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WELCOME 2018. May it be a good year for all the fishermen.

Dramatic Rescue 30th. January 2017

Sadly Mr Baxter’s boat the Atlantic Osaprey was lost last weekend but all hands were saved. Volunteer Lifeboat crews from Clogherhead, Skerries and Howth RNLI and Coastguard Helicopter 116 were invovled in the dramatic rescue of five fishermen whose boat ran aground off the coast of Balbriggan on Monday morning the 30th. January last. She was fishing for razors when she began taking on water and on arrival the lifeboat crews placed pumps aboard, However despite the crews best efforts the pumps were unable to cope withe volume of water and the boat sank shortly after 8 a.m.. The crew was taken off and brought safely to Skerries. Since then the boat has completely broken up.Sadly since I wrote this memo Helicopter 116 and all its crew have been lost.

Small crew for Christmas Morning 2016
small crew
However a great turnout for Christmas Swim

Pick of items  2014-17

This site is dedicated to the historic, photographic and other records of Balbriggan harbour since it was improved way back in 1761. We hope that in time it will become a reference stop for any one interested in our little pier, especially since it will contain up to date information in its news section on the day to day happenings on the ‘quay’ as it was always known. We hope that many people around the world will send us accounts of their time spent working in or out of it. The harbour was once a hub for local, Welsh and English coal traders, as well as for fishermen from the Isle of Mann, Scotland, Kilkeel and Arklow. Let us hope that any of them still around, and, or, their descendants will add to the content of the site. Photos, records, personal accounts etc. no matter how trivial will be warmly welcomed.

Breaking News   PRESS RELEASE
I received this the other day from Ann Marie Bohan. Check it out! 

Back to the Future – photographic exhibition of Balbriggan past and present
Balbriggan Creative Quarter
(BCQ) is delighted to announce the opening of its first photographic exhibition on St. Patrick’s Day, 17 March 2014. Entitled Back to the Future, the exhibition will feature photographs from the renowned Benton/Curtis collection together with a contemporary take on the same photographs. The exhibition will be launched on St. Patrick’s Day by the Polish ambassador Marcin Nawrot and will run for two days at P.S. Creative Space on Railway Street in Balbriggan.
The Benton/Curtis collection is a hugely valuable archive to the town of Balbriggan, containing photographs going back to the beginning of the last century. The particular photographs selected for this exhibition will be displayed side by side with contemporary photographs of the same scenes, taken by local photographers Kasia Wasiak and Robert Patynski.

BCQ Chairman, Tony Murphy said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to view a small part of this wonderful archive and of course to compare Balbriggan as it was then and how it looks today. BCQ is delighted to have this chance to curate these works and to play a role in reviving the artistic heritage of the town

Back to the future

Talkback Thames TV who were starting Series 3 of their award winning Great British Train Journies.

Bella Lloyd assistant producer of the show had sent several emails to the site but seeing Talkback Thames in my inbox I despatched them to Junk, believing them to be just more adds for another internet provider. However on receiving a phone call from the library that someone wished to talk to me about the harbour, I gathered the ‘junk’ back and found that the Railway Section of the site had garnered the interest of the producer Jay Taylor and her crew who wished to visit Balbriggan harbour and include it in their series. A meeting was arranged between myself and Bella that her young crew would visit and gather any information I may have. I was to gather a couple of local fishermen and/or railway men who might prove interesting. What a job ..ever try to persuade somebody to go on live TV? A couple of suspects were arranged but some fell by the wayside as the day approached. I was finally left with two others and myself. To make a long story short the crew arrived and the stories started. the footage was sent back to London and a funny story about the “Cup of Scald Train” which was brought up in jest when one of the crew asked what the most important train on the harbour was at present, proved to be popular. It was then I realised that they were not looking for History but rather good viewing stories. Eoin McGarry who had been a railway official in the local station in the early 1950’s gave them a tour of the town in his minibus and we were told that the powers that be would get back to us. The Cup of Scald gang did the job and after other arrangements were set up and reset and set again Michael Portillo, Bella Lloyd and the rest of the crew finally made it to the harbour at the end of August. This was live telly, none of us knew what questions Michael was going to ask and that we were to play it ‘off the cuff’, while on site. As the critics say things just developed. What a shambles.
Michael Portillo chatting on the harbour with from left, Pat Dowling,Eoin McGarry Alex MacKinnon and some

of the of the young GRJ crew at work ie.Sophie and Tom


All photos courtesy of ‘Natch’ Mc Loughlin whom I had arranged to speak about the fishing and to tell some stories about his father and the Winkle Pickers. Unfortunately, he had the misfortune of looking too young and so I was drafted in as one of the old ‘codjers’. Some stories were told several times but never in the same way so what they make of them, the Lord only knows.

Having now seen the show I can understand why we had to make good pitch for the town as they said that they had a good programme on the Bog of Allen proceeded by the Viaduct in Drogheda and the Navan Zinc Ore Mines. Despite tours of the town and all its major, for the want of a better word “attractions”, and history I can justly say that only for the jovial manner in which they were made feel at home, the cup of scald gang and the friendliness of the fishermen with whom I had arranged  for them to meet, they would have passed us by. One unfortunate aspect of the show to me was the fact that Ian McGarry who was there as the Railway historian and the only living character with a connection with both the harbour and railway, spoke for 95% of the time and related some wonderful memories and related history on camera but yet only received about 10 seconds of dialogue. I had given them a fair amount of history and photos courtesy of Joe Curtis on both subjects, and they had a copy of History for the Millennium which they had received from the Historical Society, however it was clear that they just wanted light entertainment, though I did hear Tom say to Sophie on their first visit while we were standing in the sunshine against the wall of the lighthouse that Michael would like the place ie. harbour since it had not changed much over the centuries.


The ‘Cup of Scald’ gang in 2012 Gang at time of programme.


            Probably my favourite picture of the late Dono - Bunny to Don ‘You won’t find any yachts in Lidl.s Booklet.

Photo of the Razormen

Another Classic of 2014 - Is this the train to Drogheda?





Lately plans for the Refurbishment of Balbriggan Lighthouse have been announced by Fingal County Council. Notice to that effect have been displayed on the harbour. When it shall it start ??


We are now well into 2017 and there is still no word about when it may be restored. TDs coming around soon, I shall mention it no doubt. But to what avail? you ask|

Rex Guildea, Timmie Richardson and crew at Blessing of Boats


The above dome has got the green light from the council. Bank Holiday Monday saw everything ready and in place for

Tuesday. Photo below shows  all rails in place and some loaded.

ready for dome 5

As promised I hope to keep you up developments on the work being done. The lighthouse has received a new coat of paint and the adjoining shed das got a new roof. A concrete pedistal has being added to the top and is now a cause of complaint as the dome made for it will not suit. What a cockup as every one knew that the old dome stood flat on  the lighthouse top. God only knows when it will be installed now. Surely the architect should have known better.

new lighthouse4