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#greysyonesharbour – Greystones Harbour Developer Sispar has published an upbeat newsletter in the first weeks of 2014 outlining a growth of visitor numbers to the east coast port in 2013. It's all thanks to the new town marina now operated by BJ Marinas Ltd since last April. Over 1000 boats visited Greystones in County Wicklow over the Summer months according to Sispar and nearly 100 boats and 500 sailors attended the 'Taste of Greystones Regatta' weekend last September.

The town now has a purposes built modern facility at a cost of some €70m as opposed to the 200–year–old harbour wall that was badly silted up, the newsletter says. The benefits are being felt by local business and a Chamber of commerce spokesperson says the marina in only its first season has made a 'great difference'.

There are now 60 dinghies in the sailing club pen, 40 boats in the rowing club and 90 on the marina, according to the latest Sispar figures. It's part of a strategy of making Greystones one of the top three east coast harbours. 

The North Pier will open to the public with the access route to be determined by future safety requirements and as Afloat reported previously, a new 30–ton travel hoist allows visiting an resident boats to be lifted for maintenance and repairs.


Published in Greystones Harbour
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#marina – Kinsale Yacht Club (KYC) marina, recently announced as the starting point of the new tourism initiative, "The Wild Atlantic Way", has been awarded Five Gold anchor accreditation by the International Yacht Harbour Association (YHA).

The Atlantic way is set to be Ireland's first long-distance touring route, stretching along the Atlantic coast from West Cork to Donegal. Kinsale Yacht Club is delighted that this announcement coincided with their achieving the much coveted 5 Anchors award for their recently upgraded marina.

Thus KYC is now poised to play an important role for all of those intending to cruise the Wild Atlantic Way.

"Over the last three years KYC invested a lot of resources and time into the marina ensuring that we are providing a top quality service to the visitor. Our efforts have now been rewarded, KYC rear–commodore told

The 5 Anchors Award is an international standard for marinas that offer excellent facilities and a very high level of service to members and visitors. It also incorporates the ICOMIA clean marina standard which is fitting for the commencement point of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Kinsale has evolved from a Medieval fishing port and is today central to the "Cruising Hub of Ireland". Visiting yachts use it as an ideal location to start and finish their cruises along the beautiful South West coast of Ireland. The natural harbour is renowned for its beautiful scenery and is situated approximately 12 miles south west of Cork harbour entrance. Kinsale is 120 nautical miles from Wales, 240 nautical miles from northwest France and 500 nautical miles from the Galician coast of northern Spain.

The Kinsale Yacht Club marina offers the single largest berthage to visiting yachts in Ireland.

There is150 meters of dedicated marina space. It also caters for deep draft vessels proving popular with Superyachts.

In 2013 Kinsale Yacht Club completed major renovations to its Club House. It now offers state of the art, wheelchair accessible facilities; including a laundry room, Inhouse dining and an extended balcony, enabling visitors to relax and enjoy the breathtaking vista
of Kinsale Harbour.

The Marina is located in the heart of the town of Kinsale close to cafes, shops, a wide choice of restaurants and pubs. Kinsale is regarded as Ireland's Gourmet capital and is an essential stop on the tourist trail. The town is situated 20 minutes from Cork International airport and boasts excellent tourism and marine facilities. It is world renowned for the welcome it extends to its maritime visitors.

Published in Irish Marinas

#WaterfrontProperty - Aberystwyth Marina and its 150 berths in West Wales are on the market, and the whole lot could be yours for just £2.5 million (€2.9 million), according to Wales Online.

The 23-acre marina, which has planning permission for an extra 40 boat moorings, reportedly has an annual turnover of more than £300,000, and is the first marina in the UK to be available on the open market for more than five years.

Located on the banks of the River Rheidol as it flows into Cardigan Bay, Aberystwyth Marina has the added benefit of being just a day's crossing of the Irish Sea from the East Coast of Ireland and our bustling sailing scene.

