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Displaying items by tag: Galway Port

In Ulysses Mr Deasy, headmaster of a private school, writes to the newspapers complaining that he knows of a cure for foot and mouth disease but nobody in authority will listen to him. Mr Deasy grandly compares his nebulous proposal to a major project from the 1850s which aimed to attract a growing transatlantic passenger traffic to Galway. Deasy calls to mind the “Liverpool ring which jockeyed the Galway harbour scheme” and describes himself as “surrounded by difficulties, by… intrigues, by… backstairs influence”.

The Galway Harbour scheme was no creation in a novelist's mind. Sixty years before Ulysses there was such a project and James Joyce was well informed about it. The project’s driving force was a dynamic priest named Fr. Peter Daly. Fr. Daly undertook various religious and welfare projects in Galway during the famine years and later involved himself in public life. He was a director of the Galway Gas Company and Chair of Galway Town Commissioners. As a board member of Midland & Great Western Railway Fr. Daly was instrumental in ensuring that the railway did not, as intended, end at Rahoon but reached Galway. He went on to ensure and oversee the construction of the then largest hotel in Ireland at Eyre Square.

Fr. Daly was also a member of Galway Harbour Commissioners and he sought to extend the new railway out to a proposed deep-water passenger facility at Furbo. He saw this as the final link in a chain which would allow ship-owners to offer a through-fare from Hamburg and points along the way across England and Ireland to New York. Such operators would have both a speed and a price advantage which would draw transatlantic traffic into Galway.

All his life Joyce was superstitious about dates and 16th June had special significance for him because it was on 16th June 1904 that he and Nora, his future wife, first walked out together in Dublin. That is why he places Ulysses in Dublin on 16th of June 1904 and why Bloomsday is celebrated around the world each year on 16th June. It is also why he was fascinated by the Galway Harbour scheme for which 16th June 1858 would prove portentous.

Later in Ulysses another voice speaks to the same subject when the putative Skin-the-Goat, keeper of the Cabman’s Shelter on Dublin’s Customs House Quay, laments the state of shipping in Ireland:

“ What he wanted to ascertain was why that ship ran bang against the only rock in Galway Bay when the Galway Harbour scheme was mooted…Ask her captain….how much palmoil the British Government gave him for that day’s work. Captain John Lever of the Lever line. -Am I right skipper? he queried of the sailor…”

A 1904 cabman's shelterA 1904 cabman's shelter

This is a reference the ship-owner John Orrell Lever who amassed profits chartering ships for the Crimean war and became interested in Galway for the development of a transatlantic passenger service to rival those of Liverpool and the ports of mainland Europe.

Several hundred Irish investors put up capital for his new company known as The Galway Line. The new service began in 1858 with Indian Empire which was the largest ship up to that time to enter the port of Galway and her arrival was widely anticipated.

On 16th June 1858, as two pilots were guiding her to port, Indian Empire grounded on the Margaretta Rock. Two and a half hours later, on a rising tide, the pilots managed to reverse her off and the steamship proceeded to anchorage with slight damage to her hull. She took on coal, cargo and passengers and on 19th June Indian Empire sailed for New York via Halifax.

However, on the day she had docked Captain Courteney, his crew and pilots were brought before an emergency meeting of Galway Harbour Commissioners. Rumours had begun to circulate about the grounding and a hostile crowd gathered. The pilots had to be protected by the police. Newspapers reported comments that the grounding was likely to turn out to be an attempt to wreck the ship in order to destroy the Galway harbour scheme. There was great discussion in public of plots, sabotage and especially “Liverpool gold at work”. Much was made of the fact that Lever had recruited the pilots in England. Reports were relayed outside Ireland as speculation lingered. Criminal charges were begun against the pilots. The sudden death of one of the pilots brought only more rumours and further press reports. Nowadays the position would be described as a publicity storm amplified by the absence of a media strategy and the credibility of the harbour project was diminished.

