Crew may be honoured for sea rescue


A Donegal lifeboat crew which was involved in a marathon rescue off the northwest coast may be nominated for a bravery award, writes Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent.

The RNLI Arranmore lifeboat crew on the RNLB Myrtle Maud spent 21 hours at sea in force 10 winds and 10- to 11-metre waves rescuing a lone yachtsman who was attempting to circumnavigate Ireland and Britain.

The lifeboat was called out to the yacht, Nephele, sailed by British yachtsman Keith White, just after 11pm on Saturday night when Malin Coast Guard tasked a number of units to search for the vessel. The yachtsman, who has use of only one arm, had been reporting in regularly to Malin Coast Guard during his transit of the northwest coast, but failed to maintain radio contact.

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Sligo and an RAF Nimrod located the yacht some 40 miles off Tory island, but conditions were too bad for an air-sea rescue. Mr White's vessel had repeatedly capsized during the night. It was also too dangerous to attach a tow line, but the lifeboat stayed with the yacht and took it under tow at daybreak on Sunday.

Stained glass image was graffiti

A cherished stained glass representation of what was thought to have been "a bearded Christ child" has turned out to be a piece of graffiti, possibly over 100 years old, writes Anne Lucey.

The manger scene high in the sanctuary of the neo-Gothic St Mary's Church of Ireland, Killarney, had drawn the curious from all over the world. It had been interpreted in church literature as a representation of "the eternal fatherhood of God", the church's vicar, the Rev Stan Evans, explained.

However, a routine survey of the Killarney church's rich stained glass, carried out as part of an overall survey of Church of Ireland property, has uncovered the real story.

English stained glass expert David Lawrence detected the beard and moustache as defacement and was able to remove them at once with a little white spirit and some cotton wool, Mr Evans said.

A number of theories have been put forward, including that the beard may have been added during restoration work many decades ago when ladders would have been available on the grounds.

St Mary's Church literature is now being amended to reflect the discovery, Mr Evans said.

Among the town centre's chief tourist attractions, the church was rebuilt in the 19th century after a fire destroyed the original. It is part of an ancient religious complex which included a nearby holy well and is probably on the site of the original Church of the Sloe, Cill Áirne, after which Killarney derived its name. It is renowned for its ornate Victorian interior, organ and stained glass.

Arthur Hyde, the grandfather of Dr Douglas Hyde, first president of Ireland, was the vicar in Killarney from 1789 to 1808.

Community funding increased

Minister for Social Affairs Séamus Brennan has approved a €14,000 funding increase to 15 voluntary and community groups in Donegal, writes Jeananne Craig. The scheme of grants, administered nationwide by the Family Support Agency, will distribute €158,650 to groups offering child counselling, marriage preparation and counselling, and bereavement support in the region.

Mr Brennan said that the Donegal groups receiving funding this year were "helping to enhance family stability", and "providing a safety valve" for people in need of support.

The objectives deciding funding allocation include the provision of a regional network of accessible support, and additional assistance for organisations providing services in disadvantaged communities.