1852 Aftermath of Storms of 11th & 12th November 1852
Freemans Journal 13th November 1852 & Coast Guard Records
The Young England (Barque 387 tons)
This ship was bound from Singapore to Liverpool and had been in very bad weather conditions for a full week. The ship’s provisions were running very low
and the Captain decided to try to make Dublin Port to wait out the storms.
The Young England’s master, probably exhausted by the week’s exertions, had mistaken the light at Balbriggan for the Bailey and saw broken water too
After the ship struck he fired guns and rang a bell to attract attention on the shore. The tide was too low and conditions too bad for the Balbriggan
Coast Guard to launch a boat at first but later they did manage to on three occasions and saved the crew, with the exception of two men who died from
Resulting from the loss of the ship the Coast Guard report is summarized as;
BARRETT, WILLIAM. Chief Officer, Coastguard, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin. Silver Medal 9 December 1852
BARRETT, WILLIAM. Junior, (his son) Silver Medal
SYNGE, AlEXANDER, Reverend Silver Medal
On the 14th.-15th.November 1852 the Glasgow barque ‘Young England’ was wrecked on Carabates Rocks near the Balbriggan coastguard station. William
Barrett, with his son, the Reverend Synge, two coastguards and three fishermen, got to the coast opposite the wreck, and at 9 p.m. saw articles from the
shop coming ashore. After much difficulty, Mr. Barrett succeeded in launching his boat and about 1 a.m. reached the ship and took the Master and nine
crew from the rigging. A second attempt failed. At daylight he made a third attempt from another spot with the coastguard galley, and after three hours
at the oars, rescued the six remaining survivors. Two of the crew had perished.
Aftermath of Storm of 11th and 12th November 1852
Freemans Journal 13th November 1852.
The Senhouse (160 Tons)
Built by Falcon of Workington in 1801.
The Senhouse, a fine brig of large tonnage well known to traders of Dublin as engaged in the Dublin to Whitehaven coal trade, went ashore at a point of the coast immediately under the Railway Station.
This brig, though strong and well found, was, like most of her class, badly suited to work under canvas off a lee shore, particularly against such a gale as yesterday.
It was soon seen she had no chance – she soon broached to, and drifted in broadside on; but, owing to the exertions of the crew of the schooner, Mountaineer, which was anchored within shelter of the headland, the brig was brought with her bows to the shore, and struck on the sands, when the waves made a clean breach over her.
The crew were seen clustered in the bows of the fated vessel beseeching the aid of the people on shore.
Captain Carvan, of the schooner Mountaineer, and his crew, with daring and persevering courage, succeeded in getting a line passed from the wrecked vessel to the shore.
This was indeed a daring and adventurous feat. A yawl manned by five of the crew of the Mountaineer and accompanied and steered by Captain Carvan dashed through the surf and succeeded, after immense exertion and at the imminent peril of their lives in securing a hawser to the wreck, passing it to the shore.
By means of this rope the entire crew succeeded in reaching the safety of the land.
The conduct of the master and crew of the Mountaineer is deserving of the highest praise. It was found necessary, when the Coast Guard boarded the brig at low water toscuttle her by boring through her bottom thus preventing the action of the tide and sea from throwing her further up on the shore. It is hoped that this action will tend, if the weather moderates, to save the vessel.
It was reported in the paper of the 15th November;
Mr. Barrat of Balbriggan Coast Guard was the one who suggested to scuttle the Senhouse, which seems likely to be salved
3. Rock a'Bill
Ref; Wreck & Rescue on East Coast
The history of the rock goes back to 1837 when the Drogheda Harbour Commissioners, whose ships frequented the area, recognizing the danger of the rocks, asked that a light be erected for them, and they offered to pay toll for it.
First difficulty was to find an owner of the obstacle. Eventually Mr. James Hans Hamilton claimed ownership and was paid £20 for it.
