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Displaying items by tag: Buncrana

Offers of over €200,000 are being sought for the landmark former coastguard station in Buncrana which is now on the market.

As the Derry Journal reports, the building dates from around 1870 and served as the Co Donegal town’s coastguard station between 1880 and 1923.

It continues to enjoy a towering presence in the area, with views over Buncrana Harbour, Mill River and Lough Scilly.

“The accommodation is well proportioned with high ceilings, Oriel windows and deep window seats which create plenty of character,” McLernon Estate Agents say.

Published in Waterfront Property
Tagged under

#Buncrana - An inquest into the Buncrana slipway tragedy of March 2016 has found that the driver of the car that slipped into Lough Swilly was more than three times over the drink-driving limit.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, five people died after their car slipped into the water from a pier in Buncrana, Co Donegal on Sunday 20 March.

Sean McGrotty (49) was driving the car with his sons Mark (12) and Evan (8), his baby daughter Rioghnach-Ann, the children’s grandmother Ruth Daniels (59) and her daughter Jodi-Lee (14), according to The Irish Times.

Only Rioghnach-Ann was rescued from the car, thanks to the quick actions of local GAA player Davitt Walsh — who received a silver medal in the 2016 National Bravery Awards for his efforts.

Walsh told the inquest of his difficulties in getting back up the slipway from the water due to its coating of algae, noting that its slipperiness might not be obvious to people unfamiliar with the area.

Local man Francis Crawford also spoke at the inquest, recounting how he called to McGrotty has he saw the car slowly entering into the water at the bottom of the slipway, which was “slippery as ice” with algae.

“I was hoping that the emergency services would arrive and the car would not go down,” he said, adding that he believed it had been in the water for around 12 minutes before it sank.

McGrotty’s partner Louise James, who was away at the time of the incident, said through her solicitor: “I firmly believe the slipway should have been closed to the public or else proper warning signs displayed. It was an accident waiting to happen.”

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#RNLI - Arklow man and former lifeboat operations manager Jimmy Tyrrell will have the honour of naming the first class of RNLI lifeboat to be named after an Irish river this Saturday 25 June in Buncrana, Co Donegal.

Lough Swilly RNLI will hold the special naming ceremony and service of dedication from 11.30am to officially name the first Shannon-class lifeboat in Ireland, Derek Bullivant.

The Donegal lifeboat station was the first in Ireland to receive the new €2.4 million lifeboat, which is the most modern and technically advanced lifeboat in the RNLI fleet.

Shortly after its arrival on station, the lifeboat brought three local fishermen to safety after they had been reported missing when their vessel had lost power and drifted out to sea.

The lifeboat was funded by legacies from Derek Bullivant and Valerie Walker. Bullivant was born in Birmingham in 1922 and was a trained chemist before working as an industrial analyst for a company in the metal industry. He went on to start his own company which became one of the biggest aluminium recycling companies in the UK. He always wanted his success to benefit lifesaving and humanitarian charities which led him to provide a generous legacy which helped to fund the Lough Swilly lifeboat.

The second legacy was bequeathed from Valerie Walker from Portsmouth. Walker was a supporter of the RNLI and her legacy has been used to part fund the lifeboat. Her generosity will be remembered and acknowledged by a plaque which will be placed in the boathouse at Lough Swilly lifeboat station.

The Shannon is first class of lifeboat to be propelled by water jets instead of traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat in the fleet.

Waterjets allow the vessel to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached. The lifeboat has a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 250 nautical miles, which makes it ideal for offshore searches and rescues in calm and rough seas.

The new lifeboat was developed to operate in the worst of sea conditions and is self-righting, automatically turning the right side up in the event of a capsize. Its unique hull is designed to minimise slamming of the boat in heavy seas and the shock-absorbing seats further protect the crew from impact when powering through the waves.

Commenting on the forthcoming occasion, Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat operations manager John McCarter said: "Many people will know that we welcomed the lifeboat to Buncrana a little over a year ago but in grand RNLI tradition we officially name and dedicate the lifeboat after that and in doing so remember our generous benefactors who through their legacies have provided this incredible gift to our community.

"We are delighted that Jimmy Tyrrell will be officially naming our lifeboat. Our colleagues in the lifeboat community will know that Jimmy lobbied the RNLI for years to have a class of lifeboat named in recognition of the role Ireland and Irish lifeboat volunteers have played in the work of the charity for 192 years. All other lifeboat classes are named after UK rivers so the Shannon is truly an Irish lifeboat."

The Shannon lifeboat also has another strong Irish connection. Peter Eyre, an RNLI engineer from Derry who works at the charity’s headquarters in Poole, was instrumental in the development of the new lifeboat, designing the hull form at the age of 24.

