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Displaying items by tag: Lough Ree

At a special naming ceremony and service of dedication held today (Saturday 11 June), Lough Ree RNLI officially opened its new state-of-the-art lifeboat station and named its inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat, Tara Scougall, in memory of a beloved, daughter, wife and mother. The event coincided with Lough Ree RNLI’s tenth anniversary on the lake.

The honour of officially opening the station went to the RNLI’s Chief Executive Mark Dowie who was visiting from England, while the privilege of naming the lifeboat went to Eleanor and Edward, children of the late Tara Scougall, who the lifeboat is named after.

The privilege of naming the lifeboat went to Eleanor and Edward, children of the late Tara Scougall, who the lifeboat is named after Photo: Tom CunninghamThe privilege of naming the lifeboat went to Eleanor and Edward, children of the late Tara Scougall, who the lifeboat is named after Photo: Tom Cunningham

Tara, daughter of John and Diana, and wife to James, was only 43 when she died prematurely from cancer. She had lived an active life on the water having been introduced to it as a child by her late father John. Tara shared her father’s passion for sailing and for a period, she also ran an online yachting and boating magazine. An avid traveller and explorer in her professional life, Tara was one of a Microsoft team which was responsible for the creation of Expedia. Tara’s father John, meanwhile, received a lifetime achievement award from the RNLI for his work in supporting the charity.

The new lifeboat station at Lough Ree was built at a cost of €1.2m on a site kindly donated by the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. It has taken just over two years to complete construction. The state-of-the-art facility provides an ideal training base for the volunteer crew and immediate access to the lake for the lifeboat. It replaces the temporary accommodation at Coosan Point where the volunteer crew first launched their lifeboat from 10 years ago on the 28 June. During the last decade, Lough Ree RNLI has responded to over 460 calls for help and brought more than 1,400 people to safety.

Mark Dowie officially opened the lifeboat station before handing it into the care of Damien Delaney, founding member of Lough Ree RNLI who received the keys to the stationMark Dowie officially opened the lifeboat station before handing it into the care of Damien Delaney, founding member of Lough Ree RNLI who received the keys to the station Photo: Tom Cunningham

During today’s naming ceremony, Mark Dowie officially opened the lifeboat station before handing it into the care of Damien Delaney, founding member of Lough Ree RNLI who received the keys to the station.

James Scougall, husband of the late Tara, then handed the lifeboat into the care of the RNLI and having accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the charity, Mr Dowie then handed her into the care of the station where it was accepted by Kevin Ganly, Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager.

During his address, Mr Ganly said the event was a special occasion for the lifeboat station adding that the crew were most grateful to the Scougall family for their generous gift in memory of their daughter, wife and mother:

‘As Lifeboat Operations Manager along with the deputy launching authorities, part of my job is to authorise her launch when requested. It’s my job to send a message to the volunteers, asking them to get down to the station as quick as possible.

‘When the crew arrive here and get kitted up and head out on the lake, we’ll have peace of mind because this lifeboat will help to keep them safe as they save others. On behalf of all the station volunteers, I would like to thank Diana, James, Eleanor and Edward and the late John and Tara. Your generosity has given Lough Ree a lifesaver.’

The Tara Scougall replaces the first lifeboat in service at Lough Ree, the Dorothy May.

‘As Lough Ree RNLI embarks on its latest phase,’ Mr Ganly continued, ‘it’s apt that the volunteer crew on the Lake of Kings will use a lifeboat named after a woman whose first name invokes Tara – the seat of the High Kings of Ireland.’

Father Patrick Murphy and Reverend William Steacy led the congregation in a Service of Dedication before Eleanor and Edward were invited forward to do the naming.

A crowd of well-wishers turned up to see the lifeboat officially named with a bottle of champagne poured over the side before it launched at the end of the ceremony.

Throughout the event, guests were treated to music and song performed by Dermod Foy and P.J Stacey, who together delivered the lifeboat anthem, Home from the Sea and Where the Three Counties Meet. The national anthem was led by the Band 2 Brigade who also led the lifeboat launch at the end of the ceremony with a performance of Zadok the Priest by George Frideric Handel.

Among the guests on the platform party were Mary Hearty, Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat Administrative Officer, who welcomed guests and opened proceedings, RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie who officially opened the lifeboat station and accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI, Damien Delaney, founding member of Lough Ree RNLI, James Scougall who handed the lifeboat into the care of the RNLI and his children Eleanor and Edward who named the lifeboat, Kevin Ganly, Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, and Lough Ree RNLI Helm Shane McCormack who gave a vote of thanks and closed proceedings.

