Fraud in a nutshell.
Ripley and his wife Laura claim he swam the Kenmare River. He didn't, they faked it. After putting a notice in the local Kenmare newspaper and interviewing several locals who knew Ripley (in this very SMALL town) NO ONE actually saw Ripley swimming. He claims to have been in the water in broad daylight for 12 hours, along a populated coast with roads running near the shore. Taking photographs and video of him in the water would have been easy for his wife Laura to do. He was towing a blue kayak, so he would have been easy to spot.
What the Davenports did provide as proof was an undated very early morning photo of Ripley at the START of the swim that could have been taken ANY TIME and then a few photos at the END of the swim. Here's a photo of Ripley at the end of the swim. The guy with the tattoos is Andy Lee, a resident of Kenmare and, at the time, a friend of the Davenports. Andy had heard of the general plan to do the swim, but only learned it was happening that day when he got a call from Laura Davenport just minutes before Ripley "arrived" at the end of the swim. There was no one else there except Laura and the Davenport kids.
Andy Lee confirmed that there was no advance notice of the swim and that he only knew about it because Laura called him late in the afternoon, just before the "arrival" and asked him to come down to where Ripley would arrive. Andy agrees that Ripley is a fraud. Andy said that Ripley, after supposedly spending 12 hours in the water, was able to jump up and single handedly load the kayak on the top of the car and generally did not show the effects you might expect from someone who just swam for 12 hours in very cold water. And Ripley himself is on record saying he didn't really train at all. The local shop that loaned Ripley the kayak was not informed of the swim even though the shop was a stone's through from the "arrival" beach.
In the Davenport's description of the end of the swim they say "I did envisage the finish to be besieged with journalists, photographers and other assorted media guru’s; not the small assembly of close friends and late arrivals of strangers who happened to witness an exhausted man in a wetsuit crawl onto the beach." Again, Mr. Lee says it was just him, no "strangers" and no "assembly of close friends". Laura Davenport had a cell phone and 12 hours to alert people.
The Davenports claim that the local Coast Guard station at Valentia monitored the swim. That is flat false, according to the coast guard. Ripley had spoken to them many weeks before about doing the swim and they urged him in the strongest terms to have a motorized support boat follow him. The Coast Guard were not informed when Ripley supposedly started the swim in the early morning. They only heard about the "swim" when Laura called them mid-morning and said that Ripley was doing the swim and the tracker had stopped. That was the first the Coast Guard had heard of the "swim" and they took no action. A short while later Laura called back to say the tracker was on again (and presumably Ripley was all right). The Davenports claim that the Coast Guard "monitored" Ripley's progress and checked in to see if he was all right. That is false. All they ever knew of the supposed "swim" was that Laura called and said problems with the tracker, then called back to say that the tracker worked again. I spoke directly with the officer in charge at the Coast Guard station and they confirmed that the sum total of their knowledge of this event was two phone calls from Laura.
The "swim" was reported in the Irish press, but those newspaper articles ALL RESULTED from press releases and interviews that Ripley sent out and gave AFTER the "swim" was over. https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/multiple-sclerosis-sufferer-ripley-davenport-5520194 (compare the color of the cap Ripley is wearing in the newspaper pictures with the picture above). Oooops...
Other that the Davenports' claims, there is ZERO evidence to support the claim that the swim happened. Laura Davenport had 12 hours... 12 hours during which she could have contacted the press and friends to come down along the route and observe Ripley. Twelve hours in which she could have photographed and videoed Ripley on the "swim" as proof. And the Davenports KNEW that their claim would be scrutinized. Experienced Irish open water swimmers simply scoff at the claim.
The Davenports created a "tracker log" of supposed way points that showed Ripley's swimming progress. These things are incredibly easy to fake and simply are not convincing. At one point, the tracker log shows Ripley swimming up a dead end, then returning to the Kenmare River by a culvert under a road. Since we can assume that Laura Davenport was following closely on her husband's progress, where are the photos of him going under the culvert? Where are ANY photos of Ripley actually out in the water (besides the handful of photographs that purport to show his "arrival".
You can see a GoPro camera mounted on the kayak. No video footage has ever been provided.
There are so many things wrong with this claim it's hard to know where to start. Ripley posted a video clip of himself towing the kayak, on a sunny day with absolutely still water. In THAT video it is clear that the tow line for the kayak is constantly catching on his swim fins. In wind and waves, the towline would have been constantly tangling with his legs.
And to top it all off, the Davenports tried to sell this to the unsuspecting (and frankly, gullible) press as a triumph for someone with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). But there is NO evidence that Ripley has MS and lots of reasons to question that claim.