The Wreck of the Mary Stoddart

Mary  Stoddart in Distress
Mary Stoddart in distress

by Anthony O’Hagan

The Wreck of the Mary Stoddart’ Treatment

Dated 4th April 2010


Wednesday April 7th

The programme fades in with a few bars of a song “BRENNAN ON THE MOOR”. This is followed by advertisements for local businesses. After the advertisements the compere of the show announces that the song sung by a local street singer just before the ad break is a much-requested song, which is currently very popular in Dundalk. After that the compere turns to the more serious topic of the storm which began on the previous day and he does a telephone interview with Captain Gaussen of the coastguard who outlines the worsening situation. They discuss the wreck at Cooley Point, which has just claimed three lives and a report that another ship is wrecked off Dunany Point. They end that discussion on a positive note by stating that the English barque MARY STODDART is safely at anchor in the bay. They refer to the fact that these stories have been reported already in a local paper from that day.

The compere then introduces the station’s international correspondent who talks a bit jokingly about an event occurring that day at Lourdes in France. A young girl named Bernadette Soubirous has just claimed to see another vision and both compere and correspondent joke about the possibility of that event having far reaching consequences. The programme then fades out as the compere and international correspondent turn to other subjects of topical interest.


Thursday April 8th

The programme opens with the show’s signature tune. The compere explains that the show is an extra edition of the programme on account of the dramatic events unfolding in Dundalk Bay. He then introduces one of his studio guests, Captain Gaussen who talks about the fact that the MARY STODDART has broken her anchor chain and is now in dire straits stuck on a sandbank with her crew tied to the rigging to prevent being washed overboard. He then outlines what is known about the barque and how she came to be in that predicament. He discusses various attempts at rescuing the men from the ship.

Another studio guest Peter Russell of the Dundalk and Midland Steamship Company talks about his part in the rescue attempt and he gives an account of Captain Johnston of his Steamship Company who has managed to get on board the MARY STODDART and is now stranded with the remainder of her crew.

A third guest, John Connick of the Harbour Commissioners talks about his part in the rescue attempt and he explains why the harbour tugboat JAMIE WATTS was unable to function that day. The programme fades out as he is outlining a further attempt at rescue by Captain J.J. Kelly of the Dundalk Steamship Company, which is to take place early the following morning.


Friday April 9th

The programme fades in with vox pops taken earlier in the streets as news breaks that Captain Kelly and three of his compatriots have died in the rescue attempt. The interviewees state their sense of shock and sorrow at the tragic news which has gripped the entire town of Dundalk. Messages of condolence are pouring in. In the studio the guests include Captain Gaussen to discuss a little history of Captain Kelly and the other local sailors who lost their lives, also John Connick and Peter Russell who talk about how the accident occurred. They also talk at length about the rescue that day of Captain Johnston and some members of MARY STODDART.

Recorded interviews with a member of the crew of the stricken ship and with Captain Johnston give more details of the hardship they endured.


Saturday April 10th

The programme enters during a heated debate between various guests on the merits of the monument that a meeting that day had already declared would be erected to the memory of the brave deeds the town had just witnessed. The international correspondent who is a regular contributor to the show adds his hope that a member of the crew who died while saving another member would be remembered on the monument. The compere outlines the proposal also decided that day to set up two contribution lists – one for the erection of the monument and the other to be divided among the relatives of the deceased local seamen. A letter is read from Anne Kelly, Captain Kelly’s mother stating her wishes that any money for a monument should be given instead to the same relatives

There are contributions from Captain Hill of the MARY STODDART who was rescued from the ship just hours earlier and from other members of the rescue party.

The shows concludes with Captain Gaussen stating his wishes that any form of monument should be beneficial to the seamen and to the port of Dundalk and not just a wasted stone edifice. The programme fades with all agreeing with his sentiments.

The Wreck of the Mary Stoddart Part 1 - Download This Episode

The Wreck of the Mary Stoddart Part 2 - Download This Episode
The Wreck of the Mary Stoddart Part 3 - Download This Episode
The Wreck of the Mary Stoddart Part 4 - Download This Episode