The trawler, the Paul Stephen, with four people on board, was about 18 miles south-east of Cork Harbour when it started taking on water.
Pumping equipment was rushed to the scene.
Weather conditions were rough, with force-eight winds and five-metre-high waves.
The chopper from Waterford was scrambled and a lifeboat from Ballycotton was launched.
The 17-metre trawler, out of Greencastle, was escorted to Ballycotton on her own steam as the crew used buckets to bail out water and the life boat volunteers kept a close watch.
All crew are safe.
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