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Displaying items by tag: Lough Derg

#Shannon - Lough Derg sailors have expressed disappointment over the continued closure of the Shannon Navigation at Ardnacrusha, which will keep them out of this year's WIORA races.

This year's celebratory WIORA regatta is marking its 40th year at Kilrush on the Shannon Estuary. With just four weeks to go, the fleet stands tantalisingly close to reaching its 40 boat target with 31 competitors entered so far. 

The Shannon was closed to navigation from Parteen Weir to Limerick in mid March by Waterways Ireland due to flooding and related "infrastructural deficiencies" on the waterway following this winter's storms.

These include damaged pontoons upstream of the railway bridge that have broken free of their moorings.

But sailors on Lough Derg claim that the real reason for the continued closure is financial – and the result is the effective exclusion of five boats from this summer's WIORA schedule, not to mention six other boats waiting to sail up-river.

More on this story as it develops.

Published in WIORA

Lough Derg RNLI launched following a report of a vessel aground at Kylenoe Rocks at the north-eastern end of Lough Derg last night.

At 7.01pm last night Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat was requested to launch by Valentia Coast Guard, following a report of two adults in difficulty after their 18ft motor boat went aground at Kylenoe Rocks, at the northern end of Lough Derg.

The lifeboat, with helm Eleanor Hooker, Dom Sharkey and Lian Knight on board, launched at 7.15pm. Winds were westerly, Force 2, visibility was good.

The lifeboat located the casualty vessel at Kylenoe Rocks with two people on board, both wearing their lifejackets. An RNLI crew member waded into the boat and reassured the two people on board. The boat had suffered damage to the propeller on their outboard engine, and so they had taken it off the transom and into the boat.

Once the boat was off the rocks and towed into safe water, the lifeboat took it under an alongside tow to Terryglass Harbour, where it was taken out of the water.

The lifeboat returned to Station and was ready for service again at 9.45pm.

Deputy Launching Authority, Brian Hanly advises all bot users to carry a means of communication and 'in case of emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for Marine Rescue'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - Two people on board a 30ft cruiser were rescued by the Irish Coast Guard's Killaloe unit yesterday evening (Monday 23 May), as the Irish Examiner reports.

The coastguard team towed the boat into deeper water after it ran aground on Lough Derg before 6pm - and an ROV was used to confirm there was no damage to the underside of the vessel.

Published in Coastguard

Lough Derg RNLI launched following a report of a vessel aground and taking on water at Carrigahorig Bay, at the northern end of Lough Derg yesterday.

Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat was requested to launch by Valentia Coast Guard, following a report from a member of the public that a boat was seen aground and apparently taking on water in Carrigahorig Bay, close to Terryglass, at the northern end of Lough Derg.

The lifeboat, with helm Ger Egan, Dom Sharkey and Lorna Walsh on board, launched at 3.01pm. Winds were south-easterly, Force 4-5, gusting 6, visibility was good.

The lifeboat arrived at Carrigahorig Bay at 3.20pm. Crew located the 14ft motor boat tucked in close to the shore, near the cardinal mark at the entrance to the river, by Portumna. The boat was listing and taking on water. A volunteer RNLI crew member waded in to the boat to make sure that no one was trapped in the cabin.

Once it was confirmed there was no one on board, the lifeboat was stood down by Valentia Coast Guard. The boat's owner made arrangements for its recovery.

Lifeboat Operations Manager, Liam Maloney said 'the person who made the call to the emmergency services did the correct thing, vigilence from the public can save lives'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat launched to rescue a horse reported to have fallen into the Nenagh River and carried downstream into the Lough Derg.

At 12.35pm today, January 1, Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat was requested to launch by Valentia Coast Guard following a report that a horse was seen in the Nenagh River, which is in flood, and was being swept downstream into Lough Derg.

The lifeboat, with helm Eleanor Hooker and crew Ger Egan and Keith Brennan on board, launched at 12.45pm. Winds were south-easterly, Force 2-3, visibility was very good.