But pretenders beware - current owner Merlin Developments is only looking to sell the business to an experienced and proven operator.

Wales Online has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Waterfront Property
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#IrishMarinas - The official opening of the new Ramor Watersports Club Marina will take place this Saturday 30 November.

Cavan county manager Jack Keys will handle the official duties from 2pm at the new marina facility on the shores of Lough Ramor, in front of the Lakeside Manor Hotel in Virginia.

The €300,000 marina development was completed late last month, according to the Anglo-Celt, and features 30 secure berths - eight of which are open to visiting tourists.

In addition the marina will house two 16ft Wayfarer salmon boats that will be used by club members, and for sail training classes on the lough next summer.

And it's expected that the new marina will provide a gateway to the lough for a broad range of watersports activity beyond boating from kitesurfing to diving to angling.

Made possible through leader funding of €200,000 and sponsorship, the marina's costs are not yet fully covered and the Ramor Watersports Club (RWC) still needs to meet the difference of some €60,000 over the next five years.

To this end it plans a series of fundraising events that will be advertised via the club's Facebook page and local media.

"We really look forward to exciting times ahead, when the current Virginia Town Harbour Project is restored, to encourage boat traffic all around the lake," said RWC chair John Wilson.

Published in Irish Marinas
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#greystonesharbourmarina – As a glorious first summer season comes to an end for Greystones Harbour marina in County Wicklow, the brand new east coast harbour is looking back on some memorable times including a first keelboat regatta for the Wicklow town.

With an overwhelming amount of visiting yachts travelling from neighbouring marinas and clubs as well as European waters, expectations have been exceeded for the 100–berth marina. The new factility played a part in helping Greystones Sailing Club with its first inaugural cruiser regatta. The "Taste of Greystones" had over 70 entries. The atmosphere was fantastic and the marina reception drew a great crowd to join in with the celebrations. The Sailing Club made a great effort and plans are afoot for a second regatta next year.

Now approaching its winter season Greystones Harbour marina is offering winter berthing rates with news too that the marina will shortly be operating a travel hoist crane and boatyard adjacent to the marina.

Published in Greystones Harbour
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#marinas – The Royal Cork Yacht Club marina in Crosshaven in Cork Harbour is the only new marina in Ireland that has attained Blue Flag status in 2013 and is one of only three new Blue Flags awarded this year. The news of the new eco award for Cork was previously reported on here.

Steeped in history, the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven, Co. Cork, prides itself on being the oldest Yacht Club in the world and the award of Blue Flag status comes after last year's award of 5 Gold Anchor Marina status as well as an ICOMIA Clean Marina Award – an internationally recognised sure sign of a quality marina. ICOMIA is the International Council of Marine Industry Associations and represents the recreational boating industry worldwide.

There are now four Blue Flag Marinas in the country, the other three have had the award for the last few years and they are Kilmore Quay in Wexford, the Three Sisters Marina in New Ross and Killinure Point Marina in Westmeath.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club was the only new marina in Ireland that has attained Blue Flag status in 2013 and there was huge emphasis during the presentations on how difficult is for a marina to attain Blue Flag status.

Gavin Deane, General Manager, Royal Cork Yacht Club said: "This is another terrific achievement for the Club. Mark Ring, the Marina & Racing Coordinator at the Royal Cork led the project and put months of work into achieving Blue Flag status so it's great to see that work paying off. We can now call ourselves the oldest and cleanest yacht club in the world!"

The awards comes as planning begins for Cork Week 2014 Ireland's most prestigious yachting regatta, which takes place at the club in Crosshaven in July next year.

Published in Royal Cork YC

#blueflag – Three marinas from a necklace of up to 70 facilties of marinas, jetties and pontoons around the coast have been awarded An Taisce Blue flag for 2013.

An inland marina on Lough Ree on the River Shannon also received an award.

The awards were presented by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan, T.D, at an awards ceremony held at Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Hall, Co. Dublin last Thursday.

