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Displaying items by tag: Cork Harbour

29th November 2022

Dublin And Cork Are Sinking

Yet again we’ve had a journalist in Ireland’s “Paper of Record” ventilating at the weekend about the widely-held belief that not only are world sea levels rising – which we all accept – but that these absolute sea level rises are happening twice as quickly in Dublin and Cork as they are elsewhere, which is hydrographic nonsense.

We also had a noted TV architect musing in print on how sensible it would be to “re-claim” land along Dublin’s secondary Tolka Estuary - presumably on its south side - in order to provide housing of a popular kind instead of the generally-loathed apartment blocks. This would thereby provide highly-desirable yet affordable family living beside the seaside.

In all, both pieces provided a fascinating insight into how words can be used in a secondary way to set the tone of any opinion piece. For instance, there’s the persistent bandying about of “re-claiming land from the sea”. That’s off target. Once upon a time, the world was all sea. So if we create new land, it’s infill, indeed it’s arguably theft against nature. But it’s certainly not “re-claiming”, even if that’s a difficult position to maintain when we’re up against the Biblical imperative of St John the Divine with his anticipatory Book of Revelations assertion that “there would be no more sea”. 

MAINTAINING EXISTING WATERFRONT SUBURBS

Be that as it may, the idea of some infill along the south side of the Tolka Estuary is attractive, as it would be a completely new parcel of land which interferes with no-one else’s established seafront access. As it is, many of the schemes for infill in Dublin Bay have blithely claimed over many years that they would provide people with “new seaside homes”. But the proposed locations of these new homes would mean that some long-established waterfront suburbs are no longer beside the sea at all, which rather negates the good intentions of the basic projects.

A proposed infill for new housing along Dublin’s Tolka Estuary (right) might be acceptable if it were on the south side, thereby avoiding the sea access infringement of established waterfront suburbs in Clontarf. But it has to be remembered that the daily tidal draining of the extensive Clontarf Basin provides a useful scour-dredging effect for the entrance to Dublin Port via the River LiffeyA proposed infill for new housing along Dublin’s Tolka Estuary (right) might be acceptable if it were on the south side, thereby avoiding the sea access infringement of established waterfront suburbs in Clontarf. But it has to be remembered that the daily tidal draining of the extensive Clontarf Basin provides a useful scour-dredging effect for the entrance to Dublin Port via the River Liffey Photo: courtesy Dublin Port

But, that said, it has to be borne in mind that the twice daily exit of the tide from the currently extensive “Clontarf Basin” in the Tolka Estuary plays a significant role in the scouring of the entrance of the sea channel into the Liffey – in other words, it’s a freely available dredging process to facilitate the continuing and vital activity of our largest port.

The other point about the relative sea levels in Dublin and Cork has been allowed to pass unchallenged so many times that we wonder if anyone bothers to read these newspaper think pieces with any real attention at all. For sure, the global sea level at the Equator does come in a bit higher than on the rest of the planet, an effect of the world’s daily rotation. So I suppose we should be grateful that it doesn’t spin off the waters of the Pacific Ocean in their entirety into Outer Space. But it does mean that global sea level rising is a much more acute problem in low-lying Polynesian island nations.

SEA LEVEL IS AN ABSOLUTE IN IRELAND

However, within an island the size of Ireland, there is no significant difference between the absolute heights of the sea north and south, east and west. So when it’s recorded that the sea has risen globally by 70ml during the past 20 years, but that in Dublin and Cork tide recorders are showing a 20 year rise of 130ml, then it can only mean that Dublin and Cork have been quietly sinking by 60ml since 2002.

As has been demonstrated in recent years, Cork Harbour flooding is influenced by many factors, but this projection for 2050 is simply based on rising sea level. As has been demonstrated in recent years, Cork Harbour flooding is influenced by many factors, but this projection for 2050 is simply based on rising sea level. 

The relative rise and fall of land masses is a geological and hydrographic fact. As the most recent ice age retreated to take away the ice-sheet weight from Ireland, some areas of land popped up almost visibly to gives us raised beaches and suchlike. And it’s reckoned that the geography of Greenland will need significant re-drawing as the weight of its enormous, many-miles-deep ice fields disappears - that is, if there’s anyone still around to take the necessary readings.

