Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is an award-winning print and radio reporter, former Irish Times western correspondent, and the author of books including Everest Callling (1994), and Once Upon a Time in the West (2010) and Search and Rescue: True Stories of Irish-Air Sea Rescue and the Loss of R116 (2022)

She is currently a contributor to The Sunday Times, The Irish Independent, The Irish Examiner, Afloat, The Skipper and to RTE Radio 1 Seascapes, and Countrywide

Email: lorna.siggins@gmail.com | Twitter: @lornasiggins

Spacewalker Kathy Sullivan takes a giant leap into the sea
Extreme adventure in a pandemic seems like a paradox, but astronaut, geologist and oceanographer Dr Kathy Sullivan has always believed in the value of calculated risk. Described by friends as “the most vertical girl in the world”, she was the first American woman to walk in space and has orbited the Earth 356 times.
The native Irish honeybee and Connemara keeper Gerard Coyne’s mission to save it.
If Gerard Coyne enjoyed a past life, it may have been spent as a honeybee or a zoologist, or both. Had the Austrian scientist and Nobel prize winner Karl Ritter von Frisch not discovered the “waggle dance”, it would certainly have been observed first by Coyne.
Pandemic unearths a passion for growing food in Ireland
Louise O’Connor has a favourite photo of a sleeping child with his arms wrapped around a pumpkin. O’Connor, who has just been named overall winner of the 2020 Energia Get Ireland Growing Award, is never happier than when she is mucking around at her home in Cobh, Co Cork, with young children.
Wild salmon back on rivers of west Ireland in numbers not seen in years
Wild Atlantic salmon are returning to western seaboard rivers in record numbers. Francis O’Donnell, regional director for the western river basin district, said it seemed to be the best wild salmon season in at least 12 years for Co Galway’s Corrib system, Co Mayo’s river Moy, and the Ballisodare in Co Sligo.
Honey, I slept on the hive, says beekeeper David Geoghegan
When Connemara organic farmer David Geoghegan took his woodworking skills to a garden shed, the word “pandemic” was not part of the daily lexicon. However, his finished creation now offers the perfect respite from any anxiety associated with that eight-letter word.
We’re all bewitched by twitching
Telling apart the of a blue-winged warbler or the nasal notes of a yellow-bellied sapsucker may be challenging - but since having our own migratory wings clipped by Covid-19 we seem to have become enamoured by birdsong. Birdwatching has exploded in popularity in the first months of lockdown, with downloads of bird identification apps at an all-time high.
Save Our Sea swimmers in wave of protest over superbug checks
The increased popularity of sea swimming during the coronavirus pandemic has led scientists to call for more rapid, detailed and year-round testing of bathing-water quality. A new campaign on risks to swimmers’ health in Dublin Bay has also collected almost 13,000 signatures, and testimonies from E coli sufferers.
Ocean Leaves turns the tide with bladderwrack and rockweed fertilisers
Seaweed’s benefits for soil condition and plant health are underestimated, reckons one convert who makes ‘sea vegetable’ products. As a gardener, Mary Meyler once bought seaweed fertilisers, though she lived near the Co Wexford coast. The absurdity of this prompted her to launch her business
Swimmers and kayakers on lookout for golden kelp
Citizen science pinpointed the first samples of a rare kelp in Irish waters and now NUI Galway researchers are hoping that sea swimmers, divers and kayakers may help to find more. Samples of golden kelp (Laminaria ochroleuca), normally found in France, Spain, and Britain, were identified for the first time in north Mayo.
Ireland Selected for Citizen Survey on Health of Marine & Freshwater Environment
Ireland is one of two EU member states selected for a Europe-wide citizen survey on the health of the marine and freshwater environment. Former Marine Institute director Dr Peter Heffernan, Ireland’s ambassador on the EU mission board, said the initiative represents the “largest transformation ever in our relationship with the ocean”.
Swimmers, Paddlers, Surfers Sought for Superbug Research
Swimmers, surfers and paddlers are being asked to participate in research on the risk of superbugs which is being conducted by NUI Galway (NUIG). The NUIG scientists are examining how superbugs are picked up and how the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be controlled.
Small Freshwater Crustaceans Rapidly Munching Microplastics, UCC Research Finds
Small freshwater animals are breaking down microplastics into nanoplastics which can enter the food chain, according to new research by University College Cork (UCC). In less than four days the freshwater amphipod fragments microplastics into different shapes and sizes, including nanoplastics, the research has found.
Coastwatch Welcomes Judgment on Waterford Estuary Protection
Coastwatch has welcomed a High Court decision closing the Waterford estuary to razor shell dredging without proper environmental assessment. The ruling has implications for fishing activity on marine sites which are designated as Natura 2000 locations, Coastwatch director Karin Dubksy has said.
Warning over Renewable Energy Plans in New Programme for Government
The Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA) has described as “revolutionary” the new targets, which include increasing offshore wind energy from 3.5 gigawatts (GW) to five GW off the east and south coast by 2030.
Red Seaweed Cultivation for Animal Feed Could Help Meet Government Climate Targets
Scientists in West Cork are reporting significant results in use of a type of red seaweed to reduce methane emissions in cattle. Cuts of between 40 and 98 per ce nt in emissions have already been achieved in trials in the US, Australia and New Zealand according to Bantry Marine Research station
Loss Ness Mometer Retrieved by Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies Expedition
Marine Scientists on the RV Celtic Explorer have collected a network of seismometers recording valuable data over the past 19 months in Irish, British and Icelandic waters. The 18 seismometers deployed in 2018 over a 1500 kilometre area from north to south and over 1,000 km of sea from east to west as part of a project run by DIAS.