The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. The programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental practices and behaviours among beach and marina users. The 70 beaches and 4 marinas that achieved this award met a specific set of criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education and beach management.

Although the official awards citations say the only coastal marina to be awarded a blue flag is Wexford's Kilmore Quay Marina, operated by Wexford County Council, few would argue that Royal Cork marina in Cork Harbour is also coastal, even though the facility is strictly speaking located on the Owenabue river.  Likewise the Three Sisters Marina at New Ross in Wexford has strong coastal links even though it is 18 nautical miles from the sea at Hook Head. This 66-berth marina is managed by New Ross Town Council and is located on the banks of the River Barrow.

In Westmeath a single freshwater marina was also awarded a blue flag. The Killinure Point Marina in Glasson, near Athlone is managed by the Quigley's and Waveline and it is located on the inner lakes of Lough Ree on the Shannon.


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#marinas – Dinny McGinley TD Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht welcomed the approval by his colleague Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture Food and Marine, of the development of a Small Craft Harbour at Killybegs Fishery Harbour Centre.

Welcoming this development Minister McGinley said "the proposed Small Craft Harbour will provide a safe and modern facility for current harbour users including small fishing boats, passenger and angling vessels and leisure craft. The new facility, when complete, will also provide short term berthage for visiting leisure craft."

"I have long been aware of the benefits of a marina at Killybegs Fishery Harbour Centre. As local representative for this area, I have down through the years read with interest a number of reports on Killybegs and the Fishery Harbour Centre in the past and the benefits for the local community that would accrue from such a development ."

The funding will be provided under the 2013 Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Capital Development Programme to kick start the development of a Small Craft Harbour at Killybegs Fishery Harbour Centre.

Officials of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine will set out a design and strategy to build the Small Craft Harbour in stages to meet demand while remaining cognisant of the current funding constraints and to deliver the first phase at the earliest opportunity.

Published in Irish Marinas
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#RNLI - Two volunteer crew members from Kinsale RNLI came to the rescue of a husky dog who had a dramatic fall off a cliff near the Co Cork village recently.

Koda, a pedigree husky, was inspecting the coastline around Sandycove when she got too close to the edge and slipped over the 30ft cliff.

The dog landed in water with a strong current that swept her out to sea despite her desperate struggles to reach the shore. She managed to get herself back on a ledge by which time the alarm was raised and volunteer lifeboat crew were on their way.

A jagged reef also meant that Kinsale RNLI’s inshore lifeboat couldn't get close enough to help drag the struggling dog from the water.

However, Kinsale RNLI volunteers Nick Searls and Ian Fitzgerald were at the scene within minutes, and realised the danger facing the terrified dog.

Searles dived into the sea and swam over 60 metres to reach the animal. He managed to attach a harness and was able to swim slowly back to shore, dragging the weakened Koda with him. He was then assisted by safety line out of the sea by Fitzgerald.

Koda was immediately taken to a Kinsale vet, who confirmed that despite being exhausted and shocked by her ordeal, the dog was none the worse for wear.

In other news, Donaghadee RNLI assisted two men on board a yacht which got into difficulty off the Co Down coast yesterday morning (Tuesday 7 May).

The volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch at 9.50am by Bangor Coastguard to go to the aid of a yacht which had ran aground.

The 30ft yacht with two people on board had gone aground on rocks at the entrance to Donaghadee Marina.

With the help of another vessel, the lifeboat crew was quickly able to get a tow line to the yacht and pull it off the rocks.

The yacht, which had sustained some damage to its rudder, was able to make its way safely into the marina.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#marinas – It was only fifteen years ago that ocean voyager Paddy Barry set off in his much-travelled Galway Hooker St Patrick for a cruise round Ireland. He completed it, and he also succeeded in his secondary objective of seeing if it was still possible to do the circuit almost entirely without stops at anchorages described in detail in the Irish Cruising Club Sailing Directions.