But meanwhile, in Ireland, we have to accept the implications of the fact that our Official Capital City and our Real Capital City are quietly going under. Knowing that it was the weight of ice which pushed down many parts of Ireland in times past, perhaps these modern localized tendencies could be blamed on the weight of self-importance in Dublin, and the weight of assumed superiority in Cork.

While admitting the vast civic and human problems which it would bring, rising sea levels in the Dublin area may provide some interesting opportunities – for instance, it might be useful to own the location of a potential fortress/customs station for the re-born Duchy of Howth beside the new watery frontier at Sutton Cross. While admitting the vast civic and human problems which it would bring, rising sea levels in the Dublin area may provide some interesting opportunities – for instance, it might be useful to own the location of a potential fortress/customs station for the re-born Duchy of Howth beside the new watery frontier at Sutton Cross. 

Whatever, it might help the debate and the planning in some way if it could be accepted that almost half of the relative sea level rise in Dublin and Cork is due to area subsidence, while the other half is due to absolute global sea level rises. Thus it really is time that we brought in Dutch experts to advise in Dublin and Cork on how best to deal with the fact that the apparent tide level in these cities is rising twice as quickly as anywhere else.

The Dutch approached the problem of most of their country being increasingly below sea levels by many means, not least in ensuring that they have the tallest population in all Europe. If we’re going to keep our heads above water in Cork and Dublin, a selective breeding programme should be introduced immediately to raise the national height. That said, having been with some of the grandsons at the weekend, I think it may have already been quietly under way for the past sixteen years. There’s evolution for you.

Published in Dublin Bay
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President Michael D. Higgins was among the 160 guests at an event held in Cork Harbour on Friday to launch the European Union’s Mission to protect and restore ocean and inland waters in the Atlantic and Arctic regions by 2030. The National Maritime College of Ireland was the venue for the gathering which brought together Ministers and high-level representatives from Atlantic and Arctic countries, the Lord Mayors of Cork city and county and actors and stakeholders from government, academia, business and civil society.

The Mission to Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030 is one of five such missions being funded and supported by the €97bn EU Horizon Europe Programme. But while research will be a key part of the mission, success will depend on action and buy-in from citizens, businesses and decision makers. According to Dr. John Bell, Director of Healthy Planet at the European Commission’s DG Research & Innovation directorate, which manages the Horizon Europe Programme, ‘we need to make peace with nature using all the means at our disposal using laws and programmes, science & innovation, and the will of the people to make things happen on the ground.”

The Mission is designed to deal with the severe threat to our ocean, coastal and inland waters that has been brought about by decades of pollution and human activity. At the Cork event, concrete measures and actions in the Atlantic-Arctic were highlighted to address the ambitious targets for the restoration of our ocean and seas by 2030, namely to:

  • Protect and restore marine and freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity, in line with the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030;
  • Prevent and eliminate pollution of our ocean, seas and waters, in line with the EU Action Plan Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil;
  • Make the sustainable blue economy carbon-neutral and circular, in line with the proposed European Climate Law and the holistic vision enshrined in the Sustainable Blue Economy Strategy.
  • Broad public mobilisation and engagement and a digital ocean and water knowledge system, known as Digital Twin Ocean, are cross-cutting enabling actions that will support these objectives.

In hosting this event, Ireland is hoping to lead the way in advancing the goals of the mission. Step one is to sign the Mission Charter, a commitment of intent that can be signed by any entity, from a small company to a university, a city council or a public authority.

Speaking at the event, Dr Paul Connolly, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute, said, “the mission Charter has been signed by the Marine Institute and the Mission is strongly supported by our Government. As a public organisation, the Marine Institute is committed to protect and restore biodiversity, prevent and eliminate pollution in our oceans and make the blue economy circular and carbon-neutral.”

