A NEW D class lifeboat for Ballyglass RNLI is to be officially named Clann Lir during a ceremony at the inshore lifeboat station at 2 p.m. this Saturday (October 13).
The lifeboat, which went on service earlier this year, has been funded by a donation from the Central Bank of Ireland.
The Central Bank had scheduled the launch of its 2017 annual mint set, which paid tribute to the vital work carried out by the Irish Coast Guard and Irish lighthouses for March 2017. However, the launch was postponed following the tragic loss of the crew of Rescue 116 on March 14, 2017.
Following the tragedy, the Minister for Finance agreed that proceeds from the sale of the annual mint set be donated to a nominated charity. The RNLI was selected as the main beneficiary of this donation as its work closely aligns with the work of the Irish Coast Guard and the Commissioners of Irish Lights.
Almost 4,900 mint sets were sold up to the end of January this year and a donation of just over €74,000 was made to the RNLI. The proceeds have been used to fund the new lifesaving vessel, which is stationed at Ballyglass, with the remainder going towards lifeboat kit equipment and crew training.
The new inshore lifeboat replaces The Western, which launched 58 times while on service in Ballyglass, coming to the aid of 20 people.
Clann Lir will now serve alongside Ballyglass RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat, Bryan and Gordon, which has launched 152 times since going on service in Ballyglass, with her crews coming to the aid of 153 people, 14 of whom were lives saved.
The name of the new lifeboat is one close to the heart of those in the Belmullet community and was chosen by Sophie Reilly, a pupil at Belmullet National School.
Pupils in the school were given the task of nominating a suitable name for the lifeboat that had to be Irish, with either a nautical or community theme. Three names were shortlisted by the volunteers in Ballyglass RNLI before the Central Bank of Ireland picked a fitting winner, Clann Lir.
Clann Lir, or The Children of Lir, is an Irish legend that tells the story of Lir and his four children, who were condemned to wander for 900 years over lakes and rivers in Ireland – the last 300 as swans at Sruwaddacon Bay near Erris, before flying to Inishglora, an island off the coast of the Belmullet Peninsula.
Here they met a monk who baptised them. Instantly they had back their human shapes but because of their very old age they died immediately. They were buried on the island in the one grave.
Speaking ahead of the naming ceremony, Padraic Sheeran, Ballyglass RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: ‘This is a very special occasion for our lifeboat station and we are most grateful to the Central Bank of Ireland for this generous donation. We will be proud custodians of this lifeboat, which will go on to rescue and save many more lives in the years ahead.”
The RNLI formally established a lifeboat station in Ballyglass in 1989 and today the volunteers work from two stations that are home to an all-weather lifeboat, Bryan and Gordon, and the new inshore lifeboat.