18th December

The Old Pier, Union Hall

Nestled in a sheltered corner of Glandore Harbour on the spectacular West Cork coast, the fishing village of Union Hall with its multi-coloured terraced houses that line the streets and the one-lane bridge have been immortalised in Sir David Puttnam’s film War of the Buttons, and 300 years before then as a retreat for the Dean of Ireland, Jonathan Swift.

And in the 1900s, the harbour and its pier thrived during the herring season when fish was salted and stored in barrels for export. More recently too its name resonated far beyond these shores when the village was the coordination centre in January 2012 for the search of the fishing vessel Tit Bonhomme and ultimately the recovery of five fishermen.

Review The Old Pier Union Hall

A sense of community prevails, possible because the village essentially is a cu-de-sac with no passing traffic so that everyone is there for a reason – and is not just in a transient moment.

Read more: The Old Pier, Union Hall

Wild Atlantic Way - Ireland's 2,500km coastal route

The ‘longest coastal touring route in the world’, stretching from Malin Head in Co Donegal to the Old Head of Kinsale in Co Cork, was launched today and has been benchmarked against the Gold Coast in Australia; South Africa’s Garden Route and the Pacific Coast Highway in the United States.

The 2,500 km Wild Atlantic Way is an initiative of Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland and is a key element of their 2014 overseas marketing campaign, with interest already coming from Germany and Austria’s leading tour operator Dertour and CIE Tours International in North America.

Mizen Head Wild Atlantic Way

Mizen Head, West Cork

Sean Quinn, Fáilte Ireland’s chief executive sees the initiative as “repositioning Ireland for overseas visitors”. He added that international experience showed that packaging and branding assets into defined touring routes increased visits from domestic and international visitors.

Read more: Wild Atlantic Way - Ireland's 2,500km coastal route

European strategy to promote coastal and maritime tourism

The European Commission has presented a new strategy to support coastal and maritime tourism in Europe. Recognising the sector's potential for sustainable growth and job creation, the strategy outlines 14 EU actions 'to help coastal regions and businesses tackle the challenges they face and strengthen the sector's position as a key driver of Europe's blue economy'.

Included is a break-down of tasks that Member States, regions and industry stakeholders can undertake to complement the actions. 

EU marine tourism strategy

Rhodes, Greece where tourism is leading component of the island's economy

The proposed actios include 'facilitating closer cooperation and dialogue across Europe between all coastal tourism stakeholders, public-private partnerships, promoting skills and innovation, promoting ecotourism, and creating an online guide to funding opportunities to help drive investment.

"Coastal and maritime tourism was identified in our 'Blue Growth' strategy as one of the key drivers for creating growth and new jobs, particularly in our coastal areas which often suffer from high unemployment," remarked European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki. 

Read more: European strategy to promote coastal and maritime tourism

Funding to rebuild storm damaged piers, slips and harbours

The government is to allocate €8.8m for the repair of the publically owned pier, harbour and slipway network linked to fisheries and aquculture, marine minister Simon Coveney told colleagues in the Dáil today. 

A temporary "one-off scheme" of assistance for pot fishermen who have lost lobster and shrimp pots will apply to vessels under 15 metres and will be administered by BIM. It will provide a set amount of €24 per lost lobster pot and €12 per lost shrimp pot, representing circa 40% of the cost of gear relplacement. 

Inisbofin signal-tower

Inisbofin's signal tower -  before and after. Photo Marie Coyne

" While I am conscious that some pot fishermen have reported losing several hundred pots, I  belive those are exceptional cases. I am  therefore capping the number of replacement posts at 50 for under 12 metre vessels and 100 for under 15 metre vessels, "Minister Coveney said.

Read more: Funding to rebuild storm damaged piers, slips and harbours

Local action group opposes urban bath proposal for Dún Laoghaire

The Save our Seafront local action group in Dún Laoghaire has lodged an objection to the proposed 'urban beach & floating pool facility' for the harbour, on the following grounds:

urban beach 1

 Artist impression of the urban beach and float pool facility at Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin

  • No inappropriate development should take place within the harbour and public access should not be further restricted by potential privitisation of a public amenity
  • Unnecessary to locate a FP/UB in a harbour. Other FP/UBs are sited in river, docks or industrial harbour areas in cities to provide beach amentities that don't have access to natural seaside beaches. Dún Laoghaire is situated on the sea with natural amenities on its doorstep with many safe, natural beaches are nearby. 
  • The planned structure is totally out of keeping with the surrounding architecture and will have a negative visual impact. The structures from certain viewpoints will obstruct the vista of the harbour, particularly the mouth with its backdrop of Dublin Bay and Howth Head
  • Inevitable noise and how it will impacat the tranquility of the piers and surrounding areas
  • Negative visual impact of accompanying buildings which would stay in situ throughout the winter months when facilty it closed
  • No certainty that the nature of the facilities would not change in time if the pool/café proved unpopular/non profitable. (The entry cost which is  suggested to be 'around the cost of a cinema ticket' could be prohibitively expensive for many families. Consequently there is concern that for the facility to be viable there could be pressure to sell commercial advertising or to turn it into a nightclub or private party venue, as has happened in some European cities
  • Parking facilities and local access to the area is already inadequate. If only 50% of the projected 140,000 visitors per annum materialise, how will this volume be accommodated
  • Concern that construction and maintenance costs could escalate beyond those projected
  • Uncertainty whether an Environmental Impact Survey has been completed. SoS is waiting for clarification
  • Berth 1 has traditionally catered for visitiing tall ships, naval vessels etc which are important visitor attractions for walkers on East Pier. If vessels are moved to the Carlisle Pier or St Michael's Pier, this would render less visible and accessible to the public
  • SOS has been campaigning for years for a permanent heated all-year indoor pool at the Old Baths as part of its renovation. This would be a more appropriate use of public funds

Storm damages Bundoran lifeboat station

Just hours after the annual Bundoran RNLI lifeboat dinner dance ended last Friday, the station was damaged from the combination of a high tide and heavy swell. The main door was broken down along with the bottom panel in the large doors behind which the lifeboat is kept.

As a precautionary measure the boat was moved to higher ground ahead of high tide the following day but remained on service.

Bundoran Lifeboat Station 0800 hrs 01/02/14

Bundoran Lifeboat Station at 0800 hrs 01/02/14

"Despite the force of the sea, we only suffered a small amount of damage, and the lifeboat itself wasn't damaged,"  commented Tony McGowan, Bundoran Lifeboat Operations Manager.

"Having viewed CCTV of the time of impact, it it remarkable how one big surge which was at least  two metres higher than the rest caused the damage. It is easy to see how people can be caught out in such conditions and I would urge people to keep well away from the water in such circumstances," he warned.

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