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Volunteers from Irish lifeboat stations including Dun Laoghaire, Arklow and Union Hall were among the 2,500 guests at a special garden party at Buckingham Palace last Thursday (23 May) to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

HRH The Princess Royal, accompanied by Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, and RNLI President HRH The Duke of Kent hosted the event that was attended by lifeboat crew, lifeguards, water safety volunteers and fundraisers from across Great Britain and Ireland, including recent recipients of meritorious service awards and The King’s Birthday and New Year Honours.

Representing Dun Laoghaire RNLI were helm Nathan Burke, station mechanic and coxswain Kieran ‘Colley’ O’Connell and helm Gary Hayes.

Representing Union Hall RNLI at Buckingham Palace last Thursday were volunteers Mary Rose Deasy and Mary Jacinta Casey, flanked by Martin Deasy and Sean Thompson | Credit: Mary Rose DeasyRepresenting Union Hall RNLI at Buckingham Palace last Thursday were volunteers Mary Rose Deasy and Mary Jacinta Casey, flanked by Martin Deasy and Sean Thompson | Credit: Mary Rose Deasy

Fundraising volunteers Mary Rose Deasy and Mary Jacinta Casey attended on behalf of Union Hall RNLI in West Cork, while Arklow RNLI was represented by John and Liz Bermingham, Jimmy and Majella Myler, Austin Gaffney and Helena Dennehy; and Trevor and Kelly Ann Conroy.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was a presentation by The Princess Royal of a Silver Medal for Gallantry to Penlee RNLI coxswain Patrick ‘Patch’ Harvey for his pivotal role in saving eight French sailors during a hurricane on 31 October 2022.

Head of volunteering at the RNLI, Donna McReath said: “I would like to thank each and every one of our incredible volunteers.

Among those attending the garden party from Ireland were John and Liz Bermingham, Jimmy and Majella Myler, Austin Gaffney and Helena Dennehy, and Trevor and Kelly Ann Conroy from Arklow RNLIAmong those attending the garden party from Ireland were John and Liz Bermingham, Jimmy and Majella Myler, Austin Gaffney and Helena Dennehy, and Trevor and Kelly Ann Conroy from Arklow RNLI

“We couldn’t do what we do without their vital support and the time and effort they generously dedicate in a wide variety of roles, from lifesaving crew to fundraisers and those who volunteer in our shops, museums or by sharing our water safety messaging.

“They are all lifesavers, and this special garden party is a wonderful opportunity to recognise and celebrate the joy and impact of volunteering for the RNLI. We are always looking for new volunteers to join our charity to help us continue saving lives at sea.”

Since the RNLI was founded on 4 March 1824, following an appeal to the nation from Sir William Hillary, the charity has saved more than 146,277 lives — this equates to an average of two lives saved every day for 200 years.

Today, the RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations around Ireland and the UK, and has seasonal lifeguards on around 240 lifeguarded beaches around the UK.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Cork County Council has confirmed funding for a foreshore license, design and site investigation for Keelbeg Pier in Union Hall.

The Council and Union Hall pier users met with Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue to discuss the development of the old pier. Cork South West deputy Christopher O’Sullivan facilitated the meeting.

Over the last number of years the pier has been a matter of controversy because of efforts made to cut off access to the pier due to safety concerns.

The meeting was an effort to progress the issue. Fianna Fáil deputy O’Sullivan, who is also the party spokesperson on coastal communities, said, “I am really happy with the outcome of this meeting. I have to pay credit to Cork Couty Council who have stepped up to the mark here and confirmed that they will fund the €300,000 needed to apply for foreshore licenses, statutory consents, design and site investigations. This is incredibly significant because with these consents in place, it unlocks the potential for further funding from the department"

Minister McConalogue outlined at the meeting that the department will only fund capital works, so a project has to be shovel-ready.

