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Celebrating your RNLI lifesavers in Ireland

From rescuing hard-working fishermen and saving frightened families, to evacuating unwell people from remote islands and battling storms, your RNLI crews in Ireland have already demonstrated extraordinary acts of bravery in 2023. 

This St Patrick’s Day, we’re celebrating these fantastic feats of courage and kindness in wild seas and choppy inland waters, in all weathers, with a roundup of rescues from the year so far. Every one of them was made possible by someone caring like you. 

Fisherman’s rescue 

Skerries RNLI lifeboat approaches a blue clam fishing boat in choppy seas

Photo: RNLI/Skerries

Skerries RNLI reaches the clam fishing boat

When a clam fishing boat suffered a big mechanical failure near Rockabill Lighthouse this February, the volunteers from Skerries RNLI and Howth RNLI launched into force 6 winds and choppy seas to bring the two fishermen to safety. 

Lifeboat Press Officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning, says: ‘This was a job well done in challenging conditions by the volunteers here in Skerries and also the volunteers from Howth.'

‘His clothing was soaked up to his chest’ 

The three crew members launch their inshore lifeboat into the sea, a harbour wall behind them

Photo: RNLI/Dun Laoghaire 

The Dun Laoghaire crew launching their inshore lifeboat Joval

A dog walker was out on a mild Saturday afternoon in February when he was suddenly cut off by the tide at Sandymount, Dublin, after his dog ran into the water. As he tried to rescue his four-legged family member, the tide quickly came in, trapping the man and his dog on a sandbank. The icy water was soaking his clothes, reaching all the way up to his chest.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI were quickly on scene – but as the man was stranded on the sandbank, a lifeboat volunteer had to enter the chilly water to reach him and his dog. Using skills from his training, the crew member checked them both over before pulling them aboard the lifeboat where they were brought safely back to dry land.

Lights up 

Inside a dark lifeboat, lit up by the radar and navigation equipment

Photo: RNLI/Eleanor Hooker

Lough Derg lifeboat crew search in pitch black to find the stranded speed boat

On a clear, dark night with temperatures below freezing, Lough Derg RNLI were paged to three people stranded on a speedboat with a failed engine on the northern part of the lake near Portumna, Galway. 

Packing plenty of blankets aboard, the lifeboat volunteers powered towards the lake and suddenly spotted the glow of phone torches to grab their attention. The speedboat had drifted in the current. The three people onboard were safe, but cold, and huddled in the crew’s blankets to warm up while the volunteers brought them back to the safety of the harbour. 

Cliff fall at Kinsale

When two dogs got into difficulty at the cliff base near Nohoval Cove, Cork this January, Kinsale RNLI launched to help rescue them – but the challenging conditions made it impossible to get the lifeboat close enough to the rocks. 

Two crew members got into the icy water and swam to the cliff base. Watch the volunteers in action, as they keep their lifeboat steady in the swells. 

Midnight evacuation 

Crosshaven’s inshore lifeboat, surrounded by a black sky and dark sea

Photo: RNLI/Jon Mathers

The Crosshaven volunteers returning home after a late-night medical emergency at sea

It was late into the night when the pager sounded for the volunteers at Crosshaven RNLI as a fisherman fell ill onboard a 12m fishing boat – and was in urgent need of a hospital. 

The lifeboat crew launched into the waves to reach the unwell fisherman and his crew – but when they arrived, the volunteers were faced with a further challenge, as the fishing crew were Portuguese and spoke very little English. 

Valentia Coast Guard helped interpret, alongside a Portuguese-speaking lifeboat crew member, so the volunteers could communicate with the fishing crew. Carefully bringing the ill fisherman onboard the lifeboat, Crosshaven RNLI made best speed to shore and passed him into the care of the National Ambulance Service. 

Early risers 

Rosslare Harbour's Severn class lifeboat on exercise, surrounded by white spray

Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

Rosslare Harbour RNLI’s Severn class lifeboat Donald and Barbara Broadhead 

At 3.20am, the lifeboat volunteers from Rosslare Harbour RNLI were jolted awake as the call for help came in, reporting two people stranded on a yacht with a failed engine off the coast of Rosslare. 

Once the crew arrived, and ensured the two people onboard were safe, they helped them back to Rosslare Europort. They arrived back to shore at 6.40am, when the volunteers prepared to start their working day with their full-time jobs and commitments. 

Gale force winds

Clogherhead RNLI’s Shannon class lifeboat is launched into the sea from its launch and recovery system

Photo: Clogherhead RNLI

Clogherhead RNLI’s Shannon class lifeboat launched from its launch and recovery system

A fishing crew had been working along the shore close to Clogherhead this January when their boat suddenly lost steering and was pushed out to sea in extremely challenging weather. 

With winds gusting up to gale force 8, the volunteers at Clogherhead RNLI launched their all-weather Shannon class lifeboat to come to the fishermen’s aid. The Shannon was more than capable of handling the rough conditions, and the safest course of action in the dreadful weather was to tow the stricken boat, and its fishing crew, to the nearest safe port at Port Oriel. Everyone was brought safely home.

Island rescue 

Achill Island’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat slicing through the waves

Photo: Achill Island RNLI

Achill Island’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat slicing through the waves

It was the first call out of the year for Achill Island RNLI when a man needed to be evacuated off Clare Island in County Mayo. He had been medically assessed and treated by the island’s local nurse – and now needed urgent help to get to a hospital. 

In patchy mist and fog, the RNLI volunteers carefully brought the man onboard their lifeboat and quickly transferred him to Roonagh Pier – the fastest route to Galway University Hospital. 

Every one of these lifesaving rescues was made possible by the selfless dedication of our lifeboat volunteers – and you. Your support, in all its extraordinary forms, powers RNLI crews around Ireland to the rescue when the call for help comes. When the pager sounds, and someone desperately needs them, they will be there. And with you beside them, they always can be.