Contracts for the building were tendered and a Mr. Burgess of Limerick was awarded the job. The tender price was £7,119 but the costs
were to overrun to the tune of almost £6,130. The final cost was £13,248 -15-3. For younger readers that is in Pounds, Shillings and Pence.
By comparison, Nelson Pillar was built in 1808 for £6,846.
Rock’a’Bill light is 148 feet from high water level; 14 feet higher than Nelson Pillar.
In the early days the wives and children of the keepers also lived on the rock, including at one stage having a school there. The total area of the two rocks which make up Rock’a’Bill is one Hectare and the co-ordinates are 6o 1' West 53o 36' North.
The light came into use on 1st July 1860 on the granite tower which is 105 feet high when measured from the rock itself.
The tower (or lighthouse) was grey granite in colour until 1952 when the distinctive black and white ‘bands’ were painted.
4. 29th. September 1930 - Big Ray caught
5.Shipwreck at laytown
6. A rare and interesting case from Drogheda Ind Feb. 14, 1885, [ a rare page in itself]
Row on the harbour.
Saturday February 14 1885
The following interesting case was tried last week at Balbriggan, and as it was crushed out of our last issue, and appeared in no other journal, we believe
it will be fresh and interesting to our readers.
At the Petty Sessions, held on the 3rd of February, was heard a remarkable case, brought forward by the Harbour Master, Robert Mc Cowen, of Balbriggan, against Denis McDonnell, fisherman, and his two 'sureties, Andrew Carvin, fisherman, and James Graham, seedsman, both of Balbriggan: it being an application,
on written notice, served on McDonnell and his sureties, the recognisance which said three persons had entered into on the 8th of October, 1884, that one
of them, the said Denis McDonnell, should keep the peace, having become forfeited by an order of Henry Alexander Hamilton Esq., Justice of the Peace, made in the office of Mr. Hamilton's own private residence in Balbriggan on the 10th of December, 1884, against the said Denis McDonnell; by which the said Henry Alexander Hamilton again bound over the said Denis McDonnell to keep the peace and be of good behaviour towards the said Robert Mc Cowen, and declared uncorroborated that the said former recognisance of the 8th of October, 1884 had become forfeited; which said order was granted on its being, then, on the 19th of December, 1884, sworn by the said Robert Mc Cowen, that the said Denis McDonnell had used abusive and threatening language to him, Mc Cowen, on the preceding night, the night of the 18th of December, 1884, the said Henry Alexander Hamilton, when making his said order, in his said private residence, not hearing the witnesses which the said Denis McDonnell' told him (McDonnell) had to disprove Mr. Cowen's oath.
The magistrates on the bench were- Henry Alexander Hamilton, Esq.: W. St. L. Woods Esq. F McGowan, Esq.; T. S. Hussey, Esq. and M. Perrin, Esq.
When the case was called, Mr. Henry Alexander Hamilton addressed his brother-magistrates, and said, that all they had to try was to fix the amount to which they would estreat the recognisance of the 8th of October, 1884, as by the order that he (Mr. Hamilton) had made on the 19th of December 1884 binding Denis Mc Donnell to keep the peace for abusive and threatening language to Mc Cowen on the night of the 18thof December, 1884. The former recognisance of Mc Donnell had become forfeited.
Mr. Wall, who appeared as counsel for M' Donnell said that what Mr. Hamilton was endeavouring to persuade his brother Magistrates was not correct, and that if Mr. Hamilton wished to give evidence against McDonnell in favour of Mc Cowen, the harbour master, he should, like any other witness, be sworn, and give it upon oath. The order Mr. Hamilton had made in his own private residence on the 19th of December, 1884 against M' Donnell, was illegal and unjust, it having been made on the oath of Robert M’ Cowen alone, without hearing the witnesses which Mc Donnell told Mr. Hamilton he (McDonnell) had to contradict Mc Cowen. If such conduct in a magistrate was illegal it was most unjust; and Mr. Hamilton ought not to sit as justice to try the case at all. The notice served on McDonnell, by which the case was now before the court, left it now open to the bench, notwithstanding what Mr. Hamilton had done in his private residence to consider whether Mc Cowen's statement, upon which Mr. Hamilton so unjustly, if not illegally, made the order against McDonnell, is true or not.