"The fact that Cork County Council now have stepped up to the mark and committed to this means that we can hope to have the project shovel ready by 2026," O'Sullivan said.

The old pier in Union Hall is an incredibly important facility for the local community. They don’t have access to the commercial fishing pier which is for commercial access only. Therefore, the old Keelbeg Pier is the community's only access to the water. It's used for leisure purposes, including small inshore boats, fishing boats, whale-watching vessels and other recreational users. This announcement is a boost as it means there is light at the end of the tunnel for the development of this key piece of infrastructure,” he said.

O’Sullivan continued, “I think the fact that the pier is included in the national development plan is key here also. It should mean that it is prioritised when it comes to accessing funding for capital works. This is something that I will continue to push for in the months and years ahead”.

Published in Irish Harbours
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Cork South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan has confirmed that he has arranged for a meeting to take place between Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue and Cork County Council management to discuss a funding mechanism for the repair and extension of the old pier at Keelbeg in Union Hall.

It is hoped that some members of the local campaign to save the West Cork pier will also attend.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the decision was made to close the Keelbeg pier to public access in April 2022 “in order to improve safety”, a move that was met with dismay from the local community.

Deputy O’Sullivan said: “There was great positivity at the meeting in Keelbeg Pier last Saturday [10 February] and I want to once again commend the activism and vigilance of the community down there who have so far prevented access from being cut off to the pier.

“It is high time that we had a clear plan for the repair and extension of the old pier at Union Hall. It is such an important facility for locals, rowing club, marine leisure, whale watching boats, as well as some small local fishing boats.”

The cost of the project is estimated at around €1.5 million, but no funding has yet been secured for these works.

Deputy O’Sullivan added: “This is a very unique project. The big advantage for Keelbeg is that it is mentioned on the Government’s National Development Plan. For me this opens up an opportunity for a special fund to be identified to repair and extend the pier.

“I am happy to confirm that I have spoken to both management in Cork County Council as well as the ,inister and they have agreed to sit around a table to discuss a funding mechanism. This meeting will happen as soon as possible.

“There is a long process ahead in terms of planning permissions, foreshore licences and design, but we need to start somewhere.”

Published in West Cork
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In the latest edition of 200 Voices, the RNLI podcast, Pamela Deasy has vivid memories of January 2012 the loss of five crew on a fishing trawler in Glandore Harbour and the subsequent establishment of a lifeboat station at Union Hall, West Cork.

In My Lifeline, which became available on Thursday, 25 January, Pamela, who is a volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Union Hall RNLI, remembers the morning the ‘Tit Bonhomme’ foundered on Adam Island at the entrance to Glandore Harbour with the loss of five crew. She recalls the month-long search to recover the bodies of the lost fishermen and a letter she wrote to the RNLI appealing for a lifeboat station at Union Hall.

This year, in September 2024, Union Hall RNLI will celebrate its 10th birthday, supported by a team of volunteers and fantastic community support and fundraising.

In 2019, Pamela was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and in the podcast, which marks 200 years of the RNLI, she tells the story of her personal battle and recovery supported by the ‘RNLI family’ and eased by the comforting presence of the sea.

The unique podcast series hears from people connected to the RNLI in Ireland and those whose lives have been touched by the lifesaving charity. Hear from locals with a special kinship to their lifeboat station, a crew member who’s been on service for a generation, or the family of someone rescued by an RNLI frontline lifesaver – each episode is sure to take the listener on a journey through a touching story.

Available across all podcast platforms and the RNLI’s website, listeners can hear from survivors, supporters, volunteers, lifeguards, celebrity ambassadors, historians and many more from across Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland and beyond.

Listen to the RNLI’s 200 Voices, wherever you get your podcasts or at RNLI.org/200Voices.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The volunteer crew at Union Hall RNLI Lifeboat were requested to launch their inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat Christine and Raymond Fielding, by Valentia Coast Guard at 9.52 pm on Friday, 2nd September to a 35ft yacht with two people onboard, that had got into difficulty three-quarters of a mile west of Galley Head, in West Cork.

