Partly due to the efforts of William Ogilvie, a wealthy Scot, who was much involved with the enlargement and improvement of the port of Ardglass, the first lifeboat station on the County Down coast was established at Rossglass in 1825 by the County Down District Association.
Rossglass, is located in the north-west corner of Dundrum Bay, between Tyrella and St John’s Point. The lifeboat was reported to be just over 18 feet in length and was equipped with 8 oars. In 1835 she was moved to the coastguard station at St John’s Point at the request of Coastguard Captain, R H Browne, where she remained in service until the late 1840’s.
The reference above in the RNLI records of the Ballywalter Lifeboat in 1866 to a lifeboat station existing at Tyrella rather than at Newcastle tends to support some evidence that a secondary RNLI associated lifeboat may have been operational again for a short period in the Rossglass/Tyrella area during 1866. It is also possible that an error was made in referring to Tyrella rather than Newcastle in the RNLI ‘Lifeboat Journal’ of 1866.
(above info courtesy of Portaferry Lifeboat Station)
Twelve Silver Medals and three Gold Medals were awarded between 1826 and 1852 for rescues to the many wrecks which occurred in severe weather conditions.