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Displaying items by tag: Galway Bay

Galway City Council has imposed a ban on swimming at two beaches due to E.coli contamination.

The bacterial contamination was detected during tests at Grattan beach in Lower Salthill and Ballyloughane beach on the city's east side near Renmore.

The samples showed up high levels of E.coli after they were taken from water at the two beaches on Tuesday of this week, the city council says.

It has said this may be due to “suspected contaminated urban runoff” in its public notice.

Heavy rain in the city earlier this week would have released storm drains into the Corrib estuary and out into Galway Bay.

The city council said it took further samples on Wednesday.

It said that it would issue updates on the swimming ban when these test results become available.

Published in Galway Harbour
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The ultra-oceanic Galway Bay - with the Aran Islands in its midst, the complex coast of Connemara to the north, and the mighty Cliffs of Moher to the south – is so fixed in most people’s minds as an awe-inspiring sort of place that the idea of using it as a sailing playground and race-course is almost a shock. Yet in Galway Bay SC, that’s how they think of it, and in 2022 they’re staging the third annual Lamb’s Week which – for the early birds at least – is getting under way this (Wednesday) evening as they start making their way westward to Kilronan on Inishmor.

Held over five days, Lambs' Week is a mixture of casual racing, cruising and fun along the shores of Galway Bay with one night in Ros á Mhil, two nights in Cill Rónáin on Inís Mór in the Aran Islands, and the final night in Galway Marina for the Commodore's Ball at the Bill King Clubhouse. This is the re-purposed dockside warehouse in the heart of Galway city which was brought into commission to welcome the participants at the Galway Stopover in the Round Britain & Ireland race two month ago, and proved to be a successful and versatile party centre.

An awe-inspiring race area – Galway Bay with the Aran Islands on station as Guardians of the PortAn awe-inspiring race area – Galway Bay with the Aran Islands on station as Guardians of the Port

The highlight of the weekend is a pursuit race where the boats sail the challenging circuit around Inis Oírr and Inis Mean and return to Cill Rónáin for food, music and plenty of craic. Last year the winner by just 30 seconds from Jackie Cronin’s Jimmy Burn from Kilrush was Mark Wilson’s Sigma 33 Scorpio (GBSC). With handicaps taken at the start, the pursuit race time calculations made by GBSC’s Fergal Lyons were a work of genius, as most of the fleet finished within a very tight time-span.

Event sponsors include Corio Generation, a leader in the development of offshore wind farms, Gaeltacht na hÉireann, Aerogen, the world leader in high-performance aerosol drug delivery, and the Port of Galway, who are instrumental in making the event possible.

In addition to providing the best of sport and sailing for west coast boats, the organisers are keen to promote the excellent cruising grounds of the West Coast while highlighting the need and opportunity for better facilities for the many visiting boats at the Aran Islands and other anchorages. 

Part of the fleet in Kilronan Harbour during Lambs’ Week 2021Part of the fleet in Kilronan Harbour during Lambs’ Week 2021

Published in Lambs Week
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The Atlantic Life Boat Swim fundraiser raised over €5,000 last Saturday (July 23rd).

Held at Rinville, Oranmore on Galway Bay, over 150 sea swimmers braved the bad weather for the annual event held in aid of Galway RNLI Lifeboat and the Oranmore Maree Coastal Search Unit.

Organisers have thanked volunteers, swimmers and Galway Bay Sailing Club for supporting the community event.

Published in Sea Swim
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Galway RNLI rescued six people who got into difficulty in the sea off Rabbit Island on Monday evening (18 July). The group who had walked over to the island at low tide became stranded by the incoming tide and were attempting to swim back to shore when they got into difficulty.

The volunteer crew at Galway RNLI were requested to launch their inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat at 5.30 pm by the Irish Coast Guard after a member of the public spotted one of the group getting into the water and attempting to swim back to shore. Concerned that the group was going to get into difficulty, they immediately raised the alarm.

