The landing of guns at Cheekpoint and Helvick

A recent article in The Sunday Independent, reproduced from July 1914, has caused quite an amount of discussion locally.
Under a heading that declared ‘Mysterious Ship Off Waterford’, the article tells of a small vessel sighted by coastguards off Tramore.
Suspected by the authorities of carrying guns for the Irish Volunteers, a number of constables on bicycles were sent to Tramore from Waterford.
A Cruiser and two Destroyers were sent from the naval base at Queenstown (Cobh) but when they arrived the ‘mysterious’ vessel had departed in the direction of Dunmore East. More constables were sent to Dunmore and officers patrolled both sides of the Suir’s banks up as far as Passage.
Constables were also sent to what is now known as Waterford Castle at Little Island near Waterford city.
At that time, the Island was the property of Gerard Purcell Fitzgerald, a gentleman who had identified himself with the Volunteer movement.
As far as I can ascertain, the mysterious ship vanished as quickly as it had arrived and it may have been a decoy for an arms landing someplace else.
According to some official accounts, no arms were landed on the Waterford coast until during the Truce period between July and December 1921 when a cargo of arms from a German freighter was landed at Faithlegg near Cheekpoint.
The arms were said to be mostly ‘Peter the Painter’ revolvers and were later taken to dumps in the Comeragh Mountains. Some of the consignment was sent on to Dublin from the Comeraghs.
On another occasion during this timeframe, a consignment of Mauser rifles and Parabellum revolvers was landed at Helvick from a boat called ‘The MV Hannah’. Those arms were also transported to a hiding place in the Comeraghs.
Incidentally, a map drawn up by Roger Casement, showing the location where he buried a small hoard of gold, silver and other items after landing on Banna Beach in 1916, has been purchased by Kerry County Museum.
The map and an accompanying note, written by one of Casement’s interrogators, was purchased by museum officials at a public auction in England last week. The reserve price was £2,500 but the Kerry representatives had to pay £8,850 to secure the item.

A British naval cruiser similar to the one sent to Tramore to intercept a ‘mysterious ship’ in July 1914.

A British naval cruiser similar to the one sent to Tramore to intercept a ‘mysterious ship’ in July 1914.

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