Galway man becomes first to row from New York to Galway

Damian Browne left Manhattan on 14 June 2022. He arrived at Furbo Beach in Galway in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the first time on dry land in 112 days.

Galway man Damian Browne has become the first person to successfully row from New York to Manhattan, arriving in Galway on Tuesday morning after 112 days at sea.

Gardaí and first responders rushed to Furbo Beach overnight after his boat ran aground. The former pro rugby union player has set a world record for his journey.

A gruelling journey – a dramatic end

Galway man becomes first to sail from New York to Galway.
Credit: Instagram / @auld_stock

Hundreds of people awaited his return to welcome Damian Browne back to his hometown after an incredible journey.

The arrival came with a bit of unexpected trouble as his vessel Cushlamachree (an adaptation of the Irish for ‘sweetheart’) was blown onto the rocks near Furbo in the early hours of Tuesday morning as a result of the storm that battered Galway Bay.

He was rescued and brought ashore by three gardaí to be reunited with his family. The Leinster man received an overwhelmingly warm welcome after 2,686 hours at sea and over 3,450 nautical miles covered.

He had hoped to row the final stretch through the gate of Galway docks. However, the harsh weather conditions prevented this. Instead, he sailed into the port on a rib to be greeted by hundreds of supporters.

Damian Browne – a keen adventurer

A keen adventurer.
Credit: Instagram / @auld_stock

This isn’t the first time the 42-year-old has taken on such a gruelling task. Since ending his rugby career, he has climbed Mount Everest and also rowed from Spain to Antigua.

He said of his solo voyage, “Up to three days ago I hadn’t seen a person in 98 days and I had a bit of trepidation about this moment, because of the overwhelming nature of seeing so many people having been isolated from people for so long.

Browne gave a heartfelt speech of thanks to those who came out to meet him as well as those who sent encouraging messages along the way.

He said, “When I was at my deepest and darkest moments of despair, of which there were plenty, all I had to do was put on the phone and know there was these people connected to me and I didn’t feel so lonely. All I can say, from the bottom of my heart, is thank you”.

An incredible feat – Galway man becomes first to row from New York to Galway

An incredible feat as Galway man becomes first to sail from New York to Galway.
Credit: Instagram / @auld_stock

Browne shared on social media the moment he encountered another person for the first time in 98 days.

Surprised that the fellow seamen didn’t know of his voyage, he said, “They shared 5 packs of biscuits; the chocolate digestives were ‘mana from heaven’.

“They offered me a nip of whiskey, I declined politely wanting to save that moment for Galway, with friends”.

The Galway man spoke of times of hardship during his journey when headwinds were sending him backwards rather than forwards toward his goal.

He said, “I have a deep foundational belief that I will get through it and that stems from rugby and everything that gave me. I will always be grateful for that”.

A huge pat on the back from us, Damien. Congratulations!

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