Citations from the 7th Annual Report of Comhairle na Míre Gaile, for the year ended 31st December, 1953




Patrick Fetherstone, Cabra, Dublin

At 1.50pm on 7th October, 1952, a man accidentally fell into the River Liffey at Wellington Quay, Dublin. His shouts for help brought a number of passers-by to the scene and one of them threw a lifebuoy. The buoy overshot the man, however, and he failed to grasp it. Patrick Fetherstone, aged 15 years, was cycling along the quay and on seeing the man in the river, slid down the buoy rope to the river. He swam about two yards to the man and brought him safely to a ladder about sixty feet distant, where the rescued man was assisted on the street.


William Swords, Robertstown, Co. Kildare

At 1.30pm on 1st June, 1952, a girl aged 8 years fell from her bicycle into the canal at Robertstown. A number of people arrived on the scene. Amongst them was William Swords and he jumped into the water and brought the child to the bank.


Gretta Allen, Blarney Street, Cork; Liam Coughlan, Wellington Bridge Road, Cork; Patrick Healy Sunday’s Well, Cork; John O’Sullivan, Moore Street, Cork; Thomas Cronin, Francis Street, Cork and Thomas Marrett, Greenmount Crescent, Cork

At about 12.20pm on 1st July, 1952, two young girls, Gretta Allen and a companion, were bathing in the north channel of the River Lee at Cork. They were playing with a rubber ball and when the ball floated out of reach Gretta’s companion endeavoured to follow it. She got into difficulties and Gretta caught hold of her, but they drifted into a hole in the river where the water was about seven feet deep. Neither of the girls was able to swim and they shouted for assistance. Liam Coughlan, a fifteen-year-old boy, and Patrick Healy went to help and swam out to the girls. They caught hold of them but became exhausted due to the fact that the girls were struggling. They had to let them go and help each other to the bank. Thomas Cronin then arrived on the scene. He could not see the girls, but following directions from spectators on Wellington Bridge, he entered the water. He could not locate the girls, however. John O’Sullivan also entered the water but he could not locate the girls either. By this time, Liam Coughlan had recovered and he entered the water again and was able to locate Miss Allen. He brought her ashore with the assistance of Thomas Cronin. In the meantime, Thomas Marrett came to Wellington Bridge, and hearing what was wrong, ran to the scene and entered the water. He managed to bring ashore the body of the other girl. Artificial respiration was carried out on the two girls. Miss Allen responded but her companion did not and on admission to hospital was found to be dead.


George Payne, Drimnagh, Dublin

At about 3.00pm on 17th May, 1952, Master George Payne, aged fourteen years, went to the Grand Canal, Dublin, to bathe. When going along Davitt Road, he saw a boy in the canal in difficulties. He jumped into the canal, grasped the boy and swam with him to the bank where some other boys helped him in lifting the boy out of the water.


Patrick O’Hanlon, Blackpool, Cork and Wiliam O’Keefe, McSweeney’s Villas, Cork

At about 7.30pm on 20th June, 1952, a little boy aged four years fell into the River Lee at North Mall, Cork. Some passers-by raised the alarm. Patrick O’Hanlon was passing on the opposite side of the river when he heard the shouts. He ran over North Gate Bridge and jumped in the river. He caught hold of the child and headed towards the steps. He had to swim against the current and being a poor swimmer, he got into difficulties. Seeing this, William O’Keefe jumped into the water. He assisted Mr. O’Hanlon and the child to the steps where they were all helped out of the water.


Ralph Slattery, O’Connell Avenue, Limerick

On 7th June, 1952, a man fell out of a small punt about 15 or 20 yards from the bank of the River Shannon at Limerick. Mr. Ralph Slattery was passing along O’Callaghan’s Strand at the time in his motor car. He noticed the man in danger and jumped into the water. He caught hold of the man and kept him afloat until a boat came along and took the two of them to the bank.


Henry McCarthy, Bandon Road, Cork and Michael J. McDonnell, Victoria Road, Cork

At about 5.35pm on 3rd September, 1952, Mr. Henry McCarthy was informed that there was a man in the River Lee at Victoria Quay, Cork, and that he was in danger of drowning. He jumped into the river and swam to the drowning man. The man was unconscious. Mr. McCarthy endeavoured to bring him ashore but he became exhausted and had to call for assistance. Mr. Michael McDonnell then jumped into the water and swam about 15 feet to where Mr. McCarthy was supporting the man. They brought the man to the quay wall where all three were hauled from the river. The man recovered.


