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Displaying items by tag: RNLI

At 7.26 am Dunmore East RNLI Lifeboat launched on service to assist a stricken yacht in the Fastnet 450 Race which had suffered a dismasting 36 miles South of Dunmore East on the County Waterford coast.

On reaching the Greystones-based yacht, Red Alert, the lifeboat crew conducted a quick assessment of the six yacht crewmembers who were in good spirits and thankfully did not need any medical assistance.

The JOD 35 type yacht which was taking part in the race that started yesterday from Dublin and was heading for the Fastnet lighthouse was still able to make its own way slowly under power and was escorted by Dunmore East lifeboat crew to the safety of Dunmore East harbour at 2.15 pm.

The yacht Red Alert at the start of the Fastnet 450 Race from Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Dublin Bay yesterday Photo: AfloatThe yacht Red Alert at the start of the Fastnet 450 Race from Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Dublin Bay yesterday Photo: Afloat

Tony Kelly, Dunmore East RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘A shout like this really highlights how dedicated our volunteers are. They gave up their Sunday morning without hesitation to spend nearly 7 hours at sea, away from their families to selflessly help others. Thankfully, sea conditions were good at the time and all are now safely back onshore.’

The Fastnet 450 race continues with leaders expected to finish in Cork Harbour on Monday morning, race tracker here

Published in Fastnet 450 Race
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Portrush RNLI’s volunteers launched to the aid of a family cut off by the rising tide on cliffs yesterday evening, Saturday 22 August.

Local lifeguards raised the alarm for the two adults and three young children who were trapped between Castlerock and Downhill beaches on Northern Ireland’s North Coast, and the inshore lifeboat set off to their rescue just after 5pm.

The lifeboat crew found the family some 10 feet up a cliff, close to the railway line  — prompting the decision to evacuate them carefully down the cliff to shore.

Forming a human chain, the RNLI crew and a lifeguard were able to take all five family members down to the lifeboat and then onwards to the safety of the beach.

Commenting after the callout, lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said: “This has been a very busy summer for both our volunteer lifeboat crew and the lifeguards on all our beaches in the area, and this is another example how we have worked very closely together to carry out a successful rescue. 

“Of course, we have had the additional issue of having to wear PPE for the protection of the public and the crew, but it is something we are becoming used to wearing.

“The RNLI lifeguards and our crew worked well today in this joint rescue and the hope the family are recovering from their ordeal.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Galway RNLI lifeboat has rescued a kite surfer who got into difficulty in inner Galway Bay on Saturday evening.

The man, who is in his early thirties, had set off from Ballyloughane beach near Renmore at about 4.50 pm as the tide was going out. A north-westerly breeze of force three to four was blowing at the time, and the man came off his board a number of times.

He was very fatigued when he was blown onto Rabbit Island, and the alarm was raised by a member of the public at 5 pm.

The Irish Coastguard tasked the Galway RNLI inshore lifeboat, and the man was rescued at about 5.20 pm. He was wearing a wetsuit, but not a lifejacket, according to Galway RNLI.

RNLI Galway deputy launch authority, Mike Cummins, said that a key factor when taking to the water for any water sports activities is a “knowledge of the local tides and wind direction”.

The RNLI Galway volunteer crew on the callout were helmsman Declan Killilea, crew Brian Niland, Joanne Casserly and David McGrath, and shore crew Sean King and David Oliver.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Six people were rescued from their boats on Lough Erne as Storm Ellen swept over Northern Ireland in the early hours of Thursday (20 August).

Enniskillen RNLI said the vessels, which were moored at the Devenish West jetty, were breaking their moorings in the strong winds.

All six passengers across the two brought to safety in Enniskillen aboard the inshore lifeboat.

Meanwhile, three other vessels breaking their moorings at Lough Erne Yacht Club were assisted by the lifeboat station’s shore crew.

