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Transatlantic Rower Damian Browne Due into Galway Docks On Tuesday Morning (Video)

3rd October 2022
Damian Browne on Cushlamachree on Monday evening in the Foul Sound between Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr
Damian Browne on Cushlamachree on Monday evening in the Foul Sound between Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr Credit: Paddy Crowe

Extreme adventurer Damian Browne rowed into Galway Bay after his transatlantic crossing and is due into Galway docks from 10.30 am on Tuesday.

The former Connacht rugby player will have become one of a handful to have rowed both ways across the Atlantic when he berths after 112 days at sea.

Browne rowed east-west solo from San Sebastian to Antigua in 2018. This year’s west-east crossing was to have been completed with his close friend Fergus Farrell after the pair left New York in mid June for Galway.

However , Farrell had to be evacuated at sea after 13 days, when his oxygen levels dropped to 86 per cent and he was at risk of blood clots.

Transatlantic oarsman Damian Browne passing a crowded Inis Meain pier last evening. Liam O'Brien of the Co Clare Doolin ferry company provided an escort for Browne in his RIB Photo: Paddy CroweTransatlantic oarsman Damian Browne passing a crowded Inis Meain pier last evening. Liam O'Brien of the Co Clare Doolin ferry company provided an escort for Browne in his RIB Photo: Paddy Crowe

Farrell, who survived a traumatic spinal injury in 2018 and  learned to walk again, said his online medical support took just 30 seconds to inform him his row was “finished”.

Video by Michael Gill

The pair were attempting to set a new Guinness world record in their purpose-built Seasabre 6.2m craft.

Entitled Project Empower, the row continued by Browne is raising funds for  four charities: National Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Ability West, Madra and Galway Simon Community.

Browne survived a number of capsizes and has been living on cold food after losing vital equipment in storms.

He  could have  made his landfall in Kerry, as his first sight of Ireland was of the Irish south-west coast  last Thursday.

Instead, he  has been transiting north along the Irish Atlantic seaboard to ensure his first landfall is in his native city.

Challenging conditions forced him to deploy his para-anchor, with south-westerly winds sweeping him up to Foul Sound between the Aran islands of  Inis Meáín and Inis Oírr  last  evening (mon) where a crowd of islanders greeted him from shore and a large bonfire was lit on Inis Oírr.

Weather permitting, a flotilla of vessels will accompany him in on his last leg into Galway docks early this morning.

“"When I started out on this project some three-and-a-half years ago, the final destination was clear from the start; Galway. Home,”Browne said in a statement from his boat, Cushlamachree, yesterday.

A welcoming bonfire for transatlantic oarsman Damian Browne lit on Monday evening on Inis Oírr Photo: Paddy CroweA welcoming bonfire for transatlantic oarsman Damian Browne lit on Monday evening on Inis Oírr Photo: Paddy Crowe

“The great hope with this was to give the next generation of kids in the west and throughout the country a real image, and touchable action to emulate, and hopefully inspire them to dream big and work hard in whatever avenue of life they decide to explore,” he said.

 “After 112 days of stresses, strains and doubts only an endeavour like attempting to row 3000 miles across the unforgiving North Atlantic can elicit, I’m incredibly excited to close out this beautiful project in my hometown, surrounded by my family, friends and supporters; making my dream a reality,”he said.

It is anticipated that he will be greeted in Galway docks by his partner Rozelle, baby daughter Elodie, parents Mary and Joe Browne and siblings Andrew and Gillian and their families, along with Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan and supporters including Fergus Farrell and MacDara Hosty.

A golf buggy has been provided to drive him around the docks to meet wellwishers, before he is taken to the Harbour Hotel for a private reception.

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

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