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Lough Derg RNLI has hailed as a great success its first ‘Lap the Lake’ charity cycle.

The local lifesaving charity’s fundraising branch organised the 130km cycle around Lough Derg for last Saturday 8 May, which saw 250 cyclists take part in its most ambitious event to date.

And the day was blessed by good weather and good cheer as it raised significant funds that are essential for the lifeboat station’s lifesaving activities.

The 130km route around Lough Derg — covering counties Tipperary, Clare and Galway — gave participants the opportunity to delight in the outstanding beauty of the lake and the River Shannon.

Their safety and wellbeing were well catered for with first-aid providers, out-riders, marshals and bike maintenance stops along the route, as well as comfort and refreshments stations.


Niamh McCutcheon, chair of the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee and the ‘Lap the Lake’ Event Committee, said the inaugural event “was enjoyed by cyclists from all over Ireland. The friendly welcome provided by the marshals, RNLI crew and the enthusiastic and well-organised committee was much appreciated by all.”

McCutcheon thanked Lough Derg Yacht Club and all the sponsors of the event, whose generosity also ensured its success. Meanwhile, the fundraiser remains open for donations via its JustGiving page.


Feedback from participants praised the attention to detail, safety and comfort; a compliment to the organisational skills of Niamh McCutcheon, Pat Kelly, Caleb and Laura Clarke, Tom Sanders, Anne Atkinson, Bob O Brien, John MacMahon, Sarah Langham and Ted Knight on the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee and Veronica Plunkett, Ena Butler, Hilda Hamilton, Joe Hughes, Johnathan Horgan, Laura Clarke and Niamh McCutcheon on the Lap the Lake Event Committee.

RNLI lifeboat helm Owen Cavanagh and crew members Doireann Kennedy, Joe O'Donoghue, Ciara Moylan, Ania Skrzypczynska and Ciara Lynch, who worked in shifts throughout the day, brought the lifeboat Jean Spier to the public harbour in Dromineer and to other harbours around the lake and were pleased to answer questions about the RNLI, its lifesaving work and the lifeboat itself.

The fundraising committee thanks the many other members of the Lough Derg Lifeboat Station who played major roles in the success of this event. In particular, Aoife Kennedy, lifeboat administration officer and deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station, who assisted with the registration of participating cyclists and acted as liaison between the fundraising committee and the lifeboat station throughout the event; Chris Parker (Lough Derg RNLI crew member) who acted as safety officer; Peter Kennedy (DLA and station mechanic) and Caleb Clarke (hon treasurer) who dressed the yacht club in RNLI bunting; Christine O’Malley (lifeboat operations manager), Liam Moloney (DLA) and Peter Kennedy who remained on hand to coordinate the lifeboat;s manoeuvres; and Richard Nolan (Lough Derg RNLI crew member) and Peter Harty (RNLI area lifesaving manager) who both cycled in the event.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dublin Bay sailor Guy O’Leary is back in the water and challenging himself again to swim a mile each day during the month of May in aid of cancer research.

Each day of the MileADayInMay! swimming challenge will see Guy joined by “someone who helped me through the rough times” to raise funds for Cancer Research UK and Cancer Clinical Research Trust Ireland.

And Guy’s final swim of the month will start outside Dun Laoghaire Harbour, finishing at the Royal Irish Yacht Club slipway.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Guy — son of Dun Laoghaire Marina developer and local sailing stalwart Michael O’Leary — was diagnosed with cancer after a routine check-up in November 2017 at the age of 34.

“My incredible surgeon performed a bowel resection straight away but a subsequent PET scan revealed the disease had spread to my liver,” he says.

“Another major operation, 11 cycles of chemo and many hard days later, I was back on my feet with clear scans and a future I thought I mightn’t have.”

Guy still wants to give back to the “brilliant” charity and the doctors and scientists it supports “who developed the diagnostics, surgical robots and chemo treatments that saved my life”.

He explains: “It is because of the skill of two amazing surgeons, an unbelievable oncologist, my amazing team of nurses, a relentlessly inquisitive wife and the work of Cancer Research that I am still alive today.

“The progress Cancer Research has made over the last three decades means that I was given a chance at survival. This was a chance my grandmother didn’t have when she fell ill with the disease in the mid-1980s.

“Having been through the horrors of cancer, I want to do everything I can to help the research effort.”

Guy has set up a website for his challenge at MileADayInMay.org which links to his fundraising site, and you can also follow his progress on Instagram.

Published in Sea Swim

Usually, it’s the lifesavers of the RNLI who answer Mayday calls – it’s the most serious call for help. But this May, they need the public’s help.

The charity is calling on the people of Achill and its diaspora to support Achill Island RNLI lifeboat crew’s Mayday Mile to help raise vital funds to keep people safe this summer.

