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Dunleary Lifeboat Returns To Home Port After 80 Years

16th August 2017
The Dunleary is back home 80 years after moving across the Irish Sea for lifesaving service in Lancashire The Dunleary is back home 80 years after moving across the Irish Sea for lifesaving service in Lancashire Photo: Dunleary Lifeboat Project/Facebook

#Lifeboats - A lifeboat once stationed in Dun Laoghaire almost a century ago has returned to the harbour thanks to the efforts of a local restoration group.

The Dunleary was secured in the Coal Harbour yesterday (Tuesday 15 August) after transport from Amble in Northumberland, where it had been been dry-docked for many years.

Now the Dunleary Lifeboat Project, whose efforts brought the vessel back to Dun Laoghaire, are gearing up to restore the lifeboat to its former glory — and are calling for donations to cover the costs of transport and storage, as well as support the next vital stages of the project.

RNLB Dunleary was stationed in the South Dublin port from 1919 (when it was still known as Kingstown) till 1937, during a tumultuous and historic time for the island of Ireland.

According to the UK’s National Historic Ships register, the Dunleary launched 81 times in its two decades at its titular port, saving 85 lives.

Following its time in Dublin Bay 80 years ago, the Dunleary moved across the Irish Sea to the RNLI station at Lytham St Annes in Lancashire — where it helped save 28 lives during the Second World War.

Some time after that, the boat was decommissioned and converted into a motor sailer, and in 1970 came into the possession of Jack Belfield and Pat Jopling of Amble, whose plans to restore her as a work/pleasure boat were not to be.

After her husband Jack’s death, Pat Jopling kept the Dunleary in the boatyard she owns, though in 2014 its future was rendered uncertain due to a planned redevelopment.

Previous moves to relocate the boat to Lytham fell through, but that allowed Brian Comerford and the Dunleary Lifeboat Project to step in and negotiate her return to the port she served almost 100 years ago.

How that the Dunleary is back in Dun Laoghaire, the most pressing concern is securing with the assistance of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company of a suitable premises where the restoration work can begin.

For more see the Dunleary Lifeboat Project website, and check the group’s Facebook page for the latest updates.

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