By 1998, the Ireland circuit was no big deal, so you needed this frisson of exploration to add an extra zest. After all, Rob Henshall from Fermanagh had done the circuit unaccompanied in a Laser, and also alone on a windsurfer. But cruising boats were still so relatively rare on much of the Atlantic seaboard that it had been accepted that the ICC guides were bound to have gaps, as they relied almost exclusively on the voluntary input of information.

Then too, just fifteen years ago, the absence of convenient berthing and easy shore access was something else which made the more distant coastlines unknown places. And it wasn't in just the remoter areas that you had to face this problem. Even if you could manage to get comfortably anchored or moored, the business of getting ashore at anchorages on all coastlines could still be a struggle, much exacerbated if you had children or people with impaired mobility. For many Irish harbours, the minimal comfort and convenience of a landing pontoon was still an aspiration rather than the reality.

Back in 1995, Afloat Magazine first published a comprehensive Irish Marina Guide. It had to include all the inland waterways marinas to add the respectability of numbers, for the coastal marinas were still woefully few. And in a pre-prosperity Ireland in which the very name of "marina" aroused prejudice, new projects to provide a few berths in hostile harbours had to resort to euphemisms. "Boat Park" and "Convenience Berthing" and "Disabled Landing" were marinas by any other name. It was a case of whatever you're having yourself, any name you like, but just let's get on with it and have one, and try a taste of boating in late 20th Century style.

But now, things have certainly changed since the days you could cruise round Ireland and stay overnight in "unknown" anchorages. And a very encouraging number of harbours and anchorages have acquired the convenience and safety of a proper pontoon, where at the very least your crew can easily access your tender, and usually you can bring the boat alongside for short visits and the ease of getting gear, equipment and people directly on board.

Perhaps most interesting of all, however, is that marinas of all sizes - and happy to call themselves marinas - have appeared on nearly all coastlines, and sometimes in the most unexpected places, such that the Marinas Guide currently lists 67 establishments, and we expect that number to steadily increase as the economy slowly revives. The realization of this enormous and welcome transformation is clearest when you study the recently-published 13th Edition of the Irish Cruising Club Sailing Directions for the South & West Coasts of Ireland.

When West Cork-based Norman Kean took over the job as Honorary Editor of the ICC's two pilotage books, he set out to make a round Ireland cruise like that of St Patrick in 1998 using only unknown anchorages, into an impossibility. It was a massively ambitious project, as Ireland's coastline measured in detail can be something like 4000 kilometres long.

But this Courtmacsherry Cyclone, ably assisted by his wife Geraldine, has worked miracles of research and productivity. Yet even by Norman Kean's high standards, this latest 13th Edition of the S & W book is a game changer, a masterwork, one of the best in the entire world, 356 pages of high quality information well amplified with clear plans, and profusely illustrated with photos all of which are informative and many - particularly the aerial ones by Kevin Dwyer - are beautiful evocations of an utterly lovely coastline which just occasionally we might too easily take for granted.

The previous 12th Edition was published in 2008, so obviously the difference is that projects which had only just been put in hand in the Celtic Tiger years are seen in this new book at various levels of fruition. If you find the memories of that crazy time depressing, cheer up. This book should encourage you to think that some lasting good – as with our excellent new motorway system – came out of that era of shared lunacy. While property values may have gone with the wind, the improvements to the coastal infrastructure are of lasting benefit which we can begin to enjoy properly as the economic wheels start to turn again.

Apart from its usefulness as an aid to navigation and pilotage, the 13th Edition a fascinating read in itself, as it takes you along two of our most interesting coastlines, and we get an insight into the way the various harbour authorities are seeking to embrace new opportunities. In several cases, it is County Councils which have been prepared to stick their heads above the marina development parapet.

High water in Dungarvan Harbour, and an impressive fleet is gathered at the sailing club's pontoon. Photo: Donal Walsh

For some years we saw on the east coast how Wicklow CC got dog's abuse from trying to do something useful with Greystones Harbour. But now that the marina is finally up and running with boats coming in and adding new life and interest to the place, it doesn't seem such a crazy idea after all.

