The Coastguard Cutter Vol2 No10


October 2004
Vol. 2 - No.10.


Martello Tower

The Monning Martello Tower, Co. Cork, has the distinction of being the only Irish example to have ever been attacked. In December 1867 an Irish American Fenian, Francis Lomasney, alias Captain Mackey, surprised its garrison, (albeit in a gentlemanly fashion) and made off with the contents of the magazine.


  • Dated Ships, Dated Tactics
  • The Coastguard has its 'Troubles'
  • Howth CG Station Photos - Old and New
  • Murder of Coastguard
  • New Section - Two Sides to every Story


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Wit and Wisdom of Ireland.
"Paddy", jeered the tourist as he pointed to two stone dogs at either side of the entrance to an estate. "How often do you feed these dogs?
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Death from the bite of a cat.

About 10 days ago, a person of the name of Stewart, formerly in the Revenue service, in a thoughtless frolic, swung a cat by the tail: the animal turned upon his hand and tore it. The arm soon after swelled considerably, and the unfortunate man afterwards showed symptoms of hydrophobia. He was taken to the hospital, where every attention was paid to his afflicting case; but nothing could save his life, and he died on Saturday morning.
(3)

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Dear Friend,

Welcome to the October edition of "The Coastguard Cutter".

A Link with the Past.

Opening of Seapoint Martello Tower.

On the 15th.September the flag of the Genealogical Society of Ireland was hoisted on the Martello Tower, at Seapoint, Co. Dublin to celebrate the inauguration of the Society's Library and Archive's Repository. The Tower was officially opened by Councillor Niamh Bhreathnach, Cathairleach (Chairperson). Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

Enjoy,
Tony.

Website: familyhistory.ie

Chairman of the Genealogical Society of Ireland.
Rory Stanley and Cllr. Niamh Bhreathnach.

 

Martello Towers.

The majority of Towers built on the English coastline were built between 1805 and 1812. Their purpose was to protect the coasts against a French Fleet invasion. Many were built around the English shores, some on the Channel Islands, and even, in Canada. Seventy-four were built around the Irish coast.

Each tower was capable of withstanding a long siege, and in addition to about half-ton of gun-powder, would have been supplied with 100 round shot, 20 case and grape shot and up to 280 varied types of shell. Roundshot fired from a 24-pounder could make a respectable hole in a ship some way off shore, while landing parties faced a barrage of case and grapeshot.

When the threat of invasion had passed many towers were used by Coastguards in England. As far as I am aware none of the Irish towers were occupied by coastguard families However some had a military presence. However the Tower at Rush, Co. Dublin was handed over to the Coastguards, in 1865, for their use as long as it "is not required by the artillery". In 1891 there was plans to remove it from Admiralty control and hand it over to the Guardians of the Balrothery Union as a possible site for a Cholera Hospital.


Supposed Fenian Raid upon a Martello Tower,


Martello TowerThe Martello Tower at Foaty (Fota) has a garrison which consists, as usual of two gunner of the Royal Artillery, with them their two wives and five children occupied the tower. The entrance door of the tower is placed at some height from the ground, and is reached by means of a ladder which is drawn up at dusk every evening. The country for some distance around is very thinly populated. The little garrison appear never to have dreamt of a surprise, this incident which we believe to be substantially correct :- About 5 o'clock on Thursday evening one of the gunners was sitting with his family at tea in the Tower, his comrade being in an adjoining room and the fort door being open, when a party of men quietly entered, about five were seen by the gunners, but others are supposed to have remained outside. It is not quite clear whether the ladder had been drawn up at the time, but one account states that the door was reached by the visitors by clambering on the shoulders of others. Of these who entered some had their faces concealed ; the others had not. One who appeared to be the leader, advanced to the gunner who was sitting at the table, and presenting a revolver at his head, told him not to stir - that they did not want to harm them but only wanted the "stuff" that was there. The visitors then took down the guns and swords belonging to the two gunners from the rack upon which they were placed, and took possession of them, leaving the belts behind. When the other gunner came in from the adjoining room he was surrounded and prevented from communicating with his comrade. The wife of one of the gunners begged of the men to spare their lives, to which the leader replied they need not fear, and added that if they wished to know who he was- he was Captain "Mac" - something . Sentries with revolvers were then placed over the tenants of the tower, while the rest of the party proceeded to search for the ammunition. They took a number of 8 pound cartridges, variously stated from ten to twenty, besides a quantity of fuse, but did not find some cartridges which were hidden away as a reserve. During their stay they conversed freely with the little garrison, gave money to the children, and having spent about two hours in conversation, and inspection of the tower and its armament, left with the arms and ammunition. It was dark when they retired, quietly as they had entered, to boats, for during their stay reference is said to have been made to boats by them. The gunners gave a pretty close description of the leader, as well as of the one other man who had not his face concealed, and from these descriptions it is believed the police are satisfied that they know the two men in question.