The lifeboat helmed by David Oliver and with crew members, Brian Niland, Martin Oliver and Cathal Byrne onboard, launched within minutes and made its way to the scene approximately 10 minutes from the station.

Weather conditions at the time were good with hot weather, flat calm seas, clear skies and good visibility.

Arriving on scene, the lifeboat crew observed six people in the water attempting to swim the quarter of a mile back to shore.

With one of the group struggling and in great difficulty, the crew first went to their rescue taking the casualty out of the water and bringing them safely onboard the lifeboat. The crew then rescued the five others onto the lifeboat before returning them all safely back to shore at Murroogh House.

Speaking following the call out, Barry Heskin, Galway RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘Time was of the essence this evening and we need to commend the member of the public who had the foresight to raise the alarm as soon as they thought the group might get into difficulty, that made a difference and helped to ensure we were on scene at the right time.

‘The group had walked out to Rabbit Island at low tide but then got stranded when the tide came in and their access to the mainland was cut off. It was when they attempted to swim back that they experienced difficulties. While was one of the group was in danger, we were thankfully able to rescue them from the water in good time and no casualty care needed to be administered. We would like to wish the group well following what was a frightening experience for them.

‘We have some beautiful weather at the minute, and we want everyone to enjoy it, but we would urge everyone to think safety first and respect the water. Before planning an activity on or near water, check weather and tide times to ensure it is safe to proceed. When going out always carry a means of communication and let someone on the shore know where you are going and when you are due back.

‘We are also experiencing some spring tides at the minute, and it is very easy for people to get cut off. If you do happen to become stranded, don’t attempt to swim to shore yourself, rather use your means of communication to call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. And if you do get into difficulty in the water, try to float to live. To do this, lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Swimmers transiting Galway Bay and tight rope walking across the city’s Claddagh basin will make for busy activity on Galway’s waterways today (Sat July 16) during the hot weather spell.

A total of 130 swimmers have registered to cross the 13km from Aughinish in Clare to Blackrock in Galway for the 16th Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West.

In the city, funambulists or high wire/tight rope walkers trained by Galway Community Circus group will demonstrate their skills on the Claddagh basin as part of the Galway International Arts Festival.

Due to Covid-19. the 2020 and 2021 bay swims became virtual events, where swimmers raised money by covering a total distance of 13km during August of those two years.

Stephen Early is first to arrive at the Blackrock diving tower from Aughinish in Co. Clare in a time of 2 hours 35 minutes at the Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West in August 2011Stephen Early is first to arrive at the Blackrock diving tower from Aughinish in Co. Clare in a time of 2 hours 35 minutes at the Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West in August 2011 Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

The most recent Galway Bay Swim was held in 2019 when 144 swimmers crossed Galway Bay, (49 solo swimmers, 31 relay teams (95 relay team swimmers), and this a new record!

As in 2019, the swimmers will be supported by over 100 boats and 150 crew in the bay, giving of their time voluntarily for the charity event.

Paddleboards and kayaks will guide the swimmers for the final 100 metres into Blackrock diving tower, and spectators on land will also cheer them on.

Fiona Thornton after completing the Frances Thornton Galway Bay Swim, in memory of her late mother, in aid of Cancer Care West. Her sister Claire and their brother Kevin also swam the bay from Aughinish in Co. Clare. Kevin swam both ways, from Balckrock to Aughinish and back.Fiona Thornton after completing the Frances Thornton Galway Bay Swim, in memory of her late mother, in aid of Cancer Care West. Her sister Claire and their brother Kevin also swam the bay from Aughinish in Co. Clare. Kevin swam both ways, from Balckrock to Aughinish and back. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Safety on the crossing is provided by a team of local boat owners, sailors, fishermen, Civil Defence, Oranmore-Maree Coastal Rescue, Doolin Coast Guard, and the RNLI, Cancer Care West says.

