Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Kinsale Yacht Club Salutes Mark Mellett's French Honour

30th April 2023
Honorary Member Mark Mellett (centre) is congratulated by Kinsale Yacht Club's Tom Roche left and Commodore Matthias Hellstern
Honorary KYC Member Mark Mellett (centre) is congratulated by Kinsale Yacht Club's Tom Roche left and Commodore Matthias Hellstern on his French award Credit: Bob Bateman

Former Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett of the Irish Naval Service, who retired as head of the Defence Forces in September 2021, has been saluted by Kinsale Yacht Club at the weekend for his distinguished award from the French Government of 'Commandeur de la légion d'honneur', France's highest honorary decoration to foreigners. 

Mellet received notification of the French award last August.

The physical honour will be bestowed on him on 14th May at a ceremony in Collins Barracks, Dublin, followed by a reception at the French Embassy.

Mellet received the Kinsale recognition at a packed West Cork clubhouse – where he is already an honorary member – at the KYC Axiom Spring Series Prizegiving.

Mellett became head of the Defence Forces in September 2015; he was the first Navy officer to take the post.

The Mayo man, who learned to sail at Rosmoney and around Clew Bay’s islands, has served several times overseas with the UN and has a PhD in ocean governance.

He is passionate about the sea and its potential, and about its future in an era of climate change. He has spoken in several recent issues about climate breakdown as our greatest threat and climate justice as a major global issue.

He spoke to Afloat about some of the issues he has dealt with – from the Defence Forces' response to the Covid-19 pandemic to diversity and inclusion in the military in a Wavelenths interview with Lorna Siggins in August 2021 here

Published in Kinsale, West Cork Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Kinsale Yacht Club located in Kinsale, County Cork lies just 120 nautical miles from Wales, 240 from North West France and only 500 from the Galician Coast of North Spain.

Kinsale Yacht Club is only a few minutes walk from every shop, hotel, pub and restaurant in Ireland’s gourmet capital but most significantly it is only 30 km by road from Cork, Ireland’s second city, and between the two lies one the region’s main assets - Cork International Airport - with its daily links to many European capitals.

Club members, of which there are more than 600, race Cruisers, One Design Keelboats and Dinghies.

The club runs inshore and offshore races, has an active cruising scene, a powerboat section and most significantly for any real club, a strong and dynamic junior training programme.

Beyond the club’s own marina is the club house itself and the dinghy park. Within the clubhouse are changing rooms, bar and restaurant all with full wheelchair access. The club’s full-time secretariat, steward and marina manager are there to look after sailing visitors and members alike in a relaxed, informal and fun environment.

The club welcomes new members and has always got room on its members’ yachts for new comers to the sport.