Dr. Alexander Gerard Moore, Drogheda, Co. Louth

On 30th July, 1952, two young men were drawing water from a disused quarry at Staffordshire, Lusk, Co. Dublin. They used a tractor and trailer and five iron tar barrel, backing the trailer to the edge of the quarry and filling the barrels. They were on the trailer when it slipped back into the water, throwing the youths and the barrels in also. One of the men succeeded in getting out of the water but there was no sign of his companion. An hour or so later, Dr. Moore stopped at the scene and was informed that there had been a drowning tragedy. The doctor thought that if the man could be found at once there might be some hope of reviving him. He entered the water secured by a rope help by people at the edge of the quarry hole. He found the man and brought him to the bank. He got the water out of his lungs and applied artificial respiration, but to no avail.


Joseph Moore, St. Mary’s Park, Limerick; Patrick Byrnes, St. Senan Street, Limerick; Michael O’Donnell, St. Munchin Street, Limerick; Patrick Ryan, Columcille Street, Limerick; John Sheehan, O’Dwyer’s Villas, Limerick; Thomas Hanley, St. Munchin Street, Limerick and Thomas Carroll, St. Munchin Street, Limerick

On 5th July, 1952, a number of boys and girls aged 13 to 19 years were swimming in the River Shannon at Island Bank, Limerick. Two of the girls got into difficulties and shouted to Jospeh Moore, a 14-year-old boy who was one of the group. He swam between them and tried to bring them to the bank. The girls clung onto him with the result that he became exhausted and got into difficulties himself. At this stage, a third girl, becoming frightened, also got into difficulties, and Joseph Moore and the three girls shouted for help. Patrick Ryan swam towards them and caught hold of Joseph Moore. He was bringing him towards the bank when one of the girls grabbed onto him and pulled him under the water. Patrick Ryan had to release his grip and Joseph Moore disappeared under the water. Four other youths, Thomas Carroll, Thomas Hanley, Michael O’Donnell and Patrick Byrnes, were on the bank and they heard the screaming from the water. Mr. Hanley and Mr. Carroll saw Joseph Moore’s hand above the water and grabbed it, but he dragged them under the water twice. They were obliged to release their hold on Joseph Moore as they were now in danger of drowning. Mr. John Sheehan was walking along the bank at the time and he now entered the water. He dived to try and locate Joseph Moore but he could not. He and Patrick Ryan, Thomas Hanley, Michael O’Donnell and Patrick Byrnes then rescued the three girls. Joseph Moore was drowned.


Patrick O’Connor, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin

Between midnight and 1am on 20th September, 1951, Mr. Patrick O’Connor was in his bed at home when he heard someone shouting for help. He jumped out of bed and rushed to the quay where he saw a woman in difficulties in the Liffey. He dived into the river and brought the woman to an iron ladder which is affixed to the face of the river wall. He was assisted in lifting her on to the quay. She was in an exhausted and semi-conscious condition but she responded to treatment.


Brian Lawless, Crumlin, Dublin

On 24th May, 1952, two young girls, both aged nine years, were playing on the canal bank at Suir Road Bridge, Inchicore, Dublin, when they fell into the water and were carried out to the centre by the current. On the alarm being raised, Brian Lawless, aged fifteen, jumped fully clothes into the river and swam to the children. He had succeeded in bringing them nearer the bank when an unknown man jumped in and went to his assistance. Between them they brought the children to safety.


Jeremiah Foley, Glasnevin, Dublin; Evelyn Conlon, John Street, Sligo and Charles Dignan, Cartron Hill, Sligo

On July 2nd, 1952, Mrs. Evelyn Conlon and a friend entered the sea at Rosses Point, Co. Sligo, to bathe. After some time, Mrs. Conlon’s companion got a cramp in her left foot. She shouted to Mrs. Conlon and her cries also attracted the attention of Mr. Foley and Mr. Dignan, who were in the water about 400 yards away. By the time Mrs. Conlon reached her companion she was unconscious. She tried to drag her ashore but the tide made it difficult. Mr. Foley and Mr. Dignan then rushed to the scene. Mr. Foley and Mrs. Conlon took hold of the girl’s hands and tried to tow her towards the shore. They were both exhausted by this time. Mr. Foley could not render any further assistance and he swam towards the shore until he was able to stand. Having recovered, he returned to the two ladies. Mr. Foley and Mrs. Conlon resumed in towing the girl to the shore. Mr. Dignan, a non-swimmer, had waded out until the water was up to his chin. As the three came close to him he reached out and grabbed Mr. Foley’s hand. A wave carried them a few feet shorewards to where they were able to stand. Artificial respiration was applied by the two men on the girl until a doctor reached the scene. The girl recovered.