The first all-weather lifeboat put on service in Lough Swilly was The Good Shepard in 2000.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Galway - Galway Harbour Company has blocked open access to a slipway in Galway Docks weeks after the Buncrana tragedy, as the Connacht Tribune reports.

The move was made a month after five members of the same family, including three children, died after their car slipped into Lough Swilly from the open slipway at Buncrana, Co Donegal on Sunday 20 March.

Galway's docks slipway had been used freely by recreational boaters – but as of last Thursday (21 April) local sailing clubs have been informed that the slipway can only be used with permission.

Access times have also been restricted to 9am-5pm on weekdays and by appointment on Saturdays in what the harbour company says is a move to avoid "risk to life".

But one local user has branded the locking-up of the slipway as "ridiculous" and said "there should have been a more measured response and consultation".

The Connacht Tribune has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour

#Buncrana - Five people, including three children, understood to be from the same family are dead after their car slipped into the water at Buncrana, Co Donegal last night (Sunday 20 March).

As the News Letter reports, a major emergency operation was launched after the Northern Ireland-registered estate car went off a pier into Lough Swilly after 7pm.

The bodies of two adults and three primary-aged children were recovered shortly after.

A baby who was also in the car is believed to have been thrown or handed out of the vehicle before it went into the water.

The cause of the tragedy is not yet known but it's understood that the surface of the pier slipway may have been slippery with algae.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Sunset Buncrana Pier

Published in News Update

#COASTAL NOTES - The Belfast Telegraph reports that one Co Donegal seaside town is returning to its past in an effort to attract more visitors.

Buncrana is set to bring back the diving boards that once lined its shorefront some three decades after they were removed, in what the town's mayor says is a move to promote tourism as well as healthier outdoor activities among young people.

Mayor Nicholas Crossan commented to the Irish News: “I remember as a youngster we used to play football on the shorefront and then when the tide came in we’d be down to the diving boards and into the water to cool off. It was the greatest fun."

The Belfast Telegraph has a gallery of images of Buncrana and the Inishowen Peninsula in yesteryears HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under
Members of Donegal County Council are to discuss today, the future of two subsidised ferry routes operating from the Inishowen Peninsula, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Lough Foyle ferry between Greencastle and Magilligan Point, Co. Derry could be curtailed as traffic levels have halved and the summer only Buncrana-Rathmullan service on Lough Swilly is also to be examined. Both ferry services are run by the Lough Foyle Ferry Company.

The cross-border service is funded by Donegal County Council and Limavady Borough Council. The route in recent years has experienced an unfavourable exchange rate, increased cost of fuel, poor weather, a depressed tourism market sector and notably reduced construction traffic, contributing to a sharp decline in demand. In the current climate the local authorities may find it difficult to provide funding as they scale back on budgets.

Record levels in 2005/2006 saw traffic reach 106,179 vehicles and 302,740 passengers. Such was the success of the service annual subsidies for 2008 and 2009 were not required. According to the latest 12-monthly traffic figures for June 2009-June 2010, vehicle volumes dropped to 52,669 and passengers levels have decreased more than halve to 149,455.

The 10-minute route is operated by the 44-vehicle capacity Foyle Venture which served the Kilimer-Tarbert route for the Shannon Ferry Co. The mid-west estuary ferry was replaced by newbuild Shannon Breeze in 2000 and later sold to Lough Foyle Ferry Co.

When the Lough Foyle route began operations in 2002, the service received a subvention of €108,000 each from the local councils. Over that timeframe, the route has received a total funding of €500,000 from Donegal County Council.

In 2009, the two local authorities agreed to provide a €200,000 subvention, but this runs out in March 2011. An application has also been submitted to the Special EU Programmes Body for funding.

On the west side of the Inishowen Peninsula is the Bunbcrana-Rathmullan service, which is also in doubt if a subsidy from Donegal County Council cannot be maintained. The Lough Swilly route started in 2004 and is served by the 20-vehicle capacity Foyle Rambler, a former German river-ferry. The north-west ferry route takes 25-minutes and recorded 15,000 passengers at its peak.

In busier times, tourists from the North, instead of passing through Derry city, used the 'land-bridge' routes across the Inishowen Peninsula to reach holiday-homes and popular seaside resorts throughout Co. Donegal.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Irish Sailing Club of the Year Award

This unique and informal competition was inaugurated in 1979, with Mitsubishi Motors becoming main sponsors in 1986. The purpose of the award is to highlight and honour the voluntary effort which goes into creating and maintaining the unrivalled success of Ireland's yacht and sailing clubs. 

