The Talbot’s and Malahide Sea Scouts
Not long after 7th Baron, Lord Milo Talbot in 1948 inherited Malahide Castle, permission was granted to Malahide scouts to camp at the Mabestown corner of the Demesne right beside were the Blimps anchored during the 1st World War.
This arrangement was brought about by our new Group Leader and Rector Canon Gough Cooper of St. Andrew’s Parish. In addition to the camping facilities, permission was granted to store our camping equipment in “The Loft” of the courtyard on the demesne.
In those 25 years the scouts would have camped a 100 times or more three or four times a year between a St. Patrick’s weekend and Halloween. Here scouts spent many night’s under canvas, learning out door skills on their doorstep ,cooking on open fires , partaking in campfires , and attending Church on Sunday’s. Not totally different from camping out now a days under canvas which brings out all those great memories.
A popular ghost story told at the campfire then, was about the headless horseman. Its reference was to Myles Corbett who occupied the castle for about ten years as one of Cromwell’s Commissioner of Affairs, but he was tried for conspiracy after the collapse of the Commonwealth Government and was hung drawn and quarter!
The site itself was ideal for both troop and watch camps as it was in a thickly wooded area with small clearance just about the right size for a watch. Each watch had its own site which they used repeatedly throughout the years. Never short of firewood, as all cooking was carried out on open fires.
Scouts living close to the site would often sneak away to reacquaint themselves with their families, maybe for a packet of biscuits or an extra blanket. A popular house to sneak away too, was O’Connor’s in Mabestown for a dip in their swimming pool. A repeated game played throughout the years by the scouts was “scalp”. A hide and seek game, whereby the “ice house” was a popular hiding place. Do you know where it is now?
There were some rules, no taking short cuts in front of the castle when carrying often heavy tents and camping equipment from the courtyard to the site. The long route was obligatory ,but in later years a car and trailer were used .There was a small incident I recall when a small fire was reported in “The Loft” were the scouts stored their equipment. A little damage was caused but nothing too serious.
This very long relationship and good will by the Talbot’s brought about the gifting of a small plot of land on the bottom of St. James Terrace, Malahide to the sea scouts just when the Island Golf Club in 1973 ceased its ferry arrangement for golfers to and from the sea wall at Malahide.
The then officers of the group had a promise from Lord Talbot for this plot of land but Lord Milo died suddenly in April 1973 at the age of 61. The Sea Scouts took part in a remembrance service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral for Lord Talbot.
The goodwill of the Talbots continued when The Honourable Rose Talbot inherited the castle in 1973 and Rose saw through the gifting of the plot of land on St. James Terrace. This magnanimous gesture gave the sea scouts a true home .In 1979 the group council adopted coat arms of the Talbot Family allocated to Sir John Talbot a naval officer who fought alongside Nelson in the Battle of the Nile in 1798.
After the sale of the castle in 1976, to the then Dublin County Council our arrangement ceased.