Sail Training Ireland (STIRL) held their sixth Annual Prize Giving and Season Launch event on Saturday 27th January 2018, in the Oak Room at the Mansion House in Dublin, courtesy of Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha.
The event was a celebration of Sail Training in Ireland involving those involved in every aspect of Sail Training, Port companies, City and County Councils, sponsors, vessel operators, nominating organisations, mentors and trainees. These diverse groups are all blended together with the support of Sail Training Ireland to produce something very special. The stars of the show were as ever the trainees and their fantastic stories of how their sail training experience has such a significant impact on their lives.
We heard from Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha and from Sail Training Ireland Chairman Seamus Mc Loughlin. Daragh Sheridan, CEO of Sail Training Ireland also announced the launch of the 2018 Voyage Schedule. The highlights of which will be:
Sail Training Ireland 2018 Awards
- the Tall Ships Regatta from Liverpool – Dublin – Bordeaux
- A Voyage for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired
- The Ability Voyage which will see six wheelchair users take part in a tall ship adventure
- An Asgard II Reunion Voyage and Ball
- The prize giving followed featuring seven very deserving and popular winners. (full details of prize winners below).
Then to the highlight of the afternoon as we heard the stories of three trainees.
Roisin Hackett a self-confessed Tall Ship addict who having suffered a spinal cord injury told us how she counted on the fantastic friendships established on previous voyages to get through her ordeal including an extended stay in hospital. She told us of her latest voyage, which she went on this Summer thanks to support from Spinal Injuries Ireland, The Irish Cruising Club and Sail Training Ireland.
We also heard from Conor Keogh who told of his trans-Atlantic adventure on board the Tall Ship Blue Clipper. It was of great interest to all present how he explained that the experience allowed him to disengage from screens and other modern distractions and to really connect with himself and his crew mates aboard. He also expressed his belief that the experience had a big impact on his success in gaining a place on a course in Colaiste Dhulaigh.
The third trainee we heard from was Faye Kennedy. Fay’s amazing story had many reaching for the tissues as she spoke from the heart of her invisible disability and how Sail Training Ireland had accepted her for who she was and enabled her to fully partake in the experience.
Sail Training Ireland is a charity that promotes youth development and education from all backgrounds and abilities on the island of Ireland by providing access to sail training voyages. In this challenging environment the trainees learn about themselves, leadership, communication, responsibility, team work, overcoming adversity, friendship and cooperation. As a bonus almost, they learn about sailing and the sea.
Chatting to the various participants at an event like these you hear just how powerful a vehicle for change sail training can be.
“We sailed alongside dolphins as we learnt how to navigate, all the time growing in confidence in our own abilities, not disabilities. If we continue to define ourselves by what we cannot do or where we cannot travel, we will destroy our spirit” commented seventeen year old trainee Faye Kennedy.
Sail Training Ireland Host Annual Awards
1. Youth Ambassador 2018 Dylan Nelson
2. Watch Leader/ Mentor of the Year Richard Pepper
3. Special Contribution Award: Nessa Lally
4. Volunteer of the Year: Nathan Shivers
5. Outstanding Achievement Award: Killian Borland
6. Perpetual Asgard Award: Manor St John Youth Service
7. Trainee of the year: Eoghan Spillane
8. Overcoming Adversity: Amy Kinsella