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Displaying items by tag: Lough Erne

Lough Erne Heritage is an organisation formed over two years ago to promote and preserve the history of the traditional boats of Lough Erne and in particular their uses in supporting the local population writes Fred Ternan. Many boats were designed and built for specific purposes, for example the boats built on Lough Erne were different from the boats built for the more sheltered waters of the riverine parts near Enniskillen. The main traffic was along and across the Lough and river and to the many islands which were inhabited.

Whilst the town of Enniskillen was being built and developed much of the building materials and fuel was brought in from surrounding areas of the Lough by water. Ballyshannon in Donegal Bay was the port for Enniskillen with slates being brought overland from there to Belleek and onward to Enniskillen by Lough Erne Cot. Building sand and turf for fuel was transported from the north shore of Lough Erne by Lough Erne, a distance of 22 miles by Lough Erne Cot. On Upper Lough Erne the cot was as much part of life as was the bicycle, wheel barrow or cart. Before the bridges were built and as Fermanagh is completely divided in two by the lough then the only way to get from one side to the other was by boat and to transport goods was to use the Lough Erne Cot. Some of the smaller Lough Erne Cots designed sometimes only to carry one person were gradually replaced by clinker built boats but sadly with the introduction of GRP all local production of traditional Lough Erne Traditional boats came to an end.

Fortunately since being set up, Lough Erne Heritage has been able to save a number of the wooden boats and one of its members, Gabriel Fitzpatrick whose father was a boat builder has restored them. One such boat was built in Enniskillen, possibly by Irvines the boat builders in 1925 and given to Lough Erne Heritage by Mr. John Madden, Hilton , Clones. It had been carefully stored in a shed and has now been restored.

When built in 1925 it was collected by Mr. Madden`s grandfather who then along with his two sons and over a period of two days rowed it all the way along Upper Lough Erne and up the Finn River to his home at Hilton, outside Clones in County Monaghan.

Mr Madden has also given his family`s three Snipe Class sailing dinghies to Lough Erne Heritage where they will be restored. These were sailed by himself, his father and other members of his family for a period in the 50s and 60s when the Snipe class was raced on a regular weekly basis at Crom, the home of yacht racing on Lough Erne, for a period of 15 to 20 years.

One of the Snipe dinghies was put on display at our Lough Erne Heritage display and Wooden Boat show during the period from 31st July to 5th August and featured in a BBC Newsline story.

Some of our restored boats also featured in the display as did boats from Lough Neagh and Ballynahinch. A part built Lough ERne Clinker boat was on display for part of the exhibition and when completed will be used to demonstrate how they could be sailed using a sprit sail. The sail and oars being the only form of propulsion until the introduction of reliable outboard engines.

Last year Lough Erne Heritage preserved the maritime history of Lough Erne by building two examples of the Lough Erne Cot, a vessel unique to Lough Erne and used there for possibly 2000 years. Following on from this cot racing was re-introduced, not having been seen since the 1880s. Races for cots were often held after the races for the large yachts, held at Crom, were completed. The crews of the yachts who would have travelled in their cots to participate would then race their cots for a cash prize. Regattas for cots and boats were also held in other parts of the lough and this year one of those , held at Knockninny was recreated.

By Sunday the 20th of August with two recreated regattas under our belt and champions established for Crom and Knockninny, the Lough Erne Heritage Upper Lough Erne Regatta for Lough Erne Cots was organised and was a very closely fought contest. All of these community regattas have been organised with the support of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and the National Trust and we are delighted that as a result of this a further cot is being built by one of our members Liam Boyle to the same design. The regatta was televised for the BBC programme Home Ground and will be aired on Monday 4th September.

We had visitors and participants from Lough Neagh who brought with them some examples of the boats from other parts of Ireland which they replicate. Using these and our own traditional boats we organised the first Lough Erne Traditional Wooden Boat rally and we will with the support of other traditional boat groups throughout Ireland expand on this in the coming years.

Plans are already being made to organise these regattas next year with an additional one in Belturbet Co Cavan on the first Monday in August 2018. It is hoped to expand these regattas around the Erne system culminating each year in a final to establish the winners of the Lough Erne Heritage Trophy to be awarded the the overall champions.

