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Miracle in Galway Bay Wins Best Radio Documentary at the Celtic Media Festival in Brittany

30th June 2022
Radio producer Sarah Blake received the award in Quimper, Brittany
RTE Radio producer Sarah Blake received the award in Quimper, Brittany

The RTÉ Documentary on One production Miracle in Galway Bay, which told the story of stranded paddleboarders Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn, has won Best Radio Documentary at the Celtic Media Festival in Brittany.

In the documentary, Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn recalled their miraculous rescue following 15 hours clinging to their boards after being swept out to sea. It details the unfolding search, from raising the alarm, through the appeals for local vessels and people to join in the search along the coast, to the ultimate rescue by Galway fishermen Patrick Oliver and his son, Morgan.

The Celtic Media Festival is an annual 3-day summit which combines a major conference of seminars and masterclasses with the presentation of the coveted Torc Awards for excellence. It took place in Quimper, Brittany from 7th to 9th June.

Recognised for its rich craft in storytelling, the jury at the Celtic Media Festival described Miracle in Galway Bay as “illustrated radio at its best, driven by a narrator who clearly engaged with the subject, with exceptional contributors who recreated their experiences with dramatic accuracy”. The jury continued by saying, “it was layered, it was pacy, and it played hard and fast with our emotions. And finally delivered the happy ending we feared we’d lost”.

Producers of the documentary, Lorna Siggins and Sarah Blake said, “we were delighted to win this award for Sara and Ellen, their families, and all those involved in the search and rescue. It was a story of survival, community and hope which deeply touched our listeners. We’re very grateful to all who contributed to the documentary and worked on the production”.

The research for the documentary also informed an account of the paddleboarders' ordeal in the newly published book, Search and Rescue - True Stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116, by Lorna Siggins which has just been published by Merrion Press.

“Documentary on One: Miracle in Galway Bay” is available to download on www.rte.ie/doconone or wherever you get your podcasts. 

RTÉ’s 'Documentary on One' unit tells radio stories about real life in Ireland and beyond. They are one of the most successful radio documentary departments in the world - having collected over 340 national and international awards since 2008. Their website www.rte.ie/doconone contains over 1,700 documentaries - the largest free online radio documentary archive anywhere in the world, that stretches as far back as 1954.

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