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Published on May 11, 2013
A Short film made by Lisa Bhreathnach, a TY student on work experience with ToCar Productions, about a shipwreck 'The Plassey' on Inis Oírr and crewmen rescued by the Rocket Team (the Islands Cliff & Coast Rescue Team) in March 1960.
On March 8th 1960, The Plassey, while sailing between Fenit, Co. Kerry and Galway Harbour with a shipload of general cargo got into trouble off the islands southern tip, known locally as Gob Na Curradh. Struggling against viscious south easterly winds the crewmen lost control of the vessel, and was thrown up on The Finnish Rock. The crew tried to abandon ship but the lifeboat got away from them and they were stranded. With winds howling at 60mph, the island's Cliff & Coast Rescue Team 'The Rocket Team' rushed to save the men (the Galway Bay lifeboat was dealing with another rescue, 11 hours away at Clegin). The fifteen men of The Rocket Team carried the rescue rocket apparatus for 1½ miles by cart to the grounded ship.They fired a rocket over the ship, attached to which was a very light line which pulled a heavier rope out. Tied to it was the breeches buoy, a personal flotation device with a leg harness attached. The first two shots launched fell short. The rocket was moved to a different position, aimed & fired a third time. One by one the Plassey crewman sat into the breaches and were hauled ashore by the Rocket Team. This took approximately 20minutes per crewman. Braving the elements, members of the Rocket Team waded out in the enormous icy waves to grab the crewmen of the Plassey. After a gruelling 4½ hour rescue the rocket apparatus was returned to the rocket house without loss of life or injury. The Plassey ship wreck has become a tourist attraction on Inis Oírr, and has become part of the landscape and the scenery. She features in the opening credits of the comedy series 'Fr Ted' and is a "must see" for visitors to Inis Oírr. Mike Tobin is the only member of the Plassy crew still alive. A member of rescue Rocket Team, Ruairi O'Conghaile now runs Tigh Ruairi's pub and guesthouse.
The Plassey is a monument to the achievement and courage of The Rocket Team' of Inis Oírr.