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The View from the Hill

Posted - Thursday 31 December 2015

Happy New Year and thanks for visiting. Thanks to everyone for emailing comments and information. See you in 2016.

Posted - Wednesday 30 December 2015

The Murrough walk was completely washed away overnight, as Storm Frank crossed the Wicklow Coast. Widespread damage and flooding is reported in many areas across the country. Social Media has video footage of flooding along the river in Arklow port.

Posted - Saturday 19 December 2015

The Penlee lifeboat tragedy happened 34 years ago today. Eight RNLI volunteers put to sea on the Watson class lifeboat ‘Solomon Browne’ that night to help the crew of a small coaster, as a storm was raging off the Cornish coast.

The UNION STAR was on her maiden passage from Holland to Arklow at the time with a cargo of fertiliser,  she had suffered mechanical problems and was adrift. A Royal Navy Seaking helicopter was scrambled but was unable to winch due of the severe weather conditions.

The helicopter pilot reported seeing the lifeboat go alongside the ship to take off the crew. He spoke very highly of the lifeboat crew who were determined to rescue the ship’s crew as it drifted towards the shore. Tragically, both crews were lost that night.

The Penlee lifeboat station closed, and remains a poignant memorial to the eight-lifeboat crew

Posted - Friday 27th November 2015

Great news announced by Wicklow Sailing Club this week. VOLVO will be the driving force and sponsor the 2016 Round Ireland Yacht Race.

Posted - Tuesday 10th November 2015

Parker Keogh passed away recently after a short illness. He was always very generous with his time for me and I enjoyed our chats at the Castle wall. He will be missed.

Posted - Saturday 26th September 2015

There was plenty of marine activity during the week with the now regular callers from Scotland delivering imports of round timber. It is ironic that twenty years Irish round timber was going the opposite direction and exported to the UK on the coasters GLENROSA and GLENCLOY.

Posted - Thursday 10th September 2015

Local Press reports are saying that municipal councillors have voted in favour of changing the traffic layout and appearance at Fitzwilliam Square in Wicklow town. The contentious plan, opposed by many people over the past few years, could see changes to the grounds around the memorial of Captain Robert Halpin. The memorial surrounded by railings honours the locally born Captain of the ship that laid the first transatlantic cable. An achievement many of us interested in maritime history are proud to celebrate.

In other maritime news, the film crew making the new Star Wars movie are planning to return to Skellig Rock off the Kerry Coast to shoot more scenes. Some reports suggest an exclusion zone will in place to stop fans flocking to the area to get a glimpse of the filming!

The most shocking image over the past few weeks was the photograph of a Syrian toddler’s body washed ashore on a Turkish beach. The child is one of many who lost their lives fleeing to Europe on all manner of boats, in a humanitarian crisis not witnessed in decades.

Posted - Wednesday 2nd September 2015

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Notices were posted around the harbour over the past week, advising swimmers to stay out of the water until further notice. The cause of the ban is high bacteria levels, which could lead to illness. Not all swimmers are taking the advice as l saw a man swim in the harbour on Sunday evening. The restriction was put in place after samples showed high levels of bacteria; the cause is believed to be due to many factors including recent heavy rain.

Over the weekend, there was plenty of activity along the Wicklow Coast. Over 100 yachts from various clubs arrived in Greystones Marina for the Annual sailing Regatta. In Arklow, the sailing vessel KASKELOT paid a visit before departing on Sunday for Bristol. The ship made her last call to Wicklow port about 20 years ago to feature in a film. If memory serves, the film title was ‘Kidnapped’ starring Armand Assante.

The TV station TG4 also aired the movie ‘Tiffin’ over the weekend, it was filmed at various locations around Wicklow in the late 1980s. There was a great buzz at the time as Pierce Brosnan was the lead actor. The harbour featured in some scenes, with the coaster CHEZINE loading stone chippings for London. Many familiar faces now gone were also visible standing at the Castle wall.

Posted - Tuesday 25th August 2015

hunter
(The Hunter at the Bray Airshow in July 2015)
Just seen a news report that the Hunter jet that crashed at the Shoreham Air Show on Saturday , was the same one that displayed at the Bray Airshow last month. So far eleven people are confirmed dead after the plane came down on the A27 motorway , hitting several cars during an air display. An investigation is underway and Police have said the death toll could rise. The Pilot remains in critical condition in hospital after being taken from the wreckage. The BBC has reported all Hunter display aircraft have been grounded until further notice and temporary display restrictions have been put in place by the UK Civil Aviation Authority for Airshows. Your heart can only go out to all those effected.

Posted - Saturday 13th June 2015

It has certainly been a busy few days at Wicklow harbour , with the arrival of the giant jack up barge WAVEWALKER 1 . It is moored outside the North Quay at the moment and continues to attach many curious onlookers. The barge is to go alongside the Packet pier on Sunday morning to load a 500tonne crane. To facilitate this operation , the cargo vessel MUSKITIER currently at the berth , is expected to go to anchor in the bay. l have heard that HUSKY will be assisting the MTS VANQUISH , she is returning from Heysham at the moment, her eta on AIS is 0100hrs on Sunday morning.

Posted - Thursday 11th June 2015

Bray Air show

This year the line up for the Bray Air show includes The Air Corps and the Swiss Air Force aerobatic team 'The Patrouille Suisse'. So we will see at least 6 Northrop F-5E Tiger fighter jets in formation over the seaside town. This free event which takes place on Sunday 19th July seems to be getting better each year.

Posted - Monday 5th January 2015

New Year Marine activity began at Wicklow on Thursday afternoon with the Annual RNLI Service of Remembrance. The ceremony is held annually on New Years Day to remember past lifeboat crew and all associated with the sea from the locality. The ceremony got underway with a short prayer service conducted by local clergy, flowers and wreaths were blessed before being taken out to sea and launched in the bay.

On Saturday evening news was breaking about a upturned coaster off the Northern Scottish coast, the vessel was the CEMFJORD. All eight crew are missing. The ship had called to Arklow in the past as the MARGARETA . Later bulletins confirmed CEMFJORD had sank in deep water off the coast of Scotland. Another smaller coaster EZADEEN also made headlines after being found drifting off the Italian Coast with a human cargo of refugees , this was the second ship in the past week intercepted by Italian authorities. This first ship was BLUE SKY M , her former name was JORUND . l am pretty sure she has discharged at Wicklow in the past. The smugglers put the ship on autopilot heading in the direction of Italy and abandoned the migrants to their fate. They pay large amounts of money to these gangs and are prepared to risk everything to get into Europe , I have read reports that unknown numbers of people have drown while attempting to sail across the Mediterranean in all manner of boats.

On Saturday night news pages on Facebook were reporting another incident in the Solent , a large car carrier went aground while leaving Southamton, luckily all the crew were taken off by helicopter and RNLI Lifeboats. On Sunday TV news reports showed the listing vessel high and dry outside the main shipping channel. Damage is being assessed and salvors are making plans to see if the vessel can be refloated. News channels interviewed marine experts for their opinion on how the refloating operation might proceed. A similar vessel went aground on sandbanks off the Wicklow Coast a few years ago while departing from Dublin. The vessel was sucessfully refloated a few days later without any pollution or damage.

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