Kinsale fisherman builds 15ft Christmas tree made from lobster pots to raise money for charity

The Kinsale fisherman used almost 170 lobster pots to create a 15ft high Christmas beside the harbour master’s office on Kinsale pier with donations raised going to Kinsale RNLI. 

Kinsale fisherman Eamonn O’Neill built a 15ft Christmas tree made from lobster pots to help saves lives at sea. Picture: John Allen.

Eamonn O’Neill got the inspiration for the piece from a similar sculpture he spotted a number of years ago when he was fishing up the west coast of Scotland. The idea and image of the structure stuck in his mind, and he was determined to recreate it and bring some festive fun to his home port. 

Speaking of the sculpture, Eamonn says although the idea was his own, the creation was a joint project: 

‘It was a team effort involving harbour master Quentin Ryder, Cork County Council’s senior harbour master Julian Renault, fishermen Duncan Sinclair and Des Hurley, and our busy little elves, Adele Renault and Josh, Ewan, Emily and Lachlan Ryder.  

‘All coastal communities appreciate the work of their RNLI volunteers and it’s important to highlight the fact that they remain on call 24/7 throughout the Christmas period.  

Kevin Gould, Kinsale RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said:  

‘We want to thank Eamonn for this wonderful addition to the harbour this Christmas and for thinking of us so this could also be a fundraiser to help save lives at sea.  

‘As we come to the end of another year, we would also like to thank everyone who has supported us in any way in 2021. Our dedicated crew members will remain on call and will be wearing pagers, ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice this Christmas, and rush to the aid of someone in trouble on the water.   

‘Our wish for everyone planning a trip to the coast or a festive dip this Christmas or New Year, is that they do so safely. We urge everyone to be extra cautious and understand the risks and know how to stay safe before entering cold water.’ 

The RNLI suggest following these guidelines to stay safe over Christmas: 

  • Don’t swim alone – always go with someone else to a familiar spot 
  • Always check the weather forecast, including tide information and wave height 
  • If in doubt, stay out – there is always another day to go for a swim 
  • Take plenty of warm clothes for before and after your dip, along with a hot drink or a hot water bottle to help you warm up again when you come out of the water 
  • Wearing a wetsuit will help increase your buoyancy and reduce the chances of suffering cold water shock 
  • Be seen – wear a brightly coloured swim cap and consider using a tow float 
  • Acclimatise to the water temperature slowly – never jump straight  
  • Stay in your depth and know your limits 
  • If you get into trouble, remember FLOAT to live by leaning back in the water, extending your  arms and legs, and resisting the urge to thrash around to gain control of your breathing 
  • Take a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch 
  • If you or someone else is in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coast Guard 


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