Citations from the 19th Annual Report of Comhairle na Míre Gaile, for the year ended 31st December, 1965




Sandra Brownlee, Ballina, Co. Mayo

On the afternoon of 27th November, 1964, a fire broke out in a cottage in Ballina. There was a mother and four children inside. The mother managed to get out with the two eldest children. She raised the alarm and Sandra Brownlee, aged 20 years, immediately entered the burning cottage to rescue the two youngest children. At first she attempted to bring the children out through the bedroom window but when this failed she took the infant out through the intense heat. She then returned for the other child who was strapped in her pram and rescued her too.


Edward Toner, Crumlin, Dublin

At 10.30am on 13th January, 1965, a woman was seen floating in the Grand Canal at Rialto. Mr. Edward Toner, although he is a poor swimmer, on hearing of her plight, went to the canal bank, dived in fully clothed and brought the woman to safety.


Liam Fitzpatrick, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

At 4.55pm on 20th February, 1965, two men, who had been boating in Scotsman’s Bay, Sandycove Harbour, Dun Laoghaire, were thrown in the water about 400 yards offshore when their dinghy capsized. One of the men swam ashore but the other got into difficulties and stayed afloat by clinging onto an oar. Mr. Liam Fitzpatrick, on hearing of the incident, entered the water and swam towards the man. When he reached him, Mr. Fitzpatrick tore off the man’s oilcoat and jacket, and also tried to get his shoes off but failed. He then began to swim back. The two of them disappeared from sight a number of times because of the waves and they were frequently bashed against the rocks. Eventually, Mr. Fitzpatrick got the man ashore. People threw a lifebelt to them and they were pulled from the water. Both men were removed to hospital where they later recovered.


Francis Martin, Tullamore, Co. Offaly

At 9.15pm on 22nd February, 1965, a woman slipped and fell into the Grand Canal at Tullamore. Francis Martin arrived on the scene, jumped in fully clothed and brought the woman to the canal bank. Artificial respiration was applied but unfortunately without success.


Anthony Hourihan, Blackrock, Co. Dublin and James Hourihan, Howth, Co. Dublin

On 21st March, 1965, a young man and woman, who were walking on the harbour side of the east pier, Howth, were caught by a series of waves and swept in to the harbour. Mr. Anthony Hourihan immediately plunged into the ice-cold water. He caught the girl and began to swim back towards the pier. He was joined by another man who had a lifebelt and with the help of this, he brought the girl to safety. In the meantime, Anthony Hourihan’s brother, James, had gone to the rescue of the man. When he reached him, he appeared to be dead. He applied the kiss of life in the water and was joined in the water by another man who gave him a lifebelt. The man was brought ashore. Artificial respiration was applied on the pier and the man and woman recovered.


James McGowan, Main Street, Donegal

On the afternoon of 15th April, 1965, Mr. James McGowan heard a child scream and on investigation found that the child’s 4-year-old brother had fallen into the River Eske. The boy in the water was being swept downstream. Mr. McGowan ran along the bank and when he had got ahead of the boy, he jumped into the water. He waded about 12 feet from the bank and rescued the boy.


Patrick McSwiney, Kenmare, Co. Kerry

On 11th July, six people, three boys and three girls (aged 16-17 years) were thrown into the water in Kenmare Bay when their motor boat capsized. The three boys swam ashore but the girls, who were non-swimmers, found themselves in difficulties some 20-30 yards offshore. Patrick McSwiney was boating nearby with two companions and he went to their assistance. With the help of his companions, he got one of the girls in the boat. He then entered the water to rescue the others. He put one girl on the keel of the upturned motor boat from which she was taken to safety by his companions. The third girl had gone underwater by this time and Mr. McSwiney dived and swam with her to the shore. He applied artificial respiration and she recovered.


Michael Chatham, Ringsend, Dublin

When a horse and cart was being driven along Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, the horse suddenly became frightened by the movement of an overhanging crane and bolted. The driver was thrown on the ground and the horse turned into Macken Street and galloped towards Pearse Street. Michael Chatham ran out in the midst of the traffic and tried to halt the horse. His attempt was unsuccessful but he followed the horse into Pearse Street. The horse mounted the footpath and was headed in the direction of a child. Mr. Chatham managed to grab the reins in time, however, and guide the horse back on the road. He then brought him to a halt and held him until the driver arrived.


Kevin Murphy, Ringsend, Dublin

On the evening of 21st July, 1965, an 8-year-old boy who was with a companion at the Slip, Thorncastle Street, Ringsend, reached into the water to secure a piece of paper which was floating past, and in doing so fell in. The alarm was raised and Kevin Murphy, aged 14 years, ran to the water and plunged in. He grabbed the boy by the back of the coat and pulled him close to the bank. Those on the bank then lent a hand in taking the boy to safety.



Patrick Murray, Ringsend, Dublin

On 2nd June, 1965, 14-year-old Patrick Murray heard some children shouting for help at ‘The Point’, Ringsend Dock. He went to investigate and was told that a boy had slipped and fell into the water. He ran down the steps and swam to the boy. He brought the boy to the surface and swam to a small boat which was anchored 4 or 5 yards away. He pushed the boy onto the boat which was then pulled ashore by people on the dock.


Maura Rossiter, Rosbercon, Co. Wexford

On 11th August, 1965, a 12-year-old boy who had been playing with his brother by the estuary of the River Nanny at Laytown, Co. Meath, fell into the water and was quickly taken towards the sea by the current. His mother immediately plunged in but she failed to reach her son and was also swept towards the sea. Mrs. Maura Rossiter was nearby and when she heard their shouts for help, went into the water. She got the boy and was almost exhausted in her attempt to return to the shore when a man arrived in a boat and took them, and later the boy’s mother, to safety.


Sheila Harrington, Castletownbere, Co. Cork

On 14th August, 1965, Mrs. Sheila Harrington saw a number of people run towards the slipway on the seashore. She went to see what was happening and saw a young boy floating in the water some 15-20 yards from the slipway. She jumped in and swam out to the child who clung to her back, making it impossible for her to swim back. She remained afloat with the boy until they were taken to safety by two men who swam to their assistance.


Patrick Tierney, Walkinstown, Dublin

At 7.25pm on 14th August, 1965, Mr. Patrick Tierney, while sitting in his bunk aboard the ship ‘Lady Grainne’, saw through a porthole a woman on the opposite bank of the river plunge into the water. He immediately ran on deck, told a watchman to ring for an ambulance and dived into the river. He swam to the woman and managed to grab her by the hair. He held her head above water and swam with her towards the river bank. A man climbed down one of the ladders leading into the water and assisted Mr. Tierney in tying a rope, which had been thrown to them from the bank, around the woman’s waist. She was taken from the water and artificial respiration was applied, with success.


Maurice Fitzgerald, Caherciveen, Co. Kerry

At Caherciveen races on 16th September, 1965, a horse threw its rider and galloped along the course. A man rushed out onto the course in an attempt to stop the horse but it turned in the direction of a group of people who were unprotected. Mr. Maurice Fitzgerald ran towards the horse, grabbed the reins and brought it to a halt. In doing so he was knocked on the ground and sustained some slight head injuries.