Michael Downes, Connaught Avenue, Cork; Diarmuid McSweeney, Baltimore, Co. Cork and Chief Superintendent Johan Viktor Hagelberg, National Institute of Technical Police, Stockholm, Sweden

On the afternoon of 18th July, 1952, a number of youths went for a swim in a deep pool in the River Lee near Ballingeary, Co. Cork. One of them attempted to swim across and got into difficulties. Michael Downes, who was swimming nearby, went to his aid. He caught hold of him by the head but was unable to make any progress. He tried to push him but the drowning boy grasped him and almost brought him underwater. He then disappeared and Michael Downes returned to the bank where he collapsed from exhaustion. Dirmuid McSweeney then entered the water and swam out to where the boy was but he could not reach him. A party of tourists happened to be passing by in a motor car and they stopped on hearing the commotion. One of the passengers, Mr. Johan Viktor Hagelberg, rushed to the bank and dived in the pool. He brought the body to the bank. Mr. Hagelberg applied artificial respiration for about an hour but the boy did not recover.


Patrick Lacey, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England

On 8th August, 1952, some children were playing on the bank of the River Blackwater at The Quay, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford. One of them, a boy aged 4 years, fell into the water. Mr. Patrick Lacey, who was home on holiday form England, heard the alarm raised by other children and ran to the quay. He dived in and brought the child to the surface. A boatman came on the scene and took Mr. Lacey and the child into the boat and brought them ashore. The child was unconscious but recovered in a short time.


Joseph Winders, Crumlin, Dublin

On the evening of 22nd August, 1952, a number of boys were bathing in the canal at Sally’s Bridge, Parnell Road, Dublin. One of them, a boy aged 13, who is a non-swimmer, fell into 6 to 8 feet of water under the bridge. Joseph Winders, aged 16 years, was nearby and saw him fall in. He jumped in the water and swam to the boy’s assistance. He got under the drowning boy and pushed him up and in towards the bank where other boys helped in pulling him out.


Henry D. Heatley, Belarney, Co. Wicklow

On the evening of 25th September, 1952, an elderly man was driving a horse and cart between Rathnew and Wicklow. The horse took fright at a motor car and bolted. The driver jumped from the cart and was severely injured. The horse careered on at a fast gallop and at the outskirts of Wicklow it was seen approaching by Mr. Hartley. Realising the danger to pedestrians and other traffic, he took off his coat and went to the centre of the road and, by shouting and waving his arms, slowed the animal sufficiently to enable him to grasp the reins and bring it to a halt.


Albert Douglas Noel Casey, Cobh, Co. Cork

On 8th August, 1952, three men were exploring the inside of Martello Tower at Rossleague, Cobh. Their light failed and in the darkness one of them fell into a dry well. The depth of the well is 76 feet. The local fire brigade was called. A bridge of ladders was placed at the mouth of the well and a line was dropped into it. Mr. Casey, a volunteer member of Cobh Fire Brigade, volunteered to descend the well. He was placed in a rope chair and lowered into the well. At the bottom, he placed the man in the rope chair and had him hauled to the top. The rescued man reached the surface alive but succumbed to injuries on his way to Cork by ambulance.


Kevin O’Regan, Kinvara, Co. Galway

At approximately 6.30pm on 2nd September, 1952, a girl aged 3 years, who was playing with another child at the Quay, Kinvara, fell into the sea. Mr. Kevin O’Regan was informed of the accident and ran to where the child had fallen in and dived in the water. He caught the child and swam back with her. Once on the quay, he applied artificial respiration with his sister’s assistance until the child recovered consciousness.


Liam O’Toole and David Liam Ray, Louisburgh, Co. Mayo

On 6th August, 1952, a 17-year-old boy went bathing at Old Head Pier, Louisburgh. He was a poor swimmer and when he had swum out 15 or 20 yards he tried to return but was unable to do so and, becoming exhausted, he sank. Liam O’Toole was swimming nearby and he went over to the boy and caught hold of him. David Liam Ray, who was on the pier, saw that both of them were in danger of drowning and swam out to them. With the assistance of Liam O’Toole, he brought the boy to the pier.


Cornelius Murray, Townsend Street, Dublin

At about 5pm on 29th August, 1952, Mr. Cornelius Murray was informed that there was a young boy in the river at Britain Quay, Dublin. He went immediately to the place and dived into the river. The child was exhausted and was going under the water. Mr. Murray caught him by the hand and brought him to the quay wall where another man took the rescued boy form him.