More Light, Less Bycatch, Scientists Find in Newly Published Study
Illuminated exits are as useful to fish as to humans in a tight spot. Newly published research has found that artificial light on square mesh panels in nets can help to reduce unwanted bycatch of fish.
Ireland's First Floating Offshore Wind Farm: Explorations off Cork Coast
An Irish renewable energy company is exploring the development of this island's first floating offshore wind farm close to the Kinsale gas field. Youghal company Simply Blue Energy is already involved with French giant Total in a project to build one of the world’s largest wind farms in the Celtic Sea.
Whale Sharks Have Tiny Teeth Protecting Their Eyes, Japanese Research Finds
Japanese researchers have found that whale sharks have protective “armour” around their eyeballs in the form of tiny teeth. Japan's Okinawa Churashima Research Centre scientists studied the eyes of both living and dead whale sharks, which can grow to 18-metres and have eyes on the sides of their head.
Wet Wipes Contributing to Ocean Plastic Crisis, New Study Finds
Increased use of wet wipes during the Covid-19 pandemic is already exacerbating the “plastic crisis” in oceans, NUIG team says. Some 50 per cent of wipes labelled as “flushable” are not biodegradable and contain microplastics, a new study by researchers from NUIG’s Earth and Ocean Sciences states.
Ocean's Ability to Capture Atmospheric Carbon "Drastically Underestimated", Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Study Finds
An Irish renewable energy company has partnered with the French energy giant Total to develop, one of the world’s largest floating wind projects. Simply Blue Energy, and Total will jointly develop a 96MW floating wind farm in 70 metres of water in the Celtic Sea.
The Corrib impact: pipelines, protests and prosperity
A decade ago the Rossport Five were jailed over their opposition to a pipeline linking the offshore Corrib gas field to Shell’s inland refinery. With that plant complete, what were the project’s effects on north Mayo’s people, economy and environment?
The Corrib legacy: what the protests achieved
“You’ve gone very quiet up there.” North Mayo resident Mary Corduff reckons that if she had a euro for every time she heard this remark over the past few months, her purse could be pretty full. “People think because they don’t see us on protesting on the television that we have accepted this, but we haven’t,” Corduff says, looking out of her farmhouse window towards the Corrib gas refinery several miles away.
Ocean's Ability to Capture Atmospheric Carbon "Drastically Underestimated", Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Study Finds
An Irish renewable energy company has partnered with the French energy giant Total to develop, one of the world’s largest floating wind projects. Simply Blue Energy, and Total will jointly develop a 96MW floating wind farm in 70 metres of water in the Celtic Sea.
No smoking guns: the 100-year controversy about what the ‘Lusitania’ was carrying
Germany claimed that a cargo of munitions made the Cunard liner a legitimate target for its U-boats, but the wreck’s owner, Gregg Bemis, says there’s no certain proof
5,500-year-old canoe put on display at aquarium
A 5,500-YEAR-OLD dug-out canoe that was found by a schoolteacher and his son on a beach near Barna has been conserved for underwater display in the Galway Atlantaquaria in Salthill.
Schoolboy finds Bronze Age arrowhead
A Connemara schoolboy has stumbled on an artefact described by an archaeologist as "very significant". Michael Coohill (11), a pupil at Scoil Mhuire primary school, Clifden, discovered the fragile arrowhead during a visit to Inishbofin, Co Galway.
Concern over 'incidents' during ‘Star Wars’ filming on Skellig Michael
A guide who has worked on Skellig Michael, off the Co Kerry coast, for almost three decades says that her experiences over the past two years still cause her to feel deeply concerned about the Government’s decision to allow scenes for Star Wars to be filmed on the Unesco Skellig Michael UNESCO World Heritage site.
How an ancient pillar, featuring ode by Horace, was part of a Galway gate jigsaw puzzle
An ancient pillar with a Latin inscription has been discovered in Galway in a consignment of cut stone from Luggala, the Wicklow estate formerly owned by Guinness heir Garech de Brún.
Drowned prehistoric Connemara house ‘shows how sea level rose’
Parts of a dwelling that could be up to 6,000 years old have been identified by the archaeologist Michael Gibbons and engineer Shane Joyce on the coast southwest of Clifden, Co Galway. The discovery of "drowned" prehistoric house may be evidence of sea level rising along Atlantic coast.
Early Christian oratory found on 'inaccessible' Little Skellig
Skellig Michael’s sister crag of Little Skellig, off the Kerry coast, was long thought to be so inaccessible that only gannets, fulmars and puffins could inhabit it. Now the remains of an early Christian oratory have been discovered there by archaeologist Michael Gibbons and a team of climbers.
Irish diver Rory Golden to advise expedition to locate Titanic's radio
Irish deep sea diver Rory Golden is providing expertise to new expedition to the Titanic which aims to recover the Marconi radio from the wreck. Golden has been hired as a consultant to RMS Titanic Inc, a salvage and exhibition company that has recovered over 5,500 artefacts from the site in previous expeditions.