The event in Cork marks the start of an accelerating programme of activities across the Atlantic and Arctic bordering countries and Europe that will be critical to deliver a healthier and more productive ocean upon which our current and future societies will depend.

More from Tom MaCSweeny on the conference and an interview with the European Commission's Dr. John Bell

Published in Marine Science

A long-running question over the authenticity of a coastal dolmen in Cork harbour has been resolved by archaeologist Michael Gibbons.

As the Irish Examiner reports, experts had been split over whether a tomb-like monument in the harbour’s inter-tidal zone was prehistoric or a more recent 19th-century “folly”.

Gibbons now says there is conclusive evidence that the Carraig á Mhaistin stone structure at Rostellan in Cork harbour is a megalithic dolmen.

Gibbons has also discovered a previously unrecognised cairn close to the dolmen, which would have been concealed by rising sea levels, and which he is reporting to the National Monuments Service.

The Carraig á Mhaistin dolmen at Rostellan is listed by some guides as Ireland’s only inter-tidal portal tomb.

In fact, there are two such inter-tidal tombs, Gibbons says.

The Rostellan dolmen with a 25-metre cairn extending from it below the estuary surface Photo: Michael GibbonsThe Rostellan dolmen with a 25-metre cairn extending from it below the estuary surface Photo: Michael Gibbons

He says that doubt about Carraig á Mhaistin’s age meant that it was not included in the State’s survey of megalithic tombs of Ireland conducted by Prof Ruaidhrí De Valera and Seán Ó Nualláin over 40 years ago.

“At that time, it was suggested that it could have a folly or type of ornamental structure commissioned by local gentry at the nearby Rostellan Castle estate, and dating from the 19th century,” Gibbons says.

A recent field trip by him to Rostellan has thrown up additional details, including discovery that the small chamber at the tomb stands at the western end of the cairn, which is 25 metres long and 4.5 metres wide.

This is significant as portal and court tombs “occasionally have intact long cairns which are both intended to provide structural support to the chamber itself, and to enhance visual presence in the landscape,”he says.

The cairn is “partially entombed in estuarine mud”, and it is probable that a great deal more of the structure is concealed below the surface, Gibbons says in a report he has written on the monument.

He notes it is not known for certain when the area was inundated by rising sea levels, but levels at this part of the Cork harbour shoreline are believed to have been stable for 2,000 years.

Gibbons says that the island's only other known inter-tidal portal tomb is at “the Lag” on the river Ilen, between Skibbereen and Baltimore in west Cork.

Portal tombs or dolmens were often known as “Diarmuid and Gráinne’s bed”, being associated in folklore as resting places for the fugitive couple who were pursued by Fionn MacCumhaill, Gráinne’s husband.

Gibbons also says that recent extreme weather has destroyed Sherkin island’s sole megalithic tomb on Slievemore townland, just three to four metres above the high water mark.

Read more in The Irish Examiner here

Published in Cork Harbour
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Crosshaven RNLI Lifeboat Pagers were activated at 6.25 pm on Tuesday evening (11 October) to attend to a person cut off by the tide at White Bay, Cork Harbour.

The high tide was fast approaching and the casualty was soaked by the incoming waves.

The lifeboat under the command of Alan Venner, with Claire Morgan, Jonny Bermingham and James Fegan arrived on scene shortly before dusk.

In what was a challenging rescue, the crew had to anchor the lifeboat and veer down into a rock-strewn gulley whilst being buffeted by 3 to 4-foot waves.

Jonny Bermingham, and Alan Venner went ashore to help the very cold patient onto the lifeboat. As the casualty was showing signs of hypothermia, an ambulance met the lifeboat at the station and the casualty was handed into the care of the National Ambulance Service.

Guileen Coast Guard unit was also tasked and provided much-needed illumination of the area from the cliff tops. Lifeboat Doctor, Dr John Murphy also attended the casualty at the station.

Shore Crew: Jon Meany, Jakub Bednarsky, Aisling Ryan, Jen Grey and Hugh Tully DLA.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The Lifeboat Lunch, a fundraising event which will see proceeds raised go to Crosshaven RNLI in Cork Harbour, will take place next month as the station prepares to mark 22 years of saving lives at sea.