We know that Joyce was very taken with this tale and it is especially interesting that in Ulysses he leaves the final word on the subject to a sailor, Able seaman Murphy:

That worthy, picking up the scent of the fagend of the song or words, growled in wouldbe music, but with great vim, some kind of shanty…

- The biscuits was as hard as brass,
And the beef as salt as Lot’s wife’s’ arse.
O Johnny Lever!
Johnny Lever O!

Published in Galway Harbour

#navy - LÉ Niamh an offshore patrol vessel of the Naval Service is in the Port of Galway this week and is offering the public guided tours.

The OPV writes GalwayDaily will be alongside Galway this today and Friday, with the crew taking members of the public of the navy patrol ship between 1pm and 5pm.

LÉ Niamh is the second Róisín class ship built (Appledore, UK) for the Naval Service and to the same long (78.8m) design of older leadship that optimises her performance in rough Irish waters.

For more click here including a career drive to rise recruitment click this link for further information.

Published in Navy

#navy - The Irish Naval Service offshore patrol vessel, LÉ Samuel Beckett, will be offering guided tours to the public in the Port of Galway today, Saturday, 12th January. 

The Samuel Beckett writes Galway Daily is currently docked in Galway after it detained a fishing boat for breach of regulations off the west coast yesterday.

The first fishing vessel detained by the naval service this year, it was handed over to Galway gardaí this morning.

While it’s around, the LÉ Samuel Beckett will be open for public tours while alongside this afternoon between 14:00-16:00.

To read more on the leadship of the P60 OPV90 class and sisters, click here

Published in Navy

#Seafest - Thousands of visitors turned up in Galway yesterday for the first day of SeaFest. If figures are anything to go by and forecasts are right, this year's SeaFest is set to be 'the biggest and most spectacular' sea festival ever staged in Ireland.

The national maritime festival in Galway continues this weekend (Saturday 1st and Sunday July 2nd) with a packed programme of free, family friendly activities and entertainment on offer for all ages.

A relative new comer to the festival scene, SeaFest is only in its third year, but it has already inspired the hearts and minds of many. Having grown from a relatively small event, attracting 10,000 visitors in 2015, it is now one of the biggest family friendly festivals of its kind in the country, and is expected to attract between 80,000 and 100,000 to Galway over the weekend.

Famous ships, flyboarding, sensational seafood and Defence Force displays drew the crowds to the opening day of SeaFest. Galway Harbour has been transformed into a giant, interactive "sea world" with the entire waterfront awash with non-stop water based activity for the festival. Every inch of the port is crammed with boats, over 100, of all shapes and sizes, including sailing, scientific and navy ships.

Visitors can climb aboard and explore the tall ship The Phoenix, the Irish Naval Service coastal patrol vessel LÉ Ciara, the Commissioners of Irish Lights ILV Granuaile and the Marine Institute's research vessel the Celtic Explorer.

Free sailing and kayaking sessions are also on offer to get people out on the water and amongst Galway's ship-filled harbour. The Irish Sailing Association's 'Try Sailing' sessions are also offering disabled access for budding sailors over the weekend.

World's Ladies Flyboard champion Kristen Smoyer and New Zealand's Beau Weston, champion flyboarder and extreme sports expert, are stunning crowds with their breath-taking aerial acrobatics as they swirl in the air on pump-powered jet packs in the heart of the harbour.

BIM and Bord Bia are showcasing the finest of Irish seafood and hosting live cookery and fishmongery demonstrations with top chefs Rory O'Connell, Oliver Dunne and Michael O'Meara. LookWest.ie are presenting a line-up of talks and displays from marine-inspired entrepreneurs.

There is traditional boat building, RNLI and Coast Guard air and sea rescue demonstrations and kids were busy creating their own sea creatures and exploring the deep sea in the Kids Zone. Roving seafaring entertainment including sword-fighting buccaneers, the colourful and comic 'Claddagh Clan', and giant sea-themed puppets exploding onto the street add to the exciting carnival atmosphere.