Last week in this blog we were discussing how Wexford County Council had brought vision and energy to the development of Kilmore Quay on the south coast, which these days is a national pace setter showing how best to combine different uses and sensibly utilise space. It was certainly a new era when the marina there was opened by all the top honchos in local authority and government nearly two decades ago. We probably still had a Department of the Marine back then, and it was such a time of hope, with the buzz at Kilmore so good, that though my mother-in-law's daughter and I had gone down expecting to return that same evening, it was well into the following afternoon when we reappeared at Command HQ.

Further west along the south coast, the new book has an intriguing aerial photo by Donal Walsh showing high water in Dungarvan Harbour, and the club pontoon well filled with yachts in regatta mode. For sure, it's a bit different when the tide goes out. But it's a useful reminder that the traditional perception of the coast between Waterford Estuary and Cork Harbour as a cruising desert is a complete nonsense.

Kinsale is almost a cliché for the perfect cruising port, but the 13th Edition makes us look at it anew with a Kevin Dwyer aerial pic which I hand't seen before, taken from due south. Properly speaking, West Cork is anywhere west of Cork city. But in reality West Cork doesn't properly begin until you're west of the Bandon River which flows through Kinsale Harbour. This photo says it all – the way that the crowded little town of Kinsale on the northeast side is a bustling cosmopolitan port, yet all you have to do is cross the bridge and immediately you're slowing down to West Cork speed and the relaxed atmosphere of Castlepark which – very welcome for families – even has its own neat little south-facing beach along a short sandy lane.

baltimore pontoon

A brisk norwest wind makes things lively at Baltimore's crowded pontoon. In such conditions, there's much better shelter at the pontoon across at Sherkin Island. Photo: Edi Keating

Further west, busy Baltimore has battled for years to deal with conflicting demands on its limited public waterfront space. While the pontoon gives heroic service, in a brisk nor'wester it can verge on being very uncomfortable, and the photo by Edi Keating usefully illustrates that when conditions are like this, a sensible cruising crew will go over to the shelter at the Sherkin Island pontoon.


Around on the Kerry coast, there has been much activity with the floating breakwaters of a marina for Kerry County Council at Knightstown on Valentia Island. When eventually finished, it could have hundreds of berths, but for now it is considered permanent enough to be included in the new ICC book, and here it is for all to see – the longest landing pontoons in Ireland.

Paradise almost lost – the ruins of Paradise House are the last relics of ould dacency above the anchorage in the Fergus River Photo: Geraldine Hennigan

The anchorage at Paradise. Lt William Henn brought his hundred foot America's Cup-challenging steel cutter Galatea in here. Photo: Geraldine Hennigan

With its sluicing tides and acres of gooey mud, the Shannon Estuary is not to everyone's cruising taste, but Norman Kean was determined to do it from end to end. Among the islands at the mouth of the Fergus river on the north shore of the great estuary he found Paradise north of Kildysart – the remains of Paradise House, family home of 1886 America's Cup challenger William Henn, and the sweet little anchorage below it where the gallant Lieutenant Henn brought his hundred foot cutter Galatea for a visit.



The marina at Rossaveal is already popular Photo: Geraldine Hennigan

Up in Galway Bay, did you know there is now a marina at Rossaveal, that uber-busy Aran Islands ferryport and fishing harbour on the threshold of Connemara? Well, when they were doing the most recent re-development of Rossaveal, somebody did a bit of thinking outside the usual narrow box, and the result is a very handy little facility which already looks to be well filled, but there's room for more, and it's a very useful location.