After using the lifeboat to encourage the horse to swim towards shore, crewmen Ger Egan and Keith Brennan waded in and holding a tow line between them to discourage the horse from swimming back out into the lake and herded him into the shallows.

On shore a person coaxed the horse from the water with a bucket of oats. The animal had wounds to its chest and knee and Valentia Coast Guard arranged for a vet to go to the location.

With some difficulty, the young horse was enclosed in a field.

The lifeboat returned to Station and was ready for service again at 2.15pm

Deputy Launching Authority, Pat Lynch advises ‘caution close to river banks, particularly while in flood with the increased danger of soft verges’.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland has gone on site at Castle Harbour in Portumna, Co Galway with a programme of works to expand the recreational and tourism capacity of the harbour area.

The programme involves improvements to the harbour, service block and car park and is funded by Fáilte Ireland under the Lough Derg Stimulus Fund.

The project is a partnership between Galway County Council and Waterways Ireland who each own different parts of the site.

The service block, car park and boat pump-out are currently leased and maintained by Galway County Council, while the harbour area and existing moorings are owned and maintained by Waterways Ireland.

Castle Harbour is in the grounds of the Portumna Demesne on the shore of Lough Derg and is immediately surrounded by the castle and formal gardens, community gardens, medieval abbey, forest park and nature reserve.

Improving the capacity of both the harbour and the amenity area will have an immediate impact on the level of access and usage of the surrounding facilities.

In the harbour, the finger jetties are to be widened, lengthened and clad in hardwood timber, connecting them with the end concrete pillar. The finger moorings will also receive low level safety lighting and water & electricity connections. This will enhance the practical use and visual characteristics of the main harbour.

The work will bring the mooring facilities up to the standard that Waterways Ireland currently provides on new installations along the navigations.

The existing boat pump-out facility will be updated and the existing public lighting around the harbour will be replaced with low intensity directional lighting. Improving accessibility for boat users with a disability through the installation of a boat hoist is a key provision of the programme. New paving and the cladding of the existing wall around the harbour is also planned.

The existing service block is to be modernised and the general amenity area is to have seating areas & picnic tables and low intensity directional lighting. The planting of some native species of trees and shrubs will add to the visual amenity of the general area.

The existing car park is currently used for visitor parking and by recreational vehicles (RVs) who use the site as a stopover. The plan is to resurface the area and formalise the parking areas and facilities for these users, including the regulation and provision of services such as water and electricity to enhance the visitor experience to the site.

Waterways Ireland says it recognises the environmental designations of the area and has scoped, planned and is carrying out the works in compliance with best practice.

The work is expected to be completed early in 2016.​

Published in Inland Waterways

Clare County Council has today announced the appointment of a team of specialists to prepare a Visitor Management and Sustainable Tourism Development Plan for Holy Island on Lough Derg.

Dublin-based Solearth Architecture is being engaged to prepare proposals in relation to improving access to the island and the provision of tourism facilities on or near the island, as well as proposals on the marketing and promoting of the Island as a visitor destination, while confirming its historical significance and protecting its built and natural heritage.

In June 2015, Clare County Council acquired 41 acres on Holy Island which, together with the 2 acres already in the ownership of the Office of Public Works (OPW), resulted in the entire island being brought into public ownership for the first time.

Dating back to the 7th century, the island is one of the most important historical and ecclesiastical sites in Ireland, and it has important links to Brian Ború. Buildings on the island include a 24-metre high Round Tower, an Oratory, and a number of churches. Holy Island is on the UNESCO world heritage site tentative list for Ireland as an early medieval monastic site along with Clonmacnoise, Durrow, Glendalough, Kells and Monasterboice.

"I welcome the progress that has been made in relation to the development of a comprehensive tourism development plan as part of the Council's ambitious and methodical approach to developing this important site in a sustainable manner," stated Councillor James Breen, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council.

"The sustainable development of the island for the benefit of tourism and communities in the wider Lough Derg area has long been sought after by Elected Members of Clare County Council. It is very encouraging to see that significant steps are now being taken to develop a blueprint for tourism development and visitor management of the Island, whilst also ensuring the cultural heritage and natural assets that contribute to the Island’s uniqueness are maintained and protected," added the Cathaoirleach.

