Celebrating 50 years of the Garda Sub Aqua Club

Post date: Oct 7, 2014 10:57:05 AM

On Saturday 4th of October 2014 past and present members of GSAC gathered at the MV Cill Airne, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1 to celebrate fifty years of club diving. Some of the original members were present to share the stories of how it all began. Special guests in attendance were Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan, Jim McGowan from Coiste Siamsa, CFT President Mike Orth and National Diving Officer Dermot Moynihan.

For the committee it felt like the only topic of conversation for the previous few months was the 50th anniversary, now the night had finally arrived and the hard work had paid off. We gathered in the bar prior to the meal, welcomed our guests as they arrived and quickly the room filled with conversation, waves of acknowledgement and recognition. Once or twice I heard the question "is that 'so and so' over there, I haven't seen him/her in years"!! By the end of the night there were no strangers only friends, both old and new.

After a wonderful meal the formalities began, the Master of Ceremonies, Vice Chairman John O' Shaughnessy invited the Garda Commissioner to say a few words. The Commissioner acknowledged the attendance of three of the founding members, John D Brennan, Frank Tracey and Brendan Powell. The Commissioner also highlighted that no club survives for fifty years without the hard work and dedication of its committee and members.

CFT president Mike Orth then said a few words and presented the official club certificate to the club chairman. Mike noted that GSAC was the 4th club to be affiliated to CFT in 1963.

GSAC Chairman Noel Nolan then briefly outlined the history of the club from its humble beginnings where members were creative enough to make their own wet suits and weight belts. The club started with modest equipment such as a mark two zodiac inflatable but today proudly own a fleet of three RIBs, compressors and a club house in Westmanstown.

The last of the formalities on the night was the presentation of the Diver of the year award, this was presented by Colm O'Brien who has been involved with GSAC since the early 70's. Colm was made an honorary life member of the club in 1999. The Diver of the year award was first presented in 1981, the original recipient was Sean McGinty and the tradition has continued down through the years. The identity of this years winner was a well kept secret until the night and the look of shock on Ian's face when his name was called out confirmed this. Ian joined the club in 2013, has been a very enthusiastic trainee and always willing to help out on dive sites, boats or with bottle fills.

The venue on the night was the MV Cill Airne, a floating restaurant located on North Wall Quay. The ship was commissioned by the Irish Government in 1961 along with its sister ship the MV Blarna, built in the Liffey Dockyard, Dublin. Today it is a beautifully restored ship which certainly proved to be a wonderful choice of venue, fabulous food and excellent service.

The night was a great success and very enjoyable, you could look around the room at any moment that night and see the smiles and hear the laughter as stories were shared and swapped. Being one of the younger members of the club it was surreal to be surrounded by members from the different decades, all gathered together to celebrate a momentous occasion in the history of the Garda Sub Aqua Club. One former member said for those few hours it felt like time had stood still, feeling twenty years younger, reunited with 'buddies' from years ago. I think I speak on behalf of all the committee when I say that on Saturday night I was very proud to be a member of the Garda Sub Aqua Club.

Photos: 1. Dermot Moynihan NDO CFT, Garda Commissioner O' Sullivan, GSAC Chairman Noel Nolan, Mike Orth president CFT.

2. Chairman Noel Nolan presented with Club Certificate by CFT president Mike Orth