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Reindeer Run Returns To Marlay Park To Raise Funds For Dublin’s Volunteer Lifeboats

9th November 2015
Teena Gates launching the Dublin Reindeer Run 2015
Teena Gates joins Dublin lifeboat volunteers in launching the Marlay Park Reindeer Run Credit: RNLI/Tara Murphy

#RNLI - As previously reported on, the RNLI has kickstarted its festive season with the launch of the charity’s popular Reindeer Runs in Dublin and Cork.

Returning to Marlay Park in Rathfarnham on Sunday 6 December, the Dublin leg of this well-established event will raise funds to help volunteer crew at Skerries, Howth and Dun Laoghaire lifeboat stations to continue to save lives at sea.

TV presenter, author and adventurer Teena Gates will be present on the day to start the run and lead the participants in the popular ‘Rookie the Reindeer Warm-Up’.

Speaking at the launch for the Dublin Reindeer Run, Gates said she was "thrilled to once again be supporting the RNLI Reindeer Run in Marlay Park. Having been involved with this event for a few years now I would urge people to sign up and help raise funds for a great charity that is close to my heart.

"The RNLI has been saving lives at sea off the Dublin coast for generations. Their volunteer lifeboat crews are ordinary men and women who do extraordinary things to save lives and prevent disaster.

"None of us in Dublin live very far from the sea and we never know when we or someone we love will need their help, so here is a wonderful way to support them. Get signed up and come over to Marlay Park and spread a little Christmas cheer for the lifeboats."

Volunteer crew member Stephen Mullaney from Howth RNLI added" "Last year, RNLI lifeboats in Dublin launched 137 times, bringing 185 people to safety. While the figures show that our lifeboat crews are busy all year round some of our most challenging call outs will occur over the winter months.

"However, having the support of people who so generously fundraise and sign up to take part in events such as the reindeer run, means that we can avail of first class training and equipment and be ready to answer the call and help someone in need when our pagers go off."

The reindeer run caters for all abilities and ages with participants choosing from a 5km or 10km walk/run, a 3k option for juniors or a shorter Santa Saunter.

For anyone who can’t participate in the event but would like to come along and soak up the atmosphere, there are a number of volunteer marshalling roles to be filled. To get involved please contact RNLI community fundraising manager Pauline McGann at 087 997 4038 or email [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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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