Organised by the island’s lifeboat crew, the Mayday fundraiser will see the volunteers rowing a distance of one mile from their lifeboat station in a small flotilla including a currach, some kayaks and other watercraft commonly seen in the pristine waters around Achill Island.

The crew will be carrying their pagers with them so they can respond to a call for help, should the need arise.

Funds raised through Mayday fundraising events will make sure that RNLI lifesavers have everything they need to keep families safe on the water and RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews will drop whatever they’re doing when a call for help comes in.

Eilish Power, Achill Island RNLI’s press officer says: “Summer is our busiest time of year, with thousands of people visiting the area and enjoying the water. A call for help can come from anywhere, from people enjoying days out with family or friends or the medical evacuations on our surrounding islands that our volunteer crew facilitate.

“Mayday is our own call for help, as we rely on the generosity of the public to support events like the Achill Island RNLI lifeboat crew’s Mayday Mile, and raise the funds that allow us to be there when we’re needed most.

“But we need to be ready. Training, kit, stations, fuel: these are just some of the things we need to save lives, and that your fundraising can help provide.”

The RNLI’s Mayday national fundraiser begins on Sunday 1 May and will run for the whole month across Ireland and the UK.

You can show your support for the Achill Island RNLI lifeboat crew’s Mayday Mile by giving what you can via the donation page, and visit the station’s Facebook page for details.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Howth Yacht Club offers so many ways to make your support for Ukraine go further.

The North Co Dublin club is matching donations through its crisis appeal for MSF on GoFundMe up to €5,000.

In addition, every euro of ever purchase of a flag or pennant (€15 for a small, €25 for a large) goes to the Irish Red Cross Ukraine Crisis appeal.

There are less than 25 flags left to purchase, so stop by the office this Easter weekend to get one before they’re gone.

Published in Howth YC
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Lough Derg RNLI’s Fundraising Branch has revealed more details of its first ‘Lap the Lake’ charity cycle this May.

And its chair Niamh McCutcheon says the lifeboat station’s biggest fundraiser undertaking to date is being “widely supported around the country” in the weeks since it was first announced.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the cycle on Sunday 8 May will start and finish at the RNLI Lifeboat Station in Dromineer, following a 130km route around Lough Derg that will give participants an opportunity to delight in the outstanding beauty of the lake and River Shannon through counties Tipperary, Clare and Galway.

As part of the safety measures, there will be first aid, out riders, marshals and bike maintenance provided throughout the course.

There will be a comfort stop at Le Bateau, Emerald Star Line in Portumna where tea, coffee and a lunch pack will be provided for participants.

Lough Derg Yacht Club is also providing parking, toilet and shower facilities for all riders.

The €65 entry fee includes a T-shirt, goody bag, a reusable lifeboat water bottle and many other treats. A delicious meal costing €10pp and bar facilities will be available at Lough Derg Yacht Club following the cycle.

The committee stress that the cycle is a non-competitive event. Encouraging cycling enthusiasts to register, McCutcheon says it “promises to be a fun day covering the very picturesque Lough Derg, an area for which our lifeboat volunteers provide a rescue service 24/7, 365 days of the year”.

For all details including how to register, visit the Eventbrite page HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The volunteer lifeboat crews of Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI were recently delighted to receive a donation of £1,600 raised at a special event that crossed swimming with mindfulness.

‘Wild and Free at the Sea’ was held by Dips N Hips in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal last September, welcoming 50 people for a day of open water swimming, yoga and mindfulness on the beach.

It also marked the beginning of a ‘dip a day’ challenge for the month of October, where organiser Coná Gallagher braved the waters of Lough Erne every single day.

On behalf of Dips N Hips, Coná handed over a cheque to Ivan Kee from the Lough Erne Fundraising Branch for the Carrybridge and Enniskillen RNLI stations.

Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI, praised all those who took part in the challenge and in particular Coná for all their hard work and dedication raising money for both lifeboat stations on Lough Erne.

“The funds raised will have a significant impact for the crews at both Carrybridge and Enniskillen and will assist with future lifesaving operations,” he said.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Eleven-year-old Tommy Kehoe was one of around 60 sea swimmers who completed a fundraising challenge on the Little Beach in Kilmore Quay on New Year’s Eve in aid of the Co Wexford village’s RNLI lifeboat.

Organised by local women Melinda Kehoe, Grainne O'Brien and Simmi Duffin, the 20 Dips in December challenge saw local swimmers take part in, not one but 20 sponsored swims in the sea during the month of December.

The weather and sea conditions throughout the month were a key consideration for the swimmers. Even though there were some days where conditions did not allow for a dip, there were enough favourable days to allow for the challenge to be completed safely by the hardy swimmers.

