Tramore Remembers Brave Irish Air Corps Helicopter Crew

The first  friday of July will always stand out in my mind as the saddest day  of  Tramore’s recent history.

Monument on Tramore Promenade, Co. Waterford.

 On that day in 1999,  the  Co. Waterford coast was shrouded in dense fog, just as it has been for much of this week,   and  the four-man crew of the Irish Air Corps’ Helicopter RESCUE 111 were tragically killed when they crashed into the sand dunes of  Tramore Beach as they attempted to land at nearby Waterford Airport.

A monument commemorating the brave crew is a fundamental part of Tramore’s Promenade and this  week  it has been adorned with flowers as the town remembers the bravest of brave men who were killed that evening.

‘From the People of Tramore in Appreciation’

The four who died were so young and from different parts of the country:

Sgt.  Patrick Mooney, Stamullen, Co. Meath ~ aged 34 years

Capt. Dave O’ Flaherty, Tullamore, Co. Offaly ~ aged 30 years

Capt. Michael Baker, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford ~ aged 28 years

Cpl. Niall Byrne, Killiney, Co. Dublin ~ aged 25 years

As the inscription on the monument states, the men had successfully assisted in the rescue of five people in the heavy fog before tragedy befell them.  They lost their lives fulfilling their Unit’s motto, ‘Go Mairidis Beo’ ( That others may live.)

Last evening,  as I was thinking about the men and their bereft families, while looking out to sea at sunset, by absolute chance the Rescue Helicopter came flying across the Bay from the Metal Man direction.  In my heart, I knew that today’s crew would also risk their lives to save others.  Can we ever thank such brave men and women enough and do we fully appreciate what they are prepared to do for mankind?

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

10 thoughts on “Tramore Remembers Brave Irish Air Corps Helicopter Crew”

  1. I was recently in tramore the monument to the crew is beutifull but in need of some care in relation to the names difficult to read

    1. Hi Alan, many thanks for writing.
      The monument is indeed beautiful. I, too, had noticed the wear on the inscriptions. High tides seem to play a big role in that so regular refurbishment is key.

  2. Worked with Cpl Niall Byrne in four tar pizza in ballsbridge Dublin ,He could not wait for the day to join the defence force’s, and get that job he longed for.He did get that job,And he and his pals died doing a job that loved.Helping others in danger. R8P,Brave men

    1. Hello Terry, thanks very much for sharing your thoughts about Niall. It’s good to know how much he wanted to work in the Air Corps. They were brave men indeed.

  3. Hello and thank you to all in tramore. My name is Joe Mooney brother of paddy Mooney. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of tramore on behalf of my parents and sisters for remembering the four brave men who died that night.

    1. Hi Joe, it’s very good of you to write on this tough day for you and all your family.
      I hope that it brings you some comfort to know how much your brother and the other three men have found a place in the hearts of many of us in Tramore. It is us who should be thanking you and all those who know their loved ones are putting their lives at risk for others.
      Know that Paddy and the others will always be remembered here and not just on anniversaries!

    2. i knew pat and he was a gent joe ,proud meath man and a handy ball payer,17 years how time passes so quickly ,hope he wasn’t watching last sunday in croker ha ha ‘slan

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