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150 Year anniversary of lifeboat tragedy remembered by Skerries RNLI at ceremony

Lifeboats News Release

At 12.30pm on Sunday 5 February at the lifeboat station in Skerries, Dublin, RNLI volunteers, past and present, will gather to lay a wreath at sea and remember 6 of their colleagues who were lost while on a service in 1873

Commemorative Plaque in Holmpatrick Cemetery

RNLI/Gerry Canning

Commemorative Plaque in Holmpatrick Cemetery

On 2nd Feb 1873, the lifeboat from Skerries was capsized while proceeding to the assistance of the schooner “Sarah of Runcorn” which had got into difficulty off Balbriggan. Six of the men manning the lifeboat were drowned.

Speaking about the tragedy, Skerries RNLI Chairman and local historian, Sam Shiels said: ‘At about 8.45pm, in the pitch dark, it was a very stormy night with snow and heavy winds, when the Skerries Lifeboat and coastguard got the call. The lifeboat crew went to the aid of Sarah of Runcorn, under sail but as they got close to the listing ship, they pulled in their sails and started to row. So rough was it, that the oars of the lifeboat crew were wrenched from their hands.

Over the next few hours the crews of both Skerries Lifeboat and Coastguard fought admirably to save the crew.

Unfortunately, such was the storm, the heavy seas, that 6 souls were lost that night.

Today we honour those souls and the legacy they left behind. 150 years later the spirit of the volunteers who put to sea to save others is still strong.’

Note for Editor:

Date: 12.30pm, February 5th 2023

Event: Sarah of Runcorn 150 year Anniversary Remembrance

Location: Skerries Lifeboat Station, Harbour Rd., Skerries.

The names of the volunteers lost were: Patrick Reid, James Kelly, William Fitzpatrick, Joseph Halpin, Richard Cochrane, Albert Fanning.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Gerry Canning, Skerries RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 087 988 4965 or email [email protected] or Nuala McAloon, RNLI Ireland Media Officer on 087 648 3547 or email [email protected] or Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Ireland Media Manager on 087 1254 124 or [email protected]

Skerries RNLI launching their Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat

RNLI/Gerry Canning

Skerries RNLI launching their Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.