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Tag Archives: Aran Islands

Rediscovering the lost village at Fanore

By John Galvin IN what is becoming a New Year’s Eve tradition for me, I headed for North Clare to meet the RNLI’s Joe Queally and others to walk the shoreline at Fanore. Our destination was the deserted village at Loch an Uisce, which was abandoned in the early 1900s. Up to a few weeks ago, I wasn’t even aware of its existence but from the 1820s, there was a settlement of around 14 families right on the shore. They survived by farming, labouring and, of course, fishing and I’m sure it was a hard life. They eked a living by bartering with Aran Islanders, who often traded with them Poteen, obtained from Connemara. The islanders swapped this to obtain essential supplies of turf, vegetables and other goods that were hard to come by. Sometimes the sea was so rough that the currachs were barely able to land and had to return immediately. In these cases, the Poteen was left …

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A faster trip from Doolin to Inis Oírr

Tourists visiting the Aran Islands will have their journey time cut by more than half from April, as Doolin Ferry Company has announced that it is to launch a new boat, reducing the journey time from Doolin to Inis Oírr from 35 minutes to 15 minutes. The €2 million investment comes on the back of the redevelopment of Doolin Pier and is expected to generate up to 10 seasonal jobs at the ferry company. Liam O’Brien, who is the son of Bill O’Brien, the director of Doolin Ferry Company, said the new 200-passenger ferry, which will be called the Doolin Express, will be in place from April, offering the fastest crossing time to the Aran Islands. “It’s a new boat and we soft-launched it at the Holiday World Show this week. It will take 200 passengers and you will get to Inis Oírr in 15 minutes. It has an electronic stabilising system to counteract the waves and it is the …

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Gallantry award for coast guard member

A KILLALOE Coast Guard member has netted a national gallantry award for the bravery he showed in saving the lives of three people off Inisheer Pier last June. Transport Minister, Shane Ross presented the Michael Heffernan Bronze Medal for Marine Gallantry to Charlie Hennigar at the Marine Gallantry and Meritorious Service Awards ceremony in Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park on Friday evening. On Monday, June 6, 2016, Mr Hennigar, who was off duty, was responsible for rescuing three people, when the gangway between the pier on Inisheer and an island ferry ditched into the water, as the stern drifted back out from the quay wall. Realising the gangway was about to fall, as the ferry drifted out, Mr Hennigar managed to pull a woman off the gangway. Subsequently, another woman and a man fell into the water, between the ferry and quay wall. Mr Hennigar climbed down the ladder and managed to pull the woman to safety and then entered …

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Pay and display at Doolin Pier

THREE pay and display parking meters have been installed at Doolin Pier car park. This is in accordance with the Doolin Pier (Parking Places) Bylaws 2016, which came into effect in early June, following their adoption by members of the West Clare Municipal District.The new bylaws have been introduced to regulate parking at one of the primary access points between the mainland and the Aran Islands. Clare County Council says income from the newly introduced parking metres will be used for the implementation of the proposed shoreline facilities at Doolin Pier, including a new visitor facility. Parking for vehicles at Doolin Pier car park will be free for vehicles with the capacity to carry more than 7 passengers. One of the newly installed pay and display machines accept all major credit cards, as well as Debit and Laser cards, as well as coins. The proposed visitor facility at Doolin Pier will replace existing temporary structures and will be part of a …

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Consultation on Doolin Pier plan

Members of the public and interested groups can engage in the proposed development of a masterplan and visitor services building for Doolin Pier. An open invitation has been extended to everybody to participate in a public consultation event at Doolin Community Centre between 4pm and 8pm on Tuesday, May 31. Clare County Council recently appointed consultants for the design of proposed shoreline facilities at the new €6m Doolin Pier where an estimated 70,000 to 90,000 passengers are carried to and from the Aran Islands by local-based ferry operators. . The proposed visitor services building will replace existing temporary structures and will be part of a masterplan proposal relating to the development of the pier area in general, vehicle routes to and from Doolin village, and parking and traffic management. Among the functions and operations being considered within the overall plan is the sale of tickets by a number of ferry operators, the serving of food, and the provision of toilet …

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Currach launch gives it five

QUERRIN Pier was buzzing last Sunday for the launch of a five-hand currach, built by boat-builder, James Madigan. A vessel of this type has not sailed the estuary waters since the 1800s. The launch was in conjunction with the Querrin regatta, which was held last year, for the first time since 1907. Dixie Collins, of the West Clare Currach Club, said that elements of the five-hand currach were unique to West Clare. “She’s just under 30 foot and she’s a five-hand canoe, with a mast up on the bow with a lug sail. That’s a square sail that you use in boats like this. They wouldn’t have been traditionally used in Clare but they would have been used on the Aran Islands and down in Kerry. “She’s a bit wider on the beam and the oars are a bit longer than our three-hand canoe. We’re all quite curious to know how she’ll handle and how she’ll feel. We have people …

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LED light at Inisheer lighthouse

The Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL) unveiled on this Wednesday a new LED light at Inisheer lighthouse. Inisheer Lighthouse is a highly important Aid to Navigation (AtoN). This AtoN safeguards the considerable traffic between Inisheer and County Clare. It also marks the south-eastern end of the Aran Islands and the western side of the southern approach route to Galway Bay. This project will provide reliable and low maintenance operational needs for Inisheer lighthouse for the next 20 years, while achieving an annual reduction in operation costs for CIL of approximately 16%. The exhibition of the new light marks a significant milestone within the major Capital Refurbishment Project currently being carried out at the lighthouse.The tower of Inisheer is 34 metres in height.

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Formal signing of Doolin Pier contract

MINISTER for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin was in Doolin on Tuesday to visit the location of the proposed €6m pier project. His visit coincided with the signing by Clare County Council of a contract with L&M Keating, the successful tenderer for the construction of the new pier. Construction work will begin in the coming days and is expected to be completed by the middle of next year. Mayor of Clare, Joe Arkins, said, “The project has been long sought after by ferry operators, fishermen and tourists,who use the pier. The completed pier will be used mainly to facilitate ferry activity between North Clare and the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher during the tourist season, while the existing pier will be available to accommodate other activities – both leisure based and otherwise. The new pier will ensure that Doolin is accessible in all tidal conditions, which will be of particular benefit to Doolin Search and Rescue as well …

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