As Dive Ireland gets ever closer, we’ll have a closer look at the main stage speakers and their relevant topic’s and also the schedules for the Underwater Photography and the Techie Deck talks.
Catherine Connors – Operation Overlord’s final resting place
Catherine Connors is a French federation wreck diver, photographer and history nerd currently residing in Normandy, France, a long way from Tipperary where she was born and raised. If you have ever thought about diving in Normandy then this is a talk that you really should catch.
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings more commonly known as D-Day with an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, and more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August. Catherine delves into the History of Operation Overlord, the ships involved, the details of the largest maritime invasion in history, D-Day from the water and the remains of the wreckage as they are today.
Brian McAllister – Raising the Costa Concordia
Brian has been involved in the diving and marine business since 1975 working in the oil, gas and salvage business principally as a diver. He has worked world-wide as an air diver/surface mixed gas diver/saturation bell diver and diver technician and 1 atmospheric submersible pilot.
Brian was the diving supervisor on the largest ever salvage project ever undertaken on the raising and removal of the 120,000 tonne cruise liner, Costa Concordia, off the coast of Italy. The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia capsized and sank after striking an underwater rock obstruction off Isola del Giglio, Tuscany, on 13 January 2012, with the loss of 33 lives. The ship, carrying 4,252 people, was on the first leg of a cruise around the Mediterranean Sea, starting from Civitavecchia in Lazio, Italy, when she deviated from her planned route coming closer to land, and struck a rock formation on the sea floor.
Barry McGill – Exploration & Discovery in The North Atlantic: A Tale of U-Boats & Minefields
The waters off the North Atlantic Coast of Ireland were the scene of some of the most significant maritime losses during the First World War. The concentration of convoys coming from North America to the United Kingdom were a primary target for the German Navy, and in particular their submarines and mine fields. The struggle for control of this strategic area of water led to significant and tragic losses for both sides.
The presentation will focus on the search and discovery of two of these war losses which have recently been discovered and documented. One, an Armed Merchant Cruiser, HMS Viknor which was lost, with the only trace being the wreckage washing up along the entire North coast of Ireland. The second, a German U-boat UB-124, which was attacked and destroyed with the loss of all hands. UB-124, had attacked and sunk the second largest ship of the war, RMS Justicia just hours earlier.
Tosh Lavery – “The Wet Beat” A Brief history of the Garda Underwater Unit.
Tosh Lavery is from Waterford. He joined the Gardaí in 1972 and retired from the sub-aqua unit – its longest serving member – in 2004. ‘There is no training course in the world that will set you up for dead bodies.’ During thirty years in the Garda Sub-Aqua Unit Tosh Lavery worked on many murders and most of Ireland’s missing person’s cases, as well as high profile investigations such as the Whiddy Island disaster and the Mountbatten assassination. The unit was a perfect fit for a maverick like Tosh. He became obsessed with a job that demanded utter dedication and total fearlessness. But along the way, he battled alcoholism and his marriage ended. Tosh’s story is an uncompromising and revealing look at the macho world of the guards and what it’s really like on the inside.
And don’t forget, Past Presidents and NDO’s from the Irish Underwater Council have free entry to Dive Ireland 2017 on presentation of their medals at the front desk.