Among them was Melinda’s son Tommy, who even fitted in a dip in the mornings before school. And his efforts have been well rewarded as so far he has raised €1,140 for the local lifeboat. Donations can still be made on the event’s JustGiving page.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, fundraising in aid of Kilmore Quay lifeboat has taken place throughout the year as guidelines allowed.

Dedicated supporters of the RNLI in the area have organised walks, swims, cycles, vintage runs, online bingo, and head shaves among other activities, raising vital funds to maintain the charity's lifesaving services.

Speaking following the final swim on Friday, Kilmore Quay RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Grace said: “There is a fantastic community spirit here today. Tommy has raised an incredible sum of money for the RNLI, as have all the participants.

“We cannot thank everyone who took part and all who support Kilmore Quay RNLI throughout the year enough for all their efforts and generosity.”

Those taking part in the 20 Dips in December challenge swim regularly in the sea throughout the year. If you are considering doing so, please check out the safety tips on Swim Ireland’s website regarding winter swimming in Ireland or contact a local open-water swimming group.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI has recorded a bumper year in donations driven largely by public support for its humanitarian work in the English Channel, as the Guardian reports.

Online donations to the charity that saves lives at sea have risen by 50% in 2021, it says, putting it on course for its best fundraising year since it was founded in 1824.

In July last year the charity’s chief executive issued a statement in the wake of criticism from right-wing commentators and media for its efforts in rescuing asylum seekers from the English Channel, emphasising that he “could not be prouder” of the work of the RNLI’s volunteers.

Since the tragic drawing of 27 people in the Channel in November 2021, just days after an attempted blockade against a lifeboat by fishermen allegedly encouraged by right-wing propaganda, the RNLI says its support from the public has only grown stronger.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Tagged under

A fundraising volunteer for Lough Derg RNLI has received an award for her services to the Co Tipperary lifeboat station.

Laura Clarke was presented with the Excellence in Volunteering Award by RNLI community manager Jennifer Grey during the annual Christmas card and gift sale at Lough Derg Yacht Club in Dromineer yesterday (Tuesday 9 November).

Laura has been a volunteer on the Lough Derg RNLI Fundraising Committee for 11 years. She says she became a volunteer because the charity “was one my late father loved and always supported, and it was something I wished to continue”.

She recalled that her father Mr Crawford had donated to Portrush lifeboat station in Northern Ireland for the build of their new lifeboat. In 2019, Laura organised a fundraising swim in memory of her father that raised significant funds for the RNLI.

As well as a long family association with the lifeboats, Laura’s husband Caleb is honorary treasurer for both Lough Derg RNLI’s lifeboat station and fundraising committee, while her brother-in-law Peter Clarke was a volunteer helm with the station for 14 years.

In commending Laura for the award, RNLI director of fundraising Jayne George wrote: “Your productive, innovative and reliable attitude has not only optimised our fundraising opportunities at local events but throughout the pandemic has raised more than £2,000 in Christmas card and gift sales alone.”

Of the volunteer’s hard work throughout these difficult past two years, Jayne added that Laura’s enthusiasm and dedication “embodies the RNLI core values of being courageous, trustworthy, selfless and dependable”.

Laura said it is a “great honour to be a part of an organisation that is such a force for good in the world. I’m thrilled to receive this award.”

Niamh McCutcheon, chair of the Lough Derg RNLI fundraising branch and member of the Irish Council of the RNLI. added that she is “delighted to see Laura’s commitment, dedication and significant efforts acknowledged with this award”.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Three members of Larne RNLI’s fundraising committee, who between them have volunteered for a combined 70 years, have been awarded with long-service medals recognising their contribution to saving lives at sea in Northern Ireland.

Pamela McAuley, Esther Dorman and Stephen Craig were presented with their medals ahead of the reopening of the lifeboat Christmas shop in the Murrayfield arcade in Larne, Co Antrim.

Recalling why she got involved with the charity, Pamela McAuley — who is the chair of Larne RNLI’s fundraising committee — said: “My family have always been keen sailors, being involved with a local sailing club.

“I thought it seemed a good way to give something back to a charity that is always ready and willing to answer every call for help at sea.”

Stephen Craig said: “I got asked to help out with a fashion show that the fundraisers put on in the autumn of 1998 and enjoyed helping out. It wasn’t until 1999 that I officially joined as a volunteer.

“I have been a lifelong sailor with a particular interest in sea safety and with prior work commitments I would have found it difficult to commit as a crew member. However, volunteering with the fundraisers was a suitable alternative.”

Esther Dorman, who is the secretary of the fundraising committee and has been volunteering for the RNLI for 30 years, added: “Like Stephen and Pam, my family has been involved with Larne RNLI now for many years, with my brother, nephew and niece all being volunteers.

“I’m happy to be involved with fundraising as I feel I’m supporting a worthwhile cause.”

Larne RNLI’s pop-up Christmas shop is back this year in the Murrayfield arcade in Larne. The shop is open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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