Archaeologists bogged down in Ceide Fields row
A heated dispute over the age of north Mayo’s Céide Fields has taken another twist, with the archaeologist who claimed the complex is 2,500 years younger than previously thought. Dr Andrew Whitefield contends there is "no reliable evidence for fields systems of any kind, anywhere in... the world in 4000BC"
Pollen at Ceide Fields proves Irish history is nothing to be sneezed at
New research has provided further confirmation that the Ceide Fields complex in north Mayo dates back almost 6,000 years, making it older than the pyramids. The exact age of the archaeological site has been hotly debated in recent years, though some suggest it dates back only to the later Bronze Age.
Little Skellig - The "Ultimate Retreat" Discovered By Archaeologist & Climbers
Little Skellig was long thought to have been inhabited only by gannets, fulmars and other seabirds. However, as The Sunday Times reports today, archaeologist Michael Gibbons and a group of climbers have located the remains of an early Christian oratory on a narrow precipitous terrace overlooking the Atlantic.
Irish Diver Rory Golden Consultant on new Expedition to Recover Titanic's Telegraph
Irish deep-sea diver Rory Golden provides expertise new Titanic expedition which aims to recover the Marconi radio. The wireless telegraph was instrumental in saving over 705 passengers from Atlantic waters when the ship sank after striking an iceberg in 1912, losing almost 1500 lives.
'The captain of the ship has gone': Gregg Bemis, owner of Lusitania, dies
US businessman Gregg Bemis, owner of the Lusitania which was torpedoed off Co Cork with the loss of 1,200 lives during the first World War, has died in New Mexico. “He always wanted to find out what caused the second explosion on the Lusitania, and the mantle we have to take on is to find that out,” says long time friend Eoin McGarry
Marine Affairs
Ireland is Europe's Island in the "Goldilocks" Zone for Rich Marine Resources
Ireland is in the sweetest “Goldilocks zone” when it comes to marine resources. We must be ready to manage that good fortune sensitively, and for both communities and individuals, when the gold rush comes. ”
Inshore Fishermen Warn Overturning of Ban on Larger Trawlers Inside Six Mile Limit is Worse Than a "No-Deal Brexit"
Irish inshore fishermen have said that a High Court ruling which overturns a Government ban on trawling by larger fishing vessels within the Irish six nautical mile limit is “likely to be more severe” on them than a “no-deal Brexit". ”
Government Drops any Inquiry into Encounter Between Fishing Vessel & Royal Navy Frigate
The Government has opted not to pursue an incident where a British navy ship instructed an Irish fishing vessel to leave grounds where it was working some 60 miles off the Donegal coast. The fishing vessel Marlíona was hailed by the British navy ship HMS Lancaster on July 21st last and asked to leave the area, despite being within Ireland's EEZ.
Galway Seabed Survey for Submarine Fibre Cable Between Iceland & Ireland
Iceland has selected Galway as the European landing location for international telecommunications cables. Farice, a company fully owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe. It has been undertaking preparatory work for a new submarine fibre cable from Iceland to Europe since early 2019.
Cockles & Mussels Alive-oh But Perhaps Not with Molly Malone
The Dubliners' ode to Irish shellfish in their song Molly Malone may have been relying on inaccurate information. New research by University College, Cork (UCC) scientists reports there is “inconsistent” data on the location of Irish cockles in previous studies.
75 per cent of Ireland's Land Territory Will Be Mapped this Year, GSI Says
A low-flying aircraft will gather geophysical data over counties Laois, Tipperary, Kilkenny and Waterford, and neighbouring parts of Offaly, Cork, Carlow and Kildare from September until the end of the year, weather permitting, the GSI says.
Taoiseach Criticised Over Penalty Points System by Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation
Taoiseach Micheál Martin accused of having “conveniently ignored” a Supreme Court ruling on penalty points for commercial fishing by signing in a new system late last week. Ireland has been under pressure from the EU to introduce an system of penalties for fishing offences, and Mr O’Donohue says the industry supports this in principle.
EU-US "Mini Deal" on Lobster Imports Negotiated by Former Commissioner Phil Hogan May "Wipe Out" Irish Lobster Fishery
Irish lobster fishermen are warning that they face a “wipe-out” as a result of an EU-US trade deal negotiated by former Irish commissioner Phil Hogan. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine says Ireland is “still considering” the full implications of the “mini-deal”.
Spanish Vessel Detained by Naval Service Has Alleged Earlier Confrontation off Scotland
A German-registered Spanish fishing vessel detained last week by the Naval Service near Rockall had been at the centre of an alleged confrontation off the Scottish coast last month. The German federal police department for maritime security has been reported as stating there is “no suspicion of an offence under German law”.
Ireland Gets Maritime Oil Pollution Plan - Almost 34 Years After Kowloon Bridge Sinking
Irish Coast Guard deputy director Gerard O’Flynn has hailed as a “milestone” the publication of the State’s framework for handling major maritime pollution incidents. The plan released by the outgoing government last Friday fulfils long-awaited commitments made after the grounding of the Kowloon Bridge almost 34 years ago.
EU Ombudsman Disappointed at Failure of EU Fisheries Ministers to Embrace Transparency
EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has expressed “regret” of EU failure to adopt her office’s demand for more transparency in dealing out annual catches and quotas. The EU Council has refused to accept a recommendation by her office for greater transparency in the lead up to the annual catch and quota negotiations under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
Tributes to Fishing Industry Leader Donal O'Driscoll Who Died at the Weekend
Tributes have been paid to fishing industry leader Donal O’Driscoll who died in hospital at the weekend at the age of 86. “A champion of the Irish fishing industry” is how the Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation (IS&WFPO) described him yesterday (sun), as plans were made for a guard of honour in his home port of Castletownbere, Co Cork today.
