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Displaying items by tag: Lifeboats

Three days after the rescue of three fishermen last Saturday afternoon, Wicklow RNLI launched lunchtime on Tuesday (13 February) to assist three more fishermen after their vessel experienced mechanical problems.

Under the command of coxswain Ciaran Doyle, the all-weather lifeboat Bridie O’Shea slipped its moorings from the south quay shortly before 9am and proceeded north to the casualty vessel’s last reported position.

The 11-metre fishing vessel was located at 9.35am drifting some eight miles off Bray Harbour, with three fishermen onboard were found to be safe and well.

Their fishing boat was found to have suffered engine failure and was unable to return to port under its own power, so the decision was made to tow the vessel to safety.

A towline was quickly established, and the lifeboat began to tow the stricken vessel back to Wicklow harbour, where it was secured alongside the south quay at 12.40pm and the fishermen were landed safely ashore.

Weather conditions at the time were favourable with calm sea and good visibility.

Speaking after the call-out, lifeboat press officer Tommy Dover said: “The fishermen did the right thing this morning by calling the coastguard for assistance. Our volunteer crew were happy to help.”

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Bundoran RNLI came to the aid of two people who got trapped at the bottom of a cliff in county Sligo on Wednesday afternoon (14 February).

The inshore lifeboat was requested to launch at 2.41pm following a report from the Irish Coast Guard that two people were trapped at rocks at Mermaid’s Cove.

The lifeboat helmed by Killian O’Kelly and with crew members Rory O’Connor and Fergal Mullen onboard, launched within seven minutes and made its way to the scene six miles away.

Weather conditions at the time were dull and overcast but visibility was good. The sea was calm with a small swell.

Arriving on scene, the crew observed two people at the bottom of the cliff who were unable to move without assistance. A crew member was put ashore to check one walker who had a suspected wrist injury.

Having assessed the situation and given the location was so close to rocks, it was decided that the safest way to extract the casualty was to request the Sligo-based coastguard helicopter Rescue 118.

The helicopter crew arrived swiftly to winch and airlift the casualty to safety. The second person was able to make it back to the top of the cliff with the assistance of a lifeboat crew member and shore crew waiting at the top.

Speaking following the call-out, Bundoran RNLI helm Killian O’Kelly said: “We would like to wish the casualty a speedy recovery and thank our colleagues in Rescue 118 for their help today.

“We would remind anyone planning a walk at or near the coast to be wary of all edges around the sea and waterside as rocks can often be wet and slippy. Check weather and tides before venturing out and always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.

“Always take a means of calling for help and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Rosslare Harbour RNLI’s volunteer crew were requested by the Irish Coast Guard on Sunday evening (11 February) to assist five crew on board a stricken fishing vessel.

The all-weather lifeboat was launched shortly after the shout at 5.26pm and quickly reached the scene two miles north of Rosslare Harbour, in clear weather with slight seas and good visibility.

It emerged that the 15m-long fishing vessel had an entangled propeller.

Having assessed the situation and consulted with the five crew onboard, it was decided to tow the vessel to Rosslare Harbour. A tow line was secured and the vessel was safely towed to the harbour.

Jamie Ryan, Rosslare Harbour RNLI lifeboat operations manager said: “I would like to commend the crew of the fishing vessel for wearing their flotation safety devices and for carrying communication equipment.

“It is essential that sailors and fishers contact the coastguard when in difficulty. To do this, call 999 or 112.”

The lifeboat volunteer crew on this call-out were coxswain Mick Nicholas, mechanic Keith Miller, navigator Andrew Ironside and crew Paul McCormack, Eoghan Quirke, Ronan Hill, Seán Cullen and Stephen Breen.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

As the RNLI prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary on 4 March, the charity has brought some of its rich history to life with the release of a stunning collection of colourised images.

From community events to candid snapshots, 11 black-and-white images have been painstakingly cleaned and colourised with folds, scratches and dust removed using digital technology to shine new light on 200 years of saving lives at sea.

The striking images from across Ireland and the UK include courageous lifeboat crews, early fundraising street collections and iconic scenes of close-knit communities coming together to launch and recover lifeboats.

Part of the new collection is a photograph taken of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, his wife and their son William at an annual meeting in 1936.