The festival also features the Wild Atlantic- Sea Science, a new marine science gallery at Galway City Museum, and a unique exhibition on polar explorer Roald Amundsen at NUI Galway. Festivities will also extend across Galway, with activities taking place in the Latin Quarter, Salthill and Rusheen Bay.

SeaFest will continue over the weekend, with activities taking place from 10am to 6pm each day.

For more information visit www.seafest.ie

Published in Maritime Festivals

#AranFreighters - Ireland’s Iargest domestic coastal cargoship that returned from hull works carried out in Co. Donegal earlier this month has yet to re-enter Galway-Aran Islands services, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 330 gross tonnage cargoship Bláth na Mara normally serves as an essential life-line providing supplies to island communities of all three Aran Islands, Inishmore, Inis Meain and Inis Oirr.

Instead Chateau Thierry which has a roll on / roll-off capabilities is currently covering in as relief cargoship on the Galway route. As there is no slipway facilities, cargo loading will involve use of a deck-mounted crane. In the meantime this replacement vessel has allowed ongoing maintenance work to continue on Bláth na Mara while docked in Galway Docks.

Operators of both freighters, Lasta Mara Teoranta normally deploy Chateau Thierry, a former US tank landing craft (see report photo) on a second service to Aran Islands from Rossaveel. This service conveys trucks, excavators and heavy plant and machinery.

The Government contracted service to the Aran Islands have been operated by Lasta Mara for almost two decades. As the sole operator of freight-only vessels this involves carrying a diverse range of cargoes: from all kinds of food, household items, furniture, coal and vehicles hoisted on board and also livestock. This leaves several other passenger-only operators to serve the islands.

The Galway registered Bláth na Mara based out of the mainland homeport had works completed at Mooney Boats in Killybegs. The call to the yard involved Bláth na Mara using the boat-lift raised to the top of the quayside from where the 36m freighter was transferred on a rail-system to the workshop. This enabled shot blasting and painting of the hull. The works also saw anodes supplied and fitted to the hull.

Cargo loading in Galway Port takes place at the outer pier where Lasta Mara Teo has a warehouse. This is from where the 28m Chateau Thierry departed this morning on the islands cargo feeder service. 

Otherwise the routine use of Bláth na Mara involves a single cargo derrick swung from an A-frame foremast. Containers are stowed onto the aft-deck. This layout gives the ship a distinctive profile as the wheelhouse is located at the bow unlike the vast majority of cargoships.

On completion of loading the hard-working coastal freighter heads first to the largest island, Inishmore at Kilronan Harbour. Having discharged cargoes on Inis Mor the service continues to neighbouring Inis Meain and Inis Oirr.

 

Published in Island News

In my last Podcast, I expressed the opinion that it is strange how things happen. This was again underlined for me as I prepared the new edition of my maritime programme which you can listen to below.

Galway Port Company has an ambitious €120m. plan for the future. It is going through the planning process at present, which has delayed it with various checks and examinations of what is proposed.

But the port company is determined to push the process forward and to achieve its goal in creating a modern port with the best of facilities on the Western coastline.

Galway is ideally placed to be a TransAtlantic port, so it has been said many times, but why has this not happened?

Is it possible that, as the business and economic leaders of the city tried to establish a TransAtlantic shipping line, their efforts were deliberately sabotaged by non-Irish ports which did not want Galway to command this trade?

Was the first ship chartered to run such a service, which had been given permission to carry what was then a valuable mail service in financial terms for the shipping service, deliberately sabotaged?

How could it strike the only rock in Galway Bay as it sailed in for the start of the service, leading to huge controversy and damaging the western port’s future?

The story, still an unsolved mystery, is told on THIS ISLAND NATION by author, journalist and Galwayman, Ray Burke. It is a fascinating story, well worth listening to and reading about. He links it into Ulysses, Nora Barnacle and James Joyce in his book ‘Joyce County – Galway and James Joyce’.