How smart thinking reeled in missing paddleboarders Sara Feeny and Ellen Glynn
When Sara Feeney glimpsed a boat in the distance after spending a terrifying night perched on paddleboards in Galway Bay, at first she didn’t want to say anything to her cousin. “I thought my mind was playing tricks on me — I just wasn’t sure,” she said yesterday. “It was so far away... and then it came closer, and we began waving our paddles.”
Drones on the horizon for search and rescue service contract
The Irish Coast Guard has asked the government to include fixed-wing aircraft and drones in the new state contract for the search and rescue service. Companies that bid to take on the air-sea service, which will replace the current €60m-a-year contract in 2024, may be asked to suggest how a mixture of helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and drones can be utilised.
Young West Cork Fisherman Who Died Last Year May Have "Fallen Overboard", MCIB Report States
The 23-year-old man was a trained and experienced commercial fisherman and was on a day off when he went fishing for mackerel and pollack in the 5.7-metre open deck GRP vessel Tommy R
Galway TD Calls for Review of Paddleboard Rescue to be Made Public
The Irish Coast Guard has said it is reviewing the rescue of two young women who survived 15 hours at sea on paddleboards after they were swept across Galway Bay. Independent Galway West TD Catherine Connolly has called for the findings of a review to be made public, with recommendations for future rescues.
Independence of Marine Casualty Investigation Board 'Not Guaranteed', European Court of Justice Rules
The European Court of Justice has ruled the State’s marine incident investigating body is not independent due to the presence of two civil servants on its board. The European Court of Justice said the MCIB's independence is “not guaranteed” and has awarded costs against Ireland.
Galway Paddleboarder Issues Water Safety Appeal & Pays Tribute to Those Involved in Sea Rescue
“We owe it to these people to do everything we can to keep ourselves safe,” she said, describing all those involved in rescue on water as “heroes”. “Lifejackets are a must, there’s no question about it..and even things like a light,” she said.
Aran Fisherman Who Owns Pots at Centre of Paddleboard Rescue Praises "Two Very Tough, Very Brave" Women
Aran island fisherman Bertie Donohue says he is “amazed” at the resilience of the two young Galway women who survived a 15-hour ordeal after their paddleboards were swept across Galway bay last week. “They are two very tough, very brave girls – and I don’t know how they managed to hold on"
How the Missing Galway Bay Paddleboarders Were Found by Fishermen
When Helen Feeney took a photo of her daughter, Sara (23), and niece Ellen (17), off Furbo beach on the northern shore of Galway Bay, the pair were happy out on stand-up paddleboards. It was a bright, warm summer's evening. The two women were wearing swim gear, but not wetsuits. Fortunately, they had buoyancy aids.
West Cork Vessel's Sinking in Co Down Identifies Need for Navigation Planning & Exercise Drills, Report States
The need for formal navigation planning has been highlighted in a MCIB report on the sinking of a West Cork fishing vessel in Ardglass harbour, Co Down last year. The report on the sinking of the FV Dillon Owen has also highlighted the need for exercise drills to prepare for groundings and collisions.
Kayaker Who Died on Lough Gill Had Been Separated from Canadian Canoe in Bad Weather, MCIB Report Finds
A lone kayaker who died on Sligo’s Lough Gill last year may have become separated from his Canadian canoe in bad weather, an investigation has found. An MCIB report into the incident on January 29th, 2019, has found that wellington boots worn by the kayaker would have weighed him down on immersion.
State's Air Navigation Division Suffering Staff Shortages Two Years After Rescue 116 Crash, Review Finds
Air navigation services run by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) have not been adequately resourced and were still suffering from staffing shortages for at least two years after the Rescue 116 helicopter crash, The Sunday Independent reports.
DPP rules out criminal charges over death of Irish Coast Guard Caitríona Lucas
The Director of Public Prosecutions has decided that no criminal charges should be brought in relation to the death of Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas almost four years ago. Her death prompted two state investigations into the incident off Kilkee on September 12, 2016.
British aviation expert to review withheld Rescue 116 crash report
A senior aviation expert with the British coast guard has been asked to review an unpublished investigation into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash off Mayo coast. Philip Hanson, aviation technical assurance manager with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency to work with senior counsel Patrick McCann on review board.
Rescue 116 crash report delay ‘may set back reform’
Transport minister Shane Ross sought approval from the attorney-general before allowing a review of the draft final report into the causes of the Irish Coast Guard Rescue 116 crash. The review, which the IALPA has described as “unprecedented”, will be overseen by a barrister, solicitor or engineering expert.
What really happened to doomed rescue operation R116?
Captain Dara Fitzpatrick cleaned the windscreen on the Sikorsky S-92A helicopter minutes before she and her crew left Dublin airport to aid an evacuation. Several hours later she burst through the emergency cockpit window to escape from the aircraft, which plunged 40 metres into hostile sea conditions.
Connemara Island's Evacuation Remembered by New Islanders
When three Connemara islanders drowned on their way home in a currach from watching the All-Ireland football final on television in Clifden in 1974, their loss had such a devastating impact that most of the residents of Turbot evacuated four years later.
