Rescued cousins meet and chat about everything except Galway Bay ordeal

‘It’s good to be home’ says Ellen Glynn after her discharge from hospital


Two women who were rescued in Galway Bay after surviving a stormy night on their paddleboards spent an hour together at the weekend chatting about everything except their brush with death.

Cousins Ellen Glynn (17) and Sara Feeney (23) met up on Saturday after the teenager was discharged from University Hospital Galway, where she was treated after being rescued.

The pair are now anxious to restore some semblance of normality to their lives after surviving 15 hours at sea, during which they drifted almost 30km from the shore before being found by a fisherman and his son.

For Ms Feeney, a return to normality might be going back to the summer job she has taken up after recently completing a psychology degree at NUI Galway, while Ellen will have no problem coming up with material for the standard ‘How I spent my summer holidays’ essay when she returns to Coláiste Iognaid in a few weeks.

“I think I will have plenty to write about on that,” said Ellen as she enjoyed her first full day back at the family home in Binn Bhán, Knocknacarra.

Her mother, Deirdre Glynn, said that when classes were suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she feared her eldest daughter might struggle to say how she had spent transition year.

“I don’t think she or any of us will forget the year now,” Ms Glynn said. “It’s still sinking in. Sara and herself are two great young people, really resilient and strong and they will move on from this. I think everyone realises how lucky we are.”


The cousins were plucked from the water by fisherman Patrick Oliver (38) and his son Morgan (18), who sailed from the docks in Galway and correctly worked out the pair’s location after examining wind and tidal information.

Ellen’s father Johnny Glynn, Galway United’s hero in the 1991 FAI Cup win, met the Olivers for the first time on Friday to thank them for their efforts and the families are due to meet again for a proper chat.

“I don’t know what I’m going to say to them because I can’t even put it into words how grateful we are,” said Ellen.

She also paid tribute to the people of Connemara and the Aran Islands who came out in their droves to search for them.

“It’s only now we are beginning to realise how much people did. Bit by bit Sara and I are finding it out. It’s hard to let it all sink in...But it’s good to be home. It’s still a big shock and it’s starting to sink in.”

Ellen said she spoke to her cousin on Saturday evening.

“She’s good, she’s in a lot of shock as well,” she said, adding that they chatted about everything except their ordeal, as they were not yet ready to discuss what has been dubbed ‘The Miracle of Galway Bay’.

The cousins spent a chunk of their night at sea singing Taylor Swift songs to pass time and keep them alert, and Ellen said the US singer got another spin when she was being driven home from hospital on Saturday.

“It’s good to be home,” added Ellen.

Her sister Hannah (14), who often goes paddleboarding with the pair, was delighted to see Ellen come home. “We thought that her and Sara weren’t going to be back, but it’s great that they are,” she said.