Citations from the 17th Annual Report of Comhairle na Míre Gaile, for the year ended 31st December, 1963




Mary Wickham, Catherine Lawlor and Olive Rafterry, Rosslare Harbour, Co. Wexford

On 9th June, 1963, a young man went swimming off the strand at Rosslare Harbour. Finding himself out of his depth a short distance from the shore, he panicked and called for help. Mary Wickham was in the water at the time and immediately went to his assistance. The man grabbed her and pulled her under but she managed to get him nearer to the shore. She freed herself and called to her companions, Catherine Lawlor and Olive Rafterry, and between them they brought the man to safety.




William Dennehy, Cattle Market Avenue, Cork

On the morning of 25th August, 1962, an elderly woman fell into the River Lee at Lavitt’s Quay, Cork. Mr. Dennehy heard someone shouting that there was a woman in the water and he ran to the slipway and dived into the water. The woman had already gone under but as Mr. Dennehy reached her, she came to the surface and he was able to bring her to the slipway where, with the assistance of a bystander, she was taken from the water.


Thomas Morrissey and James Kavanagh, Templemore, Co. Tipperary

On the evening of 10th June, 1962, Mr. Morrissey was accosted by a man with a shotgun who asked him where a certain person lived. The man said he was going to shoot this person and ordered Mr. Morrissey to lead the way. After they had gone some distance, Mr. Morrissey saw Mr. Kavanagh approaching and when Mr. Kavanagh had come to within a few yards of him he swung around and caught the man by the throat. Mr. Kavanagh had already sized up the situation and when he saw Mr. Morrissey’s action he immediately jumped in and grabbed the shotgun. They overpowered the man and gave him into the custody of An Garda Síochána.


Francis Clarke, Irishtown, Co. Dublin

On 9th October, 1962, a man fell into the River Liffey at Ringsend, Dublin. Mr. Clarke saw this happen and he shouted for help to two youths who were some distance away, before diving into the water. He caught the man and managed to bring him to the quay wall where they were assisted from the water by the two youths he had called to earlier.



Patrick Joseph McLoughlin and William Joseph Beckett, Kilconnell, Co. Galway

On 20th January, 1963, three boys went cycling on the frozen surface of Lough Acalla, near Kilconnell. In the centre of the lake there was a narrow channel which had not frozen over and, as it was snowing at the time, one boy cycled blindly to the edge of the channel, the ice collapsed, and he fell into the water. One of his companions, Patrick McLoughlin, aged 15 years, threw himself flat on the ice and stretched out his coat to the boy in the water. The boy grabbed the coat and, with the assistance of William Beckett, aged 16 years, McLoughlin pulled him to safety.


James Murphy, Crumlin, Dublin

On 27th April, 1963, three little boys were fishing in the Grand Canal near Suir Road Bridge, Drminagh, Dublin, when one of them, a nine-year-old, fell into the canal. James Murphy was crossing the bridge on his motor scooter when he noticed children shouting. He ran down to the water’s edge but when he got there, they boy had disappeared. He dived in and located the boy near the bottom of the canal. He brought him to the surface where a Garda and another man helped them both from the water.


Peadar Condron, Lucan, Co. Dublin

At approximately 9.15pm on 16th February, 1963, a man who was walking along a laneway near the Grand Canal at Lucan lost his way in the darkness and fell into the canal. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Condron was attending to his dogs, which he keeps kennelled close by, when he heard moaning sounds coming from the canal. By the light of a torch he saw the man floating in the water about 12 feet from the bank. He jumped into the water and brought the man to the canal bank. The man was then taken to hospital where he recovered after treatment.


Garda John Morrissey, Blarney Garda Station, Co. Cork

At 10.30pm on 15th February, 1963, a car with five people plunged into the River Lee t Merchant’s Quay, Cork. Garda Morrissey was on duty at the time and when he got to the scene there was no sign of the car or its occupants. He was shown the place where the car had gone in and he dived in to try and locate it. He went down about 20 feet but the water was muddy and bitterly cold and it was impossible to see anything below the surface. He realised that his efforts at rescue were fruitless, grabbed a rope thrown to him and was hauled out of the water.


Edward Moloughney and Patrick Wall, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary

Two boys, aged 10 and 14 years, were fishing from a barge on the River Suir on the evening of 24th May, 1963, when the younger of the two overbalanced and fell in the water. His brother called for help and Mr. Moloughney rushed to the quay side and threw a lifebuoy. The boy was out of reach, however. Mr. Moloughney then jumped into the water but failed to make any progress and had to be helped out. About the same time, Mr. Wall entered the water and he was able to swim to the boy and catch him. He swam with him for some time until a fishing cot arrived and took the boy on board. The boy recovered after receiving artificial respiration.

Edward Flanagan, Crumlin, Dublin; John Hill, Dalkey, Co. Dublin and Edward Hernan, Usher’s Quay, Dublin

On 16th May, 1963, a 7-year-old boy fell into the Liffey at Usher’s Quay. Mr. Flanagan heard the boy’s companions shouting and dived into the river. He swam to the boy, caught hold of him and made for an iron ladder about 40 yards away. He was tiring, however, and the receding tide brought him past the ladder. Through exhaustion he was forced to let the boy go and reach the ladder himself. About this time, Messrs. Hill and Hernan noticed the boy’s plight and entered the water. They caught the boy and brought him to the shallow water at the quayside, where Mr. Hill applied mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for about 20 minutes before the boy regained consciousness.