Gales Cushion Impact of Island Reopening to Visitors - Sean Kyne Plays Down Impact of Social Media Post
Gales over the weekend have cushioned the impact of full re-opening of offshore islands to visitors as COVID-19-related restrictions are eased. However, there has been a steady increase in traffic to the Aran islands, served currently by one ferry from Ros-a-Mhíl in Galway to all three islands.
Gaeltacht Minister Opposes NPHET Decision on Early Opening of Offshore Islands
Gaeltacht Minister Sean Kyne says he opposes the National Public Health Emergency Team’s (NPHET) decision on an early lifting of travel restrictions to and from offshore islands. The decision to allow travel to and from offshore islands to resume from June 29th, announced on Friday night, has thrown island communities into confusion.
Coast guard lifejacket fears aired years earlier
Irish Coast Guard was warned more than three years ago of problems with the full inflation of lifejackets used by its inshore search, rescue and recovery craft. The service states that it's starting an investigation into the "malfunctioning of Rescue 400 lifejackets”, and has suspended sea rescue at 23 of its 44 stations.
Galway 2020
Lorna Siggins: Galway learns that being Capital of Culture is an art form
Galway 2020 creative director, Helen Marriage, has described herself as a “weather witch,” so this weekenad’s forecast may not cost her any sleep. Hail, rain, or whatever Storm Ciara has to offer, the city will mark the formal opening of its European Capital of Culture programme with light, fire, drums and music, and one enormous sigh of relief.
Photos of Ireland of the 50s go on display in Dublin
French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson was known as ‘the eye of the century’ and captured the last images of Gandhi before his death. However, pigs being slaughtered, family outings to the races, and upturned currachs were also the focus of his lens during his time in the Ireland of the 1950s and 1960s.
Fianna Fail calls for audit of Galway 2020 European capital of culture fund
Fianna Fail councillors have formally asked the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) to audit the company established to manage Galway’s year as European capital of culture. The party’s group on Galway city council said it wants the audit carried out “as soon as possible, to ensure accountability is in place for taxpayer funding”.
Coronavirus in Ireland: Artists say show must go on — in six languages
They may have to live in “pods”, rehearse on closed sets and undergo strict testing, but ten acts from five countries have come together to put on a socially distanced show for the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture programme.
Galway’s pop-up outdoor venue aims to boost tourism
Summer isn’t quite summer if there’s no “Big Top” marquee on the Galway skyline, and July isn’t July if there’s no sprinkling of arts festival fairy dust over the city. However, take several committed food producers and combine them with one event manager on a mission, and you get a little bit of that old magic in the shape of the Galway Summer Garden.
Funding of €1m off key as delays for Galway 2020 music programme play out
Tan Dun, a Chinese musician who composed the score for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, is among the artists booked by Music for Galway for a series of performances to take place during the city’s year as European capital of culture - however, funding for the programme could be lost if the event is not rescheduled to next year.
Galway 2020 may end up as 2021
The organisers of Galway 2020 will hold a “virtual” board meeting on Tuesday to discuss extending or moving the European Capital of Culture project to 2021. Arthur Lappin, chairman of Galway 2020, said he was committed to taking a decision “as soon as possible” in the context of Covid-19, but a “whole bunch of conversations” were needed.
Storm Ciara forces cancellation of Galway 2020 launch
Patricia Philbin, chief executive of Galway 2020, has said she hopes insurance will cover some of the cost of the cancelled European capital of culture opening ceremony, which had to be abandoned due to Storm Ciara after handover of the capital of culture title to Galway by Phil Hogan, EU commissioner for trade.
Inflatable art blows up Galway's capital of culture bill
Galway city councillors are being asked to advance an extra €2.5m on top of the €6m already committed towards the city’s European capital of culture programme. Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s depiction of refugees is one of a number of additions to the programme councillors will be asked to support special meeting.
There’s no fallback on Everest, so what drives climbers to the challenge?
Two Irishmen were among 11 killed this season on the world’s highest mountain. What draws climbers to the challenge? When Katie Taylor flew into Dublin Airport earlier this month, few among the crowd assembled for the newly crowned, lightweight boxing world champion would have known that Co Down mountaineer Noel Hanna was also arriving.
Ireland's Dr Octopus explores one of the last great frontiers
Professor Louise Allcock didn't reckon she would be able to phone home when from 200m deep in the Indian Ocean. Her smartphone did come in handy, however, when a sunfish swam right up to the window of her submersible.
Irish Peaks — a glossy new guide to Ireland’s mountains
Faraway hills have always been greener but glas iad na cnoic i bhfad uainn may be one of the most irritating Irish proverbs to hear, now that we are being asked to stay within 5km of our homes.
From here to Antarctica: Meet the Kerry-born veteran sailor and his scientist wife who are swapping sea spray for a snowy expedition
Veteran sailor Damian Foxall is swapping sea spray for snow as he and his scientist wife Lucy Hunt join a team leading Antarctic expeditions that will balance scientific research with adventure.
The high life: from the Little Sugar Loaf to Everest
Everest it isn't, but a glimpse of Wicklow's Little Sugar Loaf is still always enough to make Chris Bonington's heart skip. The 85-year-young British mountaineer, who has seen the curvature of the earth from the planet's highest places, has a special fondness for the hill where it all began. He was a 15-year-old only child and visiting his grandfather in Dublin's Mount Merrion, when he decided to take the bus to Bray.
