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Some of the crew and volunteers of Dún Laoghaire RNLI were acknowledged yesterday for their bravery and commitment in saving lives at sea. Organised by Dún Laoghaire Senator Barry Ward, twelve members of the Dún Laoghaire RNLI were presented with certificates of appreciation by An Taoiseach, Simon Harris TD, in Government Buildings, Dublin.

Remembering the dramatic rescue of a six-year-old girl at the back of the East Pier in Dún Laoghaire last month, Senator Ward welcomed the volunteers to Leinster House and Government Buildings, describing them as “everyday heroes who don’t look for acknowledgement but do deserve to be recognised for the incredible work they do protecting us all.”

Senator Ward said that “we are lucky to have the services of the lifeboat in Dún Laoghaire for over 200 years, even before the establishment of the RNLI, to keep everyone safe in Dublin Bay and beyond. The Dún Laoghaire RNLI commitment to saving lives at sea is present in all weathers, at every hour of the day and every day of the year. The recently publicised rescue of a 6-year-old girl at the back of the East Pier in Dún Laoghaire on 7 April is just one example of the courage and effectiveness of our lifeboat volunteers.”

Dún Laoghaire RNLI with An Taoiseach, Simon Harris TD and Senator Barry Ward in Government Buildings, DublinDún Laoghaire RNLI with An Taoiseach, Simon Harris TD and Senator Barry Ward in Government Buildings, Dublin

Presenting the volunteers with a certificate of appreciation, Taoiseach Simon Harris TD thanked Dún Laoghaire RNLI for the work they do every day, “saving people’s lives at sea and serving their community”, describing them as “the brave and committed men and women of Dún Laoghaire RNLI”.

Dún Laoghaire RNLI were presented with certificates of appreciation by An Taoiseach, Simon Harris TDDún Laoghaire RNLI were presented with certificates of appreciation by An Taoiseach, Simon Harris TD

It is the second honour for the Dun Laoghaire RNLI this month, with some of the crew travelling to London for a Buckingham Palace Garden Party celebrating 200 years of the Institution.

The members of Dún Laoghaire RNLI present in the Taoiseach’s office in Government Buildings were:

• Nathan Burke, ILB crew on 7 April 2024;
• Cira Doran, crew;
• Gary Hayes, Helm of the ILB on 7 April 2024;
• Laura Jackson, shore crew on 7 April 2024;
• Darina Loakman, Dún Laoghaire RNLI water safety leader;
• Mark McGibney Station Cox;
• Andrew Sykes, ILB crew on 7 April 2024, who entered the water during the rescue of a 6-years old girl;
• Ailbhe Smyth, ILB crew on 7 April 2024;
• Dara Totterdell, Dún Laoghaire RNLI Launch Authority and Training Coordinator;
• Ed Totterdell, Dún Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The 200th anniversary of the RNLI was celebrated in Portaferry on Sunday (26 May) with a cross-community service of thanksgiving held in St Patrick’s Community Centre.

The service hosted by Portaferry RNLI was greatly supported by both the local community and those who had travelled from further afield, and included contributions from religious representatives from Portaferry and the surrounding areas of Northern Ireland’s Ards Peninsula.

The audience was entertained by local sea shanty group the Selkies as well as a solo by Father Martin O’Hagan who was accompanied by Zara Quinn.

Speakers and dignitaries on the stage at St Patrick’s Community Centre to celebrate 200 years of the RNLI | Credit: RNLI/Lissa McCullySpeakers and dignitaries on the stage at St Patrick’s Community Centre to celebrate 200 years of the RNLI | Credit: RNLI/Lissa McCully

Among the attendees were the Lord Lieutenant of County Down, Gawn Rowan Hamilton; Mayor Jennifer Gilmour; Jim Shannon MP; Portaferry RNLI operations president John Murray; president of Portaferry RNLI’s fundraising branch Eveleigh Brownlow MBE; and Ards Peninsula Council members.

