The grandmother of the two cousins found safe and well after getting into difficulty while paddleboarding has spoken of her overwhelming joy and relief at the positive end to what she described as "a nightmare".

Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn from Knocknacarra in Galway city, got into difficulty at Furbo Beach last night. They were out at sea for more than 15 hours. 

Mary Feeney said she spoke to both Sara and Ellen on the phone earlier, and they were still in shock but happy to be alive.

She thanked the fisherman and his son for saving their lives and to all who came out to help in the search.

"I couldn't put it into words how good and how kind everybody was. And God bless those fishermen - God bless everybody that helped."

She also praised her granddaughters for their quick thinking in attaching the paddle boards to the lobster pot marker buoy.

"They were terrified but they tried to come up with something and they tied the two paddleboards together. They stayed very calm," she said.

Earlier, the mother of one of the paddleboarders said that the pair are "delighted to be home safe and well".

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Helen Feeney said that her daughter Sara and niece Ellen are "overwhelmed and very grateful" after being rescued.

Ms Feeney said that she was walking the dog on the beach in Furbo, Co Galway when the two women went out on the paddleboards last night.

She said everybody was in good spirits on what was a "fabulous evening", and she took a picture of the two girls on the water of Galway Bay.

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However, she said that the pair seemed to be going out a bit far and she began to get anxious.

As it got darker and the girls had not returned, she phoned Sara's father and Ellen's mother, as well as a neighbour, before alerting the coastguard.

Read more: 
Missing paddleboarders found 17 miles off coast
Galway rescue: 'They were fairly shook but thankful'

She said she got "fabulous reassurance" from the coastguard personnel as they began a search.

Despite the reassurance, she said it was "the stuff of nightmares" and they were "living by the second" as they waited for news of where the pair had gone.

Luckily, Sara and Ellen were rescued by fisherman Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan off the coast of Inis Oírr today.

"We're forever indebted to him," Ms Feeney said, as she also paid tribute to all those who took part in the search and rescue operation overnight and this morning.

After the dramatic events, Ms Feeney said that paddleboards "will never darken the doors of our houses again".

She urged those using them to be careful, as "things can turn in an instance" and encouraged the use of buoyancy aids, which the two girls had been wearing.