Fermanagh braved the worst of Storm Ellen in Northern Ireland, while the Foyle Bridge in Derry had to be closed for a time amid gales and driving rain, as the News Letter reports.

Castletownbere RNLI were launched this morning (Friday 21st August 2020) at 09:03 to assist a yacht which had broken away from its moorings off the Bere Island in West Cork.

The yacht was spotted drifting in the channel between Bere Island and the mainland and being blown towards the shore in very windy conditions. A concerned member of the public raised the alarm requesting immediate assistance. 

The lifeboat was launched within minutes under the command of Coxswain Dean Hegarty and located the vessel drifting towards the shore in Force 6/7 winds. There was nobody aboard the yacht and no damage was sustained. At this stage, a local boat from Bere Island had the yacht taken under tow and the lifeboat accompanied both vessels to safety. 

Commenting on the callout Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Deputy Launching Authority, Felix O’Donoghue commended the member of the public for raising the alarm and therefore avoiding the yacht being blown ashore.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Sligo Bay RNLI volunteers launched last night just hours before the arrival of Storm Ellen to reports of a lone surfer heading out to sea in the fading light.

The inshore lifeboat was joined by the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 as it headed to Strandhill just after 8.30pm yesterday evening, Wednesday 19 August.

Freshening south-easterly winds were blowing 14 knots ahead of the storm’s track north from the West Cork coast.

Once at the scene, the lifeboat crew located the surfer who was able to make their own way ashore.

Speaking following the callout, Aisling Gillen of Sligo Bay RNLI said: “Thankfully this was a happy ending. We would remind everyone of the importance of paying heed to safety warnings during periods of stormy weather and exercise extreme caution.

“Stay back, stay high and stay dry.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Baltimore RNLI was launched this afternoon following the activation of an alarm from a positioning beacon off the coast of West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 4.04 pm following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to help locate an active Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon (EPIRB) two nautical miles west of the Calf Islands off the coast of West Cork.

Baltimore lifeboat proceeded to the area and started to search under the direction of the Irish Coast Guard and the Irish naval vessel the LÉ Samuel Beckett. Also assisting in the search were Schull Coast Guard and an Irish Coast Guard helicopter. After an extensive search was carried out by all agencies the search was stood down at 6.43 pm and Baltimore lifeboat made its way back to the station arriving at 7.05 pm.

There were four volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Helm Pat O’Driscoll and crew members Eoin O’Driscoll, David Ryan and Kieran O’Driscoll. Assisting at the boathouse were Jerry Smith and Marty O’Driscoll. Conditions at sea during the call were calm with a south-easterly force 2-3 wind and 0.5m sea swell.

Speaking following the call out, Pat O’Driscoll, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Helm said: ‘Thankfully the activation of the alarm today was not due to the loss of a vessel. It is important to ensure the secure fastening of an EPIRB on board a vessel and to regularly check that it is in good working order. With storm Ellen approaching, bringing strong winds and potential coastal flooding in combination with spring tides, the RNLI is urging people to exercise extreme caution. If you think someone is in difficulty at sea or along the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Youghal RNLI’s volunteer crew were paged yesterday evening (Tuesday 18 August) to reports of a swimmer in difficulty around half a mile off shore at the East Cork town’s Front Strand.

As they launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat in calm conditions at 8.23pm, the crew received a further report of a second swimmer entering the water to assist the first and getting into difficulty.

However, both swimmers managed to make it ashore without any assistance from the crew.

The lifeboat made a general search of the area before returning to the station.

“Swimming in open water is very different from swimming in a pool,” said deputy launching authority Mark Nolan.

“Unseen currents, cold water and waves make open water swimming more challenging. Even the strongest of swimmers can tire quickly.

“Remember to always tell someone where and when you are going swimming, and if you see anybody in trouble in the water call 112/999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The all-weather RNLI lifeboat from Donaghadee on the North Down coast launched at 3 am this morning (Tuesday18th) to the Belfast Coastguard's request to assist a 15m fishing boat with one person onboard. The boat, which was on passage from the fishing harbour of Ardglass on the south coast of Co Down, to Mallaig in Scotland, ran into mechanical difficulties in the early hours of this morning and drifted ashore at Templepatrick, just south of Ballyvester beach near Donaghadee.

