BALLYCOTTON LIFEBOAT STATION
Station was established by the Institution in 1858 to afford protection to the shipping frequenting the port of Cork and, together with the new stations at Youghal and Ardmore (closed 1895) and others, contemplated to guard the English and Irish channels.
1826 Silver Medal was awarded to Dennis Cronen for the rescue of the master; the sole survivor of the ship Brittania that was wrecked in Ballycotton Bay on 21 December 1825.
1829 Gold Medal awarded to Lieut Lloyd and the Silver Medal to John Hennessy, who plunged through the breakers to rescue the ship’s captain who was swept off a rock when on 25 January the brig Capricho of Bilboa, was wrecked during a severe southerly gale with a heavy sea. Lieut Samuel Lloyd RN, Coastguard Officer, at once put off in a small boat. This was wrecked. Two other boats were obtained and eventually the crew of 10 Spaniards were rescued from a rock which they had reached by climbing from the jib-boom.
1858 The first lifeboat sent to the station was a small pulling boat having a crew of eight and pulling six oars. She was on a carriage and was kept in a house between Edgar’s shop and Duffin’s.
Lifeboat house constructed at a cost of �83.
1872 Old boathouse sold for �63.
New lifeboat house erected at another site at a cost of �245.
1873 Retaining wall built at rear of lifeboat house at a cost of �47.
1885 Flagstaff erected on the hill above the lifeboat station from signalling purposes.
1911 Sudden death of Coxswain W Harding, attributed to him leaving a sick bed to superintend the launch of the lifeboat on service. Committee of Management voted �50 to dependants on 9 February.
Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain R Harding; Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum and binoculars to the Honorary Secretary Rev E F Duncan, and binoculars to Mr P Driscoll a member of the local committee, for going out with the lifeboat on 15 November in a strong south east gale, with a very heavy sea and rescued with great difficulty nine of the crew of the ss Tadorna of Cork, which was in distress five miles from Ballycotton. The remaining crew, numbering 12, were rescued by rocket apparatus.
1936 Gold Medal awarded to Coxswain Patrick Sliney, Silver Medal to the Second Coxswain, J L Walsh and Motor Mechanic T Sliney, and Bronze Medals to M C Walsh, J S Sliney and W Sliney and T Walsh for the service on 11 February when the Daunt Rock light-vessel broke away from her moorings. A whole gale was blowing, with a very heavy sea, rain and snow. When the lifeboat put out she met seas so mountainous that spray was flying over the lantern of the lighthouse 196ft high. The lifeboat did not return to her station for three days. She had then been out on service for 63 hours, during which time her crew had only three hours’ sleep. For 25 hours they had no food and all came back suffering from colds and salt water burns. The casualties crew of eight were rescued after the lifeboat went alongside the plunging vessel with seas weeping over her, more than a dozen times. This was one of the most exhausting and gallant services in the history of the Institution.
Binoculars were awarded to the Honoroary Secretary, Mr Mahony.
1941 Bronze Medal awarded to Coxswain Patrick Sliney for a service on 30 January. For several days mines had been known to be drifting in the Ballycotton Bay and some had exploded on the shore damaging the village. Most of the villagers had gone inland but the lifeboat crew remained. A report was received that a ship’s boat had been seen south of Flat Head 17 miles away. The lifeboat launched at 1515 and after a long journey in dangerous waters, in thick fog, through heavy confused seas with a strong east-south-easterly wind, reached the ship’s boat from the ss Primrose of Liverpool just as she was sinking, and rescued the eight men on board.
1943 Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Sliney; Bronze Medal to Second Coxswain Michael Lane Walsh and Motor Mechanic Thomas Sliney; and Second-Service Clasp to the Bronze Medal of Assistant Motor Mechanic William Sliney when the lifeboat went out for 30 hours on 23 and 24 December 1942 in a south-south-westerly gale with heavy rain squalls and a very rough sea, and rescued the crew of 35 of the ss Irish Ash of Dublin and saved the vessel. It was a long and arduous service and Coxswain Sliney came ashore with his hands bruised, his wrists twice their normal size and his voice almost gone.
1950 Former coxswain Patrick Sliney retired. He had served for 39 years as an officer of the lifeboat, being coxswain for 28 years, took part in the rescue of 114 lives and was awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals for gallantry and the Institutions Thanks inscribed on Vellum.
1958 Centenary Vellum awarded to station.
1979 A special framed certificate awarded to coxswain and crew for display at the station in recognition of their services in connection with numerous yachts in difficulties during the Fastnet Race on 14 August.
1998 Trent class lifeboat ON 1233 placed on service 5 March.
2002 Silver Medal awarded to crew member Fergal Walsh for entering the sea on 18 August 2001 to save a young man who had been swept off the rocks. Fergal took a line attached to a buoy with him as he swam through the large dumping surf and heavy spring. His companion Mr Peter Cuthbert held onto the other end of the line. Fergal recovered the young man but Peter was knocked off his feet by the sea and the line became wrapped around Fergal’s torso and neck. Fergal was able to hold onto the young man and despite being injured by the seas dumping him on the rocks, got him to the shore. Peter was also injured as the seas knocked him over again. The Coastguard Cliff Rescue team recovered all three men. Mr Peter Cuthbert was awarded A Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the RNLI. For this service Fergal Walsh also received the Maud Smith Reward for Courage for the bravest act of lifesaving during 2001 and the James Michael Bower Endowment Fund Award as the only Silver Medallist during 2001.
2002 A new boathouse completed in December at a cost of �352,561.
Seventeen Medals have been awarded, two Gold, seven Silver, eight Bronze, the last being voted in 2002.