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Civic Reception for Damian Browne - First Man to Row from New York to Galway

24th January 2023
Pictured at the Civic Reception in his honour, are Mayor of Galway City,
Councillor Clodagh Higgins, and solo transatlantic rower Damian Browne, former professional rugby player and adventurer
Pictured at the Civic Reception in his honour, are Mayor of Galway City, Councillor Clodagh Higgins, and solo transatlantic rower Damian Browne, former professional rugby player and adventurer Credit: Andrew Downes

Atlantic oarsman Damian Browne’s achievements in crossing the ocean each way and becoming the first man to row from New York to Galway were lauded at a civic reception hosted by Mayor of Galway Clodagh Higgins this week.

Mayor Higgins had not been invited to Browne’s arrival on October 4th last, when he landed into Galway city after rowing more than 3,450 nautical miles over 2,696 hours.

However, at a reception in Galway on Monday, Cllr Higgins paid tribute to his efforts.

Transatlantic rower Damian Browne, with his parents, Mary and Joe Browne, at the Galway City Council civic reception in his honour. Photo: Andrew DownesTransatlantic rower Damian Browne, with his parents, Mary and Joe Browne, at the Galway City Council civic reception in his honour. Photo: Andrew Downes

“It takes a particular type of person to see a death-defying challenge with nature, and to seriously consider taking it on,” she said.

“It takes an even more special person to complete it successfully. Damian Browne is one such person,”she said.

“Damian continues to inspire and motivate us, in both his career as an extreme adventurer and peak performance athlete, and also as an international keynote speaker,” she said.

She acknowledged Damian’s role as an ambassador for Galway, and wished him and his family continued success, health, happiness and contentment in future.

Browne and his team mate Fergus Farrell, who are both former rugby players, spoke about Project Empower with manager Macdara Hosty before a packed audience in the Galmont Hotel, Galway, last Friday.

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

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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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