The volunteer crew launched the RNLI Saxon at 3am and in flat calm sea conditions and driving rain made full speed and was on the scene in less than 10 minutes. As the vessel was so far inshore on a falling tide, the daughter inflatable lifeboat was launched and crew members John Ashwood, Deputy Coxswain, and Ross Bennett, crew member, made their way to the fishing boat to assess the situation.

It was decided that they should attempt a tow, but the attempt was unsuccessful due to the tidal conditions. After liaising with Belfast Coastguard and the fishing boat's skipper, the decision was made that the best plan would be for the lifeboat to return when the tide had risen. The lifeboat and crew returned to station at approximately 4.15am.

After a couple of hours' sleep, the crew relaunched at 8am and in similar conditions made their way back to the fishing boat at Templepatrick. They were able to go alongside as the tide had risen sufficiently and the same two crew members were transferred along with a salvage pump and towline. The tow was established while the salvage pump removed any excess water, and the boat was towed off the rocks stern first. The towrope was then transferred to the bow of the vessel, and an assessment was made to ensure there was no damage to the hull.

Saxon then proceeded a slow tow to Bangor in Belfast Lough, and while waiting for permission to enter the harbour, the lifeboat went alongside the vessel and transferred the lifeboat mechanic who was able to assess the mechanical difficulties and restart the fishing boat's engine. After discussions with the skipper and the coastguard, agreement was made that the vessel, now being under its own power, was able to proceed onwards to Mallaig.

Philip McNamara, Donaghadee RNLI Coxswain said: 'I would just like to thank our volunteer crew members for being so quick to come to the assistance of this fishing boat and of course their willingness to return again a few hours later and lose part of their days work. A thank you to their employers also, for their flexibility. We all wish the skipper and his boat safe onward passage to Scotland".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched late yesterday afternoon (Sunday 16 August) to reports of two missing divers just off Rathlin Island.

The divers were part of an organised party with a diving school, and the dive leader immediately raised the alarm with the coastguard as a precaution.

But as the lifeboat headed to Rathlin, the crew were informed that the divers had been found and recovered by the dive boat.

Portrush RNLI was asked to standby at Ballycastle in case a medical evacuation was required.

However, the dive company had a doctor on board, and the divers were assessed as being fit and handed over to the NI Ambulance Service to be taken to hospital as a precaution.

Lifeboat press officer Judy Nelson said: “This has been one of our busiest seasons as people are choosing to holiday at home and try sea-based activities that they may not have done before.

“We would advise the public to book these activities with an experienced group, who on this occasion observed all safety precautions and raised the alarm immediately, thus preventing an untoward event.”

Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launches to reports of a flare (RNLI/Ben Durrant)Portrush RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launches to reports of a flare | RNLI/Ben Durrant

Portrush RNLI previously launched the all-weather lifeboat just before 1am on Sunday morning to several reports of a distress flare in the Portstewart Strand area.

After a thorough search of the vicinity with nothing found, the multi-agency response — including the PSNI and HM Coastguard — was stood down and the lifeboat returned to station by 3.30am.

This was also Portrush RNLI crew member Dave Robinson’s first shout as coxswain since passing RNLI assessments two weeks ago.

Deputy launching authority Carl Kennedy said: “As the RNLI will always respond to reports of a distress flare being spotted, we would ask members of the public to take care when launching any kind of light, firework, flare or Chinese lantern during the night as these can be seen as distress flares and reported as an emergency call.

“This can entail, as it did tonight, huge resources being deployed by emergency services to ensure that there was no-one in danger.

“Tonight this was a false alarm with good intent with no one in danger.”

Published in Diving
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Page 9 of 214

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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