Wednesday, June 25th, 2008
It seems that Picton Castle has been to Baltimore, Ireland before, maybe many times. When our ship was fishing she sailed out of Swansea, Wales, not too far to the east of here. The fishing grounds were to the west in such areas as Rockall Banks and off towards Iceland. This means that she must have sailed past southwestern Ireland hundreds of time between 1928 and 1955, with time out to fight in the Second World War from 1939-45.
When we got to Baltimore it seems that many folks knew all about the Picton Castle. Certainly some of this was from the internet but it turns out that this ship is on record as having put into this very bay. On November 30, 1954 the Picton Castle ducked in during a screaming SE gale and asked for the motor life boat to come and stand by in case they went on the rocks. We found the ship’s name on a plaque at the life-boat station. A few inquiries got us a hand written transcript of the log for that nasty day; here it is:
Report of Service on the 30th day of November, 1954.
Name of Lifeboat, Sarah Wilson O.N. 554
Stationed at Baltimore
Case of Trawler: Picton Castle of Milford
On Tuesday the 30th last (November) at 8:15 am a British trawler, Picton Castle, arrived into Baltimore harbour from South East gale. The gale veered-to and the ship began to – (illegible), and was in danger of being dashed on the rocks near Coney Island. The skipper of the trawler began sending SOS – and sent up flares. The trawler –, some members of the lifeboat crew, who sent word to the assistant secretary. It was decided to launch, the – lifeboat immediately and the Maroon was fired, and the boat launched in the teeth of a gale. When they reached the trawler the skipper hailed the coxswain and asked him to stand by his ship as he feared she would be driven ashore or lost in the severe gale. The coxswain, crew, stood by – and returned to the harbour.
Lifeboat Crew: Michael Harrington, Coxswain. Second Coxswain Steven Nolan, Peter Dennehy, Patrick O’Driscoll, Denis –, and William Fitzgerald.”
But all’s well that ends well and here we are back again after almost 54 years, anchored perhaps in the exact spot where she did before. We had a good look about the life-boat which is a remarkably fine piece of gear, kept up immaculately. After that gale in 1954 the Picton Castle was sold in 1955 to Haugesund, Norway and was refitted with a diesel engine to replace her original steam plant. We are headed there too, should be interesting.