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Singer Taylor Swift Makes Contact with Galway Paddleboarder

2nd August 2021
Sara Feeney (left) Ellen Glynn on the shores of Galway Bay
Sara Feeney (left) Ellen Glynn on the shores of Galway Bay - the pair sang Taylor Swift songs to keep thier spirits up during their overnight paddelboarding ordeal

Grammy award-winning singer Taylor Swift has made contact with one of the two Galway cousins who survived a 15-hour ordeal in Galway Bay after they were swept out to the Atlantic on paddleboards last August.

As The Sunday Times reported, the two cousins Ellen Glynn and Sara Feeney had belted out every Taylor Swift song they knew to keep their spirits up.

The American singer has responded with a recent letter and painting which she has sent to Glynn, expressing how moved she is to know about their ordeal.

The Sunday Times also reports that the Irish Coast Guard is currently conducting satellite-tracked trials at sea with inflatables paddleboards to ensure they are included in search mapping software.

It is one of the facts reported in RTÉ’s Documentary on One by Lorna Siggins and Sarah Blake, which was broadcast last night and available on the RTE player.

At that point, the cousins had survived torrential rain, thunder and lightning and heavy seas, and had managed to grab on to floats attached to crab pots set south of Inis Oírr by Aran fisherman Bertie Donohue.

Claddagh fisherman Patrick Oliver and his 18-year-old son Morgan, were already on their way to the location, having judged a north-easterly wind would sweep them diagonally out into the Atlantic.

The internal review has confirmed the women were carried 18.5 nautical miles or over 33 kilometres – not 27 kilometres as initially reported – at an average speed of 2.2 nautical miles an hour.

It records there were a large number of false sightings which had to be checked out by the three Irish Coast Guard helicopters on rotation, along with RNLI Aran and Galway lifeboats and Irish Coast Guard units from Doolin and Costelloe Bay.

Contact was made with the Naval Service at 6 am on Thursday, and a formal request made for a ship at 11.10 am.

The Air Corps was requested at 7 am but the Casa maritime patrol plane was under repair and not available until after 1 pm.

By this time the two women, who were exhausted and hypothermic, were being flown from Inis Oírr to University Hospital, Galway by the Rescue117 Waterford-based Sikorsky S-92.

Read The Sunday Times here

Listen to the RTÉ Doc on One - Miracle in Galway Bay – by Lorna Siggins and Sarah Blake here

Published in Galway Harbour Team

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Galway Port & Harbour

Galway Bay is a large bay on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city and port is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to 30 kilometres (19 miles) in breadth.

The Aran Islands are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

Galway Port FAQs

Galway was founded in the 13th century by the de Burgo family, and became an important seaport with sailing ships bearing wine imports and exports of fish, hides and wool.

Not as old as previously thought. Galway bay was once a series of lagoons, known as Loch Lurgan, plied by people in log canoes. Ancient tree stumps exposed by storms in 2010 have been dated back about 7,500 years.

It is about 660,000 tonnes as it is a tidal port.

Capt Brian Sheridan, who succeeded his late father, Capt Frank Sheridan

The dock gates open approximately two hours before high water and close at high water subject to ship movements on each tide.

The typical ship sizes are in the region of 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes

Turbines for about 14 wind projects have been imported in recent years, but the tonnage of these cargoes is light. A European industry report calculates that each turbine generates €10 million in locally generated revenue during construction and logistics/transport.

Yes, Iceland has selected Galway as European landing location for international telecommunications cables. Farice, a company wholly owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe.

It is "very much a live project", Harbourmaster Capt Sheridan says, and the Port of Galway board is "awaiting the outcome of a Bord Pleanála determination", he says.

90% of the scrap steel is exported to Spain with the balance being shipped to Portugal. Since the pandemic, scrap steel is shipped to the Liverpool where it is either transhipped to larger ships bound for China.

It might look like silage, but in fact, its bales domestic and municipal waste, exported to Denmark where the waste is incinerated, and the heat is used in district heating of homes and schools. It is called RDF or Refuse Derived Fuel and has been exported out of Galway since 2013.

The new ferry is arriving at Galway Bay onboard the cargo ship SVENJA. The vessel is currently on passage to Belem, Brazil before making her way across the Atlantic to Galway.

Two Volvo round world races have selected Galway for the prestigious yacht race route. Some 10,000 people welcomed the boats in during its first stopover in 2009, when a festival was marked by stunning weather. It was also selected for the race finish in 2012. The Volvo has changed its name and is now known as the "Ocean Race". Capt Sheridan says that once port expansion and the re-urbanisation of the docklands is complete, the port will welcome the "ocean race, Clipper race, Tall Ships race, Small Ships Regatta and maybe the America's Cup right into the city centre...".

The pandemic was the reason why Seafest did not go ahead in Cork in 2020. Galway will welcome Seafest back after it calls to Waterford and Limerick, thus having been to all the Port cities.

© Afloat 2020

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