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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 26 October, 2016

Abseil 200ft when you’re 80? No bother, says Ronnie

Ronnie Hurley is a founding member of the Limerick Sub Aqua Club – and the oldest scuba diver in the county, if not the country.

Ronnie while abseiling
Ronnie while abseiling
Image: WakeboardEamonn via YouTube

AS CHARITY EVENTS go, it was a bit of a heartstopper – abseiling down Ireland’s tallest hotel.

But for the Limerick Sub Aqua Club, and 80-year-old member Ronnie Hurley in particular, it was both a welcome challenge and a great opportunity to raise money for worthy charities.

The club was among a number of groups that took part in the charity abseil, which was organised by Age Action. Hurley, who was one of the founding members of the Limerick Sub Aqua Club in 1960, was among those who raised the money in aid of Age Action and Milford Hospice by abseiling 200ft down the side of the 14-storey high hotel.


“This hospice has a wonderful huge name in Limerick,” said Hurley of Milford Hospice. At 80, he is extremely active, diving, archiving items for the club, and working out regularly. He is grateful to be blessed with good health that enables him to take part in such endeavours.

“It was very exhilarating,” he said of the abseil. “It felt great. It’s something I wanted to do.”

Though the club was founded in 1960, the controlling body for Irish diving, the Irish Underwater Council, was founded in 1963. Hurley and his fellow members are proud of the fact that the Limerick club was one of the first four clubs founded in Ireland.

Hurley is currently Ireland’s oldest active scuba diver and his colleague Eamonn Moloney, a trainee diver, abseiled at the same time as Hurley, and also filmed the event. The abseil was sponsored by Bluebird Care, said Moloney.

They were helped by Denis Cloughessy, Dr Tom McDonnell, Grainne Fitzgerald, and Mike Hynes and raised about €1500 to be spread between Age Action and Milford Hospice.


Even if there were nerves on the day, the blue skies and sunshine kept the spirits up.

“Ronnie did it very coolly – we are very proud of him,” said Moloney. “He has been doing this kind of stuff for a long time. He has taught lots of people how to scuba dive in Limerick.”

There are around 40 members of the Sub Aqua Club, and they actively recruit people every year. They also train people for search and recovery.

As you can see from the video below, the skills needed for scuba diving – like keeping a calm head under pressure, and working as a team – certainly came in helpful on dry land.


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