Two ‘shouts’ for RNLI to Saltee Islands

Kilmore Quay RNLI Lifeboat towing a RIB to safety from the Saltee Islands last Saturday (Pic; Elaine Walsh/RNLI)

By Dan Walsh

Kilmore Quay RNLI responded to two separate requests from the Irish Coast Guard for assistance to pleasure crafts in the vicinity of the Saltee Islands over the weekend. Weather and sea conditions were good on both occasions.

The first call was at 2 pm on Saturday to assist a rigid inflatable boat (RIB.) with five people on board that had lost steering. The lifeboat launched at 2.18 pm and made its way to the south side of the Great Saltee where the crew of the RIB. had managed to tie on to a buoy and await assistance. All on board were safe and well. The lifeboat crew established a towline and brought the boat back to Kilmore Quay arriving at 3.12 pm.

At 5.30pm on Sunday evening, the crew responded to assist a lone sailor on an 8-metre yacht approximately six nautical miles southeast of Kilmore Quay. The yacht had experienced a navigation system failure. Arriving on scene at 6 pm and after checking the person on board was safe and well, a towline was established. The yacht was brought back to Kilmore Quay harbour arriving at 7.25 pm.

Kilmore Quay RNLI Coxswain, Eugene Kehoe, told; “Even the best maintained equipment can sometimes go wrong, so it is important to always be prepared for when it does happen as these people were. They did the right thing in calling for help when they did. I would urge anyone heading out to sea always carry a reliable means of communication, VHF, or a mobile phone in a waterproof case in case you need to call for help and always wear a life jacket. If you do get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard,” he concluded.

National Biodiversity Week 2023

Planting a native Irish Rowan tree in the grounds of Kennedy Park school to mark National Biodiversity Week 2023.

By Dan Walsh

To mark the official launch of National Biodiversity Week (May 19th-28th), Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Cllr George Lawlor, planted a native Irish Rowan tree in the grounds of Kennedy Park National School in Wexford town.

Cllr Lawlor was delighted to perform the official launch and said: “This week is all about connecting people with nature and the benefits of protecting and enhancing our biodiversity.

“Spending time in nature can improve health and well-being. Biodiversity initiatives currently being undertaken by Wexford County Council include the gathering of scientific baseline data on wetlands, ecology and barn owls,” added Cllr Lawlor.

Mayor of Wexford Cllr Maura Bell said; “National Biodiversity Week is also about learning and having fun. Many of the events are family friendly and there is something for everyone to enjoy.”

Catherine McLoughlin, Heritage Officer with Wexford County Council, pointed out that “A simple action that we can all take as individuals or communities to help biodiversity is to reduce the frequency of mowing of lawns and grass. This action will help all of our pollinators and more information on this can be found at’.

The attendance included Deputy Principal Sylvia Wickham and the children of Kennedy Park National School Green Committee.

Nationwide and Wexford events can be found listed in the National Biodiversity Website at .

Big weekend for Berry and Bowe

By Dan Walsh

Colin Bowe had a weekend treble, two of them ridden by Ross Berry, at the final weekend of the 2022-’23 point-to-point season.

Today at Inchydoney, Bowe saddled Seattle Seahawk in the colours of Maria Kavanagh, Arklow, to a nine lengths success in the maiden race for six-year-olds plus ridden by Ross Berry (21), son of John A. Berry, a former rider who won three national championships and rode over 300 winners.

COLIN BOWE… Champion handler for the 11th time.

There was only one Wexford winner on the second day of Ballingarry and that went to Colin Bowe’s home bred Croi Corcra in the colours of Patrick Fortune, Doonooney, Adamstown and a first winner for Sophie Carter by eight lengths in the Mares Winner of Three race.

I must apologise to loyal readers that I missed out on a winner for Colin Bowe and Ross Berry at Ballingarry in yesterday’s (Saturday) report. Stranger Danger dead-heated with Focus Point (Dan Hyde) with Bold Enough (Barry O’Neill) third, beaten a neck, in a thrilling finish to the Open Race. Over the weekend three wins for Colin Bowe and a double for Ross Berry).

Back at Inchydoney in West Cork, today, Chief Lady, handled by Rob James had a three lengths success in the maiden race for four-year-old mares giving James Cousins, (17), from Kilmore his first point-to-point victory.

