The Coastguard Cutter Vol3 No5

May 2005
Vol. 3 - No.5.


Lewis’ Topographical Directory, 1837, states "At the mouth of the Nanny Water is a coastguard station"

Nanny Water Station was housed in Nanny Water Cottage in the townland of Corballis.

A number of cottages were leased for the accommodation of the boatmen and their families.

On 1st.June 1871 Nanny Water Coastguard vacated the station premises in Corballis townland and moved across the river to Kennedys cottages in Laytown. A boathouse was built at the western end of the cottages.

R.N.L.I. Award

PROSSER, HENRY. Chief Officer, Coastguard, Nanny Water. Silver Medal

On the 31th.March 1831 during a heavy westerly gale, at 5 a.m., the Skerries smack ‘Wellington’ was eported sunk at Nanny Water, about two miles from the coastguard station. Only part of the topmast  with men clinging to it could be seen. Mr. Prosser launched his boat with five coastguards and rescued two men. The remainder of the smack’s crew , including the Master - five in all - had been washed overboard


Coastguards at War 1854.

Extract of the Attendance Register of St. Patrick's National School, Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

Shipwreck and Terrible Aftermath

The Story of Irish born Thomas Selvey in the Coastguard.

New CG Letters with original documents kindly sent in by Peter Hunt.

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Wit and Wisdom of Ireland.

"Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them."

Oscar Wilde


On 19/12/1853 a fine brig went ashore between Laytown and Gormanstown, Co.Meath. Seven of the crew climbed the rigging but three were washed away. Rockets were fired but could not reach the wreck. The local gentry assembled to render assistance. One man went to Dublin to obtain a lifeboat in Dublin docks. A boat was obtained at Kingstown and transported to Laytown. Three men were saved after sixty two hours in the rigging. The brig was the Agnes of Whitehaven bound for Dublin with iron ore.


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Dear Friend,

Welcome to the May edition of "The Coastguard Cutter".

Brothers of the Sea.

There were many records of life-saving by men of the Coastguard stations. A small number were awarded medals for their acts of heroism, many were not. This did not deter these men from continuing acts of bravery in aid of their fellow brothers of the sea.



Two slated and four thatched cottages. Bounded on South by public road to sea-shore.

New site leased 1899.

Shipwreck - Lamentable Loss of Life.

On the morning of the 31st.ult it was discovered by the Coast Guards  stationed at the Nanny Water, that a vessel was sunk about 10 miles off shore, and that part of her top-mast was seen several feet above the water. Mr.Prosser, Chief Officer of the Coast Guard immediately launched his boat, when himself and five of his men manned her, and with great exertion and risk succeeded in rescuing two of the crew from their perilous situation on the top-mast. The vessel proved to be the smack 'Wellington', of Skerries, laden with potatoes from Lock Ryen, and had upset and sank the night previous during a heavy squall. About 9 o'clock the remainder of the crew, 5 in number, including the master (J.Grimley) were washed off and drowned during the night. (1)

The Late Gales. Drogheda 10th.April

Midway between Laytown and Gormonstown a schooner was in great distress, with the crew clinging to the rigging, while the waves dashed over her decks. The vessel was ‘Bridges’ of Dundee, Gregory master and owner. As soon as the casualty became known Mr.Stevens, Commander and Chief Boatman of the Coastguard stationed at Laytown, that intrepid fellow with his crew gallantly put out for the rescue of the poor fellows who looked forward for help, successfully conveyed all to shore and saved them from perishing. I understand that the crew were very kindly treated by Colonel Pepper, of Ballygarth Castle, who it is said presented each of the crew with a sum of money that he might be able to surmount all existing hardships. Much is spoken also in favour of Lieut. Irwin R.N. of the Royal Navy who attempted to see the lifeboat properly manned. (3)

Coastguard at Nannywater

Coastguard. It is with great pleasure we allude to the praiseworthy exertions of Mr. Prosser, Chief Officer of the Coastguard at Nannywater, near Balbriggan, and his crew, who have been the means of rescuing a little girl from drowning and of restoring to life a man apparently drowned. On the 23rd.inst, a countryman named Dowlan, and a little girl, in attempting to cross the Nannywater, with a horse and car, before the tide had sufficiently ebbed, were taken down into deep water by the current, when Mr. Prosser and part of his crew hearing of the accident, instantly rendered assistance, and succeeded in saving the little girl who was floating down the stream.

The unfortunate man had sunk, but was picked up about 10 minutes afterwards apparently drowned. He was immediately carried to the watch-house, and after rubbing his body with spirits for upwards of an hour, applying hot water in jars, and wrapping him up in warm blankets, his gallant deliverers had the inexpressible pleasure of seeing their exertions successful, and the patient restored to life. He was the next morning sufficiently recovered to return to his home, a distance of 8 or 9 miles. The horse was drowned. (Hibernian United Service Journal) (4)

Coastguard Suicide

One of the Coast Guards , named Edwards, of Cooley Point, near Carlingford committed suicide by shooting himself on Friday. The facts are as follows;- On Friday morning, Captain Siball collected the Coast Guard for inspection, and after drill he told Edwards that in consequence of his intemperate habits, he must either retire from the force, or be removed to another district. Edwards immediately went into his house, telling his wife that it was all over with him and desiring her to go for a brother Coast Guard. She, however, had scarcely turned her back when he took the pistol, which had previously loaded with ball, and shot himself, the ball entering under the breast and passing out through the back. Shortly after the Rev. M’Cormick, the Protestant curate, and Dr. Massey, were in attendance, when the latter pronounced his case hopeless. He lingered in agony for 18 hours. He has left a wife and large family to deplore his untimely end. An inquest was held on his body on Sunday, before Mr. Byrne coroner for the County of Louth, the results of which we have not ascertained (5)

Burning of the Nanny Water Station


An IRA unit which included Mr. Paddy Stafford, Laytown, Mr.Harry Fairclough, Drogheda and a man named Tuite from Mornington were responsible for the burning of the Nanny Water Station. Mr. Archie Lappin purchased the burnt-out station and remains of 5 cottages in 1940 and constructed a dwelling house "Shangrila" on the site.The thatched cottage which housed the first Nanny Water Coastguard Station still stands despite constant danger of tidal erosion.

Queensboro and Laytown Coastguard Stations Burned.

Two more stations were burned out Wednesday night when Queensboro’ and Laytown stations were entered by bodies of armed men, who held up the occupants and ordered them to ‘clear out’ and set fire to the houses. The raiders, it is stated, were most courteous and assisted coastguards to carry out practically all their furniture and other belongings to a place of safety before setting fire to the place. (6)

References :
  1. Evening Freeman Thursday 8th.April 1841.
  2. "Lifeboat Gallantry" by Barry Cox.
  3. Saunders News Letter: Monday 14th.April 1833
  4. Saunders News-Letter Tuesday 2nd.September 1834.
  5. Saunders Newsletter Wednesday 14th.May 1851.
  6. Drogheda Independent. 25th.June 1921.

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0 Comments · 15962 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Tony on June 17 2007


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