Monday 22 April 2019

From chicken hut to national stage - 50 years of sea scouts

Members of the New Ross Sea Scouts and their leaders at their group investiture in the Scout Hall
Members of the New Ross Sea Scouts and their leaders at their group investiture in the Scout Hall
At a presentation in the Scout Hall, Marsh Lane by New Ross Crazy Quilters of a quilt to the New Ross Sea Scouts were Rosa Ronan, Peggy Molloy, Debbie Quinn, Alex Kelly representing the scouts, Ann Murphy, Marie Browne and Marian St Ledger

David Looby

This month New Ross Sea Scouts invested their newest recruits for the 50th year running in New Ross.

The group was founded back in 1965 with new recruits wearing short trousers and the scout hall was a chicken shed in the Irishtown. Back then, Dollymount (5th Port Dublin) sea scouts, led by Skipper Dick Veins, paddled down the Barrow for the first time, and camped at New Ross Boat Club. The visit prompted local interest in sea scouting. Eoghan Lavelle had been a member of Dollymount, and by this time was National Commissioner for Sea Scouting. He was very keen to advance Sea Scouting in the association and shortly afterwards Captain Des Carroll started the 1st Wexford (New Ross) Sea Scouts.

In the early days, New Ross Sea Scouts had the use of a barge, then the old lightship, the Osprey, on the quay and finally came to the current scout hall, which was a church, built in 1841 on Marsh Lane. In recent times, the group's water activities have been very kindly facilitated by New Ross Boat Club and most of the fleet of boats have been donated or sponsored.

Over the decades the group has been supported by great parents committees and led by some characterful group leaders: Paddy Delaney, Brian MacMahon, May Holden, Toddy O'Brien, Tom Mackey, Kitty Warren, Tony Hartford and Phil Croarkin, to name but a few.

In 1968, New Ross Sea Scouts won a seamanship competition called the Fry Cup, which was the first time that it had gone outside Dublin from its start in 1918. From the late 1960s to the 1990s, New Ross frequently won the senior and junior Signaling competitions, but because of the development of VHF, interest in semaphore and Morse Code rapidly disappeared.

During the 1970s Paddy Delaney built up a strong team of leaders and the troop had up to 40 boys at a time. In 1985 Skipper Jimmy Boland led a delegation of sea scouts to Portumna for an International Jamboree. The club's 50th Reunion Ball is on Sunday, December 27, in the Brandon House Hotel and past and present scouting members, parents, family and friends are welcome to come along. Old photos, memorabilia and newspaper cuttings will be shown and past scouts are coming home from the US, Australia and the UK. Tickets for the reunion are available at the scout hall on Marsh Lane, Monday or from leaders: Breda Mackey, Enda McDonald, Kitty Warren, Mary Kavanagh, Phil Croarkin, Martin Cunningham or Alex Kelly (086-1070631) or online on:

New Ross Standard