Harley Dunne saddled newcomer Marcus Furius in the race for four-year-old maiden geldings and with Tiernan Roche Power up had 14 lengths to spare at the finish. The gelding was bred by Stephen Cousins, Camolin.

Georgie Burgess, a catchy name obviously inspired by Roddy Doyle’s character in The Snapper left his mark on the maiden race for five-year-old geldings with a one length success for Michael Goff’s Clondaw, Ferns, stables with Michael Sweeney up.

I’ll arrange a summary of the point-to-point season soon but the main points are that Colin Bowe (46 winners) wins his 11th handlers title and Barry O’Neill (64 winners) retains the riders’ championship and was also leading rider for the season in the North (25 winners) and the East (28 winners).

Harley Dunne saddles the first two

By Dan Walsh

There was point-to-point action today at Ballingarry, Co. Tipperary, where Harley Dunne saddled the first two home in the maiden race for four-year-old mares and there was only a neck separating them.

HARLEY DUNNE saddled first and second in the same race at Balingarry today.

Seventeen years old Frankie Murphy from Skibbereen was on the winner Breaking Silence and Tiernan Power Roche rode newcomer Cant Touch This.

There was a winner for Garrett Murphy and the Turbine Syndicate from Tullycanna, Ballymitty, as Boys Will Be Boys scored by one length under Shane O’Rourke, Foulksmills, in the four-year-old maiden auction race.

And Sean Doyle saddled his 19th winner of the season – Moves Like Monty by an impressive 14 lengths – with Ross Sugrue in the saddle in division two of the maiden race for five-year-old geldings.

Two meetings tomorrow (Sunday); a second day at Ballingarry and also action from Inchydorney.

Goodnightngodbless at the Wexford races

Jockey James Kenny and winning connections with World Of Fortunes following his success in the mares bumper at Wexford today.

By Dan Walsh at Wexford Races

It was a family day at Wexford racecourse this afternoon with a large attendance in summer conditions and a fair amount of local involvement on the seven-race card and some good competitive racing.

Amateur jockey James Kenny from Craanford rode his eighth career winner on the track when bringing World Of Fortunes (6/1) home with six and a half lengths to spare in the concluding mares bumper. The five-year-old chestnut mare is owned by Michael Broderick from Ballymore Eustace and is trained by the winning jockey’s father, Liam Kenny, near Gorey. Runner-up was Familiar Dreams ridden by Jamie Codd and in third place was Colm Murphy’s Rhaenyra ridden by James O’Rourke from Clonard, Wexford.

Champion trainer Willie Mullins was successful in the mare’s maiden hurdle with Cinsa (4/11 favourite) ridden by Sean O’Keeffe, Harveystown, Taghmon.

J P McManus has a good record at Wexford, particularly in the steeplechases, and today was no different when Goodnightngodbless (17/2) ran out to a 10 lengths success in the handicap chase for trainer James Motherway and was ridden by Charlie O’Dwyer, son of former top jockey Conor O’Dwyer who grew up close to Wexford racecourse.

Gordon Elliott supplied the winner of the mares handicap hurdle with Fruit Blossom (11/2) ridden by Keith Donoghue.

There was a long shot success in the Sulzer Wexford Celebrating 50 Years in Business handicap hurdle in Corkbeg (18/1) ridden by Denis O’Regan from David Harry Kelly’s Fethard, Co. Tipperary stables.

Edward O’Grady’s Ceroc (15/2) won the handcap hurdle with Philip Enright up and Tangental from Colm Murphy’s Killena, Gorey, stables finished in third place for J J Slevin.

Watch House Cross (11/4) took the novice chase for the trainer and jockey combination, Henry de Bromhead and Darragh O’Keeffe.

The day’s Tote aggregate was €92,857.26 compared with €90,802.79 last year. The jackpot of €3,769.73 was not won. The next races at Wexford is on Wednesday, May 31st – just 11 days away!

Wexford’s 18 best beaches and marinas

By Dan Walsh

Six Wexford beaches received the prestigious Blue Flag award for “high standards in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety.” Ballinesker, Ballymoney North Beach, Carne, Curracloe, and Morriscastle and Rosslare Strand.