Tickets for the lunch which will take place in the Carrigaline Court Hotel at 12 noon on Friday 11 November and will include a three-course meal, are now on sale, priced €85.

KC from Cork’s 96FM will MC the lunch and music will be provided by the Loungeman.

Speaking ahead of the event, Annamarie Fagan, Crosshaven RNLI Fundraising Chairperson, said: ‘Crosshaven RNLI celebrated its 20th anniversary during the pandemic but unfortunately, due to restrictions at the time, we couldn’t mark the occasion. Now two years on and in 2022 as we mark 22 years of saving lives at sea, we are delighted through this lunch that we are finally able to celebrate a wonderful lifesaving milestone while raising much-needed funds.

‘Last year, Crosshaven RNLI launched its inshore lifeboat 32 times with our volunteer crew bringing 54 people to safety. That is a great achievement for the station team, who selflessly dedicate so much time to training and responding to call-outs. Proceeds raised from the sale of tickets and the raffle for the lunch will ensure the crew are provided with the best of kit and equipment so they can continue to save lives at sea.’

Tickets for the event sponsored by Astra Construction can be booked through Eventbrite by clicking thelifeboatlunchcrosshaven.eventbrite or by emailing [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Docklands regeneration in Cork and Belfast is one of 25 projects awarded monies under the Shared Island local authority development funding scheme announced by Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

A grant of €90,000 has been awarded to Cork and Belfast city councils to work together on the project, entitled Cork-Belfast Harbour Cities.

It involves feasibility work to “develop collaboration and coordinated investment propositions” by the two local authorities for docklands regeneration and climate action.

“Nature-based” adaptations to coastal erosion in the east coast border region will be the focus of a project awarded 147,000 euro.

It will involve cross-border collaboration by Meath and Louth County Councils, Ards and North Down Borough Council and Newry Mourne and Down District Council.

A feasibility study to develop Carlingford lough as a “tourism destination of excellence” has been awarded 150,000 euro.

It will involve Louth County Council, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland, and the Loughs Agency.

More than €4.3m has been allocated to 15 lead local authorities in the south, working in partnership with nine councils in Northern Ireland to develop collaborative cross-border investment projects over the next 12 months, Mr Martin said.

The successful projects are spread across a range of sectors, including biodiversity, tourism, decarbonisation, the circular economy, rural and urban regeneration, education, business innovation, and cultural and creative industries.

The scheme, which is funded by the Shared Island Fund and managed by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, enables local authorities on both sides of the border to progress feasibility and development work on new joint investment projects which deliver local and regional development goals.

Published in Irish Harbours

International energy company Irving Oil and Simply Blue Group, an Irish blue economy developer in floating offshore wind and renewable fuels, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a commitment to explore opportunities related to the potential development of an integrated renewable energy hub at the Irving Oil Whitegate Refinery in Cork Harbour.

This agreement will see the companies jointly exploring a series of opportunities that would contribute to the development of such a renewable energy hub at the Whitegate refinery – Ireland’s only refinery and a critical part of the country’s energy infrastructure – including the production of green hydrogen and its use in the production of electrofuels for local and international markets. Electrofuels, known as e-fuels, are carbon-neutral, sustainable fuels produced with renewable electricity and carbon or nitrogen extracted from the air.

Irving Oil and Simply Blue Group will also be assessing ways to integrate the significant planned offshore wind developments around Ireland into this renewable energy hub, including Simply Blue Group’s planned Emerald Floating Wind project, to be located approximately 50 km south of Cork, Ireland.

Together, the companies are committed to innovation and collaboration, seeking to develop sustainable and transformative projects that will provide energy security to customers and communities into the future.

With a focus on leadership through the energy transition, Irving Oil has committed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across its operations and to the development of more sustainable energy solutions. The company has set targets to achieve a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, as well as actively working towards a net-zero objective by 2050.

This important partnership with Simply Blue Group could yield important new opportunities to reduce emissions in the ongoing operations of the Whitegate refinery and enable the production of a new generation of ultra-low carbon energy products – specifically e-fuels – aligned with evolving customer demands and energy policy within the European Union.