In making their assessment, the adjudicators take many factors into consideration. In addition to the obvious one of sailing success at local, national and international level, considerable attention is also paid to the satisfaction which members in every branch of sailing and boating feel with the way their club is run, and how effectively it meets their specific needs, while also encouraging sailing development and training.

The successful staging of events, whether local, national or international, is also a factor in making the assessment, and the adjudicators place particular emphasis on the level of effective voluntary input which the membership is ready and willing to give in support of their club's activities.

The importance of a dynamic and fruitful interaction with the local community is emphasised, and also with the relevant governmental and sporting bodies, both at local and national level. The adjudicators expect to find a genuine sense of continuity in club life and administration. Thus although the award is held in a specific year in celebration of achievements in the previous year, it is intended that it should reflect an ongoing story of success and well-planned programmes for future implementation. 

Over the years, the adjudication system has been continually refined in order to be able to make realistic comparisons between clubs of varying types and size. With the competition's expansion to include class associations and specialist national watersports bodies, the "Club of the Year" competition continues to keep pace with developing trends, while at the same time reflecting the fact that Ireland's leading sailing clubs are themselves national and global pace-setters

Irish Sailing Club of the Year Award FAQs

The purpose of the award is to highlight and honour the voluntary effort which goes into creating and maintaining the unrivalled success of Ireland's yacht and sailing clubs.

A ship's wheel engraved with the names of all the past winners.

The Sailing Club of the Year competition began in 1979.

PR consultant Sean O’Shea (a member of Clontarf Y & BC) had the idea of a trophy which would somehow honour the ordinary sailing club members, volunteers and sailing participants, who may not have personally won prizes, to feel a sense of identity and reward and special pride in their club. Initially some sort of direct inter-club contest was envisaged, but sailing journalist W M Nixon suggested that a way could be found for the comparative evaluation of the achievements and quality of clubs despite their significant differences in size and style.

The award recognises local, national & international sailing success by the winning club's members in both racing and cruising, the completion of a varied and useful sailing and social programme at the club, the fulfilling by the club of its significant and socially-aware role in the community, and the evidence of a genuine feeling among all members that the club meets their individual needs afloat and ashore.

The first club of the Year winner in 1979 was Wicklow Sailing Club.

Royal Cork Yacht Club has won the award most, seven times in all in 1987, 1992, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2015 & 2020.

The National YC has won six times, in 1981, 1985, 1993, 1996, 2012 & 2018.

Howth Yacht Club has won five times, in 1982, 1986, 1995, 2009 & 2019

Ireland is loosely divided into regions with the obviously high-achieving clubs from each area recommended through an informal nationwide panel of local sailors going into a long-list, which is then whittled down to a short-list of between three and eight clubs.

The final short-list is evaluated by an anonymous team based on experienced sailors, sailing journalists and sponsors’ representatives

From 1979 to 2020 the Sailing Club of the Year Award winners are:

  • 1979 Wicklow SC
  • 1980 Malahide YC
  • 1981 National YC
  • 1982 Howth YC
  • 1983 Royal St George YC
  • 1984 Dundalk SC
  • 1985 National YC (Sponsorship by Mitsubishi Motors began in 1985-86)
  • 1986 Howth YC
  • 1987 Royal Cork YC
  • 1988 Dublin University SC
  • 1989 Irish Cruising. Club
  • 1990 Glenans Irish SC
  • 1991 Galway Bay SC
  • 1992 Royal Cork YC
  • 1993 National YC & Cumann Badoiri Naomh Bhreannain (Dingle) (after 1993, year indicated is one in which trophy is held)
  • 1995 Howth Yacht Club
  • 1996 National Yacht Club
  • 1997 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • 1998 Kinsale Yacht Club
  • 1999 Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club
  • 2000 Royal Cork Yacht Club (in 2000, competition extended to include class associations and specialist organisations)
  • 2001 Howth Sailing Club Seventeen Footer Association
  • 2002 Galway Bay Sailing Club
  • 2003 Coiste an Asgard
  • 2004 Royal St George Yacht Club
  • 2005 Lough Derg Yacht Club
  • 2006 Royal Cork Yacht Club (Water Club of the Harbour of Cork)
  • 2007 Dublin Bay Sailing Club
  • 2008 Lough Ree YC & Shannon One Design Assoc.
  • 2009 Howth Yacht Club
  • 2010 Royal St George YC
  • 2011 Irish Cruiser Racing Association
  • 2012 National Yacht Club
  • 2013 Royal St George YC
  • 2014 Kinsale YC
  • 2015 Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • 2016 Royal Irish Yacht Club
  • 2017 Wicklow Sailing Club
  • 2018 National Yacht Club
  • 2019 Howth Yacht Club
  • 2020 Royal Cork Yacht Club

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