Fiach O’Byrne, Courtown Harbour, Co. Wexford; Patrick J. O’Connor, Clontarf, Dublin and Kieran O’Connor, Clontarf, Dublin

At 8.45am on 10th August, 1952, two girls were bathing at Courtown Harbour. The water was rough and the girls were gradually being drawn out of their depth by the ebb tide. One of the girls could swim and she tried to bring her companion to safety but failed because of the rough sea. She then swam ashore and summoned aid. Mr. Fiach O’Byrne procured a lifebelt and ws swimming out to the girl when Mr. Patrick O’Connor arrived. Mr. O’Connor swam out to the girl and caught hold of her and swam back towards the shore. He was soon joined by Mr. O’Byne and by Kieran O’Connor, his brother. Between them they succeeded in bringing the girl to shore.


Sergeant Michael Cassidy, Garda Síochána, Clifden, Co. Galway

On the evening of 4th August, 1952, Sergeant Michael Cassidy was on duty at Clifden when he saw a runaway horse coming in the direction of the Main Street. The horse was dragging with it a flattened steel tar drum which had caught in its rain. The Main Street was crowded with people and vehicles at the time and people rushed in all directions for safety. Sergeant Cassidy ran to intercept the horse and in his efforts to stop it he was struck by the flattened tar drum. He fell heavily on his back and was unable to move without assistance. He sustained an injury to his back which required him to be detained in hospital for eight weeks.


Francis Mulcahy, Caledonian Place, Limerick

At about 7.10 pm on 4th July, 1952, Mr. Francis Mulcahy was on the roof of a premises on Henry Street, Limerick when he observed a man throwing a lifebuoy into the River Shannon. He went to the quayside where he saw a woman struggling in the water. He dived in and he caught the woman around the neck with his left hand and endeavoured to get her to a ladder leading to Limerick Boat Club. She struggled violently and he failed to get her to the ladder but he succeeded in bringing her to a chain that hangs down form the quay. He managed to keep her there for about 10 minutes until a boat came along and took her to safety.


Aileen O’Beirne, Tullamore, Co. Offaly

On 2nd October, 1952, Mrs. O’Beirne was told that a two-year-old child had fallen into the Grand Canal at Tullamore and she rushed to the spot and jumped into the water. The child had sunk, but after a few attempts Mrs. O’Beirne caught hold of him and brought him to safety. The child recovered after artificial respiration was applied.


Seamus Nolan, Drumshambo, Co. Leitrim

On 14th February, 1953, at 11am, two brothers aged 3 and 4 years went to play in their father’s field on the outskirts of Drumshambo. A millrace, 10 feet wide and 4 feet deep, runs through the field and at the time it was in flood and flowing very rapidly. One of the children fell in the water and his brother raised the alarm which was heard by Seamus Nolan, aged 15 years. He ran to the bridge over the millrace. The bank of the stream is inaccessible at this point due to a high whitethorn hedge so the youth had to leap down form the parapet of the bridge to the bank. He then plunged into the stream and pulled the child to safety.



William Gaul, Thomas Street, Wexford and Seamus Sheehan, Green Street, Wexford

On 22nd August, 1952, two youths went to bathe in the river at Ferrybank, Wexford. After remaining in the shallow part for some time one of them went out beyond his depth and got into difficulties. His comrade raised the alarm and William Gaul and Seamus Sheehan, both aged 16 years, went to the assistance of the drowning youth. William Gaul entered the river first and tried to bring the youth to shore. Owing to the youth’s struggles, however, he was unable to do so. Seamus Sheehan went to his assistance and together they managed to bring the boy to safety.


Daniel S. Conway, Blessington Street, Dublin

On the evening of 13th August, 1952, a young man was swimming in the sea at Portmarnock, Co. Dublin. The sea was choppy and the man got into difficulties. He shouted for help and Mr. Conway went to his assistance. He reached the drowning man and had to struggle for a long time in order to get a proper hold. He managed to bring him to safety and the man recovered after the application of artificial respiration.


Patrick Doyle, Arklow, Co. Wicklow

At about 6pm on 30th September, 1952, a boy aged 9 years fell into the docks at South Quay, Arklow. Mr. Patrick Doyle was attracted by the screams of a woman and went to the scene. Mr. Doyle dived in fully clothes, grabbed the drowning lad by his clothes and brought him alongside the quay wall where a passer-by helped to lift the child from the water. The boy was unconscious, but reived after artificial respiration was applied.


Matthew G. O’Brien, Farranshone, Limerick

At about 2pm on 25th May, 1952, two boys aged 14 and 15 years went for a swim in the Shannon at Corbally. The boys swam out of their depth and when they turned to come back they were unable to swim against the current. Mr. Matthews, attracted by the screams of a sister of one of the youths, saw their plight and immediately swam out to them. As he approached them. The boys sank but they came to the surface again as he reached them. He caught the arm of one of the boys, who was holding onto the other, and towed them to safety.


