1821. Preventive Water Guard foil smugglers

To Comptroller General. Preventive Water Guard. Dublin.

27th.November 1821.

Sir, I beg to acquaint you that Mr.Harris, Chief Officer of the Preventive Station at Rush and six of his men being out on duty at Loughshinney in company with the Chief Boatman and five of the crew of the Station at Skerries on the night of the 23rd. at 9 pm. He discovered a smuggling cutter in the bay at 11pm. Burnt a blue light and fired three carbines as a signal for the remainder of the Rush and Skerries crew to join him. At midnight upwards of 300 men, armed with muskets, pistols, pikes and pitchforks came down for the purpose of forcing a landing. At 2 am. the fieldpiece was brought to Loughshinney from Skerries by Lt. Smith, Chief Officer and a party of men when the smugglers dispersed in all directions at 3am.

Two large boats apparently laden put off from the cutter and came close to the shore but finding all the smugglers and cars had left the beach they immediately returned on board and after unloading the boats they got underweigh and put to sea.

Richard Williams, Commissioned Boatman and Henry Gilmore, an extra man at the Preventive Station, Rush, were surrounded and disarmed by nearly 100 men on Rogerstown Strand at 9pm. And it appears to have been the intention of the smugglers to disarm both the Rush and Loughshinney crews. Thomas Randal, Chief Boatman at Skerries was knocked down and disarmed at Kirkeen Cross, near Loughshinney. The smugglers I am informed succeeded in landing some tobacco but I believe a very small quantity.

As they appeared determined to force a landing if possible, I beg leave to recommend that 8 additional extra men may be employed in this district, viz. 3 at Skerries, 3 at Rush and 2 at Portrane.

(signed) Thomas Blake.


Reference: Custom and Excise Admin. Papers. National Archives, Bishop Street. Dublin 8.

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