Published in Inland Waterways
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#Swimming - A number of novice open water swimmers will be taking part in a major event on Lough Erne this weekend.

The ​past 10 weeks have seen 20 people taking part in the Couch to 5km Challenge on Lough Erne, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Coached by Maureen McCoy and Paul McCambridge, the course has been aimed at swimmers of various levels who wanted to either start swimming outdoors or improve their fitness and speed for events. 

Starting in June, the swimmers were taken for their introduction to open water in the relative security of the calm bay at the Share Centre in Lisnaskea. 

Now, after developing their skills, swim technique and endurance, the swimmers will complete the course and test themselves in the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association’’s National Open Water Swim on Lough Erne tomorrow (Saturday 5 August).

Some of them will be taking on the 1,500m swim while even more will be braving the 5km swim.

Published in Sea Swim

#Sailability - Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, in partnership with Waterways Ireland, has organised an eight-week paddle sport programme commencing next Friday 4 August.

​The free programme will enable young people with a disability aged eight to 16 to receive expert coaching in a range of paddle sports such as canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding. All necessary equipment will be provided.

Sessions from Friday 4 to Friday 25 August will take place in the Fermanagh Lakeland Forum’s swimming and commence at 8.30pm, while sessions from Saturday 2 to Saturday 23 September will commence at 1.30pm and be delivered on the open water at Castle Island in Enniskillen. Each session will last for 60 minutes. 

Speaking about the programme, chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Stephen McCann, said: “The council is committed to creating more opportunities for our residents to get active so that they can enjoy the benefits of leading an active lifestyle.

“The paddle sport programme will provide water activity enthusiasts an opportunity to try different paddle sport activities through coaching and instruction from qualified coaches.”

Waterways Ireland chief executive Dawn Livingstone also spoke of her delight at partnering with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to deliver a programme offering on the waterways activities for young people living with a disability. 

“Waterways Ireland is actively growing the numbers of people enjoying sustained recreational opportunities to engage in water-based activity,” she said. “It is hoped that through the 8 week programme, young people will discover their favourite activity, something they continue to enjoy through life.”  

Participation on the programme is free of charge, however places are limited and allocated on a first come, first served basis. Participants must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or carer for the duration of each session. 

To register or for further information, visit Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s website or contact Chris Elliott at +44 300 303 1777 or [email protected].

Published in Canoeing

#Swimming - Waterways Ireland has welcomed Maureen McCoy and Paul McCambridge’s efforts to bring their Couch to 5K Swim Challenge to Lough Erne.

The 10-week programme is designed to bring swimmers out of the pool and into the open water. The scheme will run over five fortnightly sessions from June to August 2017 and will provide swimmers with the knowledge, skills and training to ultimately complete a 5km swim event.

The coaches are Maureen McCoy, an English Channel soloist, and Paul McCambridge a North Channel relay swimmer. Both Maureen and Paul will guide swimmers through from the first outdoor swim to competing in this challenging event.

The Couch to 5K Swim Challenge is aimed at swimmers of varied levels who wish to either start swimming outdoors or improve their fitness and speed for events. The coaches have designed a programme that will challenge each swimmer and allow them to acquire new skills, no matter what their starting point.

The five fortnightly sessions will take place on Saturdays starting on 3 June, and will increase in intensity with the aim of completing a 5km swim in August.

There is a fee of £30 for participation. Register your interest at [email protected] or wildswim.wordpress.com.

Published in Sea Swim

#LoughErne - A Donegal woman drowned after a boating accident on Lough Erne late on Wednesday night, as RTÉ News reports.

The woman is believed to have fallen overboard from a hired vessel she and her husband and children has been using for the Easter holidays.

It’s thought the 35-year-old slipped from the deck while checking the boat was tied to the jetty at Devenish Island, near Enniskillen, in the early hours of Thursday 13 April.

The Belfast Telegraph adds that the woman’s husband dived into the lough to attempt a rescue after hearing a splash but could not find her in the dark.