“At Irving Oil, we are committed to leadership through the energy transition and engaging in strong partnerships is a key part of our strategy as we all work toward a lower carbon future,” says Irving Oil President Ian Whitcomb. “The work we are starting with Simply Blue Group is another example of our energy transition strategy coming to life. Bringing together a key piece of energy infrastructure in Ireland – the Whitegate refinery – with Simply Blue Group’s global leadership in offshore wind development can create compelling new opportunities in Ireland.”

Sam Roch Perks, Simply Blue Groups’, Group Chief Executive Officer said: “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Simply Blue Group, and we are excited to be working with Irving Oil as we jointly investigate the potential development of an integrated renewable energy hub at the Irving Oil Whitegate Refinery. This is a potential game changer for Ireland. It presents the opportunity to become a pioneer and leader in e-Fuels, a new industry sector that will prove vital in the fight against climate change.”

He continued: “The recent announcement of 2GW of green hydrogen from offshore wind by Minister Ryan strengthens our confidence in Ireland’s intention to enable this sector. Integrating large scale floating offshore wind farms – another huge opportunity for Ireland – with large onshore e-Fuel production facilities also offers many advantages in efficiently addressing challenges associated with intermittency, energy storage and system balancing.”

Under the terms of the MOU, the companies look forward to entering this phase of work together.

Published in Power From the Sea
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The Merel G Offshore Supply Ship is currently operating out of Cork Harbour and is understood to be involved in lifting the last of the county's gas platforms. 

The vessel is customised for offshore oil and gas stand-by capabilities.

Built in 2015, the aluminium-hulled catamaran sails under the flag of Panama, according to Marinetraffic.com

Her length overall (LOA) is 25.75 meters, and her width is 10.27 meters. She has a gross tonnage is 181 tons.

Merel G's two primary functions are semi-stand-by activities and crew transfer operations.

The 27.5 metres Merel G catamaran in Cork HarbourThe 27.75 metres Merel G catamaran in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Cork Harbour
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Crowds lined the Riverside from Monkstown to Cobh in Cork Harbour this afternoon as the Big Lift Baffin left Cork Dockyard with three heavy lift cranes aboard bound for New York.

Two Cork Port tugs assisted the ship leaving the Dockyard. It went astern out to the centre of Monkstown Bay and was then turned bow on to leave the harbour down past Cobh, Whitegate and Roche"s Point for the ten-day voyage to the US.

Big Lift heading for sea and New YorkBig Lift heading for sea and New York

For more read Afloat's earlier report on the Big Lift Baffin here

Crowds watching Big Lift Baffin depart Cork DockyardCrowds watching Big Lift Baffin depart Cork Dockyard

Bob Bateman's Big Lift Photo Gallery Below

Published in Port of Cork

A grandfather, his daughter and grandson, ended up in the water when their 420 dinghy capsized East of Whitegate Oil Refinery in Cork Harbour.

The volunteer RNLI crew of Denis Cronin, Claire Morgan and two crew from Youghal Lifeboat Station, Karen Walsh and Noel Joyce (who happened to be in the station participating in a first aid Course) launched immediately to the scene, after being paged at 3.50 pm.

En route, it was reported the casualties had been taken from the water by a RIB, coincidentally crewed by two members of the Ballycotton Lifeboat (Alan Cott and Conor Philpott). Another RIB, Sea Safari “C Breeze," was also standing by.

On arrival, two of the casualties transferred over to the lifeboat and were medically checked while the dinghy was righted and returned to Cobh.

As the two casualties on the lifeboat were very cold, It was decided to head to Cobh and their vehicle, where dry clothing would be available.

Once landed, the lifeboat headed back to the dinghy and escorted it to a safe berth in Cobh.

The RNLI Shore Crew involved were Gary Heslin, Hugh Mockler, Sandra Farrell, Darryl Hughes, Kline Peneyfeather and Jonny Bermingham.

Published in Cork Harbour
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