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Arranmore man Paddy is home from the sea again while raising funds for the RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Paddy Conaghan worked in tunnels in Thailand, Hong Kong, Denmark, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and every place from Lands End to John O’ Groats, but he says his greatest achievement was driving and ducking 515 times at beaches clockwise around Ireland as he celebrated his 82nd birthday.


Arranmore RNLI
Paddy set off on his latest quest on the 4 December having previously faced the challenge of diving off as many piers as possible anti clockwise around Ireland.
His first challenge raised over €100,000 for Gemma’s legacy of hope charity.

His chosen charities this time continues to support mental health and a charity close to his heart, the RNLI.
Paddy said: 'I chose the RNLI because I am very familiar with the work they do in saving lives at sea. We have a lifeboat on Arranmore since 1883 that has saved many lives and I thought the RNLI would be a safe bet if I got into bother in my ventures around the coast. They also rely on fundraising by the public so I hope I can raise some money for them.'

Paddy was supported at every swim by people who turned out to swim with him, supplied him with food, towels and the odd bottle of whiskey to stave off the cold.
Owners of the Arranmore Blue Ferry Seamus and Louise Boyle supplied him with a van and kitted it out with bedding and cooking appliances and Paddy chose to stay full time in the van despite many offers of bed and breakfast. Paddy felt it added to the challenge to stay in the van, enduring temperatures of -2 degrees centigrade.

Prior to completing his final swim at Maghery beach in Donegal, Paddy was thinking of how this venture might end and came up with the idea of leaving his final swim for somebody else to start a similar challenge.

In Paddy’s own words: 'I would really like somebody else to continue this challenge on a yearly basis, always leaving Maghery beach for the next challenger. I am so glad to have completed the circuit twice, it gave me a great sense of satisfaction to do something for the various charities, I wasn’t doing much else with my life.'

Nora Flanagan, Arranmore RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, spoke to Paddy on arrival back in Arranmore on Sunday 13 March and said: 'Paddy is the most unassuming, modest man I have the pleasure to know, I asked him about his World Open Water Swimming Awards Man of the Year award , an award which celebrate individuals and offerings that embody the spirit of open-water swimming and have positively impacted the community, showcasing their determination, fortitude, sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance and he said he didn’t think he deserved it because many people swim in the sea. Yes they do, but not many would dive into the sea several times a day around Ireland in the middle of winter to raise funds for charity.

'The RNLI is a charitable institution which relies on people like Paddy to help keep the lifeboats afloat. Many people volunteer with the RNLI as crew, fundraisers and shore crew and together our one aim is to support the lifeboats to continue saving lives. I asked Paddy what he’s going to do now with time on his hands and all he said was 'I’m thinking' and I have no doubt that he is.'

If you wish to donate to Paddy’s charities you can follow the link


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.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.