All at Portaferry RNLI said they wish to express their sincere gratitude to everyone who contributed to or joined them to mark such a important milestone in their charity’s history.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Time was - and it's not so very long ago - that if you wanted to see the nearest set of traffic lights and other road control paraphernalia to Crosshaven, then you'd have to go well into Cork City. Not so any more.

And the road on the immediate landward side of the of the Royal Cork Yacht Club's is one of Crosser's best fitted, with all the lights, bells and whistles of a classic Zebra crossing for wheeled and pedestrian traffic control.

So with the Bicentenary of the RNLI this year coming soon after the Tricentenary of the Royal Cork YC, and leading us on into the 55th anniversary of the final Beatles album, the yellow welly walkers of Crosshaven Lifeboat - who have been holding fund-raising walks every
Sunday morning in May - decided to mark the conclusion of their successful effort with a re-enactment by the core team of the famous Abbey Road image of The Beatles, but using the pedestrian crossing right outside the Royal Cork YC marina complex.

Abbey Road was first issued on 26th September 1969, and rumour has it that at least two of those in the photograph - excluding lifeboat mascot Stormy Stan of course - saved up their pocket money to buy copies of the album. Unlike London’s leafy Abbey Road in St John’s Wood, the village of Crosshaven has only this one Zebra crossing complete with old style Belisha Beacons at the RCYC which - conveniently - just happened to be the start point of the May Welly Walks. Next Sunday, the word is the RNLI crew look forward to “Golden Slumbers” in the “Octopus’s Garden” unless of course, their pagers go off. We're asked to convey apologies to the Fab Four.

Meanwhile, now it can be revealed: the perspiring hero fulfilling the Stormy Stan role in that heavy suit was Conor Barry.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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HM Coastguard requested the launch of Portaferry RNLI’s inshore lifeboat on Friday evening (24 May) to assist a 35ft yacht which was making slow progress after having suffered engine failure eight miles to the north-east of Strangford Bar in Northern Ireland.

As friends and family arrived at Portaferry Lifeboat Station shortly after 6pm to dedicate a bench to the memory of former crew member Billy Ellison, the lifeboat launched with helm Chris Adair and volunteer crew members Scott Blackwood, Oliver Rogers and Gary Meehan onboard.

Conditions at the time had a Force 3-4 southerly light breeze, slightly choppy wave conditions and good visibility.

Once on scene, both members of the stricken yacht’s crew and their dog were observed to be safe and well.

After an assessment of the situation, the yacht crew were happy and able to hoist their mainsail and make their own way to the safety of Ardglass Marina.

Portaferry’s lifeboat returned to station at 7.30pm and after washing and refuelling the boat, the crew enjoyed refreshments with the Ellison family and past Portaferry RNLI lifeboat crew members. Comments were made that perhaps Billy Ellison was watching on.

An hour later, the coastguard contacted Portaferry lifeboat operations manager, Heather Kennedy to report that the yacht was now 1.5 miles out of Ardglass but needed assistance to negotiate the entrance to the marina.

With no other vessel available to assist, the lifeboat crew readied themselves and launched immediately.

Once on scene, a tow was established ensuring the yacht could safely enter the marina where it was met by Newcastle Coastguard.

Kennedy said: “We commend the crew onboard the yacht for raising the alarm when their engine failed. This is always the correct thing to do and a situation can quickly change and greater risks may arise.”

The RNLI reminds all boat owners to check their vessel's engine to ensure they are ready for summer. Always check the weather and tides before venturing out. Always wear a lifejacket or suitable personal flotation device for your activity and always carry a means of calling for help. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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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

Bundoran RNLI’s volunteers were called on Saturday morning (25 May) to assist in a water rescue off Mullaghmore in Co Sligo.

It was reported that a casualty had fallen from a boat and was struggling in the water. The alarm was raised by a passerby who heard calls for help and dialled 999.

The Bundoran RNLI lifeboat — helmed by Brian Gillespie with crew members Richard Gillespie, Oisin Cassidy and Fergal Mullen — launched within four minutes and headed to the scene some six miles away.