The Atlantic 85 class lifeboat was introduced into the RNLI fleet in 2005. The lifeboat is 8.4m in length and weighs 1.8 tonnes. Improvements on its predecessor include a faster top speed of 35 knots, radar, provision for a fourth crew member and more space for survivors.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Shannon Navigation that an Inland Fisheries Ireland fish stock survey will take place on Lough Ree from Tuesday 7 to Saturday 25 June.

Survey nets will be set in up to 100 locations on Lough Ree depending on weather and other factors. All nets will be marked with orange buoys and identified with “IFI Survey” markings.

IFI vessels will be operating by day and night on the inland waterway during the survey.

Masters of vessels are requested to maintain a sharp lookout while underway on Lough Ree and to give all marked buoys a wide berth.

Published in Inland Waterways

During a busy first month at the new RNLI lifeboat station at Coosan Point volunteer crew guided visitors from near and far through the state of the art facility in the first public tours of the base. The panoramic view from the new training room gave a new aspect of Lough Ree to the visitors.

First through the doors ahead of the May Bank Holiday were 18 guests from Moate Mens Shed accompanied by some partners who were greeted by a volunteer crew led by Station Visits Officer Paul Kelly. The group had a first hand experience of the work of the charity when the volunteer crew were called out to assist a stricken cruiser on the lake during the course of the visit.

Early this month a group of 50 secondary school students from northeast France arrived to experience the emergency procedures at first-hand. The group of 15-18-year-olds are part of a second-level French programme at second which prepares them for a career in the emergency services. The visit to Lough Ree RNLI was part of an educational tour to Ireland.

French students in the RNLI lifeboat at Lough ReeFrench students in the RNLI lifeboat at Lough Ree

In recent days a younger generation got their first experience of the charity’s work. Children from Clonbrusk Childcare Centre and first classes from neighbours at Coosan National School enjoyed exploring the lifeboat, trying out some of the gear and even timing themselves in ‘rapid response’!

Station visits officer Paul Kelly said: ‘the charity looks forward to welcoming visitors of all generations to the Lifeboat Station. It is hoped to facilitate a number of visits each month with a waiting list already growing!’

Meanwhile, it has been announced that the official opening of the Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat Station and the official naming of the charity’s lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’, had to be postponed due to the pandemic, will take place on Saturday 11 June at 2 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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From Good Friday (15 April) until the weekend just passed the volunteer crew at Lough Ree RNLI came to the assistance of 17 people who encountered difficulties on and around the lake.

Four of the call-outs were to cruisers which had run aground on shoals and rocks in lower Lough Ree.

On the afternoon of Good Friday, the RNLI lifeboat was tasked to the assistance of a cruiser with five people on board which had run aground at the Hexagon Shoal near Hare Island. On Easter Monday (18 April) just after midday the Irish Coast Guard requested the charity’s volunteer crew to assist a 40ft cruiser with five people on board who had run aground in the same area. Easter Tuesday evening (19 April) just before 9 pm saw the RNLI lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ and her crew back north of Hare Island to rescue two people on board a stranded 30ft cruiser.

After inspection, all three vessels were towed to safety at Coosan Point.

On Saturday last (23 April) at 11.35 am under helm Liam Sheringham the Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew were called to assist a cruiser with four people on board who had run aground north of Yew Point. When the lifeboat reached the scene at Hodson Bay one crew member was put on board the stricken vessel to conduct an examination. Following inspection, the vessel was taken under tow to Coosan Point.

As the Lough Ree RNLI shore crew were on their way to assist the recovered vessel moor at Coosan jetty they were called to assist a member of the public who had taken a fall in the Coosan Point amenity area. The casualty recovered following first aid treatment by the volunteer shore crew at the scene and follow-up care at the lifeboat station.

In recent days the Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat crew has been engaged in recovery and towing training, the charity’s volunteer Operations Manager said: ‘While Lough Ree RNLI is always trained, prepared and ready to respond to any emergency at any time I would encourage those using cruisers on the lake to adhere to all navigation guidelines and be aware of hazards that may lie just beneath to surface of the water.’

Ahead of the May Bank Holiday weekend all who use the lake are encouraged to be mindful of taking all the relevant safety precautions.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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On Friday last (April 1) the volunteer crew at Lough Ree RNLI performed the first-ever launch of the charity’s lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ from its newly commissioned boathouse at Coosan Point, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

Launched just before 5 pm the volunteer crew were tasked by the Irish Coast Guard to go the aid of a 30ft cruiser with two people on board who needed navigational assistance on the lake close to King’s Island. Under helm Stewart McMicken the lifeboat crew re-orientated the stricken vessel which continued under it’s own power.