Click below to hear the story of how the voyage of the Indian Empire, intended to start Galway’s first TransAtlantic service, suffered a bad start in Galway Bay.

 

Published in Island Nation

#GalwayPort - Business leaders have welcomed the news that the €126 million Galway Port extension project will be proceed under the IROPI section of the EU Habitats Directive.

According to the Galway Independent, the decision by An Bord Pleanála to proceed under IROPI – or Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest – is a first for Ireland.

Progress will involve establishing replacement habitats for those that would be adversely affected by the port extension. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, it was determined that a number of reef, mud and sand habitats would be destroyed by the 24 hectares of land reclamation required.

But there's better news for those with environmental concerns, as planners have determined that two nearby Natura sites – the Inner Galway Bay Special Protection Are and the Lough Corrib Special Area of Conservation – will see no impact, while priority habitats at Lough Atalia and Renmore Loughs will not be "negatively affected".

The board has also recommended "tight co-operation" between the Galway Harbour Company and local authorities to ensure conservation is made top priority throughout the project.

The Galway Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour

#GalwayPort - Parts of the current expansion plan for Galway Harbour would have a significant adverse impact on Galway Bay, according to An Bord Pleanála - a week ahead of the expected decision that has already been delayed for many months.

As RTÉ News reports, the planning body has invited the Galway Harbour Company to suggest moves it can make to offset any lasting damage to habitats in what is a candidate for designation as a Special Area of Conservation.

It has been confirmed that the €126 million redevelopment scheme, which involves reclaiming 24 hectares from the sea, would destroy a number of reef, mud and sand habitats.

Pending that feedback, planners will then decide whether to refer the expansion scheme to Brussels under the Derogation of the Habitats Directive for projects of overriding public interest.

Published in Galway Harbour

#GalwayPort - Planners' verdict on multi-million euro expansion plans for Galway Harbour have been postponed for another four weeks, according to Galway Bay FM.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the planning appeals board has gone back and forth on the €126 million docks redevelopment scheme since January's oral hearing, and was originally set to announce its decision yesterday (Friday 11 September).

However, that date has now been revised by An Bord Pleanála to Friday 9 October, the latest postponment for a decision previously expected in early August, and before that in early summer.

Published in Galway Harbour

#GalwayHarbour - Galway's mayor reiterated his full support for plans to redevelop the city's port on the final day of An Bord Pleanála's hearing into the €126 million scheme.

As The Irish Times reported last weekend, Mayor Donal Lyons said the port expansion was vital for the future of the city, echoing claims that Galway Harbour could face terminal decline unless the redevelopment goes ahead as planned.

The potential economic benefits were raised by Esmond Keane SC, on behalf of the Galway Harbour Company, who said "it is not feasible to suggest that cruise tourism could be relocated to another port away from Galway."

Ian Lumley of An Taisce made a final submission questioning the wisdom of developing a new port that "lacks connection" to the national road transport infrastructure.

The Shannon Foynes Port Company also dismissed claims that there were no viable alternatives to the expansion, citing its own status as a 'Tier 1' deepwater commercial port that operates on a 24-hour basis compared to Galway's more modest plans.

That came after Galway West TD Noel Grealish's earlier rejection of Shannon Foynes' objections as "spurious" and motivated by "self-interest".

Previously the hearing also heard from town planner Aiden O’Neill, who said the Galway Harbour scheme went against a number of State policies such as the 2013 National Ports Policy.

"Long-standing" proposals for a deepwater quay at Rossaveal, on the north shore of Galway Bay in Connemara, were suggested as an alternative to bolster the current Galway Port, while fishing and cycling representatives expressed their various concerns over the impact of the redevelopment.

Two weeks of evidence will now be evaluated by An Bord Pleanála with a full report expected by the end of March. The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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