Fortunately, passers-by managed to help the casualty out of the water and onto land before the arrival of the emergency services.

The Bundoran RNLI shore crew arrived shortly thereafter, followed by the lifeboat team, who administered first aid to the casualty.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter Rescue 118 was also dispatched to the scene but was stood down once the National Ambulance Service transported the casualty to hospital for further treatment.

Lifeboat helm Brian Gillespie said: “We wish the casualty a speedy recovery and thank our colleagues at Rescue 118 and the National Ambulance Service for their prompt assistance.”

Speaking following the call-out, Daimon Fergus, Bundoran RNLI lifeboat operations manager added: “If you get into difficulty in the water, it’s important to remember not to panic and to utilise the RNLI Float to Live campaign: tilt your head back and submerge your ears, relax and try to control your breathing, move your hands to help you stay afloat. It’s okay if your legs sink, everyone floats differently.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The Dunmore East RNLI Open Water Swim Charity Event will be held from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club on Sunday, June 2, with a predicted 350 sea swimmers expected for three swims of varying length - 1,600m, 800m, and 500m.

“This provides opportunities for individuals of all levels to brave the open water,” say the organisers. “Safety is the utmost priority, with a dedicated team of expert kayakers and safety boats on side to escort the swimmers throughout the event.”

Sponsored by EirGrid it is a key annual fixture supporting Dunmore East lifeboat. Margaret Barry, Chairperson of Dunmore East RNLI fundraising branch said, "Building upon the momentum of the previous year, the 2024 Dunmore East RNLI Open Water Swim promises to be an unforgettable experience, uniting swimmers of all levels in support of the important work carried out by the Dunmore East RNLI.

"EirGrid, our new event sponsor, has committed to a three-year sponsorship, enhancing the significance of this year's event and ensuring its continued impact and success"

More information about the Dunmore East RNLI Open Swim can be found here

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The weekly Sunday morning yellow-welly fund-raise walks that have been a feature of each May weekend in Crosshaven, going sociably along the easy Cork Harbour shore path to Drake's Pool and back to the lifeboat station for welcome sustenance, will conclude this Sunday (May 26th) with the walk beginning at 10.0am - the poster says it all.


When started, it was hoped that May's usually springlike or just plain cold weather would keep things reasonably cool for the fully-foul-weather-clad lifeboat mascot Stormy Stan. But last Sunday morning's exceptionally bright sunlight was threatening to turn him into Sweatin' Stormy Stan, though he made it back to the comfort of the station nevertheless.

A cheery crowd with a purpose - last Sunday's Crosshaven Lifeboat walking groupA cheery crowd with a purpose - last Sunday's Crosshaven Lifeboat walking group

The walks have been attracting a diverse crowd, and if they haven't been simple chatting with each other, they'v been observing the diverse and seasonally-growing fleet of boats in the river. So can somebody please tell us if the handsome white sloop in the first photo includes an American-built boat that first arrived into Fenit on Tralee Bay many years ago, shippered Transatlantic by a seafaring priest?

The very worthy reason for it all - the Crosshaven lifeboat running as smoothly as envisaged by her designer, in action to seaward of Roche's PointThe very worthy reason for it all - the Crosshaven lifeboat running as smoothly as envisaged by her designer, in action to seaward of Roche's Point

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Carrybridge RNLI’s volunteers were called by Belfast Coastguard on Saturday afternoon (18 May) to assess a 6m vessel with one person on board which had run aground some two miles upstream from the lifeboat station on Upper Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.

Winds were southerly Force 3 with excellent visibility as the inshore lifeboat Douglas Euan & Kay Richards proceeded to the vessel’s last known location, and on arrival found it holding on its anchor.

The lifeboat crew assessed the wellbeing of the casualty on board and found them to be safe and well.

Upon assessing the casualty vessel, the volunteer crew found that it had lost all means of propulsion.

The helm deemed the safest option would be for the lifeboat and its crew to set up a tow, with the owner’s permission, and bring it back to the safest public jetty at Carrybridge, to avoid other craft going into the shallows to assist.

