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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

Bundoran RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to launch yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 22 December) to reports of a 19ft vessel that had sunk off Killybegs.

Also tasked to the scene were the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 as well as the Killybegs Coast Guard RIB, while help was sought from other vessels in the area.

On arrival, the lifeboat crew found that two people who had been on the sunken vessel had already made their way to safety and were treated by an ambulance at the Killybegs slipway.

The lifeboat then assisted the coastguard RIB in securing the vessel.

Lifeboat helm Rory O’Connor said: “Thanks to quick actions of all involved, this was another successful outcome and the two people will get to spend Christmas with their loved ones.

“It’s another example of inter-agency cooperation and we were glad to be able to assist our Irish Coast Guard colleagues.”

The incident came just two days after another inter-agency operation to rescue a man whose small boat ran aground on rocks in Ballyshannon, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Arklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr taking a stricken fishing vessel under tow | Photo: RNLI/ArklowArklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr taking a stricken fishing vessel under tow (Photo: RNLI/Arklow)

In other lifeboat news, Arklow RNLI launched to the aid of two fishermen on a vessel in distress last Thursday 17 December.

As the volunteer crew of six were en route, further reports came in that the fishing vessel had freed the foul but was adrift and dragging its anchor — and in danger of being driven up onto the rocks at Kilmichael Point.

Once on scene, the lifeboat crew worked quickly with the casualty vessel’s crew of two to establish a tow line, before the vessel was towed safely back to Arklow.

Following the incident, Arklow RNLI community safety officer Mark Corcoran gave a special shoutout to coxswain Eddie McElheron on his first callout in command of the all-weather lifeboat Ger Tigchlearr.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Volunteers from Bundoran RNLI were part of a multi-agency operation to rescue a man whose small boat ran aground on rocks in Ballyshannon yesterday afternoon (Sunday 20 December).

The man raised the alarm from his boat which had run aground off the island of Inis Saimer just before 1pm, and Malin Head Coast Guard requested the launch of Bundoran’s lifeboat as well as the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118.

However, it was determined that sea conditions would render it unsafe for the inshore lifeboat to get across the bar at the end of the Erne Estuary.

Instead, four lifeboat crew travelled by road to Ballyshannon where an Inland Fisheries Ireland patrol boat was already close to the casualty vessel.

Together the fisheries officers and lifeboat volunteers evacuated the man from his boat and brought him safely to shore and the into the care of paramedics.

In the meantime, the Bundoran lifeboat was transported by road under Garda escort to Ballyshannon, where it was launched and towed the casualty boat away from the rocks.

Bundoran lifeboat helm Michael Patton said: “This was another good outcome with the cooperation of our colleagues at Rescue 118, Inland Fisheries [Ireland], the National Ambulance Service and the Garda Siochana.

“We were glad to be able to get the man safely off the boat and return his boat to him.

“He was also wearing a lifejacket, and we would remind anyone taking to the water that this is an essential piece of equipment anytime you set sail.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Instead of Christmas swims, Howth RNLI fundraisers in County Dublin are asking Howth peninsula swimmers to "DIP & DONATE" to the RNLI anytime between December 19th and Jan 7th.

Howth RNLI has posters with a printed QR code (see above) for scanning by camera phone to take swimmers directly to the RNLI Justgiving page, Howth RNLI's Rose Michael told Afloat.

Mass Christmas sea swims, often held in aid of charities, such as the RNLI, have been discouraged this year due to pandemic measures to kerb social gatherings.

Howth Lifeboat Station continues to rely on voluntary contributions and legacies for income. It is only through thoughtful gifts and donations that the RNLI is able to provide our volunteer lifeboat crews with the boats, facilities, equipment and training that are essential to save lives at sea.

Since 1825 an all-weather lifeboat has launched into Dublin Bay from Howth and the crews have been honoured with 20 awards for gallantry.

Today the station operates both a Trent class lifeboat and an inshore D class lifeboat.

Published in Sea Swim
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Dunmore East RNLI volunteer lifeboat crewman Paul Sheehan was recently recognised for a community volunteer award by his employer after being nominated by his co-workers.

