Supplying Hog Island

Passing through Kilrush recently, I drove — as one does — past Cappa Pier, where the steamers loaded and unloaded in the past. I saw a landing craft, not at the pier but at the slipway, with a tractor and a trailer full of excavator attachments being driven on to it. I parked and headed for the slipway, taking one photo into the sun as I went, lest the landing craft should get away before I could get into a good position.

A quick shot into the sun in case I'm too late to get to the other side

Here, courtesy of Messrs Google, is Kilrush in relation to Limerick and the Shannon Estuary.,96.922114&sspn=67.956947,92.724609&vpsrc=6&ie=UTF8&ll=52.666389,-9.378204&spn=0.721242,1.972046&z=10&output=embed
View Larger Map

And here, courtesy of Ordnance Survey Ireland, is an annotated extract from its map of around 1900 showing Cappa Pier and Hog Island.

Cappa Pier and Hog Island, Kilrush (annotated extract from OSI map ~1900)

Here are photos of …

Cappa Pier

The pilot boat at the end of the pier

Scattery Island

Plant on Hog Island

Googling will get you more information about Hog Island, but here is a link to Clare County Library’s invaluable website and here is another showing that Hog Island was sold last year. Clearly, some work is afoot on the island. I have no idea what it is, but it’s clearly something more substantial than netting hares.

Anyway, a nos moutons (or cochons). The landing craft was the Madelen, registered in Sligo and owned by Lasta Mara Teo, which has the contract to carry cargo to the Aran Islands; the Madelen is designed to carry heavy plant and machinery.

So here it is in action, and a very impressive craft it is, with people who know what they’re doing.

Madelen at the slip, held by engines and one rope

The rope

The large tractor and trailer were loaded by the time I got into position, and the crew were rearranging the ramps for the next arrivals.

Rearranging the ramps after loading the large tractor

An old tractor arrives — by truck

The tractor is parked for the moment ...

... as a 4WD arrives towing a fuel bowser

The chap in the fluorescent waistcoat makes sure everything is ready

This inflatable alongside the pier will be seen again


The 4WD reverses towards the slip ...

... where the crew are ready

Here it comes

Easy does it

Guided on

Nearly there

A la recherche

The 4WD has dropped the bowser and is heading for shore

Now the tractor reverses down the slope

Nearing the ramps

About to start crossing

On the ramps

All loaded; retrieving the ramps

The last few timbers are loaded

The rope is slackened ...

... let loose from the shore ring ...

... and hauled aboard

A final check ...

... then the ramp is raised ...

... and the landing-craft backs off the slip

Turning in reverse

All secure on deck

The inflatable leaves the pier for the island

Still turning ...

... in reverse

Now ahead ...

... and passing the inflatable, which has reached the island ...

... and on past the end of the island ...

... getting a bit of sea-room

Here’s one of two totally unrelated (I think) activities that were going on at the same time.

A small rowing-boat heads for Scattery Island

Madelen turns ...

... towards the end of the island

Here is the second totally unrelated activity.

A swimmer heads for Limerick (or somewhere)

Madelen approaches the end of the island ...

... then reaches it. Folk disembark

Madelen and the swimmer

For some reason, the excavator trundles down to the shore, then engages in what might be a welcoming ceremony or a mating ritual. It waves its arm, turns about and eventually trundles away again. I have no idea what it was doing, although it didn’t seem to be excavating. Watch its movements in the rest of the pics.

The small tractor, hidden by the slope of the beach, tows the bowser off, while the excavator ...

... leaps about in wild ecstasy

As the large tractor emerges, the excavator turns away in a huff ...

... then peeps coyly ...

... turns back towards the tractor and the landing craft ...

... and then away again ...

... and sadly drops its arm

One more try?

Er ...

... no

If you know more about what was going on, and especially about the excavator, do please leave a comment below.


According to the Land Registry, the island has been owned since 28 January 2011 by Michael Eustace of Ennis.

Entirely unrelated fact

I referred above to the netting of hares — it was one of the few recent mentions of the island in the press — and I provided a link (paywall) to an Irish Times article. It report that the Department of the Environment was investigating claims that hares were netted on two islands, without the permission of the landowners or occupiers, and that the netting might have been in breach of Section 44 of the Wildlife Act 1976. There is a piece here based on the Irish Times article but I have not been able to check it against the original. It suggests that the hares were netted for coursing clubs.

Section 44 does not, as far as I can see, forbid the netting of hares by the owner of the land.


6 responses to “Supplying Hog Island

  1. Have heard locally that it is something to do with hare breeding. Have checked Clare Co.Co. online planning section and have not seen any planning applications for anything on Hog Island.

  2. Thanks, Greg. I’d be interested to hear if you learn any more. bjg

  3. People should be alowed to do what they like with their own property I have lived in Cappa Kilrush all my life and have no problem with any activity that happens on Hog Island. What I do have a problem with is the masive under development of the Shannon Estuary as a resource and the fact that evryone I grew up with had to leave the country due to lack of work. I have no vested intrest in the Island as it has not mine or any of my familys poperty. It seems that every development in this Country is halted by outsiders and blow-ins who claim to know what is right and wrong to do.
    Diarmuid Whelan. Cappa Kilrush.

  4. As a matter of fact, people are not allowed to do what they like with their own property. If they were, they could impose costs on others (to a greater extent than they already do) by, for instance, creating noise and keeping the neighbours awake, or polluting groundwater, or damaging natural or built heritage. If “outsiders and blow-ins” make the effort to see that the law is respected, they are saving locals the trouble of doing so and should surely be lauded.

    However, I make that as an entirely theoretical point, to show that I do not accept the basis of your argument. But I must make it clear that there is no suggestion on my part that anything illegal, or even regrettable, is happening on Hog Island. I simply don’t know what is happening there and I am interested in the matter. For some reason, my interest attracted some rude remarks (which I removed from this page), which only stimulated my curiosity even more. I quite agree that the Shannon Estuary is underdeveloped and, in my own small way, I have tried to stimulate appreciation of its qualities. For all I know, some employment-creating tourist (or other) business might be planned for Hog Island, which would be a good thing. bjg

  5. have you permission from the owner of hog to post his private details on this could land you in hot water .

  6. The ownership of the island is a matter of public record and not a private detail.

    I don’t know why people are so sensitive about Hog Island. bjg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.