Her body was recovered by emergency services 40 minutes later just metres from the stern of the boat. CPR was attempted at dockside but she was later died in hospital.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#LoughErne - New Lough Erne Resort general manager William Kirby sees Brexit as another opportunity to build the Lough Erne brand and the golf resort’s reputation as a worldwide destination.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Kirby says he is under no illusions as to the status of what was among the top tier of Northern Ireland’s luxury resorts 10 years ago, but had become “downtrodden” since going into administration four years later.

Kirby was appointed last year by the new American owners of the resort, which boasts a Nick Faldo-designed golf course, following successful stints at Mount Juliet and Kilkenny’s Lyrath Estate.

And his first move was to hire a new sales and marketing team, whose efforts have already seen a turn-up in guest numbers.

Despite the resort losing hosting rights for this summer’s Irish Open, Kirby is confident that he and his team can do what’s necessary to attract similar “silver bullet” events back to Lough Erne in future. The Belfast Telegraph has much more HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
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#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland completed the first week of its pilot 'Water Project' for post-primary schools last Friday 30 September.

Ninety students and teachers from four second-level schools in Co Fermanagh are engaged in water-based learning activities on Lough Erne as part of the two-week pilot educational project which concludes tomorrow (Friday 7 October).

Pupils and teachers from St Fanchea's College, St Aidan's High School, Devenish College and St Joseph's College undertook the two-day programme at Waterways Ireland's headquarters in Enniskillen, where they took part in biodiversity workshops and discovered some of the many fascinating water-based creatures, birds and aquatic plants that exist along the shoreline of Lough Erne.

They also rowed a 33ft currach in the Bronze Age style, and learned the techniques of angling, before diving into kayaking and a heritage workshop in Fermanagh Castle Museum earlier this week.

Initial feedback from both students and teachers has been positive, according to Waterways Ireland, which adds that at the end of the two-week pilot all feedback from partners and participants will be gathered to inform an evaluation report and future development of the project in the months ahead.

​The Water Project has been developed and implemented in partnership with Row the Erne; Erne Paddlers; Inland Fisheries (DAERA) and the National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland; Fermanagh Castle Museum; RSPB and the Ulster Wildlife Trust.

​Waterways Ireland has ongoing educational work with primary schools centred on the waterways. The Water Project aims to promote awareness and knowledge of the importance of Lough Erne and access to its many recreational activity opportunities for secondary students.

