April 2024 Lectures

To mark the bi-centenary of both the RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard, our next event will feature the following joint lectures (please note our starting time is 8.30pm): 

Courtmacsherry RNLI:

200 years of saving lives at sea


Micheál HurleyJim Crowley and Diarmuid O Mahony (Courtmacsherry RNLI)


A brief history of the Irish Coast Guard – 1822-2024


Niall Ferns (Irish Coast Guard)


Thursday Apr 25th at 8.30pm


Clonakilty GAA Complex

The RNLI was founded by Sir William Hillary in 1824.  The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Station along with the RNLI Lifeboat Station at Arklow were the first to be set up in Ireland in 1825. Since then the Lifeboat has been crewed by a multitude of voluntary local people and the interest and dedication of the volunteers has been handed down from generation to generation. All crew are on call 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. In the past 24 months to Feb 2024, Courtmacsherry Lifeboat launched on callout 37 times to a variety of incidents off our coastline. Over its long history it has been involved in countless numbers of rescue operations, including that of the Lusitania in 1915 and the Fastnet Race tragedy in 1979.

Micheál Hurley, a crew member for 44 years,  will present the history of Courtmacsherry Lifeboat. He served in various roles over the years (Mechanic, Voluntary Coxswain, Crewperson and Community Safety Officer) and still continues his involvement in various voluntary roles.   He recently wrote the book Home from the Sea: the Story of Courtmacsherry Lifeboat 1825-2023.  He will be assisted by Diarmuid O Mahony, who has given 61 years of voluntary service to Courtmacsherry Lifeboat, including that of Voluntary Coxswain from 1982 to 2000 and Jim Crowley who served for decades as a Crewperson and Second Coxswain and is a noted historian on the RNLI and its involvement at Courtmacsherry.

The second talk, presented by Niall Ferns,  will take us on a  brief journey through the history of the Irish Coast Guard from the British Coastguard Act of 1822, to our independence and the establishment of our Coast Life Saving Service in 1924. This presentation reflects on progression of the service through to the renaming to Irish Coast Guard in 2000 and the modernisation of the service. The presentation looks at the people, assets, buildings and functions of the Irish Coast Guard – and in particular the service provided by the 44 volunteer Coast Guard units around the coast.

Niall Ferns has been a member of the Irish Coast Guard for 44 years having joined the Greystones Coast Guard unit in 1980 and served as a volunteer for 29 years, 19 of which was as Officer in Charge. In 2009 Niall took up a full-time position as Coastal Unit Sector Manager (CUSM) with responsibility for managing 20 Coast Guard units in a geographical area from Greenore, Co. Louth to Ballycotton, Co. Cork. In 2017 Niall took up the role as Manager of Coast Guard Units and Support with responsibility for the entire volunteer service of approximately 900 volunteers. Niall has recently switched roles to Manager of Preparedness, Response and Planning – with responsibility for the ship casualty and pollution response.

Clonakilty 1798 Journal being updated and re-published

 A sub-committee of Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage is currently working on the republication of the 1998 “Battle of the Big Cross” journal published 25 years ago as part of the bicentenary commemoration of the battle which occurred on 19th June 1798. 

As well as re-publishing the journal there will also be a number of new chapters which will include accounts, and photos of the June 2023 commemorative events (225th anniversary), and also articles relevant to the Battle of the Big Cross and participants not previously published. 

It is planned to have this ready by the end of October and printed for early November. 

They appeal to anyone who has any information that could be included to make contact as soon as possible to ensure the associated articles can be written up and prepared for the journal. 

Information such as participants in the battle (both sides), folklore passed down about it, songs or poems, photographs of past commemorations, etc. will all be considered by the editorial committee. 

Contact  DuchasClonHeritagePRO@gmail.com, phone 086-2202029 or send a message via the dedicated Facebook page www.Facebook.com/BigCross225

Clonakilty Journals on sale

Clonakilty Historical & Archaeological Journals are available from Coolim Books HERE

(Please note the Biblio website takes a little bit of time to load)

Recording of Dúchas Tribute to Dick Barrett and Sean Hales

The link to the recording of our Sean Hales and Dick Barrett commemorative event held on November 18:2022 is HERE

Historic coastal village of Timoleague: Duchas Film documentary

For Heritage Week 2022, Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage has once again decided to do a film documentary.  As part of our celebrations, we will be visiting the historic coastal village of Timoleague which is situated at the mouth of the Airgideen river estuary on the cusp of Courtmacsherry Bay.  It is a picturesque place steeped in historical fact, along with myth and legend, and to take us back over the centuries our guides are Diarmuid Kingston and Michael O’Mahony.

We hope that the viewer will enjoy our visit to this historical coastal village and its hinterland with its spectacular scenery and rich folklore.  It is indeed a place of historical importance with its ancient abbeys and wonderful artistically endowed churches.  It is only by a visit that their beauty and uniqueness can be fully appreciated.

Click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6s9pgGBst8

Membership 2024

Membership 2024

Membership of Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage is now due for 2024. Membership fee is as follows:
Individual fee: €10 Students: €5 Families: €25
If you wish to pay by internet banking, or in person in your own bank, please use the following
bank details:
Account Name: Duchas Clonakilty Heritage
IBAN: IE82IPBS99071221393419
Bank: Permanent TSB, Clonakilty, Co. Cork
N.B. Please include your full name with your payment so that it will appear on our bank
statement and also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following
information so that we can place you on our membership list:
Email address
Mobile Phone Number (Irish mobile only)
Alternatively, you may send your membership fee, with the above information to
Fachtna McCarthy, Cisteoir/Treasurer Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage,
Cuas, Tawnies Lower, Clonakilty, Co. Cork.
Cheques/postal orders to be made payable to Duchas Clonakilty Heritage (euro currency only
Your contact details will only be used by Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage to inform you of our events
and other events that may be of interest to members. Your details will not be passed on to any
other organisation or individual without your consent. Our privacy policy can be viewed on our
website http://www.duchasclonakiltyheritage.com/index.php/privacy