The Coastguard Cutter Vol3 No7

July 2005
Vol. 3 - No.7.


Lifeboat Launched by Women. Fishing Boat Capsized.

On Wednesday about mid-day the entire fishing fleet of Clogher Head had proceeded to sea and were fishing in the neighbourhood of Dundalk Bay when the wind from the west, south-west blew a very stiff gale. One of the fishing boats was struck by the gale and capsized, her crew on coming up to the surface holding on to the keel. One of them, Michael Farrell, sank and was drowned. The Clogher Head Coastguard launched their boat to proceed to the rescue, but the craft being a light fragile thing, got swamped. The women and girls of Clogher Head hastily assembled, and all their male relatives being absent on the fishing grounds, they launched the lifeboat which was shortly after manned by two of the returned crews of fishermen and put to sea. Meanwhile one of the Clogher Head fishing boats bore down to the drowning men, who were now well nigh exhausted with cold and exposure. With the greatest difficulty they succeeded in rescuing the men from the upturned boat. (3)

The Office of Public Works in Dublin produced Architectural plans for the construction and building of Coastguard stations by local labour. However they also produced drawings of some furniture and fittings also. A drawing of a kitchen dresser is shown, as is an existing dresser in site in one of the Coastguard stations on the East coast.

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Dear Friend,Welcome to the July edition of "The Coastguard Cutter".

Elizabeth Fry.

Off duty the Coastguard could tend his little plot of land and provide fresh vegetables for his family. He could enjoy the company of his wife and children. Women played an important part in the home and also in the case of Elizabeth Fry with her desire to furnish his home with books to while the hours away or to learn of other countries. In times of danger at sea women were as ready as men to lend a helping hand in rescue.


Libraries for the Coastguards.

Elizabeth Fry reading to the Prisoners at Newgate.  1823

The celebrated Mrs. Fry who has so laudably exerted herself to improve the morals of our sailors, has extended her philanthropy to the men employed in the Coastguard. Each station in the three Kingdoms has been furnished at her own expense, with a library for the use of the crew of the station, consisting of from 50 to 60 volumes of cheap works, mostly of a moral and religious tendency, but likewise including some well condensed accounts of foreign countries, voyages, travels etc.    (On the 3 February Elizabeth Fry wrote to the Times to point out that the libraries were not provided at her expense, but by the Government, her friends and the public). (1)

Elizabeth Fry – later renowned as the ‘angel of the prisons’ was born in London in 1780. At the age of 18 Elizabeth started a Sunday school for children in the family home and in 1800 married Joseph Fry from a prosperous merchant family. Her first child was born the following year. Eleven others would follow over the next twenty years in which time she was also acknowledged as a Quaker Minister. In 1812 she was asked to visit London’s Newgate prison for women. and was horrified by what she saw. The death of her second daughter and the birth of two more children delayed her further involvement. In 1816 she visited the prison again. On finding no improvements to the appalling conditions of four years ago, she began what was to become a lifetime commitment to penal welfare and reform. 

In 1817 she enlisted the help of ten friends to form the Ladies Association for the Reformation of the Female Prisoners in Newgate. By the time of her death in 1845, she had become a leading influence on prison reform and rehabilitation.

Despite this responsibility, Elizabeth her work to penal reform. She set up District Visiting Societies to work with the poor, libraries for Coastguards and a training school for nurses.

A Plucky Kingstown Boy.

One day this week a little girl, Dorothy Greene, daughter of Chief Officer G.F.Greene, of the Kingstown Coastguards met with an accident which might have had the worse consequences but for the promptitude of a young news-boy named Michael MacDonnell. The little girl who is only eight years of age, went out to play in the grounds about the Coastguard station, and it appears took a fancy to go sea-fishing. She somehow got into a boat moored by the harbour wall and was in the act of pushing the boat off by means of a light fishing rod when the rod snapped, and she was precipitated into the harbour. A little boy, son of the Chief Boatman raised the alarm. MacDonnell ran to the spot and hearing what had happened at once dived from the wall into the water, and seized the little girl as she rose to the surface. He got into the boat, and drew it back to the wall where she was safely landed and taken into the house. Happily the little girl is none the worse for her sudden immersion. She evinced a remarkable prescience of while in the water for on seeing her mother the little girl cried out “Oh Mama, I did kick my legs to make me come up again” Nevertheless Mr. Greene says she would have drowned but for Mac Donnells pluck as no one was near the place. (2)

Saved by the Captain’s Wife.

The brig ‘Alarm’ of Pool, 219 tons, Thomas Stewart, master, coal laden from Swansea for Limerick, out 6 days put into Dingle Harbour on Tuesday 14th.inst., with loss of bulwarks and sails, and boat stove. She had a very narrow escape of being totally wrecked on Inch Bar, with, probably, the loss of the lives of all on board. In fact, her escape was the most providential of any remembered  by the oldest person on the coast. We must not omit mentioning a remarkable instance of female fortitude and cleverness which occurred on this occasion. The crew were so exhausted by their laborious exertions in pumping, etc. that on approaching the harbour at Dingle, not a man on board was able to stand at the helm which was heroically taken by the captain’s wife, who was fortunately on board, and the vessel was, under Favour of Providence, safely steered by her into port. Captain Eager, of Minard, a magistrate and agent for Lloyds, had a party of police in attendance to offer a protection to life and property; and the Coastguard stationed at Minard under the orders of Chief Boatman Mann, and those of the Lack station, under the orders of Chief Boatman Townsend, were also promptly in readiness with efficient assistance.  (Kerry Post) (4)

References :
  1. The Times, London. 1 February 1836.
  2. Wicklow People Saturday 28th.May 1904.
  3. Wicklow People Saturday 16th.January 1904.
  4. Morning Register Wednesday 22nd. January 1840.  

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