The Coastguard Cutter Vol3 No11

Nov 2005
Vol. 3 - No.11.


Dunny Cove

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"My great-grandparents had their cottage next to that station. Michael Murphy was a fisherman and the sale of his fish to the coastguard families rendered the hard currency to help five from his family emigrate to the United States in the middle and later years of the 1800's." (6)

A Lamentable Accident. 1858.

Crookhaven. A lamentable accident took place yesterday (Sunday) afternoon about 7 o’clock at Rock Island. Mrs. Goodfellow, wife of the Chief Boatman of the Coastguard station here, left her home, as is supposed, for a short walk, and when tea was ready, she not having returned as expected, search was made, and she was discovered by her husband drowned near the Government quay. Mrs. Goodfellow had not left her house above half an hour when she was found. No one can tell how the sad accident happened. It is remarkable that three persons were drowned near the spot where Mrs. Goodfellows body was taken up, and each event took place on a Sunday. (Cork Constitution (3)

Serious Accident 1833.

On Monday night week, when some of the Water Guards were preparing to go on duty, a loaded pistol belonging to one of them of the name of Young, went off by accident, and very nearly occasioned the death of himself and one of his companions. The ball carried entirely away the fore finger of the left hand by the third joint, and passed so near the jaw of the other man, as to graze his cheek. Young’s finger was carried so clean off by the joint, that scarcely surgical operation was requisite, except to dress it – but one of many instances which are frequently occurring to show the great necessity there is for extreme caution in the use and handling of fire-arms. (Galway Advertiser) (4)

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Wit and Wisdom of Ireland

"Mrs. O'Reilly went shopping for a new suit to lay her late husband out in, for Mr. O'Reilly had departed this vale of tears only the day before. Mrs. O'Reilly had a reputation for always getting her money's worth. "Well, and did you get a nice suit of clothes?" asked a neighbour, when Mrs. O'Reilly returned home. "I sure did" was the answer, "And a bargain it was, too, with an extra pair of pants, and all."



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

 Stress and Strain of Coastguard Life.

The majority of Coastguards in Ireland were on an Island away from home. Contacts with relatives would have been extremely difficult. This placed a lot of families under stress and strain. The Coastguard and his family were under Navy discipline and his work was onerous and dangerous. Many Coastguard wives watched in terror on the beaches as their husbands battled with the fury of the sea. Stress is not a modern invention, it was always there in the background.


( from our correspondent)


 It is with much regret I have to announce a most deplorable catastrophe which took place on Monday night in Dundalk Bay. Five fine fellows, all married, and some having six children each, left their station at Dunany with a load of firearms for Soldier's Point on Monday. They arrived safely about mid-day, and in a few hours after, about five p.m., they left Soldier's Point for their station at Dunany. There was some wind, but no danger was apprehended, and especially as it was blowing off the shore. In a conversation with the coastguardsmen at Soldier's Point, they praised the sailing powers of their boat, which was her first voyage, having been only a few days at the station, and was a new cutter. They left in the prime of life and strength, little thinking it was their last voyage in this world. The crew consisted of Henry Granton, chief officer; Daniel Sweeny, and James Clancy, commissioned boatmen; James M'Cracken, and Richard Frazer. Not having reached their destination on Monday evening or night the greatest alarm was felt along the coast and at Dunany, and early on Tuesday morning the coast was searched for the missing boat and her unfortunate crew. The revenue cruiser, the Fanny, had a sharp look out, and fell in with the boat outside Dunany, and drifting towards Clogher Head. Her sails were set, and under water, and it was with great difficulty she was towed into the small harbour at Dunany.. The fearful scene of grief of frantic widows and orphans cannot be described, and there is no hope that any of the brave men have been saved - all have perished in a watery grave. The chief boatman at Soldier's Point, a person of great experience, Mr. Thomas Jones, informs me that he feels quite sure that the boat was upset in a squall, and that as the accident happened late in the evening, and probably a good distance from the shore, that all have been drowned. The wind is blowing from the land, and in all probability the bodies will be carried out to sea, and it will be some time before they are recovered.

