History of Bundoran Lifeboat
1972 Bundoran Inshore Rescue, a community rescue service, was established.
In 1974, Bundoran rescue Committee was set up in after the tragic drowning of Danny Kerrigan, an NCO attached to Finner Camp, who was washed from the cliffs at Roguey Rocks. Despite Danny's great efforts to stay afloat in heavy seas, no boat could get to the scene in time to save him. As a result of his tragic death, a meeting brought together members of the Defence Forces, Gardai, Fire Brigade and water safety interests in the area, the result of which was the formation of Bundoran rescue Committee. Completely new to the area of water safety, they sought the advice of RNLI water safety experts from Tramore in Co. Waterford. Following consultation and an assessment of the local area it was decided to launch the new service from the West End pier.
Funds were raised in the locality and a second hand 'D' class inflatable boat was purchased from the RNLI. The boat was initially stored in sheds in Bundoran up until the committee, with the support of many local people, built the first rescue boathouse on the pier.
To train the first crews, the Irish Water Safety Association in conjunction with the RNLI ran a course in Tramore and the first crew to complete the course were: Joe Chapman, Marti Granaghan, Frank O Kelly, Steve Staunton and Whittey Kilbride. In 1979 a new boat, an 'Avon Sea Rider' was purchased and was officially launched by Bridget Gorebooth, after whom the boat was named.
In 1983 using a youth employment scheme, the second boathouse was built to house the new rescue boat and equipment including a crew changing room and a two bay boat garage. During these years the boats and crews were involved in many sea tragedies in the area. These included:
Pictured on the first training course in Waterford for the new boat crew in 1979 are from left Whitey Gilbride, Joe Chapman, Frank O’Kelly, PJ Clancy and Sean Staunton
St Patrick's Day Parade 1989
The late Danny Kerrigan RIP
Crossing the Bar (by Alfred Tennyson)
Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
Radio Documentary (2011)
A New Era - The RNLI
IN the early 1990s, after examining the location, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution agreed to take over Bundoran Rescue Committee and a new dedicated lifeboat station was born, giving cover to the Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo and north Mayo coastline. A more modern Lifeboat station was built at the West End Pier in 1993 which housed an 'Atlantic 75' class lifeboat and launching tractor. The new RNLI Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) B-711, “Helene” was officially launched in 1996 by Mrs. Ronnie Delaney. In July 2009 a new Lifeboat an 'Atlantic 85' William Henry Liddington was delivered to Bundoran, replacing Helene to continue the lifesaving work around Donegal Bay
The RNLI has more than 230 lifeboat stations in the Republic of Ireland and the UK. There are more than 4,500 lifeboat crew members. They are volunteers from every walk of life. The organisation is funded by voluntary contributions and legacies. RNLI rescue operations are coordinated by Irish Coast Guard and UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency. RNLI crews are ‘on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The RNLI operate twelve different types of rescue craft including Inshore Lifeboats (ILBs), All Weather Lifeboats (ALBs), Hovercraft and rescue Jet-skis. ALBs can reach up to 100 miles offshore within 2.5 hours in fair weather.
The RNLI covers the Open sea , Inshore areas, local beaches and most recently inland waters at Enniskillen on the Erne and Lough Derg on the River Shannon. It costs €13M to operate the organisation per anum around €35,600 every day. For every €1 spent, 80 cent goes directly to lifesaving. Funding is got entirely from voluntary contributions such as legacies, supporters, direct debits, fundraising appeals, souvenirs and gifts. Fund Raising at local level is organised by branches and guilds