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Congratulations Seascapes

19th December 2008

A piece of radio history was made at the RNLI headquarters in Swords with the broadcasting of the 1,000th edition of the weekly RTE radio programme, Seascapes. The programme featured the work of the lifeboat service and the RNLI presented the RTE crew with a birthday cake to mark the occasion. Our photo shows (l to r) Marcus connaughton, series producer; Kevin Healy, former director of radio, who was the man who first gave approval for Seascapes to be broadcast, Kevin Fowley and Mick McLoughlin of RTE radio outside broadcast unit and the show presenter Tom MacSweeeney


Volunteers and supporters of the RNLI in Ireland helped celebrate SEASCAPES twentieth birthday recently with two specially recorded radio shows to be broadcast during the Christmas season.  Seascapes is RTE radio 1's popular maritime programme, which is broadcast every Monday night at 10.30pm.  

The two special programmes were recorded in the RNLI's Irish Headquarters in Swords, County Dublin earlier in the month and the shows will be broadcast on Monday 22nd and 29th December at 10.30pm. The programmes have been recorded to mark twenty years of Seascapes and the first show marks the 1,000th episode. The programme is hosted by RTE marine correspondent Tom MacSweeney and produced by Marcus Connaughton.

The two shows contain a mix of songs and stories with an RNLI and maritime background.  Contributors on the night included popular Dublin Flag day collector Bob Donaldson, who despite his ninety years still collects every year for the charity on O'Connell Bridge in Dublin.  Former Kilmore Quay crewmember and well known figure in the fishing industry, Joe Maddock, recounted the tragic events from Christmas Eve 1977, when Finton Sinnott, an RNLI crewmember drowned while on a callout.

Three RNLI coxswains shared their stories on the night.  Brendan Pitt from Rosslare Harbour joined Joefy Murphy from Dunmore East to talk about their stations while Mark Barnett from Lough Swilly recounted the story behind Phil Coulter's well known lifeboat song "Home from the Sea" and how the Donegal lifeboat station came in existence.

Regular contributor and former Valentia crewmember Dick Robinson spoke and two female crewmembers Helena Duggan from Courtown and Pauline Dunleavy from Kilrush gave the humorous side to being a female crewmember with the RNLI.  

Northern Ireland was also included with Red Bay helm Paddy McLaughlin travelling down to speak about some of the rescues he has dealt with in his years volunteering for the RNLI.  Deputy Divisional Inspector Gareth Morrison from Bangor spoke about his role within the RNLI and how it runs behind the scenes.

Wicklow locals Dermot Desmond and Ger Keeling rounded out the proceedings.  Dermot Desmond retires this year after twenty years of service to the RNLI.  Dermot was Area Fundraising Manager for Leinster and is one of the most popular figures on the east coast.  Ger Keeling was formerly RNLI staff but has since gone on to become Chief Executive of the International Maritime Rescue Federation.

Anna Classon, RNLI Fundraising and Communications Manager for Ireland said, " The RNLI has a very close connection with Seascapes over the years and many of our lifeboat crews and supporters have contributed stories.  For the RNLI to be chosen as the venue and theme for the this twentieth birthday is a huge honour and one which we were delighted to accept."

Marcus Connaughton, producer of Seascapes added, "The lifeboat men and women are always there, 24 hours-a-day, all year round and they will be ready to launch over Christmas when many people get a welcome break. Lifeboats have been called out at Christmas time and have suffered tragedy at that festive period. We want to recognise that effort and great commitment of human service."

Music was provided by the children of St. Patrick's Choral Scholars from Castleknock in Dublin, under their musical director Geraldine Meade. While RNLI Divisional Technicians Cathal Nolan and David Tillotson played and sang some well known maritime songs.

The evening culminated with a presentation of a specially commissioned birthday cake, presented to Tom by Anna Classon, RNLI Fundraising and Communications Manager.

SEASCAPES, RTE Radio 1's maritime programme is now in its 20th year and covers the maritime sphere in the widest form. It started as a 15-minute programme in the summer of 1989 and subsequently expanded to 30 minutes and, with the strong support of a loyal following, has continued every week since. The show is available to listen to on the World Wide Web by logging onto Team

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