Following the safe return of the lifeboat and volunteer crew from Lough Ree RNLI Station Mechanic Bernie Larkin thanked all of the crew who responded on the day and said: ‘the first launch from the new boathouse is an historic moment for Lough Ree RNLI adding that it was a ‘textbook’ launch and recovery from the new facility.

The new boathouse, built on a site donated by the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland at a cost of €1.2m was commissioned by Lough Ree RNLI last month and will be officially opened at a special ceremony in June.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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The first public holiday weekend of the year saw Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat volunteer crew respond to two call-outs and come to the aid of four people stranded on the lake.

On St. Patrick’s Day (Thursday 17 March) the crew was tasked by the Irish Coast Guard to go to the assistance of a cruiser with two people on board. With newly qualified crew member Liam Sheringham at the helm, the charity’s lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ launched just before 2 pm. On reaching the scene, north of Long Island, the crew came to the assistance of a 37ft steel cruiser with two people on board who had lost power and run aground. The cruiser was towed to safe water and later continued north under it’s own power.

In the second incident, on Saturday afternoon (19 March) the crew responded to a call-out to a craft that was drifting on the lake between Coosan Point and Beam Island. Launched at 3.50 pm, with newly qualified helm Stewart McMicken in charge the lifeboat reached the 33ft cruiser with two people on board just after 4 pm. On arrival, the crew found the vessel already under tow by a passing boat near Hodson Bay. Following a safety examination, the crew escorted both boats towards Athlone.

Over the weekend the volunteer crew from Lough Ree RNLI also joined with Athlone River Safety Group, Athlone Sub Aqua Club and An Garda Siochana to promote safety awareness on the water. Lough Ree RNLI Operations Manager Kevin Ganly said: ‘This co-operation among the agencies on the river is of critical importance when it comes to responding to emergencies on the water.’

 

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Following a series of familiarisation and training programmes over the last three weeks, the volunteer crew at Lough Ree RNLI is in readiness for the move to its new state of the art boathouse in Coosan later this month.

The boathouse was built at a cost of €1.2m, funded exclusively by charitable donations, including a local community contribution of €100,000 raised in the midlands last year. Construction of the boathouse, which began in late 2020 was interrupted by the pandemic and was completed in February. The fitting out programme has been ongoing over the last number of weeks and it is expected that following the installation and testing of electronic and IT systems the boathouse will go into service before the end of March.

Alongside the weekly training sessions on the water, the Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew has been engaged in an intensive familiarisation programme of the new facility and its systems. The new boathouse slipway will provide direct access to the lake for the charity’s lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ and her crew. The boathouse will also facilitate improved response time to emergencies, a specially designed training room and excellent crew facilities.

The boathouse was built at a cost of €1.2m, funded exclusively by charitable donations, including a local community contribution of €100,000The Lough Ree RNLI boathouse was built at a cost of €1.2m, funded exclusively by charitable donations, including a local community contribution of €100,000

Lifeboat Operations manager at Lough Ree RNLI Kevin Ganley said: ‘This is a fitting way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the charity on Lough Ree and could not have been achieved without the generous contribution of the local community and those further afield.’

The official opening of the Lough Ree RNLI boathouse will take place in June at an open air ceremony at which the charity’s lifeboat ‘Tara Scougall’ will also be formally named and handed over to Lough Ree RNLI.

The temporary structure which has served Lough Ree RNLI well over the last number of years at Coosan will be decommissioned, dismantled and transferred to another RNLI facility.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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At a time when business and contact hours are at the heart of the national conversation, Lough Ree RNLI is reminding everyone that the charity and its volunteer lifeboat crew remain on call 24/7 throughout Christmas and the New Year.

With 46 callouts so far this year, 2021 has been another busy year for Lough Ree RNLI. The charity came to the assistance of over 150 people who had experienced difficulty of some kind on the lake or River Shannon this year.

To remain always in readiness the volunteers have continued with weekly on-the-water training on board the station’s inshore lifeboat Tara Scougall.

Coupled with this were a number of multi-agency training and familiarisation sessions with other lifesaving partners on the water.

While the holiday period is traditionally a busy one on the lake for both boats and swimmers, Lough Ree RNLI press officer Tom McGuire said: “All who use the lake at this time need to be aware of the colder water temperatures and the higher water level which may obscure obstacles normally fully visible.