Mr. Hamilton again addressed the bench, contending that his order was legal, and that the only question for the bench now was the amount to which they would estreat McDonnell’s recognizance of the 8th of October, 1884.
Mr. Wall [Hamilton)-Really, you appear to me rather to assist this prosecution of Mc Cowen's against McDonnell than acting as a magistrate fit to hear and decide impartially in the case between them. I therefore ask you to leave the bench, and not to adjudicate in this case.
Mr. Hamilton-I will not leave the bench.
Robert Mc Cowen, the harbour master, was sworn, and said he was on the Balbriggan quay on the 18th of December 1884,when McDonnell came and threatened him; McDonnell said he would have me removed off the quay of Balbriggan; he’d fix me; he'd kill me.
Mr. Wall-What are the words McDonne1l used?
Mc Cowen-He said he'd fix me; threatened he'd kill me: that he'd remove me.
Mr. Wall-That he'd remove you from being harbour master?
Mc Cowen-No, he said he'd kill me.
Mr. Wall-Were there many persons present when this occurred?
Mc Cowen-There were a good many present, Patrick Carvin was present; also Patrick Foster and Patrick Smith and several others.
Mr. Wall-On the following day, Friday, the 18th of December, after your swearing in Mr. Hamilton’s private residence against McDonnell, your version of what occurred on the preceding night on the quay in Balbriggan, did you hear McDonnell say to Mr. Hamilton that he had witnesses to contradict you?
Mc Cowen- I can't swear.
Mr. Wall-Will you swear that McDonnell did not then tell Mr. Hamilton that be had witnesses?
Mc Cowen- I can't swear.
Mr. Wall-Did you make an attempt to assault McDonnell with a stick or cane sword?
Mc Cowen-I did not.
Mc Cowen not bringing forward anyone to corroborate his statement,
Mr. Wall addressed the bench for McDonnell, He said – I think this is a very important case, as regards the fair and impartial administration of justice to the people. If there be any law for Mr. Hamilton deciding in his private house for Mc Cowen and against McDonnell, on the unsupported swearing of Mc Cowen, without hearing McDonnell's witnesses, I say plainly here, in Mr. Hamilton's presence, his conduct in this matter was wrong, and most unjust towards McDonnell. The usual course when a person wants to have another person bound over to keep the peace, according to my experience, is to summon that other party- that is, the party he accuses, to the Petty Sessions Court, and there publicly, in open court, the magistrates hear both parties, not merely the prosecuting party, but also the accused party; and also the witnesses, both of the prosecuting party and of the accused party. That would be giving fair play to both parties, and would be conformable both to law and justice, but that was not the course pursued by Mr. Hamilton when he made the order against McDonnell in his own private residence, on the uncorroborated and unsupported oath of the harbour-master, whom be (Mr. Hamilton) helped to be appointed to that office, This order Mr. Hamilton made on the 18th of December, 1884, for abusive and threatening language, alleged to have been made use of by McDonnell, on the night previous. The following Tuesday, 23rd of December 1884, was the Petty Session Court day of Balbriggan. To this Petty Session Court McDonnell summoned this same harbourmaster to show cause why he (Mc Cowen) should not be bound over to keep the peace and be of good behaviour towards him (McDonnell) for threatening and abusive language made use of by Mc Cowen towards McDonnell, both on this very night of the 18th of December and on the morning of the following day, the 19th December.
Mc Cowen, the harbourmaster-It was for my language on the morning after, the morning of the 19th of December not on the 18th at all, that' I was summoned by McDonnell to the Petty Sessions Court.
Mr. Wall-Let the Clerk read out of the order-book what you were summoned for.
Mr. Sinnott, the clerk, read out that it was for abusive and threatening language made use of by Mc Cowen, both on the 18th and 19th of December, 1884.
Mr. Wall-Thus it appears that Mc Cowen was summoned for threatening and abusive language towards McDonnell, both on the 18th well as on the 19th of December, to the Balbriggan Petty Sessions Court, held on Tuesday, 23rd December, only about three days after: and he (Mc Cowen) in that open public court, by a respectable bench of magistrates, on the sworn testimony of several witnesses was himself bound over to be of good behaviour for his abusive and threatening language to McDonnell on both this 18th and also the 19th of December, 1884. Those things lead naturally to the conclusion that this harbour master, having been helped to the office by Mr. Hamilton, relies upon the favour he thinks he bas with Mr. Hamilton and takes upon himself to do things which he, as a public officer ought not to do. His conduct on the night of December 18th will be deposed to on oath and will show this.
Patrick Carvin, a fisherman, was sworn- He stated that he was on this night of the 18th of December, in company with Denis McDonnell, going from their boat that was in the harbour of Balbriggan, into the town for provisions as they intended to go out to sea that night. At the arch, at the quay, a fisherman named Chute was talking to Mc Cowen: there were a number of others also close to them; Chute called out to McDonnell, "Where are you going big man, you're in a great hurry." "Oh," says McDonnell, "I can't stop to be talking: to any of ye's; I'm bound to the peace." Says Mc Cowen to McDonnell, "You may thank yourself for being bound to the peace on the 8th of October, and only for your sister and your nephew, I'd put you in a place where you would not get out of." And he called McDonnell a " mean, low, drunken hound. " McDonnell said to this, "No matter what I am; I'm no cooper." -Says Mc Cowen to him, "Is it me you call a cooper?" Says McDonnell, "Yes." Mc Cowen was about two yards distant from McDonnell and made a couple of quick steps to him, with a stick in his right hand: and he raised the stick straight over McDonnell's head- but Chute and Patrick Forster came between them, and told them to go "way. McDonnell went away.
Mc Cowen-Did McDonnell threaten to fix me or remove me?
Mc Cowen-Did I call McDonnell the name you say?
Master of the trawler, Patrick Foster who was present on the occasion, also deposed substantially what had been sworn to by the witness Carvin, and when cross-examined by Mc Cowen he did not vary from it.
Also, Patrick Smith, a fisherman who was a present on the occasion and Thomas Richardson owner of the trawler Zephyr, who also happened to be present,
William Bannon was also sworn and deposed that on the 9th Dec. 1884, towards the close of the proceedings in Mr. Hamilton's residence that he heard McDonnell tell Hamilton, that he (McDonnell) had witnesses to disprove what Mc Cowen then swore,
The bench, by a majority, dismissed Mc Cowen's case.
7. Sea-Rescue Drogheda Independent 1925
8. Incident from 1909 during a series of confrontations between Traders and Fishermen
Visited by Mr. T.W. Russell, M.P.
Good Prospects in Store
Drogheda Independent 24th April 1909.
On Monday afternoon Mr. T.W. Russell M.P Vice President of the Department of Agriculture, in company with Mr. J.J. Clancy, KC, M.P. motored to Balbriggan for the purpose of inspecting the harbour and seeing what steps must be taken to improve its present condition which is undoubtedly very bad owing to the silting up of the sand and so remedying the many grievances under which the fishermen have suffered for many years. Like the many other harbours on the East Coast of Ireland shifting sands have been at all times a source of annoyance especially in the absence of a local legislature to supply a dredger to keep the approaches clear.