Paul is a general operative with Bausch and Lomb in Waterford, which recently held an open competition among employees to highlight some of the volunteer work they regularly conduct outside of work.

The dedicated volunteer crew with Dunmore East RNLI for 14 years was nominated by some of his co-workers — and his employers honoured him with a community volunteer award and a donation of €500 to Dunmore East RNLI.

Margaret Barry, chair of the Dunmore East RNLI fundraising branch, said: “Our volunteer crew are an extremely dedicated bunch and it is lovely to see Paul being deservedly recognised, by his employer, for his many years of lifesaving efforts with Dunmore East RNLI.

“We are very grateful to receive any donations, as this year has been a particularly difficult year for our fundraising efforts. Donations like this will enable our charity’s lifesavers to continue to save lives at sea.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual Dun Laoghaire Harbour RNLI Christmas Eve public ceremony to honour the memory of 15 lifeboat volunteers that died on service 125 years ago has been cancelled this year and will be shown online.

On 24 December 1895, the number two lifeboat was wrecked while proceeding to the assistance of the SS Palme of Finland. The lifeboat capsized in gale force winds while attempting to rescue those on board the SS Palme that had run aground off Blackrock in County Dublin. The whole crew, 15 in all, drowned.

The volunteer crew of Dun Laoghaire RNLI usually hold the annual ceremony at the East Pier lighthouse as part of a long-standing local tradition to acknowledge the sacrifice of their colleagues in carrying out their duty. The ceremony also remembers all those who have lost their lives around the coast and on inland waters in 2020.

Instead, two wreaths will be placed by the lifeboat crew at sea, despite the covid-19 pandemic the station will continue to pay tribute to their lost colleagues featuring the service online through Dun Laoghaire RNLI's Facebook page later on Christmas Eve.

The tribute will feature musician William Byrne performing 'The Ballad of the Palme' and Fergal Keane of RTE, reading a newspaper account of the disaster. An ecumenical blessing will be given by Reverends Ása Björk Ólafsdóttir and Fr. Paul Tyrell before a lament is played by piper Paul McNally.

A joint guard of honour provided by Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard Unit and Civil Defence will not take place.

Stephen Wynne, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: 'We know a lot of people like to traditionally join us on Christmas Eve to commemorate this anniversary which allows us to pay tribute to those that sadly died on that day in 1895, and to remember all who have died at sea or on inland waters this year. However, it is not an ordinary year and we want everyone to be safe. We hope that people will visit our Facebook page shortly after the lifeboat crew lay the wreaths at sea as a beautiful tribute has been prepared.'

What started as a small fundraiser for Galway RNLI and Cancer Care West has turned into something spectacular as the players and members of Galway Corinthians RFC have raised over €8,500 for both organisations through two fundraising efforts.

The first featured the senior players in the club with Jack Noone and Kenneth Casburn behind the organisation of ‘Movember’ where players, management and committee members grew facial hair of some kind for the month of November.

The second featured the mercurial talents of club president Kieran Faherty.

Known fondly as ‘Flash’, Kieran is an accomplished artist and he generously provided one of his paintings known as ‘Brewing Up A Storm’, a stunning view of Galway Bay that has proved very popular with prints and cards selling out quickly.

But what inspired the painting? “I am often asked that,” Kieran says. “Pretty much my signature pieces are all about colour, and Connemara is my inspiration for many.

“As a kid I only saw greyness in the Connemara landscape, but age opens your eyes. Now I embrace all the wonderful changing coloured landscape that the mountains, bogs and lakes give up to us.”

He added: “I think my inspiration for this piece is the challenges it offers, as it sits in stormy waters, and I think appropriately it is raising funds for a charity that lives in stormy waters with their incredible brave crew.”

The fundraising has been warmly welcomed by both organisations, with Mike Swan, Galway RNLI lifeboat operations manager, saying: “I wanted to express my personal gratitude for the effort of the members of Corinthians Rugby Club and thank them for their very generous donation, of which will be put to good use saving lives at sea.