About three years ago a somewhat similar calamity occurred, when three pilots were drowned on the Cooley coast. On that occasion it was supposed they were under the influence of drink, having got a bottle of rum from a foreign ship in the bay; but it is satisfactory to know that the five fellows drowned on the present occasion were all perfectly sober when they sailed from Soldier's Point on what proved to be their last sad voyage of life. Up to the time of sending off this dispatch, seven p.m. none of the bodies have been found, and there is a cry of grief and sorrow at Dunany that words cannot describe.

Inquest Co.Mayo. 1845

On Thursday last Mr.Atkinson, Coroner, held an inquest at Ballycastle on the body of Mrs.Eliza Harding, wife of Lt. George Harding of the Coastguards stationed at Belarrig. Many witnesses were examined, all of whom bore testimony to Lt. Harding being a kind and affectionate husband. Doctor Laying of Ballycastle, who was in the habit of attending the deceased for some years gave evidence as to her habits of living, and had seen her in fits, which appeared to be delirium tremens. Dr. Neilson made a post mortem examination, after which he gave the following evidence:- That on the left breast there was a mark of a slight contusion, but it was not of consequence, as producing any material injury. The lungs were small, but in other respects appeared healthy. The left extremity of the stomach was much inflamed, and the greater portion of the smaller intestines were likewise in an inflamed state: the liver was gorged with blood. He was of opinion that the state of the liver and also the inflamed state of the stomach and intestines could be satisfactorily accounted for from the intemperate habits of the deceased; and although there was no proof of excess in drinking ardent spirits for some days prior to death, he was of opinion that a chronic state of inflammation of the stomach and intestines had existed for some time, he was, however, of opinion that the immediate cause of death was epilepsy. The jury returned, as their verdict that the deceased, Eliza Harding, came to her death by the visitation of God.
(Mayo Constitution) 

The Inquest of Patrick Desmond. 1838.

An inquest was held on Sunday on the body of Patrick Desmond, Water-guard of the Roberts Cove Station, at Dunbogy, Barony of Kinnelea. The investigation took place before Thomas Knowles Esq. and George A. Daunt Esq. Magistrates of the County - The first witness examined was John Hull Esq., Officer of the Coastguard. He deposed that he sent Patrick Desmond from the Ballyfeard Petty Sessions on the previous evening 24th.inst, along the coast to ascertain if a second wreck had taken place, of which he had some notice. Desmond went accordingly. William Barry swore that the deceased came to his house about half an hour after fall of night of that day, and witness endeavoured to prevail on him to stop with him the whole night being so dreadfully severe. He did not suppose that he could be expected to be on duty such a bad night. Desmond replied to witness that he must go, else a report would be sent to Dublin the next day and he would be dismissed. He accordingly went; Barry did not see him after alive. The next witness ----Neill swore that he found the body of Desmond at the foot of a cliff near where the ‘Killarney’ had been wrecked. He assisted in bringing up the body. Dr. M’Dermott of Glenview having examined the body swore; that he found the skull shattered to pieces – the brain almost entirely evacuated and some of the ribs fractured. These injuries were sufficient to account for his death. The jury agreed that the deceased had met his death by falling off the cliff into the water underneath while in discharge of his duty under command of his Officer John Hull Esq. (Cork Reporter)  (5)

References :
  1. "Freemans Journal" 30th. April 1868.
  2. Saunders News-Letter Thursday 22nd.May 1845.
  3. Saunders News-Letter Friday 21st.May 1858.
  4. Thursday Morning Register 24th.October 1833.
  5. Saunders News Letter Friday 2nd.February 1838.
  6. Patrick Clark.

© 2001-2005 [coastguards of yesteryear]

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