We have been paying millions in over taxation until we are almost jaded from it, and while the cry of pay, pay still goes on there seems to be no chance of getting anything in return even when the very existence of an important section of our people – and an ancient industry to boot – is threatened with starvation through causes not of their own manufacture. From the earliest times Balbriggan has been associated with fishing and her fleet has made her name famous round the Irish Coast. Not alone did her Harbour afford safe anchorage for the fleet but the fleets of the Isle of Man, Arklow, Kilkeel and other centres found safe anchorage in stormy weather. But the absence of a dredger to deal with the constant silting up of the Harbour with sand soon made itself felt until the day came when there was no longer sufficient accommodation for the local craft, much less the fleets of other ports, in Balbriggan, and the poor, unfortunate fishermen, whose lives are by no means the easiest, found themselves to a great extent deprived of the means of pursuing their arduous avocations with facility. They could not go into or out of the harbour except at certain stages of the tide, with the consequence that very many of them gave up their trade altogether. And not alone was Balbriggan deprived of her prowess as a fishing centre, but the local traders and merchants were unable to obtain supplies direct as heretofore owing to the state of the harbour. It would be quite unnecessary to enter into details dealing with the several attempts made by the people of the town and their able and energetic Parliamentary representative, Mr. John J. Clancy K.C M.P. to improve the port, as it is very well known. But as an instance of how long a dilatory Government Department can take to deal with any matter purely Irish and concerning the very life of the Irish people, it is no harm to mention that as far back as 1895 Mr. J.J. Clancy M.P. attended a special meeting of the Balbriggan Town Commissioners and explained the nature of certain correspondence which he had with Mr. John Morley, the then Chief Secretary for Ireland, relative to the improvement of Balbriggan Harbour. A that meeting that question was discussed at great length, and it was decided then that as the subject was one of great importance involving large issues it would be well to call a meeting of the Commissioners and ascertain their views as to the advisability of borrowing money from the Board of Public Works to clean out and improve the harbour for the benefit of the town and giving as a guarantee the security of the rates of the town for the repayment of the money with interest, at four per cent for 25 years. Soon after, in the same year, a meeting of the Town Commissioners was called to consider the following resolutions:-
"(1) Whether the necessary steps by Provisional Order to form a harbour authority and borrow £1,000 for the improvement of the harbour should or should not be taken."
"(2) Whether a guarantee of £500 by repayment of the said loan, with interest, in 25 years, should or should not be given by the Town Commissioners on the security of the Town Rates on condition of the guarantee of a like sum by the harbour authority (the Port and Docks Board) on the security of the harbour dues and the understanding that all loans or sums due to His Majesty’s Treasury by the harbour be extinguished"
When a vote was taken on the question the voting was 25 for each resolution and 2 against. The question of provisional order was postponed until the Commissioners were aware that the loans due to the Treasury from the harbour were wiped out.
Time rolled on and the condition of the harbour was daily growing worse. The grievances – serious though the were – under which the fishermen laboured were not mitigated. In the autumn of 1904, Mr. Clancy attended a public in the Town Hall, Balbriggan, and a long debate ensued as to the advisability of taking over the harbour. At the time it was freely stated that the inner harbour was filled with sand, and only three small colliers at the time could get sufficient berthage to discharge while the coal industry had also suffered. The 200 sail which the harbour was able to hold in the past was a myth and sand held complete sway. Somehow it would appear that the people were never very earnest on the question of taking over the harbour as they were under the impression that they would be liable for any deficiency in the receipts. In 1907 a very large amount of correspondence took place between Mr. Clancy M.P., Mr. Walter Runciman, M.P. and the Port and Docks as to how the harbour could be best improved, at the end of which the Town Commissioners passed the following resolution:-
"That for 7 or 8 years past the entrance to the inner harbour had been blocked very often by the steam colliers being allowed to discharge coal there for Messrs Flower and McDonald that keep the fishing boats either getting in or out. We notice that this grievance is to be remedied by paragraph 4 of the Port and Docks Board letter to the Commissioners of Public Works by taking down the cross pier at a cost of £200. This would be in our opinion an absolute waste of public money to benefit a private firm, and could be remedied if these colliers were made to discharge at the North West pier the same as those for the other coal merchants, and that would save the unnecessary expenditure. In former years a notice board was affixed to the wall of the harbour at that particular place stating that no boat or vessel was allowed to make fast or remain in the dock mouth. The order should be again put in force that is if instructions were ever given by the Port and Docks Board to have it withdrawn. We also request the Port and Docks Board to consult local opinion in the town of Balbriggan before devising what schemes should extended."