As soon as the supposed Fenians had got clear off, and the gunners were free to act, the latter secured the entrance to the tower, and bringing up the reserve and ammunition, fired five shots from the tower gun, as a signal calling for aid. The signal does not appear to have been understood, for no assistance came for a long time. The firing was heard by passengers in passing trains, who also observed a man standing on the top of the tower waving a light It has not been clearly ascertained when assistance came to the occupants of the Martello Tower, but we believe it was not until Friday morning.-- As yet we believe no arrest has been made. The occurrence has attracted the attention of the authorities to the necessity of better garrisoning these towers, and a detachment of the 81st. Regiment was sent from Cork at 3 o'clock on Friday afternoon to occupy them. (1)


Fatal Boat Accident near Malahide.

On Monday afternoon a melancholy accident occurred at Portran, by the capsizing of the coastguard boat belonging to that station, whereby one of the boatmen, Arthur Gamble, lost his life, and another sustained very severe injuries. Portran is a small coastguard station , situated about 3 mile to the north of Malahide, and about the same distance from the Island of Lambay. It appears that on Monday afternoon, Mr. John Ruttledge, the head boatman in charge of Portran station, proceeded with a crew consisting of John Regan, John Grogan, James Murphy, Arthur Gamble, and a son of the latter, to Lambay, with powder and other stores for the supply of the coastguard men there. Having landed the store they returned homewards, and had arrived within less than a quarter of a mile from Portran when the accident occurred, at a few minutes after 4 o'clock. They were in the act of putting about the boat when she was struck by a violent squall, accompanied by heavy rain, and went down head foremost. The crew clung to a portion of the boat, which appeared above the water, but she immediately turned completely over, and poor Gamble was carried underneath her, and being unable to extricate himself, was drowned. It is supposed that he was disabled by injuries received in the capsizing of the boat. The crew struggled for some minutes in the water, and finally got upon the keel, where they contrived to support themselves, partly with the help of the oars, until they were picked up by a boat which was put out to their assistance. The wives of the men witnessed the accident, and with great promptitude and presence of mind, they launched one of the boats which was lying on the beach. Some labourers who were working in the neighbouring fields manned this boat and went to the rescue of the sufferers, who when taken out of the water, were in a state of great exhaustion.

Mr.Ruttledge has sustained some injuries, though happily not of a dangerous character; But John Regan was so much hurt and exhausted that he now lies in a very precarious position. When news of the accident reached Malahide, Dr. Stanistreet, immediately proceeded to Portran, and rendered all the assistance in his power. He was also in attendance on John Regan yesterday. Arthur Gamble who was between 50 and 60 years of age, leaves a wife and children to deplore his loss.
(2)


References :
  1. Freemans Journal Monday 30th.December 1867.
  2. Morning News Thursday 17th.July 1862.
  3. Evening Freeman 23rd.April 1835.

Copyright 2001-2004 [coastguards of yesteryear]. All rights reserved.





0 Comments · 8590 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Tony on June 17 2007

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