According to lead Architect, Brian O’Brien of Solearth Architecture, a practice noted for its sustainable design solutions: “Inis Cealtra is a precious gem and we are delighted to be entrusted with this delicate task of both minding it and finding ways to share it with more people for the benefit of the local and wider community”.

"We’ll be starting with public meetings to draw on the wisdom of the locals who really know the Island and will shortly set up a website to receive everyone’s thoughts throughout the process," concluded Mr. O'Brien.

Gerard Dollard, Director of Services, Clare County Council, noted that the Plan will take approximately 10 months to complete and will involve a significant level of community consultation.

The preparation of the Plan will incorporate consultation with key stakeholders including the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Waterways Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, and local tourism, community and angling organisations. The Council will also be engaging with the OPW as joint landowners and the body responsible for the historic monuments on Holy Island during the Plan preparation process.

Mr. Dollard said: "Holy Island is very much part of the fabric of the local community and continues to be used as a burial ground. Therefore, it is essential that the overall plan not only provides for the future management and development of this important site but takes full cognisance of the rich archaeology, landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area."

He continued: "Solearth Architecture, who have brought together a comprehensive team of experts in the area of tourism product development, visitor management, archaeology and architectural conservation, ecology, landscape and cultural heritage, will be required to consider all of these aspects in recommending a framework for the future management and development of the island."

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

#RNLI - At 8.38am this morning (Saturday September 26), the Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat was requested to launch by Valentia Coast Guard to assist four people on board a 32ft cruiser that had run aground just outside the Urra Channel markers at nightfall the previous evening.

At 8.58am, the lifeboat launched with helm Ger Egan, Eleanor Hooker, and Keith Brennan on board. Winds were southerly Force 1-2, visibility was fair with a low mist and rising fog.

The lifeboat located the cruiser on a rocky shelf just outside the green navigation mark at the Urra Channel. The four adults on board were safe and unharmed. They were requested to put on their lifejackets.

One of passengers was quite anxious, and was reassured by an RNLI volunteer who had transferred across to the casualty vessel.

The skipper informed the lifeboat that despite their best efforts to navigate through the channel, they had missed the mark in the dark and run aground. They had remained there all night, dropping anchor incase there was a change in weather overnight.

The RNLI crew checked under the floorboards and established that the boat was not taking on water and, after the anchor was recovered, prepared a tow.

After two unsuccessful attempts to get the cruiser off the rocks, three of the people aboard the casualty vessel were taken on to the lifeboat and transferred to the Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station at Dromineer.

With the skipper and an RNLI crew member still on board, a further attempt to get the boat off the rocks proved unsuccessful.

The skipper was requested to gather his belongings and was taken to the lifeboat station where lifeboat operations manager Liam Maloney and deputy launching authority Brian Hanly were making arrangements to help the four people.

Handy advises boat users "not to delay and call 999 or 112 and ask for marine rescue if you find yourself in difficulty on the lake."

The lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 10.20am.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

It had all the makings of a logistical nightmare. But with much goodwill, lots of energy, and some very clear thinking, the week-long Wayfarer International Rally 2015 from September 5th to September 13th to two of Ireland’s best sailing lakes was an outstanding success writes W M Nixon.

Ireland was chosen as the Rally Venue for 2015 two years ago, when the Wayfarer International Rally 2013 was staged in Canada. Thanks to sponsorship from Waterways Ireland and support from Failte Ireland, the basis of an organizational structure was in place in good time in order to match the high events standards of this remarkable international class of versatile 15ft 10in dinghies. More than 10,000 have been built since Ian Proctor produced the basic design in 1957, yet today interest continues at such a healthy level that leading builders Hartley Boats of Derbyshire had a support team present at the rally in Ireland to provide technical back-up services.

The Wayfarer design has undergone several modifications since its introduction, with talents such as Phil Morrison, no less, producing his own spin in 2007. But underlying it all there is still the pure concept of the original Proctor hull shape which has proven itself as able to make ocean voyages as to provide lively club and big-fleet open championship racing.

