It was one of the greatest tragedies Greystones has ever witness, the loss of three lives, as the Doyle brothers drowned in a storm here in 1892.
Lifeboat Coxswain John Doyle and two members of his family lost their lives whilst trying to assist a vessel breaking away from her moorings in the harbour that fateful day.
It was Friday, October 14th, 1892, and the schooner Mersey was in danger of breaking up alongside the jetty she was moored to as the storm rose, and so owner John McEntagart decided to drive her on to the beach.
John Doyle and William Doyle, along with Herbert Doyle (son of the latter), went out along the jetty to cast a rope to the vessel, but as they returned to shore, a great wave engulfed them. A plaque in memory of the bravery of that day was unveiled in Greystones harbour in August, 2013.
Below, Gary Acheson charts the history of the man who owned the Mersey…
John George McEntagart was born in Kolkata (Calcutta), India on July 18 1847, the first child of Henry McEntagart and Rebecca Browne, both of Dublin. Henry was a sergeant in the East India Company Army.
At some point, he returned to Ireland. (Possibly this was the voyage: passenger records for the Prince of Wales sailing from Calcutta in 1852 list a ‘Mrs. McEntagart and two children’ bound for London – the children being John George and Elizabeth. A death notice dated March 13 1851 for ‘Sergeant McEntaggart’ at Meerut – Henry and Rebecca’s second child Caroline Mary was born and died in Meerut in 1848 – and a burial certificate confirms this to be Henry, aged 35 years. So Rebecca returned to Ireland a young widow with two small children. )
John George married twice; firstly to Esther Jones of Conway in North Wales; and secondly to Sarah Montgomery Gilmore from Belfast.
He was a grocer, restauranteur, shipowner and (according to the 1911 Census) a farmer.
From the 1890s until his death he ran the Empire Restaurant at 29 Nassau Street.
For a time he ran a grocery and coal business in what is now the Beach House in Greystones Harbour. He owned the Mersey which, while trying to beach her in a storm in 1892, the three Doyles were drowned. McEntagart had tried unsuccessfully to pull one of the Doyles out of the water. In the early 1900s the business was taken over by William H. Dann.
McEntagart died in 1919.
Transcription of a stone in Mount Jerome Cemetery:
Erected | by J. G. McENTAGART | Empire Restaurant | “Asleep until Christ comes” | REBECCA McENTAGART | mother | founder and life long helper | three Institutions | Aged Unmarried Ladies | Governesses Home | Working Girls “Do” | died 4th June 1892 | ESTHER McENTAGART | wife | died Orwell House, Rathgar | 8th Nov. 1899 | ELIZA JONES | mother | died Butterfield House, Rathfarnham | 14th February 1906 | “Perfect Peace” | SARAH McENTAGART | wife | died Rosebank
You can check out that 2013 Doyle plaque unveiling here, and get more Blasts From The Past right here.
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