In the Green Coast category, which pays particular attention to the work of local clean coasts groups, 10 Wexford recipients at Ballyhealy, Booley Bay, Cahore Point, Cullenstown Strand, Culleton’s Gap, Grange, Old Bawn Beach, and St. Helen’s Bay were commended along with Rosslare Harbour.

There was more success for Wexford in the Blue Flag Marinas section with both Kilmore Quay Marina and New Ross Marina among the ten national winners.

A total of 159 awards were presented by the Minister of State for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD., at an awards ceremony held on the Shoreline Hotel, Dublin.

Ms. Cathy Baxter, Director of the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce, said; “It takes immense dedication and effort to manage a beach or marina to meet the rigorous standards set by these prestigious award programmes, and we extend our warmest congratulations to all the deserving sites that have achieved this remarkable reward.”

Wexford Saturday summer racing

By Dan Walsh

A warm and dry forecast should boost the attendance at the Saturday summer races at Bettyville Park where there is a seven-race jumps card with the first race away at 1.40pm.

The track is described as “yielding, good in places (watering) and a competitive afternoon’s racing is guaranteed. The card is as follows;

PAUL HILLIS (breeder) and MICHAEL MURPHY (track manager) with the 2023 Aintree Randox Grand National trophy at Wexford racecourse following the brilliant success of the Wexford-bred Corach Rambler.

1.40pm; The Wexford Racecourse Mares Maiden Hurdle of €10,000 over 2 miles 4 furlongs (12 runners).

2.15pm; The Jim Ryan Racecourse Services Mares Handicap Hurdle of €12,000, 2 miles 4 furlongs (12 runners).

2.50pm; The Sulzer Wexford Celebrating 50 Years in Business Handicap Hurdle of €10,500, 2 miles 1 furlong (12 runners).

3.25pm; The Support the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund Handicap Hurdle of €11,500, 3 miles 50 yards (12 runners).

4pm; The Poolcourt Novice Chase of €13,500, 2 miles (7 runners).

4.35pm; The Ambrex Switchgear Handicap Chase of €11,500, 3 miles 1 furlong 50 yards (12 runners).

5.10pm; The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Flat Race of €11,000, 2 miles (12 runners).

Injured fisherman off Kilmore Quay

By Dan Walsh

An injured fisherman on board a fishing vessel 33 nautical miles south of Kilmore Quay was brought to safety by Kilmore Quay RNLI last night.

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather Tamar class lifeboat Killarney, by the Irish Coast Guard at 10.23pm.


The man was working on a 24-metre fishing trawler located 33 nautical miles south of Kilmore Quay when he suffered a serious injury to his hand.

The lifeboat under Coxswain Eugene Kehoe and a crew of six arrived at the scene at 11.45pm. Once on scene, the casualty was assessed and then taken onboard the lifeboat where he was attended to by RNLI first aiders on the return journey to Kilmore Quay. The lifeboat arrived back in the harbour at 1.17am where an ambulance was waiting to take the casualty to hospital.

Speaking following the call out, Kilmore Quay RNLI Lifeboat Coxswain, Eugen Kehoe said; “This was a good outcome and thankfully conditions were calm and favourable. We want to wish the injured man all the best and a speedy recovery. I would also like to commend our volunteer crew who despite the late call and darkness of night, did not hesitate to respond.”

Electric bike rental launches in Wexford

By Dan Walsh

The mobility platform Bolt launched its shared electric bike service at Wexford County Council headquarters at Carricklawn, Wexford, today (Wednesday).

Bolt Operations Manager for Rentals in Ireland, John Buckley, said; “I’m excited to launch our electric bike rental in Wexford, and what great timing during Bike Week. 

Wexford County Council Cycling & Walking Officer Claire Goodwin commented; Wexford County Council is delighted to offer residents and visitors a sustainable transport option in the town. We see a real enthusiasm for making the change away from private car use if there is a convenient alternative. With the introduction of Bolt’s eBikes on a pilot basis into our town, we hope many people will change how they travel where possible.

CLLR GARRY LAFFAN, MAYOR of WEXFORD CLLR MAURA BELL and Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council CLLR GEORGE LAWLOR trying out the electric bikes at today’s launch of the shared electric bike service.

