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'Reindeer Runs' Return To Raise Funds For Irish Lifeboats

1st November 2013
'Reindeer Runs' Return To Raise Funds For Irish Lifeboats

#RNLI - The hugely popular RNLI Reindeer Runs have returned to raise funds for the charity that saves lives at sea.

The event has fast become a favourite with families, runners and walkers, many of whom dress up in antlers to join in the fun and raise funds for the charity.

This year's Reindeer Runs are being held on Sunday 1 December at Marlay Park in Dublin and on Sunday 24 November at Fota House and Gardens in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork with a 5km and 10km walk or run, and a 1km Santa Saunter for younger participants.

RNLI community fundraising manager Pauline McGann is encouraging entrants to register early as places are limited. 

"This is the fourth year of the RNLI Reindeer Runs and they have become hugely popular," she says. "They are now a major event on the charity’s Christmas calendar. We wanted to hold an event that would cater for everyone but would also have a large element of fun."

RNLI lifeboats are busy all year round but some of their most challenging callouts occur over the winter months in complete darkness.

This summer saw a 43 percent increase in the number of callouts RNLI lifeboats attended, with Irish lifeboats launched 571 times.

Among those taking part in the Dublin Reindeer Run will be Howth RNLI lifeboat mechanic Ian Sheridan and his family.

"We are so grateful to the many people who raise funds to keep the lifeboats afloat," says Sheridan. "The RNLI is a charity and relies on the generosity of the public to ensure that we can go to sea at any time to save lives with the best in equipment and training. People never know when they will need us but we will always be there."

Registration is now open and costs €10 for the saunter, €21 for the 5km and €23 for the 10km run or walk. There are also family and group rates available. All participants receive a limited edition RNLI Reindeer Run t-shirt and a pair of antlers. 

Further information and registration details are available at or by emailing [email protected] for Dublin or [email protected] for Cork. 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats Team

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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.


While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset


While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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