RNLI to commemorate tragic rescue mission on Christmas Eve

by Gary Ibbotson

This Christmas Eve, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) at Dun Laoghaire will once again host a ceremony commemorating a tragic rescue mission that occurred nearly 125 years ago.

In 1895, 15 lifeboat volunteers lost their lives. in a rescue mission at Blackrock where the SS Palme had run aground.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat crew now launch every December 24 to the remember the tragedy and all of those who have lost their lives at sea.

Mark McGibney, the coxswain, or skipper, at RNLI Dun Laoghaire says “it’s an honour to hold the position of Coxswain with the Dun Laoghaire lifeboat. 

“We operate two lifeboats here and we are one of the busiest lifeboat stations in Ireland. 

“Our kit, our training, our fuel and our lifeboats are all possible through the generosity of the public and it’s something we don’t take for granted.

“The ceremony we hold on Christmas Eve has become an important event for us. 

“As well as remembering the fifteen-volunteer lifeboat crew that died when their lifeboat capsized in gale force winds while attempting to rescue those on board the SS Palme that had run aground off Blackrock, we remember all those who have drowned.

“Everyone is welcome to attend and remember loved ones.”

Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat mechanic Kieran ‘Colley’ O’Connell says “we are very lucky here in Dun Laoghaire to have two magnificent lifeboats front and centre at one of the most popular piers. 

“It’s my job to make sure the all-weather lifeboat is in top condition and will take the lifeboat crew out to sea and back home safely, carrying those who need to be rescued and reunited with loved ones.

“It’s a role I take very seriously and I’m very proud to do it. 

“To everyone who supports the lifeboats and gives so generously I want to say a huge thank you. 

“Your continued support means that we can continue to do what we do.  Everyone is welcome to attend our Christmas Eve ceremony and we wish everyone a peaceful Christmas.”

Last year, Irish lifeboats launched 1,066 times coming to the aid of 1,441 people,19 of whom were lives saved. Locally, Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s two lifeboats launched 43 times, bringing 54 people to safety.

The ceremony takes place at the end of the East Pier at 12pm.

To support the RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal this Christmas, you can visit RNLI.org/ThePerfectStorm.

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