Since the event was initiated by the Thornton family, some 900,000 euro has been raised for Cancer Care West.

Seven high lines over the Claddagh and a cast of 150 people of all ages and backgrounds will serve the water stage and cast for “Lifeline”, the Galway Community Circus tightrope walking event which had been proposed for the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture.

The event aims to promote the importance of mental health wellbeing at a popular city location close to the banks of the river Corrib, where there have also been many personal tragedies over the years.

Published in Galway Harbour
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Johnny Shorten, Commodore of Galway Bay Sailing Club, has no doubts about the importance of the Optimist dinghy class Connacht Championships which his club is hosting this Saturday and Sunday,

As Afloat reported previously, a hundred competitors are expected at what is one of the biggest scheduled events at the Oranmore Club this season.

“It’s a testament to the wonderful spirit of co-operation between all the sailing clubs around Galway Bay that they can come together to ensure such a worthwhile event can be hosted in the Bay.

Johnny Shorten, Commodore of Galway Bay Sailing ClubJohnny Shorten, Commodore of Galway Bay Sailing Club

“The Optimist Class has been the starting point for generations of sailors and continues to grow and prosper. The enduring popularity around the world and in Ireland is a testament to the foresight of its creators and the great work done by the IODAI to foster competition, development and camaraderie for young sailors,” says Commodore Shorten.

The main fleet race area is likely to be west of the Marine Institute location and south of Ballyloughane strand near Renmore. Competitors in these fleets will be under the watchful eye of Race Officer John Leech. The Regatta fleet will race inside Rinville point, where Margot Cronin will be in charge of proceedings. Safety Officer John Collins will be co-ordinating operations.

Published in Galway Harbour
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The RTÉ Documentary on One production Miracle in Galway Bay, which told the story of stranded paddleboarders Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn, has won Best Radio Documentary at the Celtic Media Festival in Brittany.

In the documentary, Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn recalled their miraculous rescue following 15 hours clinging to their boards after being swept out to sea. It details the unfolding search, from raising the alarm, through the appeals for local vessels and people to join in the search along the coast, to the ultimate rescue by Galway fishermen Patrick Oliver and his son, Morgan.

The Celtic Media Festival is an annual 3-day summit which combines a major conference of seminars and masterclasses with the presentation of the coveted Torc Awards for excellence. It took place in Quimper, Brittany from 7th to 9th June.

Recognised for its rich craft in storytelling, the jury at the Celtic Media Festival described Miracle in Galway Bay as “illustrated radio at its best, driven by a narrator who clearly engaged with the subject, with exceptional contributors who recreated their experiences with dramatic accuracy”. The jury continued by saying, “it was layered, it was pacy, and it played hard and fast with our emotions. And finally delivered the happy ending we feared we’d lost”.

Producers of the documentary, Lorna Siggins and Sarah Blake said, “we were delighted to win this award for Sara and Ellen, their families, and all those involved in the search and rescue. It was a story of survival, community and hope which deeply touched our listeners. We’re very grateful to all who contributed to the documentary and worked on the production”.

The research for the documentary also informed an account of the paddleboarders' ordeal in the newly published book, Search and Rescue - True Stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116, by Lorna Siggins which has just been published by Merrion Press.

“Documentary on One: Miracle in Galway Bay” is available to download on or wherever you get your podcasts. 

RTÉ’s 'Documentary on One' unit tells radio stories about real life in Ireland and beyond. They are one of the most successful radio documentary departments in the world - having collected over 340 national and international awards since 2008. Their website contains over 1,700 documentaries - the largest free online radio documentary archive anywhere in the world, that stretches as far back as 1954.

Published in Maritime TV
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9th and 10th of July will see one of the largest competitive fleets seen in Galway Bay for many years take to the water for the Connacht Optimist Championships which is being hosted by Galway Bay Sailing Club.