“In the event of anyone getting into difficulty a call should be made to the emergency services on 112 or 999 at the earliest opportunity. As always Lough Ree RNLI remains on call at all times; for some new crew members it will be a first Christmas on call.”

On land, the new lifeboat station is nearing completion on the shores of Lough Ree at Coosan Point in Athlone. All of the crew had an opportunity to walk through the facility last week and Lough Ree RNLI hope to move into the boathouse early in the the New Year.

A fundraising campaign has been ongoing throughout the year to raise a local community contribution of €100,000 towards the €1.2m project. This has been very successful and the target is well within reach after many great contributions, both big and small throughout the year. In the season of giving, Lough Ree RNLI hopes to reach its target very soon.

The station has a local bank account where all donations, large or small, are welcome. The account name is Loughree RNLI Boathouse Appeal, the BIC is AIBKIE2D and the IBAN is IE80AIBK93226458090098.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Lough Ree was the perfect arena for the first "skiffs weekend". 13 hardy sailors launched and sailed in 29ers, 49ers, Int14 and RS700.

The concept was to try out fast boats and enjoy the thrills of high-speed sailing. 

29er: The 29er is the most popular skiff for youth sailors. There is an active class in Ireland with events regrouping up to 15 boats at present.

The class is growing and results internationally have been excellent.

Recently, Ireland took third position at the Europeans Nations Cup which regrouped the best three finishers from each country.

49er sailing49er sailing

49er: Natural progression from the 29er, the 49er is an Olympic class. Following in the footsteps of our Olympians, there are a handful of boat owners in Ireland enjoying the challenge of controlling the overpowered rig.

International 14(Above and below) International 14 

Int14: The International 14 is a development class that has led to great designs of skiffs with massive spinnakers and full carbon hulls. "Chocolate Girl" raised a few heart rates when hoisting the yellow kite on Lough Ree at the weekend,

RS700: Along with the Musto skiff, the 700 is the single-handed ultimate skiff, the boat you wonder how it is possible to gybe safely with the spinnaker up.

RS 700(Above and below) RS 700

RS700RS700

A wet and blustery westerly welcomed the participants so the weekend started indoors with a shore-based session delivered by skiff coaches Thomas Chaix and Chris Bateman.

Eventually, the wind dropped enough to launch for an evening session on the open lake and the sailors managed a few fun runs before dark.

Sunday morning was chilly but the 12-14 kts on the lake proved perfect for hours of fast sailing swapping crews, helms and boats for the participants. The display of skills was excellent in ideal conditions. Ethan Spain developed a liking for the RS700 whilst the 29er sailors really enjoyed giving it a go in the 49ers. The wind eventually started to drop to give a gentle sail into the sunset.

The smiles all around and the boat park chats were unanimous and the weekend was only the start towards building a group of skiffs enthusiasts keen for more of these weekends of fast fun, friendly regattas and coaching development.

Big thanks to Lough Ree YC and its team of dedicated members John McGonigle, Emmet Duffy and Garrett Leech for making the weekend happen.

Published in 29er
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Athlone resident Denis Bergin embarks on what is more than two marathons this weekend with a 90km run around Lough Ree to raise funds for the RNLI boathouse which is nearing completion at Coosan Point, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

The Tullamore native, an avid water enthusiast and long time supporter of the charity said: “I was hoping to run in the Dublin City Marathon to support the new lifeboat station but when that got cancelled I had to think of a different challenge for the same weekend. As the lifeboat covers every corner of the lake, running around it seemed a good alternative.”

Denis intends to complete the two marathon distances this holiday weekend. He starts from the Lough Ree RNLI boathouse at Coosan Point on Saturday morning (24 October) at 9 am. His route will take him through Ballykeeran, Glasson and onwards through the parishes of Tang, Ballymahon, Kenagh and Newtowncashel as he hugs the lakeshore on his way to the bridge at Lanesboro, Co. Longford. On the return marathon he will run down the west side of Lough Ree from Ballyleague towards Roscommon town and then swings south through Kilteevan, Knockcroghery, Lecarrow, Ballybay and Hodson Bay back to finish in Coosan on Sunday afternoon.

With three marathons under his belt the Ericsson employee has been a familiar figure on his various training routes which have centred on the Old Rail Trail greenway.

Lough Ree RNLI Treasurer Vincent Rafter welcomed the initiative and said: “great progress has been made on raising the €100,000 community contribution for the €1.2m boathouse and the generosity and endurance of people like Denis are an inspiration to all those who support and rely on the charity.”

This year Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew has assisted more than 150 people in 42 call-outs on the lake.

The new boathouse will provide an important and necessary base for the charity.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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