Oileáin News

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Oileáin News

Post by DaveWalsh » Tue Nov 02, 2021 8:15 pm

Oileáin (the soft copy, on-line at www.oileain.org), continues to evolve. It now features 591 islands and my own personal tally is 519.
Its and my own most recent inclusion in Oileáin is Rotten Island in Killybegs Harbour last September.

There is a 2,000 print run of O2 underway. That makes 4,600 which with Oileáin a hAon makes 7,600. Who’d have thought?

A print run is just that, not a new edition, but because it was a sizeable operation, the publisher allowed me change small things here and there. By small things he meant not having to re-jig pagination and all that. Most of the changes are wrong tide times, mostly spotted by Leon Conway. Anything really was possible so long as it still fitted on the same page. I squeezed in an update on Oileáin as it is in 2021, a personal reflection, and even an up to date photo of myself. Being a first cousin of Dorian Gray that seemed like a good idea, at least it did at the time.

One other enormous new development is that an east coast kayaker Eoin Flood (never met him but I am very grateful) can take a Word.doc and translate all the GridRefs in it (almost a thousand) and re-format that data as a hyperlink to somewhere that then links to Google Maps, so you can right-click left-click and there you are, you can check out what you think is being referenced or even take in the view.

It is so good it has caused me a lot of grief. The elders among you may remember the migration from half inch maps in the late 1990s to the modern 1:50,000 OS Discovery series. Not only were GridRefs easier to use, they were infinitely more accurate, and better again, they could be read directly off the map, by ordinary visual inspection, even inside a mapcase, no need for a callipers (what is the correct term ….. ) and a measuring tape. This trade up now is every bit as dramatic, but also as unforgiving, and I cannot set it loose upon ye all until all the GridRefs have been checked by what Ciaran Clissmann would call the knife and fork method. Each and every GridRef has to be clicked on and see what happens. It’s correct, it isn’t, move it right, left, up, down. Quite often the clicking so far lands on open water which is disconcerting. A newer generation might be very frustrated that Oileáin computes at three decimal points only – a hectare! But the human eye can’t do better with a Discovery map. Other similar projects go to four (10m accuracy) or even 5 (utterly unthinkable). Kayaks are fine so long as they know where they are, there or thereabouts, and are too busy for such nonsense!

I started this GridRef exercise in mid September and now in early November I have managed from Galway City (I can’t remember why I started there!) to Rathlin Island. I expect to make it home again to Galway by springtime 2022, or given that the slow progress so far is likely down to the good weather, then with winter coming on, it may be that things will speed up. Expect the on-line Oileáin after that to be “the business”.

Interestingly, north and east of Connemara, I found GridRefs consistently out by one place laterally or vertically or often both (occasionally accurate), but occasionally worse, and very occasionally very much worse. Think the wrong Letter that starts a GridRef. Is that 100km wrong (a Donegal island reappearing in Roscommon, I kid you not) ? The worst ever navigation error I ever made had someone in the group (Fred Cooney, who else?) switching on a new fangled SatNav thing and the “letter” was wrong, a huge learning experience well written up in TND, which is the only thing to do with such unexpected little diversions. Fortunately these corrections made it into the new printrun, just in time, thanks Eoin.

I have also updated specific aspects where things have changed such as Rockall post Brexit, and lots of less dramatic detail around the coast. People keep sending me dribs and drabs and I am grateful. For those positively motivated going forward, the most fluid most important absolutely vital information has always been about embarkation points where things are not as reported (check the on-line version before reporting?). Nothing is worse than to arrive at a beach or pier somewhere to find there is a new height barrier that eliminates half the group, or pay and display (who carries cash there days?), or a restriction of some kind. Your day may just have been ruined, but this is your way to stop that happening to the next gang to come along. Also, generally reports errors, always. In hundreds of thousands of words the challenge is to control the error count (just like rugby!) not eliminate it.

On a personal note, I have really gone back, body and soul, into rockclimbing, which is where I came from into sea kayaking 30+ years ago. It is difficult to serve more than one master, and cycling and walking etc (can one confess to absolutely LUVVING gardening ?) vie with kayaking for second place these days. Now retired and in my 70s I am treating myself to a brand new campervan ready next autumn (nothing is too good for the likes of me) and I have chosen a high top low enough that with the help of Thule I can still carry the Explorer on my wanderings. It will surely mean that a 02D pop-top campervan with really good sea kayaking pedigree will be seeking a new home ! But in honesty most of my kayaking these days is done in quiet unassuming waters, and alone. In a group I’d have to keep up and recent experience hasn’t been all that positive. My story (and I’m sticking to it) is that it’s down to the backrest, but springtime 2022 I’ll find out one way or the other.

Keep safe, on land and on sea

Posts: 151
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:37 am

Re: Oileáin News

Post by DaveWalsh » Wed Jan 05, 2022 11:28 am

The wonders of modern science ………..

Perhaps the biggest innovation with Project Oileáin since the publications of 2004 / 2014 has just been completed at https://www.oileain.org/. All of the 1,500++ Grid References in the on-line text on screen are now hyperlinks that take the viewer directly to the island, pier, parking place, beach, headland or whatever.

In my view this development will, for some people, shift primacy from the hardcopy published book firmly to the on screen softcopy version.

Great thanks are due to Eoin Flood of East Coast Kayakers for conceiving and executing the plan. I am hoping he might explain this stuff in his own way in his own time. He does this for a living, its his day job, but this one got his imagination really tweaked ………….. Thank you Eoin.

All I can do is gaze and gaze and still my wonder grows ……………….

Both Sean Pierce and Eoin himself each have ideas how to push the envelope even further but for now, I am delighted with what I see before me. Any Pilot or Sailing Directions have always before this had to involve a map or chart immediately to hand. Now it seems to me that, there or thereabouts, trip planning can be carried out on screen, almost in isolation. I dread to think of kayakers with a smartphone App open on deck, but maybe in the campsite the night before, planning the next day, a pin dropped at the target destination? Isn’t that what young people do?

I am glad or at least I think I’m glad that wasn’t an option back in the day!

It should be way easier for everyone to report added information, updates, corrections, mistakes and misunderstandings going forward.

Main thing is, take a look and see for yourself. https://www.oileain.org/ then "View/Download" https://www.oileain.org/index.php/viewdownload-oileain/


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Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:56 pm

Re: Oileáin News

Post by EpF » Wed Jan 05, 2022 12:57 pm

You're welcome, David! I really appreciate you making the text available online for everyone - that's the main reason I was inspired and happy to put in the time. It's a great resource and very generous of you :-)

I was delighted you were open to the idea when I suggested it. At the time I was just thinking I'd see if I could do something on my own computer to make finding the points on a map easier, but I thought I'd take a chance and run it by you for the site. Glad I did!

For anyone interested in the technical end of things, oileain.org is a WordPress site and I created a plugin for it that adds the links automatically for visitors while leaving the source text untouched for the author. Happy to answer any questions if anyone wants further details.

Cheers David - I'm glad you're please with the results!


Chris McDaid
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Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:35 pm

Re: Oileáin News

Post by Chris McDaid » Fri Jan 07, 2022 5:44 pm

Fantastic work Dave & Eoin!!!


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