TO the tune of ‘Home from Sea’ the town of Buncrana was celebrating on Friday the arrival of Ireland’s first €2.4million Shannon class lifeboat.
Huge crowds turned out as the spanking new vessel was met by a flotilla of welcoming boats at Ned’s Point before mooring at the pier where there were hundreds of local boating enthusiasts, proud townspeople and a marching band.
The Shannon class lifeboat is the first in the 191-year history of the lifesaving charity that has been named after an Irish river, in recognition of the service and dedication of Irish lifeboat crews. It will be stationed at Lough Swilly RNLI.
The new lifeboat left RNLI Headquarters in Poole on Wednesday with a full crew and over the course of a ten day passage visited lifeboat stations at Newlyn, Aberystwyth, Douglas, Oban, Tobermory and Bangor before finally pulling in to its flanking station in Portrush, county Antrim from where it left in the early hours of Friday morning on the final leg to Buncrana.
At 12 noon the lifeboat was escorted into Lough Swilly by a flotilla of boats to an emotional homecoming. The lifeboat is named Derek Bullivant and has been largely funded through a legacy from Mr Derek Jim Bullivant of Bewdley, Worcestershire, who passed away in September 2011.
Speaking of the Buncrana Shannon homecoming event, Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter said it was an historic day for Lough Swilly Lifeboat station.