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  New life for Glenans in Baltimore being stifled by bureaucracy

New Life for Glenans in Baltimore is being planned but is it to be stifled by bureaucracy

 A sad day recently passed largely unnoticed by the wider community of West Cork. That was the announcement last year by Glenan’s that the famous sailing school based in Baltimore was no longer to be operated by them. Since 1969 20,000 aspiring sailors coming from many different nationalities have passed through these sailing schools based in both Baltimore and Bere Island and Collanmore  and more recently in Baltimore only. The ‘Glenan’s experience’ is of a rugged no nonsense and timeless approach to sailing, emphasizing basic skills and a no frills even minimalist style of sailing. In Ireland, this has been largely group training in larger boats, which is very suitable for those who haven’t been sailing from a very young age. 

For various reasons, Glenans, based in France are undergoing a re-structuring and Ireland no longer features in their plans. 

Since the operations started in Baltimore, ago, hundreds of Irish people have also passed though and have worked at all levels in the organisation, including as volunteer instructors. On hearing of the planned closure of the Glenans Centre many former Glenans volunteers came together, as Baltimore Maritime Centre determined to continue the sailing school in the Glenans Centre which is owned by Failte Ireland. Having secured ownership of the boats and equipment from Les Gleanans France  and with a dedicated sailing school now lying vacant and owned by our National Tourist Authority it would seem that the stage was set for a new lease of life for the Glenans Centre. Sadly, that may not happen. 

The Group have prepared a robust business plan which has been submitted to Failte Ireland. However, it seems that Fáilte Ireland are now precluded from owning property and are supposed to sell any property which reverts to them on the open market. So it seems that a dedicated fully functional sailing school capable of attracting hundreds if not thousands of visitor’s to West Cork, which can be back in operation for this season is to lie unused while the bureaucrats do their thing. 

Meanwhile over the May Bank Holiday Weekend volunteers formed a ‘meitheal’ to put their fleet back on the water for the Summer and plan to operate courses this year from a temporary base kindly provided by Heir Island Sailing School. Over the weekend volunteers literally camped outside the now unused Glenans premises while they went about their business. 

At a meeting on Wednesday 30 April, a representative of Baltimore Maritime Centre met member of the Explore Baltimore, comprising tourist service providers based in the area. After explaining the situation she received fulsome support from all present that recognised the value of this venture to the locality. While Baltimore has another excellent sailing school and a very active sailing Club all three combine to make the village a true centre of excellence in the sailing world. It was agreed that our public representatives should be made aware of the situation and be asked to make every effort to secure a happy outcome for all concerned.


Baltimore is a village which demonstrates an exceptional community spirit in so many different ways such as the super life boat service, the recently refurbished sailing club, the many festivals, the recent purchase of the swimming pool by a local group, the tidy towns group and indeed much more and it is hoped this fantastic new opportunity, created by voluntary effort will not be squandered

Courses will be run from June in Heir island and booking is now available on the website

email:   telephone: 028 41923