Full-length photograph of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, Mrs Sliney and son William at an annual meeting in 1936 | Credit: RNLIFull-length photograph of Ballycotton coxswain Patrick Sliney, Mrs Sliney and son William at an annual meeting in 1936 | Credit: RNLI

In that same year, the Daunt Rock Lightship came adrift off Ballycotton in horrendous conditions with 12 people onboard. The lifeboat crew spent 49 hours at sea and eventually rescued all those onboard.

Patrick Sliney was awarded the RNLI Gold Medal for Gallantry and the rest of his crew, including his son William, received Bronze Medals.

Also featured in the collection is the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, Henry Blogg, who was born on 6 February 1876. Blogg served for 53 years on Cromer’s lifeboats in Norfolk, England before retiring in 1947, having saved 873 lives and been awarded many honours including three Gold and four Silver RNLI Medals for Gallantry.

The image of Henry, which first appeared in the Lifeboat Journal in 1916, shows him wearing black oilskins and a sou’wester, which preceded the instantly recognisable yellow waterproofs now associated with the RNLI.

Before and after: A portrait of Henry Blogg, the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, who in his 53 years of service helped save 873 people | Credit: RNLIBefore and after: A portrait of Henry Blogg, the most decorated RNLI lifesaver, who in his 53 years of service helped save 873 people | Credit: RNLI

RNLI heritage and archive research manager Hayley Whiting said: “The carefully coloured images illustrate just a few highlights of the incredible history of lifesaving over the previous two centuries, where over 144,000 lives have been saved to date.

“To see the crew of St Davids lifeboat walking up from the boathouse wearing their traditional red hats, the yellow sou’westers of the children fundraising or the vibrant blue sea off the Isle of Man, the reworked images really do bring a different perspective on some of our archived pictures.

“Each image has been brought to life by our own in-house creative team with hours spent on attention to detail, along with research being undertaken to ensure each one gave a true, lifelike representation.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Tributes have been paid to Red Bay RNLI helm Gary Fyfe after his sudden death on Thursday night (8 February).

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the 46-year-old died at the scene of a single-vehicle crash in Cushendall, Co Antrim.

His funeral will take place on Sunday (11 February) with Requiem Mass in St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s Church, Glenariffe at 10am.

Red Bay RNLI said Fyfe was “a giant in our lifeboat station, a natural leader who everyone turned to for advice and guidance”.

It added that this year would have seen Fyfe receive his 30-year service medal, having signed up for the RNLI as a lifeboat volunteer at the age of 17.

Gary Fyfe, as the Operations Manager of Red Bay Boats Ltd, one of the leading boat builders in Northern Ireland, had a keen interest in marine affairs across Ireland. This included Afloat.ie. He is pictured standing on the bow area of the magazine's Red Bay 7.4m cabin RIB during a recent Afloat trip on a fine day to his beloved Cushendall Harbour Photo: AfloatGary Fyfe, as the Operations Manager of Red Bay Boats Ltd, a leading boat builder in Northern Ireland, had a keen interest in marine affairs across Ireland. This included Afloat.ie. He is pictured standing in the bow area of the magazine's Red Bay 7.4m cabin RIB during a recent Afloat trip on a fine day to his beloved Cushendall Harbour Photo: Afloat

His lifeboat colleagues added: “Gary was responsible for saving many lives during his years on the Red Bay lifeboat. He never sought recognition or praise for his rescues but rather carried his achievements lightly and thought only of others.

“In our small but close community in Cushendall, Gary was an anchor for us all and his loss will be felt far and wide. His life and the selfless way he lived it, touched so many people.”

Gary Fyfe is survived by his wife Clare and children Eleanor and Alexander.

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Just days after the Arranmore RNLI volunteer crew carried out a marathon rescue of a fishing crew in challenging weather conditions, they were again called out to assist with a medical evacuation from the island at 7pm on Thursday evening (8 February).

Following the third call-out for the crew in as many days, lifeboat coxswain Seán O'Donnell said: “This was a quick call which we were pleased to respond to following our long service on Sunday. We are always ready to answer the call no matter what it is.”

The crew on board on Thursday alongside O’Donnell were mechanic Philip McCauley, Brian Proctor, Seamus Bonner, Sharon O’Donnell, Mickey Dubh McHugh and Seán Sammy Gallagher.

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The volunteer crew of Arranmore RNLI responded to a call by Malin Head Coast Guard at 6am on Wednesday morning (31 January) to four fishermen on a boat in difficulty at Inis Meain, off the coast of Bunbeg in Co Donegal.

