View as PDF

Clifden RNLI help mark 90th anniversary of mass drowning tragedy

Lifeboats News Release

The October Bank Holiday weekend saw the Clifden RNLI lifeboat crew participate in a programme of events commemorating 90 years since ‘The Cleggan Disaster’, the worst mass drowning in the history of the region.

Clifden RNLI mark 90th anniversary of the Cleggan drownings


Clifden RNLI mark 90th anniversary of the Cleggan drownings

On the night of October 28th 1927, a ferocious storm claimed the lives of 45 fishermen at sea. They came from the villages of Cleggan, Inishbofin, Inishkea and Lacken and devastated the families and communities concerned.

On the 90th anniversary of the loss, a programme of events marked the solemn occasion. Clifden RNLI volunteers attended a memorial mass on Saturday evening in Claddaghduff, and also a wreath laying ceremony at Rossadillisk beach on Sunday afternoon where the victims were remembered and honoured by the local community and their descendants.

Local author, Marie Feeney, gave a talk on the history of the tragedy on Saturday evening to a large crowd and warmly welcomed the attendance and support of the local volunteer crew.

Marie is a granddaughter of one of the survivors of the tragedy, and is author of one of the most comprehensive accounts of the events of that night. A percentage from the sale of her book is donated to the RNLI. See for more details.

Clifden RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Catherine Pryce said ‘ We were honoured to be asked to attend this sombre occasion on behalf of the RNLI as our volunteer lifeboat crew provide lifesaving support to these coastal communities.’

‘This devastating Connemara tragedy happened in a time where lifesaving at sea was non-existent in the area and we hope that by working together with the community and fostering a sense of cooperation and communication we can work together to prevent anything like this from happening again.’


RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Catherine Pryce Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Clifden RNLI Tel: 086 400 6666 or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Tel: 087 1254 124 / 01 8900 460 email or Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer Tel: 087 6483547 email:

90th anniversary of Cleggan anniversary


90th anniversary of Cleggan anniversary

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland