The History of Monkstown Bay Sailing Club Burgee

(Munster Model Yacht Club Est August 1872)


Monkstown Bay Sailing Club was founded on the 7th of June 1970 and formally established at the first Annual General Meeting on the 5th of February 1971. The founders were Norcott d’Esterre Roberts (Commodore), Robert Cuppage, Dick Woodley, Barry O’Connell, Jack O’Driscoll and William O’Brien.

The Island of Haulbowline in Cork Harbour was the property of Cork Water Club and the castle there was the clubhouse and their property was most scrupulously guarded by its owners one of whom was called the “Knight of the Island”. This officer was enjoyed “to suffer no person or persons whatever, to go into the club rooms until brought in by a member, or by an order of five members at the least, under their hands, on pain of being cashiered.” The peculiar references, and quaint recording, of many of these “Rules and Orders,” bear strong presumptive evidence that the club existed even prior to 1720.

The Cork Water Club was established in 1720, and by 1759 had become the Cork Harbour Yacht Club and after 1765 there are no records of the Club. However on July 1st 1806 the Lord Thomond and Kingsale, Messrs, Savage, French, Cooper Penrose, Thomas Roland, John Marragh, William Harrington, John Roche, The Fitzgeralds, The Newenhams, and The Drurys were the sole representatives of the Cork Harbour Yacht Club  as a body. There is no reason to suppose that the Club was set afloat in this ancient splendour, and the attention of the members would appear to have been chiefly directed to the useful purpose of exciting competition amongst the fishing and rowing boats in the harbour, to which they gave prizes.

In 1821 the Club again to have fallen into decay but continued under the name of the Little Monkstown Club. In 1822 a party of youngsters higher up the river, took possession of the vacant territory and the little fleet was seen again in the harbour. This society, originating in a Pic-nic Club having its  rendezvous in Monkstown and consisting of very small craft, did not assume the title of the Cork Harbour Water Club, but contented themselves with the more humble appellation of the “Little Monkstown Club” and from these small means, however, the present Royal Cork Yacht Club had its immediate origin.

While not denying that there were larger yachts around before the 1820s, primarily deployed for practical and utilitarian purposes, some of the Irish clubs then formed owe their origins to a local tradition of sailing smaller craft. Thus the “pic-nic” club known as the Little Monkstown Club, founded in 1822, renamed itself the Cork Yacht Club, later the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

In 1822 when Thomas Hewitt, Caulfield Beamish and a few other enterprising individuals of the Little Monkstown Club, supported by the patriotic proprietor of Fota John Smith Barry, and the greater part of the Old Water Club members, then living, met, and resolved “to revive and re-establish the club on a solid and permanent basis.” The new arrangements were judiciously made, and the club re-established under the title of the “Cork Yacht Club” In 1831 the prefix of the Royal was granted to the Cork Yacht Club its 282 ordinary members along with 15 honorary members and fleet of 50 yachts by his majesty King William IV.

The Club burgee is that of the  Munster Model Yacht Club which was bases in Monkstown and was founded in August 1872 at a meeting in the Imperial Hotel Monkstown Cork. The Founders were Captain David Gould (Commodore), Henry Egan, Captain TK Exham, Richard Foley, Henry Hayes, Patrick J O’Connell and Joseph E Russell who was appointed as honorary secretary.

The newly formed club set about organising races for large and small yachts centred on Monkstown bay and the Club also rented a building for storing of sailing gear whilst also renting a portion of the quay (Sandquay) from where members sailed from. Near the quay there was a private gentleman’s club known as the Munster Club of which most members were also members of the MMYC.

MMYC quickly developed a busy schedule of races and annual regattas. The first regatta held in August 1873 in which the Cork Examiner quoted as saying a most successful adventure for the newly formed club. A firework display by Robert Day & Sons brought the first regatta of the MMYC to an end. The MMYC held regattas throughout the 1870s and 1880s.

Commodore Captain David Gould founding Commodore of the MMYC held his position until 1879 when Richard Foley was elected as Commodore a post that he held till his death in 1897. Richard Foley was succeeded by Arthur F Sharman Crawford an enthusiastic yachtsman himself.

By the early 1890s the Club was active and very well supported with regular sailing races. It had made two major name changes by this time. In 1886 became the Munster Corinthian Yacht Club. The Club however did not retain this name for long and in December 1891 applied to Queen Victoria to use the Royal prefix this was later received in writing in 1892 from Whitehall to the secretaries WC Taylor and Henry Hayes (Founding member of MMYC). The club now being formally known as the Royal Munster Yacht Club.

The original Club burgee had in the meantime changed to a white burgee with a red foul anchor, then in 1892 with yet again another name change, now adopted a burgee of red, white and blue vertical divisions featuring the arms of Munster surmounted by a crown.

Most of the races started and finished in Monkstown and in 1904 it was decided that there was a need for a hut to shelter the Officer of the Day. In May of 1905 the flagstaff was erected beside the newly purchased hut on the sandquay.

In 1911 the now Royal Munster Yacht Club was unsuccessful in seeking Admiralty sanction to change the ensign from red to blue.

The RMYC did not sail during the war years but at annual general meeting in 1919 decided to call a public meeting of all boat owners and amongst the suggestions made were those of the Vice-Commodore to invite the newly formed Crosshaven Yacht Club. The Crosshaven yacht Club was based at the estuary of the River Owenboy and received much encouragement from the older organisation at Monkstown. The Crosshaven Yacht Club was officially recognised by the YRA in early 1919 on the recommendation of the then RMYC Commodore AF Sharman Crawford who was a member of the RYA Council.

Cork Harbour Motor Boat Club (CHMBC) merged with RMYC on the 1st of March 1923 at a meeting at the Metropole Hotel, Cork under the name of the RMYC. The headquarters of the club were to be in Crosshaven with a station at Monkstown were the flag would be flown during the sailing season.

The Cork Yacht Club Merged with the Royal Munster Yacht Club in 1966 which was founded in 1872 as the Munster Model Yacht Club which was based in Monkstown. The Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) incorporating the Royal Munster Yacht Club was formed when the two clubs merged in 1966.

The Munster Model Yacht Club was founded in Monkstown 1872 and became The Royal Munster when it received its charter twenty years later. The Royal Munster moved from Monkstown to Crosshaven in 1923.