17th December

Pontoons and harbour walls, and the joys of sharing

Norman Kean

In the last two editions of Inshore Ireland, I’ve written of marinas and visitors’ moorings. Filling the gap between the two extremes, as it were, are pontoons and harbour walls. A modest pontoon provides a wonderfully convenient berth for a visiting yacht, not to mention its short-term use by local boats.

10.2yourview marina

Greencastle - a little crowded, but rafting the yachts all together helps! Photo Geraldine Hennigan

Step-ashore facilities are not only handy but a good deal safer than scrambling into a dinghy. The pontoons in Cork City, Sligo and the Layby in Galway add a whole new dimension to cruising – step off the boat right in the city centre.

Read more: Pontoons and harbour walls, and the joys of sharing

'Unique ascent' of the seven summits of Donegal

Iain Miller

The county of Donegal sits on the northwest tip of the Republic of Ireland and quite simply plays host to more rock than anyone can ever climb in several lifetimes. The diversity of Donegal’s rock climbing venues covers every climbing medium found in the rest of Ireland combined.

With the mudstone roofs of Muckross Head, the golden sea battered granite on the islands of Cruit, Gola and Owey, and two major Irish mountain ranges in the county, each contain some of Ireland’s oldest and longest rock climbs. And with over 2,800 recorded rock climbs (on 18 free PDF downloads) in Donegal, there is plenty to play on.

10.2 outdoor activities

On the summit of the icon. The sea stacks of Co Donegal are some of Ireland's oldest and longest rock climbs. Photo Iain Miller

But it is along the coastline of western Donegal where perhaps Ireland’s most unusual climbing locations are located. Living along the western freeboard of Donegal is a collection of nearly 100 sea stacks. The main residence of these gothic leviathans is the little known coast line of An Port, in one of Ireland’s most remote locations.

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Oileáin – The Irish islands guide

Perhaps an adage too readily used is that Ireland ‘punches above its weight’; however when it comes majestical landscape, it is admirably true. For a small island on the periphery of Europe, Ireland’s geographical range belies its size of just roughly 84,000 km2, and its necklace of islands that differ, not just at the four compass points, but sometimes in sight of one another.

review oileain

'Oileáin is about places,' writes David Walsh, in this second edition (first published in 2004) dedicated guide to almost every Irish coastal island. Most of the ‘newbies’ are close to shore, or satellites of larger offshore islands with a central theme of being ‘islands up the heads of bays, well sheltered’.

Read more: Oileáin – The Irish islands guide

Howth RNLI launch Mayday campaign

Members of the Howth RNLI crew have launched their Mayday campaign as part of the RNLI's national fundraising drive which takes place from May 1-5 nationwide

The RNLI saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour, 365 days-a-year search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland from over 230 lifeboat stations.

RNLI Howth  with mini-crew

Ian Martin with Alex Brady, Thomas Ryan with Tadhg Ryan, Ian Sheridan with Kai Sheridan and Stephen Mullaney with Chloe and Jamie Mullaney

The RNLI is independent of the Coastguard and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since its foundation in 1824, lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 140,000 lives.

Further information: http://www.irishlifeboats.com/rnlistationsctog.htm

Storm shelter for Sandycove swimmers

Three years to complete the acquisition and rebuild of the old fisherman's hut at Sandycove beach, Co Dublin, bathers now have a 'unisex' changing facility. 

Sandycove  bathers shelter

"I'm delighted to see this come to fruition," remarked An Cathaoirleach, Cllr Carrie Smyth. It has been especially welcomed by the dedicated bathers who have had to change in all weathers.

Among those gathered for the official opening were the President of the Sandycove Bathers Association, Fed Espey and the first two official lady members of the Bathers Association, Molloy Molloy and Margaret David.

And just weeks earlier Sandycove Bathers Associated voted to allow women members into its club at the Forty Foot bathing spot. The Association has operated under a licence dating back to 1937 that while not excluding any particlar people had the power to accept or reject applications. 

"Now that the council has put up a new changing facility in the area, it made a difference," remarked the Asociation President, Fred Espey. 


State-aid for storm battered piers and harbours

Eleven local authorities that manage the State’s 115 harbours/piers/slipways damaged during the storms of winter 2013/’14 are to receive €8.5m exchequer aid. €7m will support 111 projects and €1.5m will go towards remediation works at four of the State owned non-Fishery Harbour Centres, including €1.3m for North Harbour, Cape Clear.


Minister Simon Coveney speaks to locals in Connemara. Councillor Seosamh O Laoi, second left; Senator Hildegard Naughton, Councillor Eileen Mannion and Sean Kyne TD

Minister Simon Coveney speaks to locals in Connemara. Councillor Seosamh O Laoi, second left; Senator Hildegard Naughton, Councillor Eileen Mannion and Sean Kyne TD  

“We are all too well aware of the damage wreaked on our harbour network….I am delighted to announce this significant funding for the immediate repair of piers and harbours across the country, as part of an extended capital programme for 2014,” remarked Simon Coveney,

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Minister Coveney also announced details of a further €15m towards harbour development. A significant increase on 2013 funding, Minister Coveney said it was an indication of the government’s “commitment to developing our fishing harbours for the benefit of our fishing industry, seafood processing sector, other ancillary marine industries and the wider community.”

Read more: State-aid for storm battered piers and harbours

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