Bolt has no unlock fee, and customers pay only for the minutes they’ve used, at €0.18 per minute. Parking will be controlled via geofencing and will be located at 40+ clearly marked, convenient locations across town, including ALDI stores, Wexford General Hospital and Wexford Park GAA Stadium. Additional locations can be introduced, subject to popularity, feedback from the council and local users, or nominations from local businesses. Operations will be overseen by a local bike shop which ensures local knowledge and expertise.

The inclusion of the pick-up and drop-off locations within the app will ensure that users can see where bikes are located and where they can safely and responsibly finish their journey. Other local community groups and businesses such as WWETB, YouthTrain and Waters Technologies Ireland Ltd., have supported the roll out of this scheme and provided space to ensure their users and visitors can choose this sustainable option. 

As a celebration and promotion for National Bike Week (May 13th-21st) Bolt is offering customers a free 30-minute ride of its electric bike service in Wexford town.

Councillors vote in favour of ‘Land Swap’

Concerned Courtown residents gathered at Blackwater Community Centre for today’s meeting of Gorey Kilmuckridge District Council.

By Dan Walsh at Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council meeting at Blackwater Community Centre

A 5-4 vote majority of members at today’s (Tuesday) monthly meeting of Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council have favoured the controversial recommendation Section 183 – Transfer of Lands at Ballinatray Lower, Courtown – known locally as the ‘Land Swap’ and the matter will now appear on the agenda for all 34 members of Wexford County Council for final approval and the launch of a planning application.

As members arrived at Blackwater Community Centre around twenty people with placards saying ‘No to the Land Swap’ gathered peacefully outside and some of the councillors did pay them the courtesy of listening to their concerns ahead of entry to the meeting.

When the matter was brought to the meeting Cllr Joe Sullivan quoted several passages from Standing Orders and questioned the legal standing of taking such a major decision outside of the Council Chamber in Gorey. Cllr Diarmuid Devereux told the meeting “We have a duty to avoid a Standing Orders breach” and Cllr Andrew Bolger was confused and claimed; “I don’t know if it is legal to proceed or not.”

Cllr Willie Kavanagh recalled meetings “outside Gorey” on another occasion when it was held in Wells House and Gardens and stated; “I can not see a problem”, Cllr Pip Breen said; “We voted to come here at some stage and I think it is OK to go ahead.” Cllr Oliver Walsh expressed his disappointment that the meeting had come to Blackwater and “all the argument and debate at this stage.”

Director of Services Liz Hore said “the Land Swap” is a recommendation going forward to 34 councillors at the next county meeting and matters are brought to members of the municipal district as a courtesy.

The matter was suspended until 4 o’clock while Ms. Hore contacted legal advice at County Hall and the way was cleared to discuss matters and hold a vote.

Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin told the meeting that he was uncomfortable to make such a big decision, described the matter as “a gifting rather than a swap”, he admitted that Courtown needed hotel accommodation but felt that the traditional small hotels approach was the way to go.

There were concerns about “the wishes of the community” and the need for a feasibility study.

Some members complained about a lack of information, but Ms. Hore refuted these claims and stated that all the information is available to members if they contact her.

Some details did emerge. For example, 200 jobs would be created at the construction stage. The estimated value of the Bayview site is €300,000 and the car park €220,000-280,000. It is a credit transfer, no financial involvement, but a direct swap ‘land for land’.

It is a Section 183 standard that planning must be made within 12 months to safeguard the deal

There were lots of views expressed and the meeting was highly charged and there was a general feeling in some quarters that “we must make a decision now. No point in kicking the can down the road.”

The vote taken was proposed by Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin and seconded by Cllr Andrew Bolger – to defer till the June Municipal District meeting until more information is available (it lost) -while a counter motion – to move the matter to the June Wexford County Council meeting – was proposed by Cllr Oliver Walsh and seconded by Cllr Anthony Donohoe.

The deferral to the municipal meeting motion was defeated and the decision to send the recommendation of Section 183 to a full meeting of Wexford County Council won the day by five votes to four.

IN FAVOUR; Cllrs Willie Kavanagh, Pip Breen, Oliver Walsh, Anthony Donohoe and Donal Kenny (Cathaoirleach). AGAINST; Cllrs Andrew Bolger, Joe Sullivan, Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin and Diarmuid Devereux. Cllr Mary Farrell was absent.