One crew member from the lifeboat was placed on board the casualty vessel to assist and the casualty vessel was swiftly towed to safety.

Speaking following the call-out, Stephen Scott, lifeboat operations manager at Carrybridge RNLI had advice for all boat users.

“Before setting out on your journey, please plan your route and carry out regular checks of their vessels position throughout your journey,” he said. “Have a means of calling for assistance if you find yourself in trouble, have lifejackets for all on board and plan their journey using the relevant charts.

“If you see someone in trouble on the water or are in difficulties yourself the number to dial is: 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Galway RNLI lifeboat volunteer Olivia Byrne has been recognised for her exceptional service as a finalist for the prestigious Captain Dara Fitzpatrick Award. The award, which acknowledges the vital work of first responders and the significant role of women in the emergency services, honours individuals who exemplify compassion, bravery, leadership, and professionalism.

Olivia was selected as one of five finalists from a pool of candidates across Ireland. The award ceremony, hosted by the Irish Paramedicine Education and Research Network and the Fitzpatrick family, took place at the University of Limerick. The award pays homage to the legacy of Dara Fitzpatrick, an Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue pilot, by celebrating inspirational women working in the Irish pre-hospital community and emergency services.

Olivia Byrne, a nurse, midwife, and public health nurse, has also volunteered with the Galway Lifeboat crew for over two decades. Nominated for the award by the station’s Lifeboat Operations Manager Mike Swan, Olivia's dedication and contributions to the team have been invaluable. Over the years, she has been involved in numerous rescues and has brought her nursing skills to the search and rescue role, benefiting both the crew and those they rescue.

Speaking about her recognition, Olivia expressed her gratitude, saying, "It is a great privilege for me to be included in this group of highly trained women." She also commended the other finalists for their outstanding leadership in their respective emergency service specialties.

‘The other finalists for the award are outstanding leaders in their emergency service specialties and the worthy winner of the Capt. Dara Fitzpatrick Award 2024 was Pte Nicole Carroll who is a Defence Forces Combat Medical Technician. I was delighted to be a finalist and to share the experience of the award ceremony with an incredible group of women.’

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Royal Irish Yacht Club - Frequently Asked Questions

The Royal Irish Yacht Club is situated in a central location in Dun Laoghaire Harbour with excellent access and visiting sailors can be sure of a special welcome. The clubhouse is located in the prime middle ground of the harbour in front of the town marina and it is Dun Laoghaire's oldest yacht club. 

What's a brief history of the Royal Irish Yacht Club?

The yacht club was founded in 1831, with the Marquess of Anglesey, who commanded the cavalry at the Battle of Waterloo being its first Commodore. 

John Skipton Mulvany designed the clubhouse, which still retains a number of original architectural features since being opened in 1851.

It was granted an ensign by the Admiralty of a white ensign with the Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Ireland beneath the Union Jack in canton.

Many prominent names feature among the past members of the Club. The first Duke of Wellington was elected in 1833, followed by other illustrious men including the eccentric Admiral Sir Charles Napier, Sir Dominic Corrigan the distinguished physician, Sir Thomas Lipton, novelist, George A. Birmingham, yachtsman and author, Conor O'Brien, and famous naval historian and author, Patrick O Brian. 

In the club's constitution, it was unique among yacht clubs in that it required yacht owners to provide the club's commodore with information about the coast and any deep-sea fisheries they encountered on all of their voyages.

In 1846, the club was granted permission to use the Royal prefix by Queen Victoria. The club built a new clubhouse in 1851. Despite the Republic of Ireland breaking away from the United Kingdom, the Royal Irish Yacht Club elected to retain its Royal title.

In 1848, a yachting trophy called "Her Majesty's Plate" was established by Queen Victoria to be contested at Kingstown where the Royal Irish Yacht Club is based. The Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland at the time, George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon suggested it should be contested by the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the Royal St. George Yacht Club in an annual regatta, a suggestion that was approved by both clubs with the Royal St. George hosting the first competitive regatta.