“Given the year that’s in it, the crew are overwhelmed with the support from the people of Galway.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A new video featuring five of the most dramatic RNLI rescues of 2020 has been released today as the lifesaving charity braces itself for another busy Christmas: 

Figures for the last 10 years for the festive period (Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day) show that RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 122 times, with their volunteer crews coming to the aid of 56 people including four lives saved.

The incredible footage shows how the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews will go to the aid of anyone who needs their help, whatever the weather and no matter how dangerous the conditions.

Among the Irish rescues, the video features:

  • Three lifeboats from Dunmore East, Kilmore Quay and Rosslare Harbour battling for hours in strong winds and breaking seas to save a 4,000-tonne coaster and nine crew from being washed onto the rocks.
  • A crew member from Portrush RNLI jumping from their all-weather lifeboat into stormy seas to rescue a teenager who got into difficulty while jumping into the sea off rocks.

The RNLI has launched its Christmas Appeal and is asking for support so the charity’s lifesavers can continue to save lives at sea: Please visit - RNLI.org/Xmas

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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RNLI Lifeboat volunteer Carol Flahive has received a long service badge in recognition of 20 years' dedicated service to the community.

Carol joined Wicklow lifeboat in November 2000 and over the years has been in charge as the Helm on the Inshore lifeboat and crew on the all-weather lifeboat Annie Blaker.

In recent times Carol qualified as a Navigator on the all-weather lifeboat and looks after crew training as Local Training Coordinator at the Station.

Carol has built up a wealth of experience and knowledge during exercises with Wicklow lifeboat, which she has passed on to the new generation of crew.

Carol has been on numerous launches on service and exercise over the last 20 years. Two "Shouts" in particular stand out, from July 2014 where multiple casualties were rescued after being cut off by the tide at Silver Strand Beach and in July 2016 when the crew assisted a solo French yachtsman south of Wicklow Head in bad weather.
The Coxswain and crew were later commended for their actions during the callouts.

Carol was awarded her long service medal during an outdoor Covid-19 compliant ceremony on Saturday afternoon by Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mary Aldridge who said: "It gives me great pleasure to present this award to Carol after 20 years voluntary service to the maritime community in Wicklow. It's such a pity that all the crew members cannot be present to honour Carol, but such are the times and challenges that Covid presents. It is fantastic to see Carols family here. It is the family and partners that also give a big commitment to the RNLI when the pagers go off and they are at home worrying about their loved ones. I want to take this opportunity to thank the families and partners of all our volunteers at Wicklow Lifeboat Station, and on behalf of all the Crew congratulate Carol for her dedicated service."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Ree RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to come to the assistance of four people on board a barge which ran aground on Saturday afternoon (12 December).

The 36ft Dutch barge was stranded where the River Shannon meets Lough Ree.

Launched at 1.30 pm in calm conditions, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat Tara Scougall reached the scene near Lough Ree Yacht Club seven minutes later. The volunteer crew found all four people on board safe and well and proceeded to tow the barge off the rocks.

The Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew assessed the barge for damage and accompanied the craft and crew to Athlone Town Marina.

Lough Ree RNLI Helm Stan Bradbury said, ‘Navigation can be difficult at this time of year for boat users, with obstacles hidden or obscured by Winter flood waters. We would also advise boat users to wear a lifejacket at all times for their own safety.

Published in Inland Waterways
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In Galway city, the RNLI inshore lifeboat rescued a man caught in rising tide while out walking at Ballyloughane beach near Renmore.

A member of the public spotted the man who had taken refuge on Hare island at about 11 am, and the alarm was raised with the Irish Coast Guard.

Galway lifeboat launched within minutes and took the man safely on board at Hare island, bringing him back to Galway docks. He did not require medical attention.

Galway lifeboat launch authority Mike Swan urged the public “ to be aware of the tide times and to take extra care when out walking any of the coastal areas around the bay so as not to get caught out”.

“Thankfully this ended well,” he said.

The Galway RNLI crew on the callout were helmsman Declan Killilea, with Stefanie Carr, Greg Cullen and Olivia Byrne.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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