17th December

Powerboat speed machines test Cobh waters

Ireland's Team Hibernia and England's Vector Martini clocked up speeds in excess of 160km/ph during trials in Cobh Harbour, Co Cork, ahead of the Venture Cup inshore leg on June 12.

Venture Powerboat race

Testing the waters in Cobh Harbour ahead of the inshore leg of the 2016 Venture Cup in June

Twenty-five international raceboats will compete over the 32km course in what is described as the world's 'toughest and most prestigious' powerboat race.

Read more: Powerboat speed machines test Cobh waters

Election 2016: poor political campaigning on islands could be costly

In the closing days of Election 2016, Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann, the Islands Federation, says only two of the six main parties (Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin) have mentioned the islands in their manifestos. Fiann Fáil includes a specific Island Policy and Sinn Féin refers to the islands as part of  their new 'deal for the west'.

'It is with great disappointment CoE is left to consider that most political parties do not have an awareness or understanding of the issues facing islands. Islanders have the right to be represented by people/parties who recognise and understand at least the basic issues involved in the struggle for the survival of islands,' a statement reads.

Inis Bofin

Inisbofin, one of Ireland's west coast islands, where poor political canvassing is higlighted by Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann. Photo Gillian Mills

Little political canvassing 'thus far' is also highlighted, resulting in a 'lost opportunity for islanders to speak face-to-face with candidates' and to hear party views and to discuss island needs.

Read more: Election 2016: poor political campaigning on islands could be costly

'School of the Year' title for Midleton college

Students from St Colman's Community College, Midleton Co Cork, have removed over 12 tonnes of marine litter from beaches, waterways and rivers across the East Cork area, earning them the title of 'School of the Year' by An Taisce in the 2015 Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards.

An Taisce Clean Coasts Awards

Students from St Coleman's spell out 'Clean Up' on their local Ballynamona beach

Seeing off competition from 3,700 primary and secondary schools, the students concentrated their efforts near Ballycotton where fly tipping is a big problem.

"They have shown a keen interest in protecting their local beaches and promoting environmental issues in their school and throughout the local community," explained Olivia Crossan, Clean Coasts Programme, An Taisce.

Read more: 'School of the Year' title for Midleton college

Blue rayed limpet nursery found in unusual location

German university students studying fossil-rich rocks, seaweed diversity and honeycomb reefs on Waterford estuary coast accidentally stumbled upon tiny blue rayed limpets on a sea spaghetti (Himanthalia elongata) frond. This uncommon limpet confined to the outer edge of Europe is usually found on the base of kelp.

Blue rayed limpet

Blue rayed limpet found on long sea spaghetti (Himanthalia elongata)

"We usually find adults dug into the kelp," explained Karin Dubsky Coastwatch coordinator. "They are delicate fingernail-sized animals with beautiful fluorescent dots set in lines on their shell.

Read more: Blue rayed limpet nursery found in unusual location

Clean Coasts - Ocean Hero Awards 2015

An Taisce's Clean Coasts programme has launched a call for nominations to its Ocean Hero Awards. The annual initiative recognises the contribution individuals, community groups, businesses and schools make to protect and conserve Ireland's 2,500km coastline.

Clean Coasts Awards

"The Ocean Hero Awards  recognise the remarkable work being carried out by Clean Coasts groups and volunteers all along the Irish coast. This is achieved through award categories that celebrate creative initiatives in coastal conservation and the wide variety of newly established and long-term groups who contribute to the programme," remarked Dr Michael O'Mahony, Director of An Taisce's Environmental Education Unit.

Read more: Clean Coasts - Ocean Hero Awards 2015

Bantry Bay 'blueway' adventure trail

Munster's first 'blueway' will take paddlers on a 2km, 6km or 9km water trail around Bantry Bay in West Cork, starting at Abbey Slipway and taking in Whiddy Island, Reenbeg Point and return, via Railway Pier. Paddlers can choose from three trails - beginners, intermediate and advanced. 

Bantry Blue Way

John Mullins, Chairman Bantry Bay Port Company; Michael Murphy, Deputy Harbour Master Bantry Bay Port Company; Cllr Joe Carroll, Deputy County Mayor; Dr Vera O'Donovan, FLAG; Capt Paul O’Regan, Harbour Master Bantry Bay Port Company and Brendan Keating, CEO Bantry Bay Port Company

Blueways are described as water paths or trails for canoeists, paddle boarders and kayakers, developed with launch points, camping locations and points of interest  to encourage recreation, ecological education and preservation of wildlife resources.

Read more: Bantry Bay 'blueway' adventure trail

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