The RIYC celebrated its 185th Anniversary in 2016 with the staging of several special events in addition to being well represented afloat, both nationally and internationally. It was the year the club was also awarded Irish Yacht Club of the Year as Afloat's W M Nixon details here.

The building is now a listed structure and retains to this day all its original architectural features combined with state of the art facilities for sailors both ashore and afloat.

What is the Royal Irish Yacht Club's emblem?

The Club's emblem shows a harp with the figure of Nice, the Greek winged goddess of victory, surmounted by a crown. This emblem has remained unchanged since the foundation of the Club; a symbol of continuity and respect for the history and tradition of the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

What is the Royal Irish Yacht Club's ensign?

The RIYC's original white ensign was granted by Royal Warrant in 1831. Though the Royal Irish Yacht Club later changed the ensign to remove the St George's Cross and replace the Union Jack with the tricolour of the Republic of Ireland, the original ensign may still be used by British members of the Royal Irish Yacht Club

Who is the Commodore of the Royal Irish Yacht Club?

The current Commodore is Jerry Dowling, and the Vice-Commodore is Tim Carpenter.

The RIYC Flag Officers are: 

What reciprocal club arrangements does the Royal Irish Yacht Club have?  

As one of Ireland's leading club's, the Royal Irish Yacht Club has significant reciprocal arrangements with yacht clubs across Ireland and the UK, Europe, USA and Canada and the rest of the World. If you are visiting from another Club, please have with a letter of introduction from your Club or introduce yourself to the Club Secretary or to a member of management staff, who will show you the Club's facilities.

What car parking does the Royal Irish Yacht Club have at its Dun Laoghaire clubhouse?

The RIYC has car parking outside of its clubhouse for the use of its members. Paid public car parking is available next door to the club at the marina car park. There is also paid parking on offer within the harbour area at the Coatl Harbour (a 5-minute walk) and at an underground car park adjacent to the Royal St. George Yacht Club (a 3-minute walk). Look for parking signs. Clamping is in operation in the harbour area.

What facilities does the Royal Irish Yacht Clubhouse offer? 

The Royal Irish Yacht Club offers a relaxed, warm and welcoming atmosphere in one of the best situated and appointed clubhouses in these islands. Its prestige in yachting circles is high and its annual regatta remains one of the most attractive events in the sailing calendar. It offers both casual and formal dining with an extensive wine list and full bar facilities. The Club caters for parties, informal events, educational seminars, themed dinners and all occasions. The RIYC has a number of venues within the Club each of which provides a different ambience to match particular needs.

What are the Royal Irish Yacht Club's Boathouse facilities?

The RIYC boathouse team run the launch service to the club's swinging moorings, provide lifting for dry-sailed boats, lift and scrub boats, as well as maintaining the fabric of the deck, pontoon infrastructure, and swinging moorings. They also maintain the club crane, the only such mobile crane of the Dun Laoghaire Yacht Clubs.

What facilities are offered for junior sailing at the Royal Irish Yacht Club?

One of the missions of the Royal Irish Yacht Club is to promote sailing as a passion for life by encouraging children and young adults to learn how to sail through its summer courses and class-specific training throughout the year. 

RIYC has an active junior section. Its summer sailing courses are very popular and the club regularly has over 50 children attending courses in any week. The aim is for those children to develop lifelong friendships through sailing with other children in the club, and across the other clubs in the bay.
Many RIYC children go on to compete for the club at regional and national championships and some have gone on to represent Ireland at international competitions and the Olympic Regatta itself.
In supporting its young sailors and the wider sailing community, the RIYC regularly hosts junior sailing events including national and regional championships in classes such as the Optmist, Feva and 29er.
Competition is not everything though and as the club website states:  "Many of our junior sailors have gone on the become sailing instructors and enjoy teaching both in Ireland and abroad.  Ultimately, we take most pleasure from the number of junior sailors who become adult sailors and enjoy a lifetime of sailing with the club".