50 years of Dalkey Sea Scouts.


On the 4th of May 1956 six young guys – Patrick, David, John, George, Rodney and Brian turned up at St. Patrick’s School Hall in Dalkey and became the start of what has been 50 years of Dalkey Sea Scouting. The records don’t tell us whether any dogs called Timmy were hanging around to help out, but the official Log Book (now available on DVD!) shows that they were an industrious bunch, as in 1957 they collected the most money of any Scout Troop in Ireland (on a per capita basis) during Bob-A-Job week. In many ways, this is the same type of experience held by most of the 600 or so people that were to join what expanded to become the wider 41st Dublin (St Patrick’s, Dalkey) Scout Group. Lots of planning meetings, activities, fine al fresco dining and memories of how the Bivvy bag did not leak when climbed into for an hour’s sleep at four in the morning, during a storm, right at the top of Keeper Hill; this is the stuff that forms the backbone of entries in the Dalkey Sea Scout Log Books.

The historical record is illustrated in words, photographs, drawings and physical mementoes such as tickets for buses and Gang Shows. The first Patrols (groups of 4 –8 Scouts led by a Scout age Patrol Leader) formed by the Troop were the Gannets and the Seagulls. Seabirds have formed the basis of Patrol names, and most scouts will remember which Patrol they were in when they joined – Herons, Skuas, Cormorants and Penguins are names that have been used at various times over the past half-century.

The Log Books are also a microcosm of wider societal social history and are written by the most active of protagonists. Many entries are perhaps not so reverential, recording those who failed to turn up to an event and that the reason given being ‘No Excuse!’ In the swinging sixties and seventies a constant stream of new, young leaders ensured the culture, music and politics of the time peeked in as part of the programme keeping the troop relevant and maintaining a bustling level of activity.

Those leaders who have got the most fulfillment from the troop over the 50 years have realised early on in their role that a wide and rounded range of communication and organisation, as well as practical, skills was needed to build on the rich heritage handed down from their immediate predecessors. While other troops like Dollymount would carve their names more often on the trophies for the annual inter-troop Smythe, Frye and Hamill Cup Competitions, missing the winning spots often came down to things like not being able to get a whole team together with the same colour shoes.  But, as a few of the leaders only had footwear that came in colours like green or red, it was a badge of pride to some that made the glances more sweet, when Dalkey Sea Scouts did go up to accept Cups and Plaques for rowing, sailing, canoeing, outdoor pool swimming or camping competitions.

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