Blackrock Tidy Towns will be unveiling their new information panel about the 'Mary Stoddart' tragedy of 1858, and the subsequent establishment of the Blackrock Lifeboat, on this Thursday (June 7th) at 7pm on the promenade. Anybody who has an interest in the heritage of Blackrock is invited to come along for the short unveiling ceremony.
The panel has been sponsored by SuperValu Fairways and the unveiling will be carried out by Richard Tiernan who also runs the Centra store in the village. Local historian Noel Sharkey will also be on hand to provide some further information on the tragic events of April 1858.
Lifeboat returning home
The village's last lifeboat is coming home for good with a permanent setting proposed for the 'General Dudley Blake' with its seafaring days well and truly over after leaving in 1935.
Plans to bring back the boat which last saw service back in the early part of last century and to restore it to something like its former self have just been revealed. The boat made a comeback appearance to the village 23 years ago on June 25 1995 when it sailed ashore to the centre of the village. Its whereabouts was unknown until discovered the previous year by local lifeboat enthusiast John Hamill. He along with the village's longest fisherman Eamon Carroll of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and Charlie McCarthy, former pilot at Dundalk Harbour who spent his younger life in Blackrock, arranged for the boat's trip back with the assistance of then local Councillor Donal Lynch. The owners Ken and Frank Doyle, who bought it in 1947 in Limerick, only ascertained in 1992 that it was the former Blackrock lifeboat. The vessel was based in Howth and was used to conduct pleasure trips.
The local boat house -located near the mouth of the Fane on the southern side of village, closed on the departure of the boat, and the local lifeboat service ceased after its crew for years courageously risked their lives to help those in distress in the local sea. Not a lot is known publicly about the 'Dudley Blake' after its nostalgic visit to the village in 1995. Apparently it spent time in the North but has been in Wexford for the past couple of years. It has a sister ship the 'Helen Blake' which was destroyed, and the owners wish to make a replica. They are prepared to let the Dudley Blake return to the village, knowing that they can use it as a model to build the new Helen Blake. The tourism and development group decided that they should pursue regaining this precious piece of local maritime history, and this week unveiled their plans for it which should see the boat return to home soil or near enough in a month. The estimates are that it will take two years to complete the project with the cost to be ascertained but could be upwards of €200,000. So the plans of the group will entail organising a fund raising campaign. They have obtained storage space in a shed to store the boat near Ardee and have it surveyed and expertise advise sought on how to go about restoring the boat to it's former glory.
The annual fiesta which has been built round the Tidy Towns Raft race is arranged to take place again on Sunday June 17. Much the same calendar of events will feature again, with the exception of one new attraction with a New Orleans Dixie Jazz band opening the programme at 1pm. The Raft Race which is the centrepiece is due to start at 2.30pm.The Dundalk Brass band will also give their customary recital, and there will be plenty of entertainment for adults and children alike, with a Sandcastle competition, Junior Poc Fada and Junior Talent competition.
No lotto winner
It was a blank week for players in the Geraldines lottery. Neither the jackpot nor the match three prize of €200 was won. So €400 has been added to the jackpot and is worth €3,800 this week. The numbers that were drawn were 4, 22, 25, 31.