17th July

New guiding light for mariners at Inisheer Lighthouse

The Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL) have unveiled a new light emitting diode (LED) light for the Inisheer lighthouse that marks the south-eastern end of the Aran Islands and the western side of the southern approach to Galway Bay.

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Inisheer Lighthouse. Photo Colin Day, CIL

This lighthouse is a highly important Aid to Navigation (AtoN) safeguarding considerable traffic between Inisheer and Co Clare. The tower at 34m in height ensures visibility of the light due to the low lying nature of the island. A red sector delineates the potential danger of Finnis Rock lying to the east.

Read more: New guiding light for mariners at Inisheer Lighthouse

Discover Ireland's sea activities via 'The Blueway'

Snorkeling and kayaking at five locations in counties Mayo and Galway feature in a pilot programme created by Failte Ireland to encourage visitors to enage with the sea.

Launching the Blueway, Minister of State for Tourism & Sport, Michael Ring said the project offered "an entirely new perspective" of Ireland's wild Atlantic coastline.

"The Blueway, initiative provides visitors with a safe haven to immerse themselves in some of the most glorious coastal waters anywhere in the world," he said.

Blueway

Pictured at the Old Head beach near Louisburgh:  Michael Ring Minister of State for Tourism and Sport; Rory McCarthy, Fáilte Ireland and members of the Bluewave working group: Charlie Lambert, Martin Dillane, Laura Taylor, Rosaleen Ni Shuilleabhain, Humphery Murphy, Richard Thorn, Maura Lyons and Sabrina Trench

Research indicates that more than 84,000 overseas visitors to Ireland engage in watersports annuallly with the majority of those participating in kayaking and snorkeling. 

Read more: Discover Ireland's sea activities via 'The Blueway'

Fire prevention on Ireland's islands

Residents on Mayo's islands are to receive comprehensive training in fire prevention and fighting under a Community Safety Programme, in the absence of a fire service and following tragic events in recent years.  Fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and fire blankets are also being distributed. 

Inis Toirc

Organised by Michelle O'Mahoney, development officer on Clare Island and Tony Shevlin, Senior Assistant Fire Officer, Mayo Fire & Rescue Service, islanders particiated in training sessions on Clare islands and Inis Turk and in the Wesport Fire Station.

Read more: Fire prevention on Ireland's islands

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.

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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.

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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.

Read more: 'Unique ascent' of the seven summits of Donegal

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

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