----- The Voice of Ireland's Fishing Industry and Maritime Community - Published Monthly, Established 1989 -----

President Higgins Supports the Island Communities
News from the offshore islands from
Rhoda Twombly, Secretary Comhdháil Oileán nahEireann

Summer is always a busy time and there is plenty of activity from the smallest to the largest of our Islands. But first off, I'd like to thank President and Mrs Higgins for the wonderful garden party they hosted in June at Áras an Uachtaráin for 400 Islanders.

10th July 2017

Always an eloquent speaker, President Higgins spoke straight to the Islander's hearts, saying, "Nothing is inevitable. The loss of sustainable island life is not inevitable. The recent decline in many of our islands' populations is a challenge to be addressed. More accurately, it is the result of a series of challenges not having been adequately addressed. However, with the required political will, ambition and imagination, we can, I believe, turn the tide. Intervention is needed - intervention conducted in dialogue with islanders and their representatives."

My own home, Inishlyre in Clew Bay, is one of our smallest Islands but we were hopping this last weekend with our 8th annual Island Mass and community get-together. About 80 people attended the mass said for all departed members of the Gibbons family. This has become quite a social event for the nearby Islands and mainland communities and the fair weather ensured that a great time was had by all.

A much larger gathering was held on Inish Mór - the annual championships of the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association. This was the first time in the group's 40-year history that the racing was based on Inish Mor. It was no mean feat organising the championships which included 65 sailing boats and Inish Mór was honoured to act as host. Organisers were thrilled with the welcome and help given, loved the Island and enthused that Inish Mór were such wonderful hosts that they'd love to return in 2019.

There was success on a smaller Island as well with Atlantic Towage and Marine of Bere Island, headed by Sean Harrington, receiving the prizes for Shipping Company of the Year and the Future Achiever Award at the Marine Industry Awards in Galway during Seafest week. Atlantic Towage is considered the most successful salvage company in Ireland and is based on Bere Island with an office and boats in Killybegs. Just goes to prove that big success can come from small Islands!

Sherkin Island is quite the "Island of the Arts" with art exhibitions, workshops and theatre performances in the Community Centre all summer long. There are two week-long vocal workshops the second half of July with Brian Clickner, who promises to teach all to sing with confidence. And artist Robbie Murphy is showing his works at an exhibition titled "Earth, Wind and Sky" from the 29th of July through 4th of August. Check out sherkingisland.com for more details.

All Islands are involved in some way with water safety and Inis Oírr is no exception. Their water safety swim week is on the 24th through the 28th of July. This is followed by a Cúl camp 31stJuly-4th of August.

Moving north, Gola Island in Donegal hosts its annual festival the 22-23rd of July. Visitors can explore the island, go on a tour by sea, view a photography exhibition or take an outdoor photography class. There will also be the blessing of the boats and mass on the pier and the showing of archival film of the Island.

I would be strongly tempted to visit Arranmore for their Swell Music and Arts Festival taking place the 21-23 of July. There is a super line-up of comedy acts not to mention tons of music. Mark Geary is the headline act plus Moya Brennan and Family, Mundy, Clann MhicRuari and several other musicianers. Sounds like a winner to me! Please see www.swellfestival.com for information and tickets.

So it's slán for now from the Islands!


July 2017 issue in all good stockists

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