50 years of the life aquatic
In the gear bag: three or four pullovers, shirts and Army long johns. From the shoreline: swim out, invert and hold your breath. When Mick Moriarty took up diving in Ireland, more than half a century ago, the best equipment and approach, he says, were what you had in your head.
Irish father-of-three dies after team caught in bad weather on Russian mountain
An Irish mountaineer has died after his climbing team was caught in bad weather on the southern Russian peak of Mount Elbrus. Father-of-three Alan Mahon (40), from Monasterevin, Co Kildare, died on Sunday during an expedition to Europe's highest mountain. He was with a five-man Irish group attempting the north route of the peak when tragedy struck.
Climbers to mark 25th anniversary of first Irish ascent of Everest
The 25th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Mount Everest by Irish climbers is due to be marked with events in the Dublin and Mourne mountains this weekend. Two charities – the Irish Nepalese Educational Trust and the Barretstown charity for children with serious illnesses – will benefit from the anniversary events.
K2 climber Jason Black lost two colleagues on the world’s second highest mountain
When Jason Black became only the second Irish man to survive an ascent of K2, the world’s second highest mountain, he had already witnessed one colleague falling to his death and another having a fatal accident on the descent. “So yes, I was frightened, and I can’t play this experience either down or up,”the 47-year-old told The Irish Times from K2 base camp in the Karakoram range in Pakistan.
Co Down bodyguard who reached K2 summit says he would ‘do it all again’
Co Down climber Noel Hanna (51) who is one of the first Irishmen to survive an ascent of K2 says he would do it all again. Hanna has a habit of that, having climbed Everest eight times – twice with his wife, Lynne.
Climber ‘lives it up’ in national altitude centre while training for seven summits
When aeronautical engineer Paul Devaney closes the door of his “digs” in the University of Limerick (UL) each evening, he sleeps in a room over three times the height of Kerry’s Carrauntoohil. Devaney (36), an aeronautical engineer from Longford, has been doing so for the past six months as the longest living resident in UL’s national altitude training centre.
‘Everest calling . . . I’m sitting on the summit of the world’
“I wandered up the last few yards to the top, the snow untracked and pristine on all sides, absorbing the beauty of the most extensive mountain panorama on Earth. The green jungle and forests of Nepal to the south contrasting with the brown, rolling, barren hills of Tibet. Radio on, make it dramatic.”
Poet Domhnall Mac Síthigh dies after boat capsizes off Spain
Tributes have been paid to Kerry poet Danny Sheehy, who died after a naomhóg in which he was one of four crew capsized off the Iberian coast. Sailor and adventurer Paddy Barry, who was due to join the crew later this week, said that “none was more able or experienced” than Mr Sheehy.
Funeral told Lynam was 'voice of Irish mountaineering' on world stage
"There is much comfort in high hills and a great easing of the heart . . .” The words of Geoffrey Winthrop Young were recalled at the funeral of mountaineer Joss Lynam (86) in Dublin yesterday, where tributes were paid to his enthusiasm, his inspiration and his legacy to adventure sports.
Expedition duo set for 784km North Pole trek
IRELAND’s first female Everest summiteer Dr Clare O’Leary leaves later this week for her third attempt on the North Pole. Dr O’Leary, a specialist in gastroenterology at South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel is undertaking the attempt with Kerry adventurer Mike O’Shea.
Irish adventures in the North-West passage
Once upon a time there were career adventurers and there were quiet adventurers, before social media changed the game. Though we can all be famous now, some people still manage to make little of lots and lightly shake off the stardust that is their due.
All aboard for quality time: Irish families' sailing adventures
Imagine trying to fit 14 months-worth of adventure on the back of a postcard — during a pandemic, at that. Had they dodged lightning storms, swum through a shiver of sharks and clung to a coconut sack to escape prison, the Quinlan-Owens family from Co Galway could not radiate more exhilaration after their year at sea.
It isn’t the end of the adventure for Ireland’s extreme sports lovers
Everest is a quiet summit this spring, as are many peaks, cliffs, crags and untamed rivers across the planet. However, one silver lining in this pandemic cloud is the anticipated explosion in interest in Ireland’s own pockets of wilderness.
Coronavirus in Ireland: Ernest Shackleton’s calmness shows how to cope in crisis
“For scientific discovery give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel give me Amundsen; but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton” Raymond Priestley, the late British geologist, spent time in Antarctica with explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott.
Take a dive into surfing and wild swimming to wipe out the winter blues
Water-based activities around the Irish coastline have provided many a physical and mental health boost during our national summer staycation — and if you suit up, there need be no dip in the fun during the colder months
Aran-Galway Currach Row Marks Transatlantic Bid
When Fergus Farrell was paralysed after a workplace accident, he may never have imagined he would watch the sunrise as he plied a currach across Galway Bay. However, the former rugby player did just that with close friend and extreme sports athlete Damian Browne this week, completing a 40 km row from the Aran islands into Galway city.
Astronaut Kathy Sullivan on Deep Sea Diving, Living Through a Pandemic & Ocean Health
US astronaut and oceanographer Dr Kathryn Sullivan has compared the current global situation to being in the midst of a severe storm on a sailing boat in mid-ocean. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Dr Sullivan said that although she was an optimist, it was “the most uncertain time I have witnessed in my lifetime”.
