His hometown has acknowledged his bravery in an honour awarded for the first time in 125 years.
Dungarvan’s Dylan Murphy, 16, received a certificate of valour and a Waterford Crystal from the west Waterford Council’s municipal district authority.
Around 2am on December 20 last, the teenager dived into the harbour to save the 22-year-old woman. He had been alerted by a work colleague Clodagh Murphy, with whom he worked collecting bottles in the quayside pub, Anchor Bar.
In a special ceremony, described as the cathaoirleach’s award, the town and the local authority acknowledged the act of bravery.
A 70-plus attendance gathered at the council’s civic offices, including Dylan’s mother Áine, brother Dara, and his grandfather Paddy.
Coláiste Chathail Naofa school friends and the pub’s staff and management also attended along with representatives from the RNLI and Dungarvan’s GAA and No Name clubs, where the 5th year student is a member. Dylan’s father Joe was unable to attend.
Fine Gael councillor Damien Geoghegan, who proposed the reception, acknowledged Dylan’s “truly remarkable actions” and said the last such ceremony for outstanding courage involved a local lifeboat crew who had rescued survivors from the trading ship
after it floundered in the bay at 2.30am on Christmas Eve, 1895.
Sinn Féin councillor Siobhán Whelan said she felt “honoured to be in such rarefied company. Fine Gael’s Declan Doocey praised the “home-bred hero” whose selfless heroism was generally only seen in films. Paddy Murphy also acknowledged his grandson’s tremendous courage, while Dylan attributed the successful rescue to life-saving skills imparted by his grandfather. He also acknowledged the assistance of his Anchor colleagues on the night.
John Donovan, secretary of Dungarvan’s No Name Club, said Dylan’s membership brought “the most positive bit of peer pressure” he had ever seen to the club.
Declan Kiely, who coaches Dylan for Dungarvan GAA’s minor hurling and football sides, later attested to the diminutive teenager’s fitness. “Pound for pound you wouldn’t get a better player”, he said.
Cathaoirleach Tom Cronin also presented a certificate of valour to the Anchor bar for its role in the rescue.