Aidan M. O’Dowd, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo

On the evening of 9th June, 1963, three 11-year-old boys went fishing in a pool in the River Owenaher in Tubbercurry. One of the boys slipped and fell in. His comrades were unable to help but one of them cycled to the nearest house, which was two miles away. On the road he stopped a car in which the O’Dowd family were travelling and told them what had happened. Aidan O’Dowd, accompanied by his father, ran to the scene and jumped in the pool. He located the drowning boy and brought him to the surface. He was taken to the bank and artificial respiration was tried but, unfortunately, without success.


Fergus P. McKeogh, Killaloe, Co. Tipperary

On 9th June, 1963, a group of boys were fishing from a platform on top of the eel weir at the bridge over the Shannon at Killaloe. One boy went down a ladder leading into the water, lost his footing and fell into the river. A Garda who had witnessed the accident went down the ladder and was followed by Fergus McKeogh. The boy in the water was struggling about 4 or 5 feet away and they were unable to reach him from the ladder. Fergus McKeogh then jumped into the water, swam behind the drowning boy and pushed him towards the ladder where he was hauled to safety by the Garda and one of the other boys.


James Lowery, Tullamore, Co. Offaly

A 4-year-old boy was playing along the bank of the Grand Canal at Tullmore on 31st May, 1963, and fell into the water. James Lowery was passing at the time and he saw the child struggling near the centre of the canal. He jumped in, swam to the child and brought him to safety.


Joseph Hayes and Paschal Kelly, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny

On 2nd June, 1963, a number of youths went swimming in the River Nore near Thomastown. Some of the youths swam across the river but one of them got into difficulties before reaching the far side and called for help. Mr. Hayes dived in, caught the drowning youth and tried to bring him to the bank. The youth, however, was in a state of panic and twice dragged Mr. Hayes underwater. Mr. Hayes freed himself but the current swept the youth from his grasp and he was forced to return to the bank. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Kelly and two other men in a boat located the youth in about 12 feet of water. Mr. Kelly dived in and brought the unconscious youth to the riverbank. Artificial respiration was applied but unfortunately the youth did not revive.


Cornelius Higgins, Passage West, Co. Cork

Shortly before 9am on 1st June, 1963, a motor launch was returning to Passage West from the dockyard at Rushbrook, Cork, when the boatman, who was alone, became ill and fell overboard. Some time later, workers on the ship ‘Discovery II’ noticed the launch travelling down the river with nobody on board and then they saw the unconscious man floating in the water. One of the workers, Mr. Higgins, dived from the ship and brought the man to the side of ‘Discovery II’. A lifebelt was dropped and he held onto it until a small boat arrived and took them on board. The rescued man recovered after treatment.


George Byrne, Donnybrook, Dublin

On 9th June, 963, a group of young boys went swimming in the River Dodder near Clonskea, Dublin. One of the boys got into difficulties and George Byrne, aged 13 years, went to his assistance. As soon as George Byrne got within reach of the boy, the latter jumped on his back, forcing him under the water. He struck bottom and when he surfaced he had to return to the bank for a rest. He swam out again to the drowning boy and this time managed to pull him towards the bank, where a man took him from the water. Artificial respiration was applied and the boy soon revived.


Brian Deane, Clontarf Road, Dublin

On 26th June, 1963, a 9-year-old boy fell from the sea wall at Clontarf, Dublin, into the sea. Brian Deane, aged 12 years, was nearby and he ran down a flight of steps leading into the sea and waded out to the drowning boy. With some difficulty, Brian lifted up the boy and dragged him to the steps. The boy’s mother was waiting and she helped Brian carry him up the steps and on to the promenade, where he quickly recovered.


William Keating, Finglas, Dublin

On 17th August, 1963, Mr. William Keating was standing at Dolphin’s Barn Bridge, Dublin, when he heard a little girl crying and talking about someone drowning. He ran down the embankment to the water’s edge where he saw a little girl in the water underneath the bridge. He immediately dived in and brought her to the bank where she revived after artificial respiration.


Denis Whelton, Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork

On 28th July, 1961, a 3-year-old child fell into the sea from the pier at Courtmacsherry. Mr. Whelton and another man were nearby and they immediately went to the child’s assistance. With the other man holding onto one of his hands, Mr. Whelton lowered himself into the water and stretched out his leg to the child, who grabbed it. He drew her towards him, took hold of her hair and managed to keep her head above water. The other man was unable to get them out of the water but he held on to Mr. Whelton’s hand and shouted for help. Ten minutes later, another man and the child’s mother arrived and Mr. Whelton and the child were taken out of the water.


John Meenaghan, Templeogue, Co. Dublin and Garda James O’Driscoll, Terenure Garda Station, Dublin

On the evening of 13th September, 1963, an 8-year-old boy, who had been playing on the bank of the River Dodder at Templeogue, fell into the water. A little girl heard his cries and she ran to Me. Meenaghan’s house for help. Mr. Meenaghan rushed to the scene and, although a non-swimmer, entered the water and waded out to the boy. He was trying to bring him to the riverbank when Garda O’Driscoll arrived on the scene. The Garda jumped into the water, took the boy from Mr. Meenaghan and brought him to the riverbank. He then went back and assisted Mr. Meenaghan from the water.