The lifeboat arrived on scene just before 7am and the crew ascertained that the casualty boat, a 12-metre crabber with four crew onboard, had got into difficulty as it was sheltering from the south-westerly winds and went aground on the island.

With winds and gusts of 50-60 miles per hour blowing on shore and swells of four to five metres, the lifeboat coxswain Seán O’Donnell assessed the scene in conjunction with the Irish Coast Guard’s Rescue 118 helicopter crew from Sligo, who were also tasked.

Following the assessment, Rescue 118 airlifted the four crew members and proceeded to Carrickfinn airport where they were landed safely. The lifeboat returned to anchor after refuelling in Burtonport at 9.30am.

Speaking following the call-out, O’Donnell said: “I’m really pleased that all the crew were brought to safety and would like to commend the helicopter crew for their professionalism in the execution of the rescue of the four crew members. It is a privilege to work alongside the coastguard crews from Bunbeg, Malin Head and of course Rescue 118.

“I would also like to thank our own crew onboard the lifeboat for their dedication in answering the call so early on a windy morning.”

The lifeboat crew on this call-out alongside O’Donnell were mechanic Philip McCauley, Reamon O’Donnell, Sharon O’Donnell, Brian Proctor, Finbar Gallagher, Jamie Neeson and Aisling Cox.

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Pwllheli RNLI has closed over “ongoing distrust and disharmony” between crew members at the North Wales lifeboat station.

According to BBC News, a number of key personnel have also resigned from the station, prompting the RNLI to “reset operations”.

“Until we’ve got a safe number of crew and a safe management structure to support that lifeboat station, we’re not able to go back on to service,” said the RNLI’s Wales manager Ryan Jennings.

A statement from the RNLI said its decision to close the Pwllheli station was “not taken lightly but is considered necessary to move forward with an inclusive and sustainable lifeboat station…for many years to come”.

Pwllheli is a regular haunt for Irish sailors taking part in the annual ISORA races.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

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Crews from the Aran Islands and Galway RNLI stations took part in a joint training exercise on inner Galway Bay this past Saturday (27 January).

The training was an opportunity for the crews from the two flanking stations to work together on a number of boat-handling and seamanship exercises to prepare for future joint search and rescue missions.

Brian Niland, helm with Galway RNLI who led the exercise for the Galway crew said: “We were delighted to welcome the Aran Islands RNLI crewm onboard the all-weather Severn class lifeboat David Kirkaldy, to Galway for a training exercise off Salthill.

“It was impressive to see the larger Aran Islands lifeboat and see how the two lifeboats can work side by side.

“The training was a great learning experience for both crews and will help us when we are requested to launch together, to help those in danger in the water. Our volunteer lifeboat crews spend many hours training so we can meet the dangers and challenges we face at sea.”

Galway RNLI crew on board the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Binny leaving Galway Port with the Aran Islands RNLI crew on board the all-weather Severn lifeboat David Kirkaldy | Credit: RNLI/Aoife MorrissyGalway RNLI crew on board the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Binny leaving Galway Port with the Aran Islands RNLI crew on board the all-weather Severn lifeboat David Kirkaldy | Credit: RNLI/Aoife Morrissy

Aran Islands RNLI coxswain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin said: “Saturday’s training exercise was a good chance to meet the Galway crew and show what the lifeboat from each station is capable of.

“The type of lifeboat a station has depends on geographical features, the kind of rescues the station is involved in and the cover provided by neighbouring lifeboat stations.

“Our Severn class lifeboat is designed for the offshore long jobs we face in the toughest weather, while the Galway Atlantic class lifeboat is one of the fastest in the fleet and is ideal for rescues close to shore, near cliffs and rocks which may be inaccessible to our all-weather lifeboat. Working together we are able to carry out search and rescue throughout Galway Bay.

“Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, RNLI lifeboat crews are ready to answer the call to rescue. If you see someone in trouble at the coast call 112 or 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Cyclists will ‘Lap the Lake’ for the third year running to raise funds for Lough Derg RNLI on Saturday 11 May.

With Lough Derg RNLI marking 20 years of lifeboat service on the lake in the same year that the charity that saves lives at sea celebrates its bicentenary, the 2024 fundraiser will be a doubly special occasion.

As with the 2023 event, cyclists may again choose between a 120km route or a shorter 65km one.

