Blessing of the Boats

by Louise Whelan

The annual blessing of the boats took place on Sunday May 14th in the bustling Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. Fr Ivan was accompanied by Canon Leonard Ruddock, who is the Church of Ireland Rector for Irishtown and Donnybrook, and Fr Derek Harris who is originally from Ringsend and one of the yacht club’s oldest and longest members. Together they prayed for a safe, bountiful and abundant season on the water as they took turns to bless each boat with holy water along the marina.

Lord Mayor of Ringsend and Irishtown Derek Buckley, Fr Derek Harris, Fr Ivan Tonge and Canon Leonard Ruddock

Martin Fraye, Commodore of the Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club welcomed everyone to the special event, which is a very important date in the club calendar and spoke about the good safety record that the club holds because of the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) and the blessings each year while Derek Buckley, Lord Mayor of Ringsend and Irishtown recited this beautiful poem about the ocean that he had written which fitted the occasion perfectly:

High tide and low changes every half day
This poem is about the ocean, so if I may

I’ll tell you about the tides and all that they do
Hopefully I learn as well as you

Like most things on earth, the tide goes in and out
So the whole galaxy can hear you, you should probably shout

The truth is that the moon makes the water rise and fall
There is no exception it happens to us all

Pattering against the shore waves come and go
This is because of the tide, both high and low

It sweeps boats out far or fifills an empty bay
High and low tides happen twice every day

The tide is made because of the moon
Its gravity pulls water it will happen again soon

Thank you for listening, making this has been fun
Although no regrets now that I’m done.

Fr Ivan also blessed bouquets of flowers to be scattered at sea in memory of deceased members who had made a difference and will never be forgotten. Everyone was invited to go on the beautiful yachts for a jaunt up the Liffey and back, before returning to the clubhouse for a delicious buffet spread, drinks and live music.

The RNLI is a charity that saves lives at sea through lifeboat search and rescue, lifeguards, water safety education and flood rescue. Powered primarily by kind donations, this search and rescue service has been saving lives for nearly 200 years. The vast majority of RNLI people are volunteers- ordinary people doing extraordinary things, driven by values of selflessness, courage, dependability and trustworthiness.

Stella Maris Rowing Club gets their boat blessed

Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club are an ‘open to all’ club who have a distinguished and colourful maritime tradition stretching back to the 17th century. Members old and new appreciate the friendly, family oriented atmosphere of this highly sociable club and it also provides a fantastic range of activities for all their members. The club built a 100 berth marina which is a fantastic location for permanent and visiting boats with easy access from Dublin Bay. For more information, check out their social media and on the
website at

RNLI Ailbhe Smith, Andrew Sykes, Commodore Martin Fraye, James Kennedy, Alan Keville (Helm) Fr Derek Harris