Coastguards making Asses of themselves


Castletownbere Coastguards.


Records show that the Coastguards (or “Police of the Coast” or “Revenue Boatmen” ) were in Castletownbere in the 1780’s and right up to the War of Independence. There were Coastguard Stations in Garnish (Allihies Parish) and in Ballycrovane (Eyeries Parish) during the famine. Just a few years after the famine we find stations in Rerrin (Bere Island) and in Blackball Point, Cahermore (allihies Parish), and later still on Cahermore, high up beside the Church. In the 1880’s the Allihies Parish Station had moved to Ballydonegan. By the early years of the 1900’s a new Station had been built in Gurteen, about one and a half miles from Eyeries village: the Bere Island Station was now called Lawrence’s Cove; and there was a new Castletownbere Station on the site of the present St.Joseph’s Hospital.


This brings me to the story of the three Coastguards who borrowed a donkey and cart to bring some potatoes from a neighbouring village. Having procured the potatoes, they adjourned to the village inn/pub for some “refreshments”, leaving the donkey tied to a five-barred gate. No sooner were they out of sight when some of the villagers seized the opportunity of playing a joke on the visitors. Taking the donkey from the cart, they led him through the gate. Then, closing it, they put the shafts of the cart through the cart and harnessed the donkey again; thus the donkey was on one side of the gate and the cart on the other. By the time the Coastguards came out of the pub, they were “well oiled”, unsteady on their feet, and not able to reason clearly, they could not understand how the donkey had got into such a position. Try as they would they could not force him back through the bars. After a lot of toing and froing, the most “sober” of them suggested that they should take the gate off its hinges and let the donkey haul itself and the cargo of potatoes home as it hung on the shafts. This was done much to the enjoyment of the concealed villagers as they watched the three “Jack Tars” walking unsteadily beside the heavily burdened donkey-cart, trying to “reason” among themselves and muttering in a variety of “language” as to how the donkey was such a magician to be able to get the gate in between himself and the cart-load of potatoes.

Ref: Beara Archives. Richard O’Dwyer.

0 Comments · 6545 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Tony on August 23 2007


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