The flotilla gathered at Inishbofin inner quay includes (left to right) the Arctic voyaging Arctic Fern (John Coyle), Dr Michael Brogan's ketch-rigged Galway hooker Mac Duach, the high latitudes cruiser Northabout (Jarlath Cunnane) and the Vancouver 28 Colla Voce (Pat Lavelle). Photo: Geraldine Hennigan

Of course, the dictating factor on any coastal marina is dealing with the ever present tides, but every cruising enthusiast likes to take a photo of their favourite little quayside in the convenience of high tide on a summer's day. Norman Kean has indulged the ICC's active western membership with a happy snap of some very distinguished boats rafted up at high water at the inner quay at Inishbofin, with Day's pub only a matter of yards away, and all well with the world until the tide falls. Even then, it's not the worst place to dry out alongside, and you'll note that Pat Lavelle's Vancouver 28 Colla Voce is a Bofin regular, and has a leg fitted.


Rosmoney's brand new pontoon. The boat is a 17ft French-designed pram built by Jarlath Cunnane Photo: Rory Casey

On up the coast, the new pontoon at Rosmoney Quay among the islands at the head of Clew Bay beside Mayo SC's well-filled anchorage was commissioned too late to be included in the new ICC book. But we have it here just to show that sometimes it is possible to draw level with the Kean machine, even if you never actually get ahead. MSC Commodore Rory Casey says that it's such a success they're going to have to be very careful that people don't hog it, but instead clear out just as soon as they've completed the essential tasks it's designed to facilitate.

Sligo has been a port seldom enough visited by cruising yachts. It's way off the beaten track if you're determinedly on the round Ireland circuit, and the two main sailing centres in the area – Rosses Point and Mullaghmore – have sometimes uncomfortable anchorages, Mullaghmore being open to the north, while the Rosses Point moorings are very tide rode.


The pontoon in the heart of Sligo provides excellent access to an interesting town Photo: W M Nixon

But now there's a pontoon in Sligo itself, which is so handy that Darryl Hughes, the owner of the beautifully-restored 1937 43ft Tyrrell ketch Maybird, bases himself there when he makes his annual visit to the Yeats Summer School at the end of July. He's still the only Yeats aficionado who sails to the Summer School, but it's early days yet – the pontoon is still thought of as new.

Up the coast at Mullaghmore, they've worked a little miracle. The harbour is very much a drying basin, and the anchorage off it can be mighty lumpy. But with some judicious use of quite a lot of rock armour, they've created snug little corner just outside the harbour mouth and installed a fine big pontoon. The depth alongside may go down to 0.6 metres on the lowest tides, but most of the time most boats can nip alongside for convenient embarkation and unloading, and it's a major convenience and safety addition to the facilities of the harbour.



The new pontoon just outside the entrance to Mullaghmore Harbour is a boon for all boat users

From the head of Donegal Bay right round to Lough Swilly, there are some fine harbours, but there isn't another dedicated recreational boating pontoon until you get to Rathmullan in Lough Swilly, with Fahan Marina just across the way. It's only a matter of time before something is installed in Killybegs, and Burtonport up in that lovely area of The Rosses would be strategically useful and the logical place for some facility, ideally one where a boat could be left.

However, up there in that remotest corner of the remote northwest, one of my most convenient crew changes was done at the little fishing port of Kincasslagh. It must be the nearest port to Carrickfin airport, and that's very useful for crews linking to or from Dublin, for this place is cut off by the mountains from any direct roads. Time passes easily as you get up to speed with all the news of The Rosses at Iggy's bar in Kincasslagh, and if there's further delay you can always go and say hello to Daniel O'Donnell who lives nearby. He can tell you more Daniel O'Donnell jokes than anyone else, and tell them better too.


The 13th Edition of the Irish Cruising Club Sailing Directions for the South & West Coasts of Ireland is on sale at €29.95 from all good chandlers or bookshops, or direct from

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We're keen to get reader input on their marina experiences too so we can build a comprehensive picture of the Irish coastal marina and pontoon scene. Can you update our readers with extra information? If so please leave your comments in the box provided for each marina/pontoon listed.

Published in W M Nixon
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