The Daunt Rock and The Mary Stanford

On a visit to Ballycotton last weekend, I was intrigued by the very battered and bruised old lifeboat on display overlooking the lighthouse.  This was the Mary Stanford, and it was only when I got home and asked the all knowing ‘ Dr Google’, that I found out the intriguing history of this very hard working little boat with the big heart.

RNLB Mary Stanford

RNLB Mary Stanford

Unusually, this lifeboat was the only lifeboat in Ireland that was awarded a gold medal for gallantry. Often lifeboat crews receive medals for gallantry, but in this case the lifeboat also received a gold medal, for the famous Daunt Lightship rescue in February 1936.    The original Mary Stanford was built in 1916, and was stationed in Rye, England, but was lost in a storm in 1928, when it went down with all 17 crew on board.

In 1930, the son of Mary Stanford paid for a new lifeboat which ended up in Ballycotton, Co Cork.    She was the lifeboat there until 1959, going out 41 times, and saving over 120 lives.   The most famous rescue, and the most dangerous, was in February 1936 when the Daunt Lightship, off the Daunt Rock outside Cork Harbour, broke away from her moorings in a violent storm.   There were 7 crew on board, and the Mary Stanford was called out from Ballycotton.    It was at sea for 41 hours, and the crew had no food for over 24 hours, but all the crew of the lightship were eventually rescued after the lifeboat  went alongside over a dozen times.   Brave boat and crew indeed.   You can read about the rescue here.

The lifeboat was retired in 1959, and was on the quays in Dublin for many years, and as you can see, it is in a very sad state of repair.  Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the  people of Ballycotton, the boat is now ‘home’ and will eventually be restored with care and attention, and will remain at the start of the Ballycotton Cliff Walk, overlooking the Ballycotton lighthouse.






8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KerryCan
    May 28, 2014 @ 20:44:57

    I’ve seen, and read the stories, of lifeboats like these in Ireland and Cornwall–such heroism and bravery!



  2. Roy McCarthy
    May 29, 2014 @ 15:47:41

    17 crew lost, all in one go 😦 And what a story of endurance and pure courage about the Daunt Rock lightship, whose occupants must have believed their last moments had arrived.



  3. janeykate
    May 30, 2014 @ 08:56:04

    The lifeboats and their crew are pretty amazing. Its so lovely that this one will be restored. Thanks for sharing this Joan!
    Jane x



  4. Colm Sliney
    Sep 28, 2015 @ 16:01:03

    The Mary Stanford is now nearing compleation after 12 months
    Still needs sign writing
    story book poster
    up lighting etc
    But nearly tjere
    Colm Sliney

    Liked by 2 people


  5. joanfrankham
    Mar 01, 2016 @ 10:05:29

    Reblogged this on Retirement and beyond.



  6. BunKaryudo
    Mar 01, 2016 @ 10:30:43

    That’s a very impressive story. Saving 120 souls is no small feat.

    Liked by 1 person


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