Greystones Lifeboat House

Lifeboat at work
From J C Dibdin and John Ayling's The Book of the Lifeboat, Oliphant Anderson and Ferrier, London 1894
Section through Lifeboat
From Richard Lewis's History of the Life-boat And its Work, McMillian & Co, London, 1874
Lifeboat and Transport Carriage
From Richard Lewis's History of the Life-boat And its Work, McMillian & Co, London, 1874
Tancred Window Memorial in Christ Church Delgany
From Journal for the year for 1892 by Association for the Preservation of Memorials of the Dead in Ireland
Lifeboat House c1880
Mrs Anne Brown
From A brief record of the Female Orphan House, North Circular Road, Dublin, for over one hundred years, from 1790 to 1892, Sealy, Bryers and Walker, Dublin 1893

The lifeboat station was built in 1872, a simple stone-built structure with buttressing. The slate roof was pitched, with finials at opposite gable ends. The building has been changed very little over the years to what we see today.


The first president of the Greystones Branch of the RNLI was The Earl of Meath of Kilruddery, William R. La Touche of Bellevue was its first chairman and Henry Maunsell MD of Dublin and Greystones Esq. was the first honorary secretary. Maunsell was replaced after his death by Patrick Reid, who was replaced by Richard Dobbs of Knockdolian Greystones.

The Lifeboat Station was opened in 1872 and the first lifeboat was the ‘ Sarah Tancred’ which was donated by the generous donation of £500 by James Joseph Tancred of ‘Pearville’ (no. 114) Rathgar Road, Dublin. Tancred’s donation also included the cost of the construction of the lifeboat station as well. James Tancred was originally from Delgany and went on to have success in Dublin. The Lifeboat was named after his daughter, Sarah Tancred and was 33ft in length and in breadth 8 ft and was built in Shadwell by Messrs Woolfe. The vessel held a crew of twelve men, along with a man at the prow. The vessel was launched in 1872 by Lady Meath.

Over its career, the ‘ Sarah Tancred ‘ was involved in many important rescues. On May 17th, 1873, the owner of the yacht ‘ Nicomi ‘ and three others were saved from a perilous situation off Bray Head.

On September 30th, 1876, the lifeboat was alerted from Bray to assist the brig ‘ Leonora ‘. As it was blowing a heavy gale from the east, the lifeboat was sent to Bray at top speed by road. On arrival at Bray it was found that the Kingstown lifeboat was nearing the vessel. The ‘Sarah Tancred’ provided crucial support, and afforded great help in saving the lives of some of the Kingstown crew when their boat subsequently capsized.

Again, on August 25th 1877, a telegram was received requesting the Greystones lifeboat to proceed to the rescue of the ‘ Cosette’ of Kingstown. Within seventeen minutes of the receipt of the telegram the boat was launched, and away in search of the yacht in distress.

In the 14th December 1892 the lifeboat coxswain John Doyle lost his life along with two other men of the lifeboat crew while endeavouring to save a schooner in trouble in Greystones Harbour. The three men were washed over the protecting wall at Greystones Harbour. John Doyle was a good swimmer and had saved life three times previously.

The ‘Sarah Tancred’ was finally replaced. The new lifeboat was named the Richard Brown and was launched on December 2nd, 1886, by Mrs. La Touche. It was presented by Anne Jackson Browne of Annesley Cottage, Monkstown. Anne’s husband, Richard Frederick Browne had died and left over £64,000. Anne was the sister of Richard Brown formerly of  Rosey Park Kill of the Grange and late Glenegarah Park Kingstown, who died in march 1890 aged 90. Anne’s husband was a 2nd master in the Royal Navy when they married in Devon in 1853. Her brother was Thomas Brown who created the Brown Institute in London. The vessel was named the Richard Brown after Anne’s father.

The Lifeboat House was closed in 1896. Though in 1901 the station became a retail establishment run by T J Byrne, who also had an establishment on Westland Row in Dublin. This station House establishment was known as the Old Boat House and sold fish, fowl and choice fruit and vegetables. It was later owned by Edward Archer, who used it to house his lorries and cars. Today, the Lifeboat Station has been transformed into Sweeney’s takeaway and the harbour café.


Dibdin, J C and Ayling, John The Book of the Lifeboat, “Greystones and Bray Station” by R Cathcard Dobbs, pages 205 – 207, Oliphant Anderson and Ferrier, London 1894.

The Lifeboat, Journal of the national Life-boat Institution, Vol XI, Charles Knight & Co London, 1883

The Irish Times, Saturday, July 27, 1872 – Page 6

The Irish Times – Monday, August 5, 1872 – Page 5

The Irish Times, Friday, December 3, 1886 page 6

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