Up to 150 boats from all corners of Ireland are expected to descend to allow the nation’s young sailors to battle it out in seven different fleets.

The competition will cater for a huge range of ages and abilities. There will be a senior fleet for the older children while the younger children in the junior fleet will have a shorter course to negotiate for each race. There will also be a coached Regatta fleet in the more sheltered waters closer to shore for those still learning their trade and working their way up to the main competitive races. Both the senior and junior fleets are separated into gold, silver and bronze groupings, ensuring a broad spectrum of participation and meaningful races across a range of abilities.

The main fleet race area is likely to be west of the Marine Institute and south of Ballyloughane strand near Renmore.

Competitors in these fleets will be under the watchful eye of Race Officer John Leech.

The Regatta fleet will race inside Rinville point, where Margot Cronin will be in charge of proceedings. An event of this size requires a huge volunteer effort. The competitors are grateful to all the volunteers who will be contributing time, effort and boats to ensuring their safety both on and off the water, with Safety Officer John Collins co-ordinating operations. All the sailing clubs around Galway Bay have come together to ensure such a worthwhile event can be hosted in the Bay.

The Optimist class originated in the 1940s and is now sailed in over 120 countries across the world. It is by far the most popular class of sailing boats for children aged between eight and thirteen. Despite its somewhat dumpy look, it has proven itself as an excellent boat for generations of children to learn the nuances of competitive racing. Most of Ireland’s sailing Olympians, including Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy, learned their trade in the Optimist class.

Published in Optimist
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Slipping out into Galway Bay before sunrise, several traditional craft from Galway Hooker Sailing Club participated in the Darkness into Light national fundraiser on  Saturday.

“When a community comes together, it’s amazing what can be done,” the club said after the highly successful event took place.

The vessels were on the water even as hundreds of people gathered from 4 am on Saturday in Salthill to walk the promenade and shoreline in aid of the charity Pieta.

The city-based club was one of a number of sailing and boating clubs around the country to support the national event, which raises awareness about suicide and fundraises for the support work conducted by Pieta.

Galway City Sailing Club and Galway Bay Sailing Club also responded to the on-water appeal.

“This morning the Galway community came out to walk, run, sail and motor into the day as the sun rose,” Galway Hooker Sailing Club said.

“It was a beautiful morning and we would like to thank everyone,” it said.

Over 3.7 million euros had been pledged to the charity last night, close to its 4 million euro target. Some 54,000 euros of this was raised across 19 venues in Galway, on and off water.

Founded in Dublin in 2006, Pieta was established to provide free, accessible one-to-one counselling to people suffering from suicidal ideation, engaging in self-harm or to those bereaved by suicide.

Published in Galway Hookers

Galway City businesses could benefit from cruise ship passengers to the tune of almost €2 million over the course of the summer months as such ships are due to anchor off the bay.

A total of 22 cruise ships will arrive in Galway between May and the end of September and it is expected that those on board will provide a much needed boost for the local economy. Two of those will pay a visit to the Aran Islands (see related story) as well.

Some of the ships will have up to 1,000 passengers on board – one of the bigger ships Nautica, which will have around 2,000 passengers on board, will visit Galway in the summer of 2024 and this is bound to be an attraction in itself.

The first cruise ship (Borealis, from Cobh) arrived off Galway Bay in the past fortnight and resulted in some 800 passengers being ferried into the city for the day.

They were transported from the 61,000grt cruiseship to the Glór na Farraige (see photo) of Aran Island Ferries, which actually started operating its tourist service from Ros a’ Mhíl to the islands much earlier than normal due to the demand.

More from Connacht Tribune and the Port of Galway harbourmaster.

The Glór na Farraige Afloat recalls an east coast role back in 2015 when also chartered to bring cruise-passengers ashore off Dun Laoghaire Harbour from where yesterday, NCL's giant Norwegian Getaway (145,000grt) made an anchorage call.  

Published in Cruise Liners
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