This year’s final physical gathering was hosted by the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on Saturday 19 November.
Doors opened at 16:00, speeches began at 17:10 and dinner was served at 18:30.
Our guests were the club’s commodore Conor O’Regan and Irish Lights director Ronan Boyle.
Commodore Simon Parker reviewed the year’s events, giving statistics and highlights.
- AGM and anniversary celebration in March
- Kish Rally, Greystones Rally, Malahide Muster and Whistle Stop Tour in early summer
- Summer Cruise, Bank Holiday Cruise and Three Bridges Rally in late summer
Weather disrupted our plans from time to time, but with the organisers’ persistence and the participants’ goodwill all the events were successful.
He outlined plans for the winter and a tentative programme for next year. He thanked the committee who have worked hard behind the scenes as well as on the front line.
Ronan Boyle was in the Irish Naval service for many years, commanding LE Aisling and LE Niamh with a stint ashore in charge of communications and information technology. He then managed the southern division of the RNLI for two years, responsible for all the lifeboat stations on the south and southwest coasts. In 2019 he joined Irish Lights as Director of eNavigation and Maritime Services.
Legislation in the 18th century established a precursor of Irish Lights. Now it is the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) responsible for the island of Ireland, working closely with Trinity House and the Northern Lighthouse board. Its responsibilities include
- Complying with Irelands international maritime obligations
- Maintaining lighthouses, beacons and buoys
Supervising Local Lighthouse Authorities such as harbours and county councils
- Tracking and marking wrecks
- Raising revenue by leasing unused assets such as lighthouse buildings and using ILV Granuaile for commercial projects.
Ronan described the activities of the service and its interactions with other agencies. He gave us some technical details about lighthouses, beacons and buoys. The care and attention to detail which the service brings to its projects is impressive and reassuring. For example, extensive research is going on with a view to adding meteorological sensors to navigation buoys.
Although commercial shipping relies almost completely on AIS and GPS now, there are no plans to abandon the physical infrastructure and visible light which are so important to small craft with limited equipment.
The forty-three diners were seated at three long tables and one round table in a section of the dining room. The arrangement made for easy and lively conversation, and everyone could see the presentations on the large TV.
During the meal a showreel of photographs and videos from the year’s events played repeatedly.
The National Yacht Club served us a fine three-course dinner with a choice of fish or chicken while members renewed friendships and met newcomers.
Afterwards the ardent rugby fans made their way to the bar to watch a match (we won), but many continued to chat around the tables.
We are grateful to the National Yacht Club, particularly Commodore Conor O’Regan and manager John O’Grady.
Thanks also to all who helped organise the event including John Murphy and Mike Kelly.