Kinsale RNLI gets $5,000 from Irish expats in San Francisco to save lives at sea
Like every other RNLI station, volunteers at Kinsale RNLI have been unable to pursue their normal fundraising activities due to Covid-19 restrictions, so they were surprised and delighted to receive a cheque recently for over $5,000 (US dollars) from a group of Irish expatriates in the USA.
McCarthy’s Bar in San Francisco became an unlikely outpost for the lifeboat thanks to Kinsale native John Farley who has lived there for the past 30 years. The bar is owned by Eileen McCarthy from Drinagh, West Cork. John is a lifelong supporter of the RNLI with first hand experience of their work after he, his sister and his niece were rescued a number of years ago when their boat broke down off the Old Head. Towards the end of the American NFL season, John organised a football pool with 25 friends, many from West Cork, for the final four San Francisco 49er games. They raised an incredible $5,200.
This is the largest single donation received by Kinsale RNLI since lockdown was introduced in March last, and will go a long way towards funding the essential service that has remained on call throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. John and Eileen McCarthy have now installed an official RNLI collection box in McCarthy’s bar so fundraising can continue into the future.
John Farley said: ‘We all appreciate that that RNLI is there for us when we need them, so we wanted to be there for them in their hour of need.’
Kinsale RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer Tricia Tyson said: ‘John has been a great supporter down the years, and tells me their next big fundraiser will be for the RNLI in the Aran Islands as one of his group, Ronan Concannon, is from Aran Mor. We are delighted they are sharing their generosity with hardworking stations around Ireland. Our RNLI collection box only arrived in San Francisco a few weeks ago and John tells me it is almost full already.
‘On behalf of all our RNLI volunteers, I wish to sincerely thank John, Eileen and all the McCarthy’s bar customers for remembering the RNLI back home. It just goes to prove the old adage that you can take a man out of Ireland, but you can’t take Ireland out of the man.’
The other Kinsale fundraisers in San Francisco are Fergus O’Shea, Derek Lovell, Polo Crosbie, Jason Davenport, Richard O’Keeffe, with John Farley and Kathleen Barry in Boston, Gertie O’Shea in Vancouver and the Callanan family, related to John Farley, who live in Kinsale.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.