However, by nature of its multi-functional capacity, and because it is that significant bit larger than most standard racing dinghies, the Wayfarer will tend to appeal only to very specific sections of the sailing market. Thus although there are undoubtedly strongholds of the class in different parts of Ireland as there are in many parts of the world, numbers tend to stay at a very manageable level. And racing turnouts can sometimes be very muted, as many owners simply like using the Wayfarer for the straightforward pleasure of going for a sail.

This means that when the Irish Wayfarer Association undertook the management and hosting of the Wayfarer International Rally 2015, while the key organiser was Monica Schaeffer of Greystones Sailing Club (she was winner of the Wayfarer Irish Nationals 2015 at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July), the road-trailered international fleet’s assembly club on the evening of Friday September 4th was on the other side of Ireland, at Cullaun Sailing Club with its very pretty lake sailing headquarters in the heart of County Clare.

There, they have one of the keenest Wayfarer classes in Ireland, so on Saturday September 5th in conditions so perfect it was late summer rather than early Autumn, Cullaun saw the first and most seriously contested race of rally, with 38 boats taking part in a race which was part of CSC’s well-supported annual regatta, the Wayfarer winners being Gordon Jess and Rachel Bevan of East Down YC.

wayfarer dinghy sailing2
Racing bliss for Wayfarers. The opening event of the “Two Lakes Rally” for the week-long programme was Cullaun SC’s annual regatta on September 5th, and among those enjoying the perfect conditions are John Wilson’s Ramor (10018) from Virginia in County Cavan and Mistral (10699) with Margie Crawford and Deirdre Issa from East Down YC on Strangford Lough. Photo: Roger Duff

wayfarer dinghy sailing3
Cullaun SC Sailing Secretary Margaret Hynes, Monica Schaeffer of the Wayfarer International Association, and Jim O’Sullivan, Commodore Cullaun SC, at the presentations after the regatta. Photo: Roger Duff

With a core group of 70 sailors participating throughout the week, and 83 attending in all from 11 countries as far and wide as South Africa, Canada, USA, Latvia, Finland, Denmark, Holland and all the home countries, it might have seemed a monumental effort for everyone to up-sticks on the Sunday and road trail through East Clare and West Tipperary.

But compared to some of the distances cruising Wayfarers are prepared to travel, it was a doddle. And all this was comfortably achieved by a diverse group whose ages ranged from senior sailors Dick Harrington and Jane Karver from Michigan in the US – both are in their eighties – to most junior participant Lara Killen (9) from East Down YC in Strangford Lough.

With their centre of operations now re-established at historic Lough Derg YC (founded 1835) in Dromineer, they had the perfect inland sea of Lough Derg as the setting for their International Rally, in which racing takes a back seat so far back it’s virtually invisible. The purpose is sailing friendship, exploring new areas, finding strange ports, and enjoying the company of fellow enthusiasts with each day providing an entertaining lunchtime stopover, then each evening providing a different programme of hospitality back at Dromineer.

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Centre of operations. Lough Derg Yacht Club at Dromineer was the host club and setting for several parties and feasts during the week.

wayfarer dinghy sailing5
Lough Derg is 40 kilometres from Portumna down to Killaloe, and 16 kilometres from the most distant part of Tipperary to the east across to the most westerly part in County Clare. The Wayfarers got south to Killaloe, west to Scariff, and north to Terrglass, as well as many places, ports and islands in between.

wayf6A welcome for Wayfarers - Garrykennedy was the first port of call during the cruising part of the Wayfarer International rally 2015

Thirty-seven Wayfarers were on the water, with all marques represented from 55-year-old woodies to brand new GRP MK IV Hartley versions. The versatility of the Wayfarer really came into its own, for here indeed was a family fun boat that can be easily reefed, rowed, paddled or motor sailed. Most of the cruising boats at the rally had at least roller furling foresails with slab reefed mains and carried three or four on board, with a maximum capacity of six.

The Sunday night saw the Lough Derg part of the programme get under way at Dromineer with supper in the club house. Monday dawned bright with a nice Force 3 to get everybody comfortably down to Garykennedy in time for lunch in Larkins pub and home again in time for a lively party with fantastic trad session in the club. The week’s programme continued with a cruise to to Scariff where the fleet enjoyed winding their way up the narrow river between the reeds again in glorious sunshine with a gently following breeze that allowed some to drop the main and furl the jib and continue on up the river under spinnaker alone – magic.

An international pot luck supper provided by the Irish and Brits fed the hungry fleet and the night was danced away to the sounds of the O’Connors on the chords until the wee hours. Next day’s cruising saw the fleet heading to Mountshannon and savouring the delights of local hospitality while spending some time watching the sea eagles nesting there.

wayf7Waiting for a breeze in Dromineer Bay and properly displaying their Irish courtesy ensigns are visiting English boats (left to right) Ringle (Mike Higgins & John Kelly), Dylan (Sue & Allen Parry) and the wooden-built Samurai (Bob Tarn) with the Torqueedo outboard which gives a Wayfarer very impressive speed. Photo: Monica Schaeffer

Second-oldest boat taking part was the immaculately-maintained 55-years-plus Sink the Pink (Rodney Hall & Gordon Reid) which is sail number 404 in a class which has now listed more than ten thousand boats. Photo: Roger Duff

The powers of observation among the Wayfarer fleet were tested more thoroughly on another occasion in mid-lake, when Miriam McCarthy of Greystones SC, crewing for Monica Schaeffer on Anamcara, spotted a Belgian angler in serious difficulties. He’d tried to start his outboard when it was in gear, and had been thrown over the side of his boat when the engine burst into life. He was careering round in circles clinging onto the gunwhale. with the engine still going full blast putting him at every risk of being severely injured by the propeller should he lose his grip. But fortunately the Greystones crew were able to contact their fleet’s own accompanying safety boat (skippered by Mike Fisher, also of Greystones), and what could have been a tragic accident was quickly averted. It was certainly much appreciated by Johnny the Belgian, who turned up next day in Dromineer fully recovered, and in search of those who rescued him to give his heartfelt thanks.

There were a couple of breezy days, and though it was very sheltered in the LDYC berths, Way Fair Lady (East Down YC) and Anamcara (Greystones SC) have taken in two reefs in one case, and one in the other. Roller furling jibs are virtually standard for cruising.

Wednesday saw the gang head down to Killaloe in a fresh breeze that took them on a speedy port reach practically the whole way. A pleasant wander around the old towns of Killaloe, and Ballina on the east shore with a hearty seafood chowder lunch on the riverside lawn of Flannigans, was followed by another cracking run all the way back to Dromineer. Back at LDYC a BBQ was in full swing and singing and dancing was the order of the night. Thursday was, a soft day with the rain teeming down but a nice breeze that tempted just seven boats each with three or four crew to venture out north towards Terryglass for a fast and exhilarating run that many said was one of the best sails they had ever experienced.

Some of those who didn’t fancy a sail in the rain took the opportunity to explore the wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way – optional non-sailing days are expected in the Wayfarer International Rally programme - while others visited more local attractions and walking trails. After the damp day or two, Friday saw the sun peeping out again and the fleet reconvened for some more idyllic cruising to the Holy Island of Iniscealtra and around the lake before a fun-filled evening in the Whiskey Still in Dromineer, complete with local artistes playing a few tunes and everyone joining in with the craic.

wayf10The lake sailors’ pub – the Wayfarers put quite a bit of business through the famous Whiskey Still in Dromineer

Lough Derg YC were hosting the Fireballs and the 420s for some more serious racing on Saturday September 12th, but the Wayfarers opted to do something a little different, and so had an adventure race around the lake that required ingenuity and navigation skills as well as general seamanship to get your boat around the course as quickly as possible whilst also completing tasks in various stops along the way such as measuring the depth and counting the berths in Dromaan, stopping in Garrykennedy for lunch, searching for buckets in wells, and counting the “swingers” on the quay wall.... after another hearty lunch the fleet gathered for the second leg and under the starters orders were off for a thrilling reach up the lough around the islands and back to LDYC where the finish was only complete after a double loop sailed around Goose Island and through the gate to the finish.