The longer route will take participants on a full circuit of Lough Derg, giving entrants the chance to cycle through three counties: Tipperary, Clare and Galway. The shorter route will take cyclists to just beyond Killaloe, to a turnaround point at the Twomilegate lakeside amenity park.

Whichever route riders chose, they will have the opportunity to delight in the outstanding beauty of the lake and the River Shannon.

Riders’ safety and well-being is also a priority, with first-aid providers, out-riders, marshals and bike maintenance stops along the routes, as well as comfort and refreshment stations.

“We were thrilled with the success of the previous two years’ Lap the Lake cycle,” said Laura Clarke, chair of the event committee. “We were blessed with fine weather so that cyclists were able to enjoy the most breathtaking scenery around the lake.

“2024 is a particularly special year for the RNLI as the charity marks 200 years of lifesaving work. This event, now open for registration, is about raising funds for our local lifeboat on Lough Derg, which celebrates 20 years of service.”

Event tickets are €65 per person for the full route and €50 for the shorter route. All funds raised will go to Lough Derg RNLI. To find out more and to book your place among the riders this year, visit the Eventbrite page HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Ireland's offshore islands

Around 30 of Ireland's offshore islands are inhabited and hold a wealth of cultural heritage.

A central Government objective is to ensure that sustainable vibrant communities continue to live on the islands.

Irish offshore islands FAQs

Technically, it is Ireland itself, as the third largest island in Europe.

Ireland is surrounded by approximately 80 islands of significant size, of which only about 20 are inhabited.

Achill island is the largest of the Irish isles with a coastline of almost 80 miles and has a population of 2,569.

The smallest inhabited offshore island is Inishfree, off Donegal.

The total voting population in the Republic's inhabited islands is just over 2,600 people, according to the Department of Housing.

Starting with west Cork, and giving voting register numbers as of 2020, here you go - Bere island (177), Cape Clear island (131),Dursey island (6), Hare island (29), Whiddy island (26), Long island, Schull (16), Sherkin island (95). The Galway islands are Inis Mór (675), Inis Meáin (148), Inis Oírr (210), Inishbofin (183). The Donegal islands are Arranmore (513), Gola (30), Inishboffin (63), Inishfree (4), Tory (140). The Mayo islands, apart from Achill which is connected by a bridge, are Clare island (116), Inishbiggle (25) and Inishturk (52).

No, the Gaeltacht islands are the Donegal islands, three of the four Galway islands (Inishbofin, like Clifden, is English-speaking primarily), and Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire in west Cork.

Lack of a pier was one of the main factors in the evacuation of a number of islands, the best known being the Blasket islands off Kerry, which were evacuated in November 1953. There are now three cottages available to rent on the Great Blasket island.

In the early 20th century, scholars visited the Great Blasket to learn Irish and to collect folklore and they encouraged the islanders to record their life stories in their native tongue. The three best known island books are An tOileánach (The Islandman) by Tomás Ó Criomhthain, Peig by Peig Sayers, and Fiche Blian ag Fás (Twenty Years A-Growing) by Muiris Ó Súilleabháin. Former taoiseach Charles J Haughey also kept a residence on his island, Inishvickillaune, which is one of the smaller and less accessible Blasket islands.

Charles J Haughey, as above, or late Beatle musician, John Lennon. Lennon bought Dorinish island in Clew Bay, south Mayo, in 1967 for a reported £1,700 sterling. Vendor was Westport Harbour Board which had used it for marine pilots. Lennon reportedly planned to spend his retirement there, and The Guardian newspaper quoted local estate agent Andrew Crowley as saying he was "besotted with the place by all accounts". He did lodge a planning application for a house, but never built on the 19 acres. He offered it to Sid Rawle, founder of the Digger Action Movement and known as the "King of the Hippies". Rawle and 30 others lived there until 1972 when their tents were burned by an oil lamp. Lennon and Yoko Ono visited it once more before his death in 1980. Ono sold the island for £30,000 in 1984, and it is widely reported that she donated the proceeds of the sale to an Irish orphanage

 

Yes, Rathlin island, off Co Antrim's Causeway Coast, is Ireland's most northerly inhabited island. As a special area of conservation, it is home to tens of thousands of sea birds, including puffins, kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots. It is known for its Rathlin golden hare. It is almost famous for the fact that Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, retreated after being defeated by the English at Perth and hid in a sea cave where he was so inspired by a spider's tenacity that he returned to defeat his enemy.