Published in Inland Waterways

In early 2015 a number of Fermanagh people, some whose families go back for generations working and living on and around Lough Erne, were brought together to discuss their concerns that the history and heritage of wooden boat building on and around Lough Erne had all but disappeared writes Fred Ternan of Lough Erne Heritage.
All of the people in attendance had direct connections with wooden boat building on Lough Erne and in Fermanagh. Many more have joined since.
It was discussed and agreed that since the last wooden boats were built about 1970 much work would need to be done to retain what information was left and that this research would need to be done very soon. It was agreed that a community group calling itself Lough Erne Heritage would be formed with a constitution and trustees and whose aims would be to promote and preserve the history and heritage of wooden boat on and around the entire River Erne from its source in County Cavan, through Fermanagh to its estuary in Donegal and would focus on the people who built and used them.
Work would concentrate mainly on the traditional boats, the log boat (coite) or dugout canoe, the Lough Erne Cot and the traditional Lough Erne Clinker built rowing boat. All information gathered and confirmed on other significant boats brought to or built on the lough would also be saved, the emphasis again on who built and used them. Since almost all of those boats have disappeared efforts would be made to find drawings etc and save these.
All information gathered so far has been saved centrally and when we set up our website will be shared with all. Displays, exhibitions and talks have been held with more to come and much information has been gained as a result.
Work has already begun on building examples of the traditional boats with one of two Lough Erne Cots almost ready to be launched. Two identical Lough Erne Cots are being built with the intention of reintroducing Cot Racing to the lough. These were very serious contests carried out in a number of places around the lough in the 1800s. So serious indeed, legend has it that on at least one occasion, a competitor's cot was sabotaged the night before the event. This took place on his island on the shore not far from the house. Notices for such cot races are held showing the courses to be rowed and after the launch of the two cots in August racing will commence.
Relationships have been formed with other like minded groups and it is hoped to extend this throughout Ireland. The first traditional boat, the hollowed out tree trunk, log boat or dugout has been found in many places throughout Ireland with some dated carbon dated to between three and four thousand years BC. Many local cots are descended from such craft. With this common denominator shared by all groups preserving and developing an interest their local traditional boat, it is hoped that arrangements eventually be put in place to display traditional boats at venues rotated around Ireland.
The Lough Erne Cot is unique to the Erne System and ranged in size from about 12 feet in length to quite massive cots 55feet long. With the lough being heavily populated around the shore and on the islands, quite unique in itself, the smaller cots were used for getting about, doing the shopping for instance. The larger cots were used for transport and as ferries, bridges were a fairly recent addition to the lough. Many of the large cots transported stone to build the houses and towns and turf to fuel them. There was continuous traffic along the length of the lough transporting sand turf and freight brought into the port of Ballyshannon. The freight from Ballyshannon was transported overland to Belleek where it was put on cots and shipped to Enniskillen and various other parts of the lough and Fermanagh.
On the journeys along the larger Lower Lough sails were often used to ease the workload of the two man crew.
It's not surprising that the regular regattas were an eagerly anticipated attraction and a way of forgetting for a day the very hard work of earning a living from the lough. The planned re-introduction of cot racing will be a means whereby the efforts of those in the past, using Lough Erne Cots to help build and develop the area can be remembered.
Recently, i.e, in the last 50 years, Lough Erne Cots were used to transport cattle up until the late 1980s, the last cot used for this being able to carry 12 to 14 cattle at a time.
Transport on the lough is now done by steel ferries some of whom resemble the shape of a Lough Erne Cot.
Whilst work is continuing on building two 22 feet long Lough Erne Cots other events are being planned. An Art and Photographic exhibition is being organised for the 28th, 29th and 30th of July in Enniskillen Library, the theme being Lough Erne and its Wooden Boats. This follows a successful display about wooden boat building held there last year. Along with the exhibition a number of traditional wooden boats will be on display outside the library on Saturday the 30th of July including one of the recently built Lough Erne Cots.
Lough Erne Heritage owns, has access to and the use of a substantial amount of boats, artefacts, images and stories including maps showing which islands were occupied and the routes the inhabitants used. Substantial detail on the boat builders of the past is also held and it is hoped to soon have this available to the public.
This will ensure that this interesting but almost forgotten part of the history and heritage of Lough Erne and the surrounding area is brought to the attention of all and preserved for the future.

Published in Historic Boats
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Waterways Ireland has installed a new style of moorings on Upper and Lower Lough Erne to create an opportunity for boaters to use and experience the waterway differently.
The 18 new moorings across Upper & Lower Lough Erne are yellow mooring buoys that are permanently attached by chain to an anchor on the lake bed, to which a boat may tie up as an alternative to mooring at a jetty or deploying an anchor.
To moor up, a vessel should approach the yellow mooring buoy slowly from downwind. Using a boat hook lift up the pick-up buoy and attached rope out of the water to reach a steel ring. The forward mooring rope should be passed through the steel ring and tied securely from a deck cleat or other strong boat fixing. Users are advised to wear a lifejacket.
German tourists Mark and Melinda using the mooring at Castle Archdale this week on Manor House Marine's Noble Emperor declared it 'really easy'. JP McCaldin from Aghinver Boat Company indicated the moorings would be recommended to their customers as they 'were so simple to use'.
Waterways Ireland's, Director of Business Development, John Boyle, stated "Waterways Ireland is continuing to invest in providing new experiences for waterway users on Lough Erne. The buoy moorings across the Upper and Lower Lake are currently located in 18 locations. Feedback and usage rates will dictate if Waterways Ireland should increase their provision to other locations."
The locations have been chosen to provide safe, sheltered moorings in quiet locations that that will interest boaters with no negative impact or disturbance to bird, fish or mammal species or their habitat. These locations are not intended to give the boater egress to the land, but to provide a safe mooring opportunity away from other waterways users and offering a more intimate connection to nature, which some boaters are seeking. On Upper Lough Erne the moorings are located in Quivvy Lough, Trial Bay, Gole Wood, Creaghmacwallen Island and Tamlaght Bay. On Lower Lough Erne they can be found at Devenish, Inish Fovar, Blaney Bay, Castle Archdale, Strongbow and Rossmore Bay.
In selecting the locations for these moorings Waterways Ireland has paid particular attention to the provision of safe navigation and a safe mooring in a range of water depths and wind directions and the avoidance of overhead electric wires (for craft under sail). Waterways Ireland has also taken into account the weight of craft in designing the mooring anchors to cater for the heaviest cruisers presently on the navigation.
Waterways Ireland Erne Operation staff undertook the design and installation of the moorings across Upper & Lower Lough Erne and are looking forward to receiving feedback from users to [email protected]
Maps and information showing the buoy mooring locations can be found on www.waterwaysireland.org .

