Clogherhead Coast Guard History

Today our Coast Guard is more associated with coastal search and rescue (SAR), however its origins developed when taxes were introduced in the early 18th Century on luxurious textiles spirits and tea. This created a new industry in smuggling which was immensely profitable which led to the introduction of horseback men in 1698 patrolling the coast to catch these smugglers.

In 1820 to 1821, three Coast Guard stations were built in Louth at Clogherhead, Dunany Point and Cooley Point. On 15th of January 1822, the Coast Guard was created taking the responsibility for saving lives, protecting shipwrecks from looters and preventing illegal trade. The  Board of Customs during the same year decided to create a further 2 stations at Blackrock and at the mouth of the river Boyne taking men from the 3 existing stations.Omeath station was built 1880.Carlingford Newry Street was built 1848.Greenore second station built in 1879.Clogherhead second station was built in 1884 Life saving equipment was issued to the station in 1854 and in 1856 the Coast Guard Act gave control to the Admiralty

Clogherhead Coastguard Station Burned.

"In the early hours of Wednesday morning, a party of armed men entered Clogherhead Station, held up the occupants, ordered them to leave the premises and set fire to the building." Reference: Drogheda Independent, 2nd.July 1921.

The above drawing is the front Elevation of the "NEW Coast Guard" station which was built in in 1884 but only lasted until 1921 when it was burnt down and completely demolished in 1960 into a scenic spot with car park.

The plan below shows the previous station which is still standing today, and served as a Youth Hostel until a few years ago.

The people listed below are the Clogherhead Coast Guard Heroes who were awarded RNLI gallantry medals

1826 Silver medal - Chief Inspector Thomas Wood for the rescue of fishermen.

1837 Silver medal - Chief officer Robert K. Thompson for the rescue of two crew from the sloop "Isabella" of Liverpool.

1839 Gold medal - Chief officer Robert K. Thompson for the rescue of four crew from the schooner "Minerva" .l

1852 Silver medal - Chief officer Adderley Barnard for crew rescue from the brig "Fidelity" of Dublin.

1852 Silver medal - Chief officer Adderley Barnard for crew rescue from the schooner "William Pitt" of Dublin.

Admiralty records show that the following served as Chief Officers in Clogherhead.

Thomas Rafertty , CO 1863; William Fackrell 1866; Joseph Roundsfell 1867-1870;Arthur W Broadbank 1920.

The Lifeboat "Charles Whitton" marked the arrival of the RNLI to Clogherhead on the 1st of July 1899 closing Baltray the oldest RNLI post in Louth. (Est.1856)

On the 6th December 1921 the Coast Guard ceased as Britain withdrew its services to the Irish Free State which was officially established on the 7th of January 1922. The RNLI at this turbelent time continued saving lives impelling the Irish Government to acknowledge their vital role within the state and their contribution to date is priceless.The 'Coastal and Marine Service' was established in the same year with personnel from the Merchant Navy but failed to last ending in 1924. The Coast Life Saving Service (“Saorstat Eireann”) was set up in Sept 1923. In 1938 Great Britain handed back the Treaty Ports and control of Irish waters, to the Irish Free State but no impetus for rekindling the Coast Guard happened until the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 when the Marine and Coast Watching Service was established. In 1942 the Coast Watching Service became its own identity but again only lasted until the end of the war in 1945.

In 1991 the Irish Marine Emergency Service IMES was founded and on February 2nd 2000 the name was changed to "Irish Coast Guard".


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