A group of local women (and friends) are to sail around Ireland in an effort to raise enough funds to enable Children in Crossfire to build two wells in Ethiopia. The Lilies on the Lough sailing group, which was only established in 2022, will depart from Fahan marina in Donegal on Saturday 8 July. They will spend the following two weeks at least charting a course around the island, with stop-offs planned in Bangor, Howth, Dunmore East, Kinsale, Dingle, the Aran Islands, Clare Island and Teelin.


Shauna O’Neill, who works for Children in Crossfire and was one of the Lilies’ founders, said:


“We are excited, and a bit daunted, to get this challenge underway. Our group has come on in leaps and bounds since our first meetings in early 2022, putting in a lot of hours to ensure we’re ready for our round-Ireland sail.


“We know it’s going to be very tough. If the weather is kind, it will take us just over two weeks to complete – but it will take longer if there are strong winds. No matter, we are looking forward to what’s sure to be an experience of a lifetime. 


“I work for Children in Crossfire and have seen for myself the positive difference our international programmes make for children, families and communities in Ethiopia and Tanzania.


“The Lilies have chosen to focus on building new wells because we understand that access to water is so fundamental to good health. When children have no option but to drink water from dirty, disease-ridden streams, severe sickness at the very least is inevitable. A ready supply of safe, clean water is a basic right that everyone should have, and the Lilies are proud to be working with two communities in Ethiopia to deliver that.


“Every pound we raise will be spent on these wells. With inflation hitting really hard in Ethiopia at present, construction prices have soared. This really just makes us all the more determined to achieve our goal. The children and families we will be supporting deserve our goodwill.”


Children in Crossfire Chief Executive, Richard Moore paid tribute to the Lilies and thanked them for their support:


“What the Lilies on the Lough are undertaking will be no mean feat. I have been out on the water with them and got some sense of the hard work that will be involved to get around Ireland. I am regularly amazed at what people are willing to do to support Children in Crossfire; the Lilies are showing tremendous dedication to our cause through this fundraiser and I am very grateful to them for their support.”


The Lilies on the Lough members are Shauna O’Neill, Rita Heaney, Anna McKeever and Breidge Boyle. They will be accompanied for some legs of their sail by Derek Burns, Katie Clarke and Leonie Conway.


They can be followed on Instagram at @liliesonthelough or via Children in Crossfire at @children_in_crossfire.


To donate to their fundraiser, please go to