Varakdar stated that substantial cuts have already occurred in the maritime safety sector.

Moreover, he announced an increase in the maritime budget from €70.5 million to €80.3 million, due to provisions for the new Irish Coast Guard helicopter contract.

Earlier this week, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, underlined the importance of the marine sector to Ireland's coastal communities.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Minister Coveney announced a round of expenditure estimates on Monday which include increased funding for investment in processing, aquaculture and fishery harbours.

Published in Budget
Visitors to Ireland's newest coastal tourist attraction at Loop Head Lighthouse will not only have stunning sea views but also as a place to observe seasonal cruise ships calling to Foynes, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Within the next seven days, three cruise callers are due to enter the mouth of the Shannon Estuary. The first to arrive is the French-flagged Le Diamant which docks tomorrow in the Co. Limerick port. The 8,200 tonnes vessel operated by Ponant Cruises is tonight sailing from St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly.

Her arrival will be followed by P&O Cruises latest addition Adonia on Saturday. With 710 berths the 30,000 tonnes vessel is the smallest of the seven-strong fleet which can accommodate between 1,800 and up to 3,100 passengers as in the case of the Azura. The 115,000 tonnes vessel departed Dublin Port this evening. Her first call to the port was last year (click HERE) and she is the largest cruise ship to call to the capital.

On Tuesday of next week the 9,000 tonnes Spirit of Adventure (cruises) marks the third cruise caller to Foynes. The port is along with five other terminals located throughout the country's largest estuary are operated by the Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC).

Incidentally Spirit of Adventure and Azura where two of another trio of cruise ships that visited the Port of Cork on Monday, with Holland America Line's 59,000 tonnes Rotterdam forming the third vessel. This was the first occasion that Cork has handled this number of cruise ships on a single day, bringing 7,000 passengers which set a new record for the port.

Published in Cruise Liners

Sailing was not the only activity that took place in Dublin Bay last Saturday as the Northern Lighthouse Board's (NLB) multi-function tender NLV Pharos was busy at work, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The NLB is the Scottish equivalent of the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL) and it is not unusual for such vessels to share work duties beyond their respective jurisdictions. The 84m NLV Pharos is equipped with dynamic positioning and a 30-tonne main crane on her 300m2 aft-deck.

Overall she is similar in appearance to Irish lights ILV Granuaile which is based out of Dun Laoghaire. The Irish Lights tender built in Romania in 2000 tends to operate more often off the west coast during the summer months due to the more favourable weather conditions.

The 1,300 (dwt) deadweight tonnes NLV Pharos yesterday returned to her base in Oban from her Irish duties. The west coast base was established in 1904 and is also homeport to the service's smaller NLV Pole Star which is equipped with an 18-tonne crane on her 90m2 aft deck.

The facility in 2000 underwent a £4.2 million redevelopment to turn a buoy yard into a multi functional support base which is computer-linked to the NLB headquarters in Edinburgh.

In addition Trinity House which maintains the service for England and Wales operate the tenders THV Galtea,THV Patricia and the fast-response craft THV Alert from their base in Harwich.

Trinity House forms the trio of the General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA) alongside NLB and CIL. Each member of the GLA co-operate in the allocation of vessel-tender deployment.

Asides the varied and critical role of the tasks performed by the GLA's tenders, they are also available for charter to third parties. Between them the tenders can conduct buoy and chain work, search and rescue, lighthouse re-fuelling, salvage and recovery, towing, hydrographic applications and ROV work.

Published in Lighthouses
12th January 2011

Foghorns Fall Silent

Yesterday lighthouses around Ireland ceased sounding fog signals. Lorna Siggins has a piece in the Irish Times this morning complete with a slideshow. We've also been covering the story here on afloat.ie over the last couple of days, and many of you have left comments on our facebook page. Tell us what you think.
Published in Lighthouses
The Commissioners of Irish Lights has said it consulted widely about discontinuing the last remaining fog signals around Ireland's coastline, The Irish Times reports.

Nine lighthouses operated directly by the authority in the Republic and Northern Ireland, along with several others run by harbours or local authorities - including Cork Harbour and Dun Laoghaire - will sound their last fog signals tomorrow.

Capt Kieran O'Higgins of the Commissioners of Irish Lights said the plan was notified to mariners in September 2010, and was taken due to "advances in marine navigation technology".

However Capt Michael Coleman, formerly of the Jeanie Johnston, did not think the plan was adequately publicised. He also noted now many smaller boats without advanced equipment that navigate by charts often reply on fog signals for safe passage.

Even bigger boats that navigate by GPS could be affected in dangerous situations if they suffer a power failure, he said.

On Afloat's official Facebook page, Cork resident Denis Cronin commented: "If this is the last night the [Cork Harbour] fog horn blows, it's a sad night.

"The tune she blows is a comfort for all those at sea and for all those at home for been home safely."

What do you think of the end of Ireland's fog signals? HAVE YOUR SAY on our facebook page HERE!

BBC Article HERE

Irish Times Article HERE

Published in Coastal Notes
Page 7 of 7

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