Some time ago a Government dredger spent three weeks in Balbriggan, but in a short time owing to the veering winds the harbour was as bad as ever, and required to be again dredger, but that work was not yet done. During all the time the Town Commissioners had been there fighting off their enemies in defense of the harbour and the grievance under which the fishermen labour.
In the Town Clerk, Mr. Bannon, the fishing folk have had an able exponent of their legitimate claims, while Mr. Archdale Graham, Co.C. has advanced their cause on the County Council and the other public bodies of which he is a member. Mr. Patrick T Cumiskey, Chairman of the Town Commissioners, yields to none in his deep interest in the fishermen’s question which he advocates keenly on every possible vantage ground.
When Mr. T.W Russell, M.P. and Mr. J.J. Clancy M.P. arrived in Balbriggan they met with a very cordial reception. Amongst those present were:- Messrs. W.T.Cumiskey, J.P; Lewis Whyte J.P; Archdale Graham, Co. C; Dr. W.F. Fullam, Chas Graham, T.C; John Derham; W.Bannon, Town Clerk; Andrew Corcoran, T.C; C. Smyth, T.C; S.J. Moorhead, Manager Northern Bank; Michael Heeney; B. O’Reilly; J. Douglas, etc. etc.
The attendance of fishermen present was very large. The harbour was in pretty good state for inspection as the tide was completely out at the time and showed nothing but large banks of sand with the boats sitting on their keels upon them. In the outer harbour a large coal boat was discharging for Flower and McDonald and might well be said to be in dry dock. The tour of inspection took place right through the inner harbour and on to the top of the outer harbour. No sooner had Mr. Russell seen the manner in which the sand had been silted up, and the direction in which the wind constantly blew, than he turned round to the audience and said—"Gentlemen,- the wind is the sand. Periodical dredging should make that alright." On his arrival at the pierhead he said after a minute inspection; "I can see no reason why the harbour cannot be dredged all over. Merchants could then keep clear of the mouth of the harbour and leave it to the fishermen".
Mr. A.Graham asked Mr. Russell to use his influence to induce the Port and Docks Board to hand over the Port if the County Council would accept it.
Mr. Russell said he thought they would, if the County Council would accept it. As to his (Mr. Russell’s) duties in regard to what could be done for the improvement of the harbour he said – "My duties are confined to cleaning the harbour and making it possible for fishermen to go in and out. I see no difficulty whatever so far as my part is concerned. It requires to be cleaned and have the harbour deepened and piled at the outer pier and reframed.
The Harbour Master was questioned by Mr. Russell as to who received the dues of the Port and he replied the Port and Docks Board. As to the blocking of the harbour by having vessels discharged in the inner harbour, Mr. W.J. Cumiskey said the harbour master had no right to berth any steamer in a position that would block the port. Later the Harbour Master said the Merchants would not come down to the outer harbour for their goods. It would be a double journey. Mr. Russell – I see where the question is now. Mr. Carton on behalf of the fishermen mentioned how on the 29th January last the poor men lost £100 through not being able to get out of the inner harbour where they were locked and because Mr. Russell was there that day the steamer was in the outer harbour. Mr. C Graham said nearly every steamer berthed in the same place in the inner harbour would block the harbour.
The Harbour Master said any vessel of 140 feet would, but a vessel of 116 feet would not.
Mr. Russell – This does not seem to be difficult at all. It is all sand and the work can be easily done. It is purely a question of dredging.