Paddleboarders stranded at sea in Galway thought 'no one was looking' for them
Singing Taylor Swift songs and watching shooting stars sustained cousins Ellen Glynn, 17, and Sara Feeney, 23, during their 15-hour survival battle in the cold waters off Galway Bay. “I think I know every line of Taylor Swift — we sang them all,” Ellen told the Irish Examiner, speaking from her ward at University Hospital Galway.
Fisherman planned on moving crab pots which saved women in Galway
When he heard Sara Feeney, 23, and Ellen Glynn, 17, had secured themselves to floats off Inis Oírr after being carried across the bay last Wednesday night, he knew immediately it was his crab gear. Bertie, who processes brown crab on Inis Mór, said he had planned to move the gear early last week, but “something stopped him”.
Coronavirus in Ireland: British contractors at Corrib gas refinery in north Mayo test positive
Three British-based contractors employed on the Corrib gas refinery in north Mayo have tested positive for coronavirus. Vermilion Exploration & Production Ireland Ltd, the refinery owner, has confirmed that it is re-testing all 70 specialist workers who had been engaged for essential maintenance works.
RNLI & Irish Water Safety - Living With Covid 19 Guidelines
RNLI stations are reporting a busy season as more people stay at home for holidays due to the Covid-19 restrictions. As The Irish Examiner reports, new standard operating procedures (SOPs) to adhere with Covid-19 public health and safety guidelines have changed the environment and placed extra pressure on crews.
Coronavirus in Ireland: Ernest Shackleton’s calmness shows how to cope in crisis
“For scientific discovery give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel give me Amundsen; but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton” Raymond Priestley, the late British geologist, spent time in Antarctica with explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott.
Perfecting Surfboard "Pop-Ups" - Coláiste Uisce Goes Online
Coláiste Uisce, which teaches surfing, sailing, windsurfing and kayaking courses through the medium of the Irish language, had just spent some €0.5 million preparing for this season when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. It is one of a number of Gaeltacht colleges which had to cancel residential courses this summer.
Creed Rejects Fishing Industry Criticism of Covid-19 Vessel Tie-Up Scheme
Marine Minister Michael Creed has defended a new temporary tie-up scheme for fishing vessels which has been condemned by the industry as “designed to fail”. Four Irish fish producers have said the EU-funded scheme to compensate whitefish vessels which tie up during the Covid-19 crisis is “completely unfit for purpose”.
Warning of Increased Water Safety Risks as Covid 19 Restrictions Ease
The Government has been warned of the risks of an increase in drownings in the next few weeks during an easing of Covid-19 restrictions. Water Safety Ireland chief executive John Leech has expressed concern about the risks if weather is good before lifeguards are in place on beaches, and when water temperatures are still relatively low.
"We Are All on a Metaphorical Ice Floe..." Co Kildare Museum Releases Podcasts on Shackleton to Boost Morale
“What would Shackleton do?” is the title of five podcasts which the museums’ voluntary board is releasing free to the public. The short recordings draw on the Kildare-born adventurer’s key characteristics for successful exploration-optimism, patience, idealism and courage.
Naval Service Stands Down Covid-19 Test Centres Run by Ships in Three Ports
Naval Service patrol ship LÉ William Butler Yeats left Dublin today to return to routine security operations as Covid-19 community testing centres on ships are stood down. Six ships have rotated duty in the three ports of Dublin, Galway and Cork since March 15th as a support to the Health Service Executive in providing field hospitals for testing.
Atlantic Seaboard Harder Hit Than East Coast by Economic Affect of Pandemic, Report Says
Dublin may have the highest number of cases of Covid-19 infection, but it is least exposed of all Irish counties to the economic impacts, a new report says. It identifies Galway as the city most likely to be severely affected, followed by Waterford, Limerick, Cork and Dublin in that order.
Self Isolating Scientists Head to Sea on Celtic Explorer
Six researchers from the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), and 15 crew on Marine Institute’s Celtic Explorer who have been self-isolating like astronauts for the past fortnight set sail from Galway this weekend retrieve a network of ocean bottom sensors which were deployed across the entire Irish offshore area 18 months ago.
'Port Pilots are National Assets' - Galway Harbourmaster
The unsung role of port pilots has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan. “Without the pilots, everything would stop - they really are a national asset,” Capt Sheridan has said.
Two-month low in new Covid cases as Ireland reopens
The number of new daily cases of Covid-19 in the Republic has fallen below 100 for the first time in two months, as the country embarks on the first phase of lifting travel and shopping restrictions. Health authorities confirmed 92 cases new yesterday and 15 deaths, bringing the total cases to 24,048, and deaths to 1,533.
RNLI: We can't risk infection and two-week closure of a station
Coxswain Seán O’Farrell has become quite a fan of a particular type of unscented Norwegian-formula cream. Based in West Cork’s Courtmacsherry, O’Farrell reckons he had never had so much contact with alcohol — on his hands. After four months of gelling, he is very keen on Neutrogena, and also knows how to sanitise his station in his sleep.
Anger greets rural visitors amid confusion on travel rules during the outbreak
A Connemara councillor has criticised the government’s “lack of clarity” on temporary relocation during the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in an angry social media campaign last week opposing visitors to rural areas.
Virus spreading through packed asylum centres in Dublin, Cork, Wicklow, Waterford and Galway
Asylum seekers in direct provision centres in Dublin, Cork, Wicklow, Waterford and Galway have tested positive for Covid-19 and some have been taken to hospital, it has emerged.
