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Displaying items by tag: Achill Island

#CoastalNotes - Achill Island has been blemished by ‘tar balls’ that washed up on its Blue-Flagged Keel Beach during the week, as The Irish Times reports.

Appearing as black stones from a distance, the blobs of crude oil are soft and extremely sticky to the touch.

But despite being the result of oil leaks at sea, such tar balls are considered relatively harmless, according to the Irish Coast Guard.

The news comes less than a month after Fingal County Council warned of palm oil ‘fatbergs’ washed up on a Skerries beach.

Similar fatty deposits were found on beaches in Mayo last November.

Published in Coastal Notes

#RNLI - A coast-to-coast cycle starting in England and finishing in Co Mayo next month will raise funds for Achill Island RNLI.

Jane McNeela and Ursula Murray from Preston will undertake the Coast to Coast Bicycle Ride as part of the RNLI’s Mayday fundraising campaign.

The duo will leave Preston in Lancashire on Saturday 9 May and will spend the next five days cycling westbound across Ireland and deep into Mayo.

Friends for 13 years, the cyclists share a love for adventure and the great outdoors. Their previous endeavours include climbing the highest three peaks in the UK, fire walking and cycling from London to Paris.

But their latest endeavour has a personal twist, as McNeela is already familiar with the West of Ireland, having family connections in the Mayo town of Ballycroy.

The programme begins with a 120-mile cycle from Preston to Holyhead in Wales on Saturday 9 May and then, after a ferry trip to Dublin Port, another cycle to their hotel in Dublin.

On the Sunday they will cycle to Mullingar, while on the Monday they will move on to Strokestown and from there onwards to Swinford on Tuesday. On Wednesday they will cycle to Tiernaur. On Thursday, they will take on the final leg of the journey when they cycle to Achill Island’s bridge before finishing up at Achill Island’s lifeboat station in Kildavnet.

Plans are afoot for a group of cyclists to support the duo on their final trip from Tiernaur to Achill on Thursday 14 May.

Following their mammoth trek, a presentation night will be held in Patten’s Lounge Bar in Derreens, Achill on Friday 15 May to show the RNLI’s appreciation for the efforts of the women and their supportive husbands, Mark and Greg.

Speaking ahead of their adventure, McNeela said: "We decided to take on this challenge for Achill Island RNLI because of an incident in the sea in Achill when my 13-year-old daughter got into difficulties because of a strong current.

"Though panic set in, prompt action by her friend saved the day before we needed to call on the RNLI but it made me realise how invaluable the lifesaving charity it is and it was reassuring to know that there was a lifeboat station in Achill if we had needed to make the call that day."

Anthony McNamara, chair of Achill Island RNLI's fundraising branch, said all at the station were "delighted that Jane and Ursula have chosen Achill Island RNLI to benefit from their coast-to-coast bicycle ride and we would encourage cyclists to join them in their final leg or offer support at any of the places they will stop in on their way to Achill.

"Our lifeboat crew relies on the generosity of the public to help them to continue to save lives at sea. From crew kit to training and fuel for our lifeboats, every penny and cent raised by this cycle will help us to continue to rescue people every day."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#IslandNews - A glass-floored viewing platform jutting out over the Atlantic Ocean on Achill Island has got officials excited about its potential to attract tourism.

But locals are concerned that the project could mar the area's special views with an eyesore.

As the Mayo News reported last month, funding has been secured to develop the so-called 'Signature Discovery Point' at Keem Beach on Ireland's largest coastal island.

Keem Beach is one of 35 locations along the Wild Atlantic Way in Co Mayo that will share in the €257 million funding pot.

And the ambitious plans for the area – that also features as part of the new Galway-Mayo Blueway – include a viewing platform over the waves and rocky shore near the old coastguard station, along the lines of the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

But the reaction among the Achill community has been mixed, with support for the initiative by development company Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiúil Acla tempered by comments from local sculptor Ronan Halpin, who expressed concerns over the "visual intrusion" and "sustainability" of such a unique engineering project.

“Keem Bay is one the most beautiful and unspoilt places in our country. Its isolation and seclusion are a major part of its inherent charm," he added. "The proposal to build a glass walkway at the top of Moiteóg would seem to fly in the face of all this natural beauty and majesty."

The Mayo News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#IslandNews - A native Achill Islander believes he's discovered the only photo of the area's famous Deserted Village taken while it was still inhabited.