Mr. A Graham, Co.C. said in days gone by they had to accommodate the Manx fleet, the Arklow fleet and the fleet from the North of Ireland and they required the outer and the inner harbours to be taxed to their utmost capacity so as to accommodate these steamers. He also drew Mr. Russells’ attention to the condition of the old pier. Mr. Russell kindly consented to have it filled and reframed, and also to have the old harbour on the South side piled and made suitable for cargo vessels when discharging, after being dredged, of course.
This would prevent the vessels from being chaffed, and enable the fishing boats to discharge with ease and without injury.
Mr. Clancy M.P. – The people of Balbriggan will be greatly indebted to you if you do that.
Mr. Russell _ I see no reason why the harbour should not be deepened. We have already secured £500 for the purpose. In answer to Mr. Clancy, as to his making an estimate of what should be done, Mr. Russell replied – I am not an engineer, and I cannot make a survey. I will send down an engineer. On his way back, Mr. Russell said - there should be no difficulty in having the inner and outer harbours properly dredged and afterwards periodically, so that vessels might be able to discharge at any point of it and with the least inconvenience. It was thought that in the future, after the dredging process was over, no vessel would be discharged at the berths now known as the Salt Works, but they would be discharged lower down.
Mr. Russell, prior to his departure, said very soon he would send down an engineer to inspect the harbour, and he himself would see the Port and Docks Board about the matter also, and do his best to try to come to terms with them.
He thought the Port and Docks Board would come to terms, as they signified their intention of doing so, and it might be possible to agree with them. In conclusion, he said he would do his best to help the people in their endeavor to improve the port.
Mr. A. Graham returned thanks to Messrs Russell and Clancy for their visit on behalf of the people of the town and the fishermen, after which they returned to Dublin by motor.
Incidentally, it may be remarked as a matter of historical importance that not since 1795 has a British Minister been seen in Balbriggan. In that year Earl Fitzwilliam was put ashore in his sloop at Balbriggan, as he was unable to reach Kingstown in the storm that raged, and he was weatherbound. At the time he was going to assume the reins of the Government of Ireland.
When Mr. W.T Cumiskey told the story to Mr. Russell he expressed astonishment and said – "That was my predecessor here! Well, I only wish I could do as much good for Ireland as he did."
PS. The final outcome of this incident for Balbriggan was that the £500 never materialised as the people were asked to subscribe £300 of the above amount,the T. Comms. refused to generate extra money from the rates and the Port and Docks Board refused to give any money at all.
9. Record Herring Fishing - Drogheda Independent 1908
At Balbriggan this week the number of herrings landed were abnormal. There were 20 boats put in from Kilkeel, 29 from Arklow and 10 from the Isle of Mann, all fully laden.One Kilkeel boat the 'Gordan Jane' landed 100 bris -100 maize- which will realize £22 10s. in the fish market.
10. Fisherman's Peril - Drogheda Independent 21/09/1935
Incident off Balbriggan
The risks and dangers which our fishermen must run was instanced vividly on Monday last,when a young fisherman. John Nolan a member of the crew of the 'St. Fiacra' received a very close call.
Were it not for his great persence of mind and coolness, coupled with the other members of the crew, unhappy results would undoubtedly have been the outcome.
It appears the 'St Fiacra' was fishing off Balbriggan with a heavy sea running and Nolan was in the act of casting the net when he overbalanced. Finding himself going he dived clear of the gear,which, if he had become entangled in it, would have taken him to the bottom. He struck out and swam after the boat. The engine was quickly reversed and a rope caste which Nolan caught. and he was taken on board. Beyond receiving a severe drenching he was none the worse of his experience.
The other members of the crew were Messrs. Joseph Reid, Michael Tuite and Christopher Tuite, owner and skipper
11. Royal Sturgeon caught off Balbriggan
12. 1932 Andy Reid gets new boat
The boat was named as the 'Naomh Colman' and was labelled as the No.1 Fishing School Boat. She was dated as being released on the 7th. November 1932.