Buoy Moorings: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Buoy Mooring?
A buoy mooring is a mooring buoy that is permanently attached by chain to an anchor on the lake bed at which a boat may tie up as an alternative to mooring at a jetty or deploying an anchor.
Why is Waterways Ireland installing buoy moorings?
Waterways Ireland is installing this type of public mooring to offer boaters an alternative to mooring at a jetty. The locations have been chosen to provide safe, sheltered moorings in quiet locations that will not result in a negative impact or disturbance to bird, fish or mammal species or their habitat. As only one boat can moor at a time, the buoy mooring offers a boater a more natural experience which some boaters are seeking.
What locations have been selected for buoy moorings?
The locations for which Waterways Ireland has sought planning permission are Quivvy Lough, Trial Bay, Gole Wood, Creaghmacwallen Island and Tamlaght Bay on Upper Lough Erne and on Lower Lough Erne at Devenish, Inish Fovar, Blaney Bay, Castle Archdale, Strongbow and Rossmore Bay. Maps are available showing the exact locations.
Are these the only locations in which buoy moorings will be considered?
Waterways Ireland will pilot buoy moorings at these locations and will assess the level of use and listen to boaters in relation to other locations they would like considered for future moorings.
Why has Waterways Ireland chosen these locations?
In choosing the proposed locations Waterways Ireland has sought comment from user groups, the Environment Agency, Inland Fisheries and the RSPB. It is Waterways Irelands intention to provide safe moorings at locations that that will interest boaters but that will not result in a negative impact or disturbance to bird, fish or mammal species or their habitat.
These locations are not intended to give the boater egress to the land, but to provide a safe mooring opportunity away from other waterways users and offering a more intimate connection to nature.
How do you use a buoy mooring?
Each buoy mooring will have a pick-up buoy attached to the mooring buoy. The boat should approach the mooring slowly from downwind. Lift the pick-up buoy using a boat hook and draw it upward til a steel ring is exposed. Pass the forward mooring rope through the ring and back over the boats fairlead and attach to the deck cleat.
What bye-laws apply to buoy moorings?
The Lough Erne Navigation By-laws apply to the buoy moorings, including the 48hour mooring rule.
Has Waterways Ireland considered the environmental consequences of boaters mooring in these locations?
Planning permission is only being given in locations where the moorings will have no negative impact on the environment.
Are these locations 'safe'?
In selecting the locations for these moorings Waterways Ireland has paid particular attention to the provision of safe navigation and a safe mooring in a range of water depths and wind directions and the avoidance of overhead electric wires (for craft under sail). Waterways Ireland has also taken into account the weight of craft in designing the mooring anchors and intends to cater for the heaviest cruisers presently on the navigation.

Published in Inland Waterways
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#LoughErne - It's been confirmed that the Lough Erne Resort will no longer host next year's Irish Open golf tournament.

As reported on Afloat.ie earlier this year, changes in the European golfing scene had cast doubt on the Fermanagh lakeland resort hosting of the 2017 event in after getting the nod two years ago before its purchase by American business tycoon Tony Saliba.

Those doubts were confirmed last week, as the News Letter reports, with a statement from the Lough Erne Resort that it is "extremely disappointed" that the European Tour has announced a change in venue.

It's understood that the sport's new European bosses favour a links course for the annual Irish Open, with Portstewart Golf Club on the North Coast a likely candidate.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
Page 3 of 7

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