No. The Aran islands have a regular ferry and plane service, with ferries from Ros-a-Mhíl, south Connemara all year round and from Doolin, Co Clare in the tourist season. The plane service flies from Indreabhán to all three islands. Inishbofin is connected by ferry from Cleggan, Co Galway, while Clare island and Inishturk are connected from Roonagh pier, outside Louisburgh. The Donegal islands of Arranmore and Tory island also have ferry services, as has Bere island, Cape Clear and Sherkin off Cork. How are the island transport services financed? The Government subsidises transport services to and from the islands. The Irish Coast Guard carries out medical evacuations, as to the RNLI lifeboats. Former Fianna Fáíl minister Éamon Ó Cuív is widely credited with improving transport services to and from offshore islands, earning his department the nickname "Craggy island".

Craggy Island is an bleak, isolated community located of the west coast, inhabited by Irish, a Chinese community and one Maori. Three priests and housekeeper Mrs Doyle live in a parochial house There is a pub, a very small golf course, a McDonald's fast food restaurant and a Chinatown... Actually, that is all fiction. Craggy island is a figment of the imagination of the Father Ted series writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, for the highly successful Channel 4 television series, and the Georgian style parochial house on the "island" is actually Glenquin House in Co Clare.

Yes, that is of the Plassey, a freighter which was washed up on Inis Oírr in bad weather in 1960.

There are some small privately owned islands,and islands like Inishlyre in Co Mayo with only a small number of residents providing their own transport. Several Connemara islands such as Turbot and Inishturk South have a growing summer population, with some residents extending their stay during Covid-19. Turbot island off Eyrephort is one such example – the island, which was first spotted by Alcock and Brown as they approached Ireland during their epic transatlantic flight in 1919, was evacuated in 1978, four years after three of its fishermen drowned on the way home from watching an All Ireland final in Clifden. However, it is slowly being repopulated

Responsibility for the islands was taking over by the Department of Rural and Community Development . It was previously with the Gaeltacht section in the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht.

It is a periodic bone of contention, as Ireland does not have the same approach to its islands as Norway, which believes in right of access. However, many improvements were made during Fianna Fáíl Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív's time as minister. The Irish Island Federation, Comdháil Oileáin na hÉireann, represents island issues at national and international level.

The 12 offshore islands with registered voters have long argued that having to cast their vote early puts them at a disadvantage – especially as improved transport links mean that ballot boxes can be transported to the mainland in most weather conditions, bar the winter months. Legislation allowing them to vote on the same day as the rest of the State wasn't passed in time for the February 2020 general election.

Yes, but check tide tables ! Omey island off north Connemara is accessible at low tide and also runs a summer race meeting on the strand. In Sligo, 14 pillars mark the way to Coney island – one of several islands bearing this name off the Irish coast.

Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire is the country's most southerly inhabited island, eight miles off the west Cork coast, and within sight of the Fastnet Rock lighthouse, also known as the "teardrop of Ireland".
Skellig Michael off the Kerry coast, which has a monastic site dating from the 6th century. It is accessible by boat – prebooking essential – from Portmagee, Co Kerry. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was not open to visitors in 2020.
All islands have bird life, but puffins and gannets and kittiwakes are synonymous with Skellig Michael and Little Skellig. Rathlin island off Antrim and Cape Clear off west Cork have bird observatories. The Saltee islands off the Wexford coast are privately owned by the O'Neill family, but day visitors are permitted access to the Great Saltee during certain hours. The Saltees have gannets, gulls, puffins and Manx shearwaters.
Vikings used Dublin as a European slaving capital, and one of their bases was on Dalkey island, which can be viewed from Killiney's Vico road. Boat trips available from Coliemore harbour in Dalkey. Birdwatch Ireland has set up nestboxes here for roseate terns. Keep an eye out also for feral goats.
Plenty! There are regular boat trips in summer to Inchagoill island on Lough Corrib, while the best known Irish inshore island might be the lake isle of Innisfree on Sligo's Lough Gill, immortalised by WB Yeats in his poem of the same name. Roscommon's Lough Key has several islands, the most prominent being the privately-owned Castle Island. Trinity island is more accessible to the public - it was once occupied by Cistercian monks from Boyle Abbey.

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