This is the second call out in three days for the volunteers at Union Hall.

The lifeboat under helm Aodh O’Donnell with crew Chris Collins, Sean Walsh and Ríona Casey launched at 10.00 pm, in a westerly force 4 wind.

Crew and shore crew from left to right - John O'Donovan, Chris Collins, Ríona Casey, Aodh O'Donnell, Sean Walsh, Niamh Collins and John Kelleher.Crew and shore crew from left to right - John O'Donovan, Chris Collins, Ríona Casey, Aodh O'Donnell, Sean Walsh, Niamh Collins and John Kelleher

The two onboard had called for assistance due to engine failure and freshening weather conditions. A line was attached and the lifeboat towed the yacht to the nearest safe and suitable port of Union Hall, arriving back to the lifeboat Station at 00.05 am (Saturday morning).

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Union Hall RNLI in West Cork were paged by Valentia Coast Guard at 8.55am on Friday (19 August) to go to the aid of a lone boater in a punt.

The lifeboat Christine and Raymond Fielding, under helm Stephen Hurley with crew members Charlie Deasy and Richie O’Mahony, was under way just five minutes later, headed to the vessel which was between High and Low Island just outside Glandore Harbour.

Once on scene, the person in the punt told the lifeboat crew that the wind had picked up and they were hit by a squall, so they decided to call for help.

Conditions at sea at the time had a Force 4/5 westerly wind with a one-metre swell, so the lifeboat escorted the punt to the nearest safe and suitable port of Carrigillihy Bay.

Commenting later, Hurley said: “The person did everything right; they were wearing a lifejacket and called for assistance when the wind picked up.

“Our advice is when going out on the water ensure that everyone is wearing a lifejacket, carrying a means of communication, wearing suitable clothing. Also, let someone know where you are going and what time to expect you back.”

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The volunteers at Union Hall RNLI received a cheque recently for over $500 from a group of Irish emigrants in the USA.

Volunteer fundraiser Pamela Deasy travelled to Kinsale recently and met John Farley, who resides in San Francisco, and his friend John O’Mahony, a volunteer deputy launching authority at Kinsale RNLI, to receive a cheque on behalf of McCarthy’s Bar in San Francisco.

McCarthy’s Bar is owned by Eileen McCarthy from Drinagh in West Cork, and its patrons last year raised over $5,000 in aid of the Kinsale lifeboat, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

John is a lifelong supporter of the RNLI with first-hand experience of their work after he, his sister and his niece were rescued a number of years ago when their boat broke down off the Old Head of Kinsale.

Deasy said: “On behalf of all our team, we wish to thank Eileen and John for thinking of us in Union Hall. This donation will help us greatly.

“With three callouts in the last two weeks, this donation will help with training costs for our volunteers, as it costs roughly €1,557 per crew member annually.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Union Hall RNLI  was paged by Valentia Coast Guard and launched at 3.17 pm on Monday (8th August) to reports of an overdue boat, that had left Ring pier, at 10 am with one person onboard.

Launching in flat calm conditions with excellent visibility, the lifeboat under helm Chris Collins with crew members Tim Forde, Stephen Hurley and Johnny McKenna, left Glandore harbour heading for Ring, which is located at the head of Clonakilty Bay in West Cork. While en route to where the casualty vessel was reported, they heard that the punt was being escorted into the nearest safe port of Ring by another boat in the area. The volunteers at Union Hall continued to meet up with the two boats, who were happy to proceed into Ring themselves. The lifeboat returned to Union Hall Lifeboat Station at 4.10 pm.

Jim Moloney, Union Hall RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘In the current warm weather spell, it is so important when going out on the water, to ensure that everybody is wearing a lifejacket, that they carry a means of communication, a mobile phone or we recommend a VHF, wearing suitable clothing and that they let someone know where they are going and what time they are expected back. Luckily the person on board had let someone on shore know what time to expect them back, and when this time had passed, the alarm was raised, and help was quickly on hand.’