Swimming on the spot lets Clare teen Sabian Kulczynski crawl through lockdown
If there were Leaving Cert points for ingenuity in a lockdown, one Co Clare teenager would secure top marks. Rather than lose peak fitness during the pandemic, champion junior triathlete Sabian Kulczynski, 18, has built his own outdoor gym and swims daily “on the spot” in a back-garden mini-pool.
Social Affairs
New women’s refuge rises on site of Magdalene laundry
A new women’s refuge in the grounds of a former Magdalene laundry in Co Galway is almost complete. New apartments being built in the €4 million project will be named after inspirational Irish women like Dr Kathleen Lynn, and Dr James Miranda Steuart Barry, the Cork-born British military surgeon.
Lack of information from Dept of Justice caused 90% of problem in Oughterard, says developer
The tender to provide a Direct Provision centre in Oughterard has been withdrawn by the applicant after recent protests by residents of the Co. Galway village over the centre. Protestors had recently appealed to the Department of Justice to engage with them over alternative models for accommodating asylum seekers.
How Rachel Gotto is finding joy in the small things
Rachel Gotto has suffered more than most, from the death of her brother and husband to her cancer diagnosis and dependency on prescription drugs. But by training her brain to change established thought patterns, she found a way to thrive and not simply survive
Ageing with attitude: How Lesley is blazing a new trail in life
When British academic and accomplished climber Terry Gifford decided to tackle one of the most interesting rock climbs in Connemara, he took with him walking guide Lesley Emin. “When Lesley did her own thing, most things fell into place. Including lunch,” Gifford wrote. He was lucky, as is everyone who finds themselves in Emin’s company.
Mindful movement: Recharge with the help of qi gong
Lorna Siggins meets an upbeat teacher of qi gong, a Chinese mindfulness practice that operates on a system of 12 essential movements. Shaofan Zhu has an infectious senseof fun, and no more so than when he is about to demonstrate a slow and careful movement.
Miracle on Galway Bay
A balmy summer's evening quickly turned into a nightmare for cousins Sara Feeney (23) and Ellen Glynn (17) after they were swept out to sea on paddleboards. A miraculous rescue and story of endurance as Sara and Ellen survived 15 hours at sea.
Custodians of the wild Irish honeybee - Lorna Siggins: The Bees Knees
Countrywide reporter Lorna Siggins meets with bee custodians who are working with NUI Galway's Dr.Grace McCormack on a major upcoming study on Irish bees.
Search & Recovery: The Challenging Role of the Navy Diver
Sub-Lieutenant Tahlia Britton recently became the first female to quality for the Naval Service diving unit. She described the mental and physical challenges of being a Navy diver in this week's Wavelengths podcast
Round Ireland Relay Sea Swimmer Nuala Moore on What Inspires & Defines Her
“I never thought Cork would ever finish,” says Nuala Moore of that wonderful part of this coastline which she navigated in 2006. Moore was then one of six swimmers who undertook a round Ireland relay swim of 1,330 km in 2006. Moore spoke to Wavelengths about what inspires her and what defines her.
Seascapes: Survivors of the 1979 Fastnet Disaster”
Tonight on Seascapes survivors of the 1979 Fastnet Disaster recount their experiences to Lorna Siggins at a recent even in the Howth Yacht Club, and we hear from the author of a book on the centenary of the Baltimore Lifeboat, Eamon Langford.
The State of the Gaeltacht: Using the Irish Language
In the first of a three part series on the Gaeltacht Lorna Siggins reports on patterns in the ongoing use of the Irish language.
The State of the Gaeltacht: Badly Needed Reform
Lorna Siggins continues her series on the Gaeltacht and looks at the reform needed in Irish communities as well as the employment and planning issues prevalent in the Gaeltacht
The State of the Gaeltacht: What's Over the Horizon?
In the finale of her three part series on the Gaeltacht Lorna Siggins discusses the future of Irish-language communities in light of topics discussed in previous episodes.
Threat to the Honey Bee
Lorna Siggins visits David Geoghegan of 'Corrib Honey' to find out what the future holds for the Honey Bee, with the emergence of Biodiversity.
Dr Karen Weekes: First Irish Woman to Row Solo Across the Atlantic
Lorna Siggins joins Irish Solo Rower Dr Karen Weekes after she makes history with her solo row across the Atlantic, and discovers what she plans on doing next.
Lorna and the Bees
Lorna Siggins joins Countrywide's Damien O'Reilly to discuss her investigations into the state and future of Irish bees.
Burren In Bloom
Lorna Siggins reports on this year's Burren in Bloom festival live from hare's corner, Co.Clare.
Joyce in Saint Gérand Le Puy, by Lorna Siggins
Lorna Siggins reports on the experiences of Irish writer James Joyce in Gérand Le Puy, where he lived from 1939 to 1940.
Rachel Gotto: “Will I Ever Be Able to Sail Again?”
“Will I ever be able to sail again?” These were the first words Rachel Gotto remembers asking a close friend after coming round from major brain surgery. Gotto, who is now practising as a hypnotherapist in Galway, has recorded her path to recovery in her recently published book, Flying on the Inside, which she spoke to Wavelengths about when we met overlooking Rusheen Bay.
COVID 19 and Direct Provision
Lorna Siggins reports on how families are coping in direct provision during the Covid-19 pandemic
The re-population of Turbot Island
Lorna Siggins reports on the ongoing re-population efforts of Turbot Island, Galway