A tale of two photos: How Monkstown Sailing Club evolved across 100 years

A tale of two photos: How Monkstown Sailing Club evolved across 100 years

The race hut on the Sand Quay at Monkstown circa 1922, provided by John Hegarty.

MONKSTOWN Bay Sailing Club says that “an invaluable piece of its history has been brought to light”.

A hut on the village’s Sand Quay used to run yacht races, maintains a sailing tradition going back to the early 1900s and makes it a vital part of the history of the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

MBSC has put a new ‘race hut’ on the quay, the club’s racing base, just down the road from its clubhouse at De Vesci Place.

Completing his two-year term of office, club commodore, Ciaran McSweeny, told members that, with the lower harbour works (which heavily impacted the village) now completed, the club could improve its own facilities.

“As we carried these out, we received a collection of photos of the Sand Quay, and the famous hut, from club member John Hegarty,” McSweeny said. One of these shows uniformed race officers during a starting sequence on the quay for a yacht race that predates 1922.

“According to historian Dr Alicia St Leger, the original hut was put in place by the Royal Munster Yacht Club in 1905. It remained there after that club departed for Crosshaven in 1922.”

The new race hut for Monkstown Sailing Club at Sand Quay.
The new race hut for Monkstown Sailing Club at Sand Quay.

The Royal Munster later amalgamated with the Royal Cork, which had been in Cobh and moved to Crosshaven to join the Royal Munster under the name of the RCYC.

Per the MBSC, the hut remained on the quay well into the 1950s. It was moved around the quay area several times, but the remains of an original concrete base can be seen slightly to the north of the present hut.

John Hegarty’s grandfather had used the original hut for many years, renting out boats and managing moorings in the bay.

Hence the photos given to the club.

“This is an invaluable piece of MBSC’s history being brought to life thanks to John,” McSweeny told club members.

He also reported to the annual meeting that “while sailing this year was difficult, we saw a great resurgence of numbers for league racing and, with the new additions at the club of a Drascombe Lugger and a 1720, we hope to see even more joining us on the water next year”.

The new club commodore at MBSC is Sandy Rimmington, who echoes that hope.

“The pandemic restrictions kept many people close to home this year and there was a strong community spirit in the village, which was great to see. This also brought a renewed interest in outdoor activity and boats were taken out of hibernation, refurbished, and put on the water,” Rimmington said.

“There was increased interest in solo sailing, particularly in Lasers. Parents who brought children to Optimist sailing asked about the possibility of adult sailing. Those who had sailed when they were kids themselves wanted to get back into the sport.

“For the club, after many years when the focus was on encouraging and getting youngsters involved, we were able to put emphasis also on adult sailing. We were donated the Drascombe, which enabled adult sailing training, and we have invested in a 1720.

“With the new hut, the overall investment we’ve put in, the new boats, hopefully things will all come together over the next couple of months, when we will have everything up and running again and there will be a good season ahead, with many more people on the water,” Rimmington said.

“The community spirit in the village has been great and that is something we can build on in sailing.”

Jacqui O’Brien has been elected vice commodore.

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