Crew and shore crew - left to right - Niamh Collins, Chris Collins, Stephen Hurley, Tim Forde, Denis O’Donovan, Johnny Mc’Kenna, John O’Donovan and Jim Moloney Photo: RNLI/Pamela DeasyUnion Hall Crew and shore crew - left to right - Niamh Collins, Chris Collins, Stephen Hurley, Tim Forde, Denis O’Donovan, Johnny Mc’Kenna, John O’Donovan and Jim Moloney Photo: RNLI/Pamela Deasy

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The volunteer crew at Union Hall RNLI in West Cork answered the second callout in three days when they were requested to launch their inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat by Valentia Coast Guard at 4.28 pm today (Friday 29th July) to a 9m yacht with four people onboard, that had got difficulty a mile south of Galley Head, in West Cork

The lifeboat under helm Michael Limrick with crew Sean Walsh, Ríona Casey and Charlie Deasy launched at 4.34 pm, in a westerly breeze with moderate sea conditions at the time.

Once on scene, an assessment was carried out by the crew and due to the yacht being tangled in a lobster buoy, the rope was cut so that the boat could drift free, and the buoy was reattached to the rope.

The four onboard the yacht, thanked the crew and were happy to continue themselves, and the lifeboat returned to Union Hall Lifeboat Station at 5.11 pm

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Wednesday morning (27th July), after a phone call from a member of the public to the on-call Union Hall RNLI Launch Authority, to say a yacht was in difficulty at the outer Dangers in Glandore harbour, Valentia Coast Guard requested the volunteer crew to launch their inshore Atlantic 85 lifeboat Christine and Raymond Fielding at 08.55 am

The lifeboat under helm Tim Forde with crew Charlie Deasy, Stephen Hurley and Killian O’Kelly, RNLI Water Safety Education Manager who is also a helm at Bundoran RNLI, launched at 09.10 am, in flat calm sea conditions, once on scene, an assessment was carried out by our crew and due to the yacht being aground, two of the passengers were taken onto the lifeboat, while one remained aboard, and the lifeboat was stood down and returned to the pier at Union Hall.

At 13.30 pm Chris Collins and Riona Casey under helm Tim Forde returned to the vessel to assist in re-floating, the yacht was afloat at 14.10 pm and left at the safety of a mooring in Glandore at 14.25pm.

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Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2023 Cruisers Three

A 19-boat Cruisers Three IRC fleet will compete at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2023: 

  • GBR 144 Gerda Soling Andrew Riches
  • GBR 9140Y HRT Charisma 22 Mini Tonner Charles Adams
  • 5637Y F A 2 Limbo 6.6 Charlie McAllister
  • IRL 2 Chinook Soling Cormac Murphy
  • IRL 2855 Pamafe First 285 Gerry Costello
  • GBR 9589 Checkmate Impala 28 Ian McMillan
  • FRA 8214 Protis 1/4 Tonner Ian Southworth
  • IRL 89100 Imprint Formula 28 Johnny Flood
  • GBR 2840 She Too She 31 Jonathan Fawcett
  • IRL 7115 Gecko Kevin Darmody
  • IRL 1751 Illegal Kieran Dorgan
  • IRL 8001 Jibberish Lorcan O'Brien McLoughlin
  • IRL 90210 SNOOPY Martin Mahon
  • IRL 246 Saki Nicholson 31 Michael Ryan
  • IRL 35 ELEINT Trapper 300 Michal Matulka
  • IRL 3 ROMANCE II Soling Paul Tully
  • IRL 9554 Kahera Russell Camier
  • GBR 5373 HONEY BEE Hunter HB31 William Partington
  • IRL 307 Wynward Wyn McCormack