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Displaying items by tag: Morgan Oliver

A tribute to the Oliver fishermen of Galway’s Claddagh and all those who have lost lives at sea is reflected in a moving short film spearheaded by arts consultant Brendan Savage.

Entitled Sea of Souls, the film captures images of 600 floating candles on the Claddagh basin, set to the music of The Galway Baytones male voice a capella group singing the 18th-century Scottish song The Parting Glass.

The film is intended to remember the Olivers and all sea fatalities, and to highlight the role of the Galway RNLI inshore lifeboat and Water Safety Ireland.

Savage, who is from the Claddagh, lost his own father in a trawler sinking, and says he was overwhelmed with sadness when father and son Martin and Tom Oliver lost their lives within 24 hours of each other after an incident in Galway Bay in early November.

The two men were close relatives of fishermen Patrick and Morgan Oliver who have been involved in a number of rescues, including locating the two paddleboarders, Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn, after they went missing off Furbo last August.

“When you lose someone to the sea, it changes your relationship with the sea forever, and sadly I understand that that is like,” Savage explains.

His father Tom Savage (59) died when the trawler he was crew member of was sunk by a container ship under San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge almost three decades ago.

“One Russian crew member survived, but my father and his skipper did not - and the skipper’s body was never found,” Savage says.

“As a child, I was taught that on stormy nights a candle was placed in the window to guide home the souls of those lost at sea,” he says.

Shortly before Christmas, he recruited a group of volunteers to help assemble 600 floating candles, timed to light up every evening for five hours.

He then secured the support of Heavy Man Films to document it for a video which is now available to view on YouTube.

Savage said a large number of individuals and businesses supported the initiative, including Galway City Council arts officer James Harrold and Water Safety Ireland deputy chief executive Roger Sweeney.

Peter Connolly and members of Badóirí an Cladaigh helped set up the elaborate candle display, and also illuminated their vessels berthed in the Claddagh basin.

Dr Brendan O’Connor of Aquafact conducted the environmental impact study, Tripart Hardware contributed equipment and many individuals also gave of their time.

“There was a lot of tying string, working with glue, securing the candles to a rope, and helping out with some 8,000 different tasks in all,” Savage says.

“It was a very affirming project for that reason, and the Baytones came down to sing on a cold wet winter’s night,” he says.

Roger Sweeney of Water Safety Ireland said that the 600 candles had particular symbolism, representing some half of the number of fatalities in Irish waters over a decade.

It is anticipated that the initiative may become an annual event with floating candles raising funds for the RNLI and Water Safety Ireland, he says.

Sea of Souls can be viewed below

Published in Galway Harbour

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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