The winners of this final marathon, the nearest thing to an orthodox race in the Lough Derg part of the rally programme, were Kit Wallace of Canada and Jonathan Dart from England sailing Ramor 1, one of the boats provided by the rapidly expanding Lough Ramor Watersports Club at Virginia in County Cavan, where the Wayfarers will be gathering again in the first weekend of October. Second were Mike Higgins and John Kelly in Ringle from England, while Ireland took third with Monica Schaeffer of Greystones, crewed by Miriam McCarthy and Christine Heath.

The rally grand finale dinner was held in the Thatched Cottage pub/restaurant just up the road from Dromineer in Ballycommon, where the gang were very well looked after by Noreen and her wonderful crew who provided a delicious meal while the Wayfarer Stompers led by Poul Ammentorp from Denmark provided the music, with the gang joining in for a fun-filled and rousing sing along.

On Sunday September 13th the weather closed in again (don’t we all know it), with only a few hardy souls heading out in half a dozen boats while the rest of the gang began packing up their boats, expressing their warmest thanks to Lough Derg YC for the fabulous hospitality, and preparing to make the long treks home filled with great memories of an excellent rally and loads of new friends made at the Wayfarer International Rally 2015.

Next year, the class are off to The Netherlands, where the Rally will be combined with the International Championships, aka the Wayfarer Worlds. For that, the numbers are already building with 30+ boats already entered. More info at or from Monica Schaefer at [email protected] And for anyone who is interested, Hartley Boats provided a couple of brand new Mark IV Wayfarers for charter by overseas visitors at the Lough Derg Rally, they are still in Ireland and might still be available for sale at “demo boat prices” .

Memories of late summer lake sailing. Terry Cook from England sailing Herbie in perfect conditions on Lough Derg. Herbie also took the prize for top visiting boat at Cullaun.

wayfarer rally lough derg

The final roundup – happy Wayfarer Ralliers 2015 gather at Lough Derg YC at Dromineer. Photo: Pimo Saarenen (Finland).

Published in Wayfarer

Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat launched yesterday evening  to assist five people, on board a 40–ft cruiser hard aground, east of Illaunmor on Lough Derg

At 7.25pm, September 16, Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat launched following a request from Valentia Coast Guard to assist 5 people on board a 40ft cruiser that had grounded on a rocky shelf, east of Illaunmor. Winds were westerly, Force 2/3 gusting, visibility was very good but with nightfall imminent.

At 7.38pm, the lifeboat launched with helm Eleanor Hooker, Robbie Garland and Dom Sharkey on board. The lifeboat located the cruiser at 7.43pm, behind Illaunmor and in an area with many rocky shoals. The five people on board were safe and unharmed, and all wearing their lifejackets. Mr. Tierney, from Illaunmor, an experienced boatman, had launched his lakeboat and was on standby when the lifeboat arrived on scene.

The lifeboat transferred a crew member across who checked that the boat was not holed. The cruiser was found to be hard aground, and after two attempts to get the cruiser off the rocks were unproductive, the five persons on board were transferred to Mr. Tierney's lake boat to reduce the weight on the cruiser. The cruiser was then taken off the shoal and out to safe water. Following another thorough check of drives and propellors, the five crew were returned to their boat and Mr. Tierney returned to the island.

With an RNLI crew member remaining on board, the lifeboat accompanied the cruiser to Dromineer, where it was safely tied up alongside in the public harbour at 9.20pm. As the hour was late and none of the five people on board had had supper, the lifeboat had radioed ahead and the Whiskey Still public house in Dromineer village, kept their kitchen open to provide an evening meal for the five on board.

Peter Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority for Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users to ‘enjoy boating on the lake, and to be sure to study your charts and plan your passage before departure'.

The Lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 9.45pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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