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The Boat House

Ardmore Memory and Story - The Sea

5. The Boat House
The Boat House, Ardmore formerly the Ardmore Life-Boat Station was built in 1878, replacing a former life-boat house of 1857.

It is a typical, 19th century life-boat house, the narrow side windows and small buttresses giving it a typical ecclesiastical appearance.... With the casement type windows and back door open, a through draught was available for drying oilskins and gear.... An oil-lamp was hung on a post outside the door to indicate the life-boat was at sea and help guide it safely home.

It was a very quiet station and the only services recorded were to the Brigantine ‘Diana’ in December 1860 and to the barque ‘Sextus’ in January 1865.

Seven of the crew of the ‘Diana’ were saved and awards were made to the crew later. Rev. Mr. Wale, Roman Catholic clergyman was also presented with the thanks of the institution for the important and valuable services he had rendered on that occasion.

The ‘Sextus’ of Malta was totally wrecked at Curragh on 29th January 1865. Voted the thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum to Dr Crawford Poole, Hon. Secretary to the Ardmore Branch of the Institution and the Mr Thomas Coveney, chief officer of the coastguards; and £3”10”0 to seven other men in acknowledgement of their prompt and laudable conduct in wading into the surf and otherwise assisting to rescue ten of the crew of the barque which was totally wrecked.

According to ‘The Life-boat’ of 1/8/`95, the committee of Management at a meeting on Thursday, 14th February 1895, decided that the Ardmore Life-boat Station be closed.... The coast is sufficiently guarded by the neighbouring boats of Youghal and Ballycotton.... The boat-house was handed over to the receiver of the Odell estate, Mr John Arnott of Villierstown.

The foregoing excerpts were taken from the very interesting article “The Ardmore Life-boat Station” by James Quain in ‘The Ardmore Journal’ of 1990.

It was evidently bought by the Sandemans of Rock House.

The following account is taken from an account by the late Jack Crowley whose father had been principal teacher in Ardmore National School until 1929.

“It (i.e. the boathouse) was owned by Lady Sandeman of Rock House. She was the wife of Sir Robert Sandeman, then the British governor of Quetta in N.W. India. I well remember two boats in it. ‘The Dauntless’ a large whale-boat, the other was a salmon boat of very wide beam. The ‘Dauntless fished for herrings in Autumn and early Winter and was skippered by Jim Wolsey, a native of Ballycotton who had settled in Ardmore (his wife had charge of the church in the early part of the century). Other members were Maurice Flynn (who lived next door to the church) and William (Andy) Fitzgerald. Lots of nets were hanging in the building.

On Pattern Sunday, which was then one of the big days in West Waterford, it was customary to hold a concert in the Boat House and needless to say it was a boisterous and noisy affair. I remember being taken to one, by a cousin about 1910. It went on for hours due to disturbance and interruptions and one could not hear a bit of the performance. Neither could we get out as the place was packed tight.

About 1910, a flower show became an annual event and for some years, it was held in the Boat House. On the second occasion it was held, Lady Sandeman had erected a tea-room built of corrugated iron and about 20’ by 20’, at the rear of the Boat House. When the flower show was changed to St. Declans Hall, this tea-room was either purchased by the Church or donated to the school nearby. I remember how a big number of local men was mustered by the then curate, Fr. O’Shea. They carried the shed on long spars or planks to the gable of the Girls school.”

The Boat House was bought by Martin Hurley when the Sandeman property was sold in the ‘30’s. He used it to store coal and also his lorry. The Quain family bought it in the ‘70’s from Eileen Hurley (now Colbert) and Mrs Quain re-organised it as a dwelling house, and lives there now.

Author: Siobhan Lincoln

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