13. Balbriggan: Corcoran Seine net is tops and should be a National Industry
Richard Tuite did arrive in Balbriggan with his new boat the 'Naomh Fiacra' granted on the 9th. Nov. 1932
14. Boats caught in Snowstorm. 'Brecan Lass' makes a run for home, 1931
15. Shark caught in nets 1930
16. A page from the Irish Skipper received from Don Kelly a couple of days ago ..... 1986
PAGE 12 THE IRISH SKIPPER MAY.1986
SMALL PORT'S APPEAL
Letter to the, Editor
Permit me to make a few comments on the article by Marie O'Halloran in the February issue. How good it is to see the subject in question so well researched. It certainly describes the situation in Balbriggan as it really is, and I congratulate her on a job very well done. Hopefully the article will help to arrest the attention of the people responsible.
As Marie states: "The heady days of Balbriggan seem to have gone" yet still the port has the capacity for a hundred boats of' even a large size. Having grown up with most of the fishermen who operate
/ there today, I know those who were interviewed by your magazine recently, and they echo my remarks and sentiments unanimously.
To contrast the situation as it once was in Balbriggan and as it now is, we have to go back in time. In the 1940s local coal merchants, who have since gone out of business, imported coal and salt in schooners owned by Tyrrells of Arklow. I dimly remember the M. E. Johnston, Happy Harry and Antelope being regular visitors. In your article, Marie O'Halloran makes reference to the Port and Docks Board blowing a channel with a pressure hose. This became a regular activity some days prior to the arrival of a boat and was the most ridiculous and ineffective method one could possibly ever imagine, let alone consider as a reality. It allowed the keel of the boat to pass through "the gut" as the entrance is known locally, yet if you deviated a fraction left or right of. that cutting you ran aground:
Returning to the fishing industry, whereas your article truly states that one could walk across the harbour on fishing boats - young people living here today could scarcely believe' that scene, and who could blame them.
Boats from Kilkeel, Annalong, Portavogie and the Isle of Man were frequent visitors - Maud Chambers, Charlotte Chambers, Pride of Ulster, Star of Ulster, Still Waters, Boy John and Girl Lynne being some I which I remember. Added to that list, the local boats, one of which you single out - the Ovoca - or as it was called here, the Maid of Avoca, Maid of Mourne, Maid of Fingal, Bracken Lass, Girl Nancy etc, and last but not least, the Flying Spray which attained local notoriety because she "could even get in - in a spit" while the others lay outside waiting for more water on the incoming tide.
So you will perceive by that colloquial expression that the ever-present problem was there.
Don Kelly is so right when he says that if the harbour was dredged properly and most important of all that the silt be disposed of in the right place it would be a great advantage. -
I speak of Balbriggan for the obvious reason, yet go further north to Clogherhead and one will find things are not rosy there either, suffering the same fate - neglect.
Looking at the matter in a wider context, how can the millions of pounds spent on Howth be justified at the expense of other ports which are totally ignored. Is it not ironic that a country like Ireland, an island with no part of it more than 60 miles from the sea, be unable to provide enough fish for its population. Let nobody use the argument that there is no money available, for two decades ago when the country was riding the crest of a financial wave the fishing industry 'remained a poor relation.
The present fishermen's organisations seem to be getting nowhere, but I believe that they haven't argued hard and long enough. Bureaucracy seems to throw them easily, but by constant and sustained pressure they could attain the recognition they deserve. There is no point in waiting for another Monsignor Horan to come along. They should not allow the indifference of politicians, groups or port authorities to stand in their way.
I often wonder if there is any truth in the adage that if the Irish and the Dutch were to change places, the Dutch would feed the world and the Irish would drown!
149 Bath Road, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin
17.I received the following snippets from Gerry Hamilton a day or so ago. They recall an horrific incident in which a relation of his met his untimely death at the age of 19, in the Salt Works owned by Flower and McDonald on the middle of the harbour in 1910