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Community and Voluntary, Emergency Response, News, Search & Rescue

Young boy rescued from giant boulder

Photo: Caitríona Lucas (IrCG Doolin)

Irish Coast Guard volunteers were called to rescue a young boy from this boulder – Photo: Caitríona Lucas (IrCG Doolin)

A frantic mother flagged down a passing tour bus after her son became trapped atop a 4m (13ft) boulder in the Burren yesterday.

The child had climbed on top of the massive rock but was unable to climb down. The incident happened at around 4.30pm at Ballyreen on the coast road between Lisdoonvarna and Ballyvaughan Co Clare.

The area is popular with abseilers and rock climbers while large stand-alone rocks, that are spread across the karst landscape, are used for a past-time called bouldering.

The young boy had been visiting family in Kinvara from Manchester in England and was accompanied by his mother and a sibling.

The child climbed up the side of the massive boulder but couldn’t get down again while his mother was unable to reach him.

After spending some time trying to get down, the child’s mother ran to the nearby road and flagged down a passing tour bus.

The driver alerted the Irish Coast Guard and the Doolin unit of the volunteer service was requested to attend the incident. They were accompanied by members from the Kilkee unit who had been on a station visit at the time.

Two volunteers climb up onto the boulder and secured the child in a harness before lowering him to safety. The child, who was unharmed, was reunited with his family.

Photo: Caitríona Lucas (IrCG Doolin)

Rescuers place a harness on the boy before lowering him to safety – Photo: Caitríona Lucas (IrCG Doolin)

The Coast Guard has responded to several rock climbing incidents in the same area in recent years. The cliffs at Ballyreen and nearby Ailladee are particularly popular locations for amateur and experienced climbers.

In August 2013, a rock climber sustained serious back injuries when he fell more than 20ft (6m) from a cliff there.

In July 2011, a 45-year-old man was seriously injured after he fell up to 5 (16ft) from a cliff at the same location.

The area is also used as a training ground by Irish Coast Guard, Irish Army and other groups.

Also in 2011, an Irish army sergeant was injured when he fell from rocks at Ballyreen. He fell almost 20 feet while he was assessing other climbing instructors.

In August 2010, a 64-year-old Scottish climber cheated death after he fell 30ft (9m) and was only saved by his safety harness.

*Photos courtesy of Caitríona Lucas (IrCG Doolin)

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The Clare Herald was established by Mark Dunphy in December 2007 as the foremost online news resource for County Clare in Ireland. It has since become an established online news outlet for the County providing breaking news updates to a growing domestic Irish and international audience. The site features local, business, sports and entertainment news from Clare. The Clare Herald website features contributors who have an impressive journalistic track record both in the local and national media.

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