As Paddy Gallagher told The Irish Times, he was searching for images of Achill online when he came across a page from a 1915 issue of National Geographic magazine with a caption suggesting it was documenting village life on the east coast.

But Gallagher knew it was a photo of the Co Mayo island, and armed with a copy of the magazine ordered from eBay he set out to find the precise location and hopefully surprise whoever was living there today.

That's when he realised it was the Deserted Village, a collection of 80 unmortared stone houses all but abandoned after the Famine by 1852, and last occupied as a 'booley village' by young farmers from nearby Dooagh in the 1940s.

However, as the photo shows, at least one family seemed to still make its home in the village a century ago.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#Dolphins - It was a happy Easter for one young dolphin that was rescued from stranding on Achill Island by some quick-thinking coastguard volunteers.

As TheJournal.ie reports, the juvenile dolphin was one of two reported stranded on Keem Beach early on Sunday morning.

On arrival at the scene, the local Irish Coast Guard team found one of the two had died, but officer-in-charge Colin Honeyman leapt into action to save the remaining youngster.

Taking to the sea in his wetsuit, and with some help from a nearby fishing boat, he swam with the dolphin under his arm out to deeper water, where "he seemed to get a new lease of life and just swam off - he really went for it."

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Surfing - Students from all over Ireland will be taking to the waves off Achill Island for this weekend's Irish Surfing Intervarsities, as the Mayo Advertiser reports.

Keel Beach will be the venue for the two-day contest that kicks off tomorrow Saturday 22 March, and will see top wave riders from 11 institutions show their stuff in the surf - while organisers promise a party atmosphere for spectators on land. The Mayo Advertiser has more on the sorry HERE.

In other surfing news, Mullaghmore in Co Sligo will host the third annual Conference in Surfing Medicine this coming September.

According to Surfer Today, the gathering to be convened by the European Association of Surfing Doctors on 9-13 September will discuss the dangers posed by the increasingly extreme surf at one of the world's premier big wave spots.

Peter Conroy will be among those speaking during the week, giving the surfer's perspective on surfing in the harshest of conditions.

Published in Surfing

#MarineWildlife - Achill Island locals have proposed that the 20-metre fin whale beached on Keel Beach over Christmas - and buried just before the New Year - be preserved in some form as a heritage attraction for the region, as the Galway Advertiser reports.

The inspiration comes from the residents of West Cork village Kilbrittain, who were successful in securing permissions to recover the buried remains of a similarly sized whale in 2009. The whale skeleton was since put on display as a big tourism draw.

Similar proposals by Baltimore locals in 2012 after a fin whale became trapped in the town's harbour were scuppered when Cork County Council dumped its remains at sea.

Achill Islander and Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) member John O'Shea says that making an attraction out of the whale skeleton would connect people with the area's whaling history, which has changed profoundly over the past century from one of slaughter to preservation.

The Galway Advertiser has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

#MarineWildlife - There's a "fantastic opportunity to witness the second largest animal on the planet close up" on Achill Island over the next few days after a male fin whale was stranded on Keel Beach on Christmas Eve.

The 20-metre-long marine giant live stranded on the beach but died some hours later, as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group reports. It is as yet unknown what caused the fin whale to strand, but samples of skin, blubber, muscle and baleen have been taken for assessment.

TheJournal.ie repeats Achill Coast Guard's warning for anyone coming to see the whale to stay on the shore and not venture into the surf as the strongest storm in 15 years continues to sweep the country.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Rescue - The Irish Times reports on a "lucky escape" in Co Mayo yesterday (22 December) after a car plunged into deep water on Achill Island.

The driver of the vehicle was quickly rescued by the island's Irish Coast Guard unit after her car came of the road near Keel Lake in gale-force weather conditions, and was left teetering on an underwater ledge above a 25-metre drop.

Sadly a similar incident in Co Roscommon just hours before had a tragic end when the driver of a car that went into a lake could not be revived, though his passenger managed to escape the vehicle.

The Irish Times has much more on these stories HERE.

Published in Rescue

#NewsUpdate - The Irish Times is reporting that a women has drowned while swimming off Achill Island yesterday afternoon (Thursday 10 October).

Local coastguard members responded to an emergency call just after 3pm yesterday after the woman, who was swimming with a group at the time, got into difficulty.

Her body was recovered from the water to Purteen Pier in Achill, Co Mayo, where she was pronounced dead at the scene by a local doctor.

Published in News Update
Tagged under
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