Anthony Duff, Rathdrum Road, Dublin

At about 12.45pm on 21st November, 1952, a boy aged nine years fell from the tow-path into the Grand Canal near Dolphin’s Barn Bridge, Dublin. A woman shouted for help and Mr. Anthony Duff immediately jumped in fully clothed and rescued the drowning boy.





Denis Field, Lower Dublin Hill, Cork

At about 9pm on 15th September, 1952, some children noticed a man in the River Lee at Patrick’s Quay, Cork. They raised the alarm and Denis Field, who was passing, jumped in and swam to the aid of the drowning man. He towed the man towards the quay and a lifebuoy was thrown to them. With its assistance they reached safety.


Patrick Bass and Laurence Bolger, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow

On 22nd September, 1952, a German student and his companion were exploring the mountain on the south side of the Upper Lake at Glendalough. They became separated and only one of them came down safely. He raised the alarm and a search party found the other student trapped on a ledge of the cliff 250 feet above the lake. Owing to darkness, it was decided that a rescue would not be attempted until the morning. At 7am the ascent of the cliff face began and Mr. Bass and Mr. Bolger succeeded in getting to the student. He almost collapsed when they reached him and they had to hold him fast while they put a rope around his body. Then the perilous descent was begun and at 10.45am all three reached safety.


James O’Connell, Cathedral Road, Cork; Dominic Kelly, Dominick Street, Cork; Thomas V. O’Connor, Shandon Street, Cork and Garda Eugene Monahan, Shandon Garda Station, Cork

At about noon on 11th January, 1953, a boy aged 4 years fell into the Lee at North Mall, Cork. His companions raised the alarm and James O’Connell jumped in to rescue him. He was a poor swimmer, however, and got into difficulties himself. Dominic Kelly then jumped in. He swam to the assistance of the child and brought him to a ladder. Thomas V. O’Connor heard the alarm and ran to the riverside and on seeing Mr. O’Connell in difficulties, immediately went to his assistance. Garda Monahan also saw Mr. O’Connell in the river and, as he did not see Mr. O’Connor preparing to enter the water, dived in himself. He and Mr. O’Connor brought Mr. O’Connell to safety.


Thomas Conway, Finglas, Co. Dublin

At 11.50pm on 21st January, 1953, a girl aged 12 years fell into the Liffey at Burgh Quay, Dublin. On hearing the commotion, Mr. Conway went to the quay and climbed down the ladder and into the river. Just as he located the girl, about 10 yards from the quayside, she sank, so he dived under and raised her to the surface. She struggled, but Mr. Conway brought her to a small boat and with the aid of another man got her safely on board.


James McGrave, Dundalk, Co. Louth

At about 5pm on 23rd October, 1952 a boy aged 5 years was playing with some companions near a breach in the bank of the Castletown River at Dundalk. The boy fell into a flooded field and was swept through the breach into the river proper. Some men who were working on a building site nearby heard there was a boy in the river. One of them, Mr. James McGrave, ran across the flooded field until the water got too deep. He then swam to the river bank and went into the river. He got hold of the boy in the water and put him across his shoulder, holding him with his right hand and swimming with his left hand as best he could. He succeeded in reaching the river bank and, despite his own exhausted condition, revived the child by applying artificial respiration.


Joseph Harris, Cabra West, Dublin

At 5.30pm on 9th February, 1953, a boy aged 12 years was playing on the bank of the Royal Canal at the rear of Mountjoy Prison. He attempted to cross the canal by the lock gate, lost his footing and fell into the water. His companions raised the alarm and Joseph Harris came to help. He jumped into the water but was unable to get hold of the boy. It was a bitterly cold day and Mr. Harris got cold and stiff and had to be assisted from the water.


Francis Nolan, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary

At about 5.30pm on 27th April, 1953, Francis Nolan and another boy, both aged 14 years, were playing ball beside the River Suir at Carrick-on-Suir. The ball went into the river and, while trying to recover it, Francis Nolan’s friend, who could not swim, fell into the water. Without hesitation, Francis Nolan jumped in to save his companion who was struggling violently. He succeeded in getting a hold on the drowning boy but he was unable to retain a grip because of the boy’s struggles. The boy then disappeared under the water and although Francis Nolan dived a number of times he was unable to locate him. Francis Nolan swam to a nearby island and raised the alarm. The body was recovered two hours later.