Smugglers Weekend – 4th and 5th July 2015

Mull of Galloway Smuggling CompanyImportant Event Update – Sunday 5th July. We have cancelled the smugglers craft market and RSPB treasure trail due to bad weather. Meet a Mermaid will take place inside the RSPB centre from 11am with story time and children’s activities.
We are pleased to announce our first ever Smugglers Festival at the Mull of Galloway, Scotland’s most southerly point.
Come along to our weekend event to hear the Mull of Galloway’s Smuggling Story on Saturday 4th July with Frances Wilkins. There will be two opportunities to attend the talk during the day and booking is essential as we have limited capacity. The tickets are free and limited to two tickets per person. There are still a few tickets available and these can be ordered by email.
The first talk begins at 10am until 12.30pm on Saturday 4th July and will be repeated at 2pm until 4.30pm. After each talk there will be a walkabout the reserve to see the views and the Isle of Man and Luce Bay where the Smugglers used to operate.

The Mull of Galloway’s Smuggling History

Smuggling was a major occupation of the people living here during the18th & early 19th centuries. The proximity of the Isle of Man, a storehouse for contraband goods, meant that it was only a short boat journey to collect cargoes of duty free tea, tobacco, rum, brandy and wine. After 1765, when the Island was no longer a storehouse, the contraband came from the Channel Islands and Europe in large heavily armed ships. Once reductions in duty made this smuggling no longer profitable, the proximity of Ireland as a source of duty free salt became all-important.

The Smugglers, the Revenue and the Customers

At first, the local people collected small quantities of goods from the Island. Later Manx merchants supplied their customers here. After 1765, the three Manxmen Thomas Clark, Hugh Craine and Matthew Quirk with the Englishman Richard Barton formed the Mull of Galloway Smuggling Company. By the early 19th century the main occupation was the salt smuggling. The revenue officers on land and at sea attempted, often unsuccessfully, to stop the smuggling. We have information about the local customers from merchant letter-books and court cases for debt.

Family Activities at the Mull of Galloway Smugglers Weekend

Mull of Galloway Smugglers WeekendAlso on Saturday 4th July there will be children’s fun and activities with Talk of the Town Events, Owl Magic, Rainbow Dolls and lots more. A smugglers craft market is planned with locally crafted produce from the area. RSPB will be holding a treasure trail around the reserve.

On Sunday 5th July there will be even more fun activities for children and our local crafts people will be selling their hand crafted products with an indoor and outdoor craft market in the RSPB building and on the lawn by the lighthouse. RSPB will continue their treasure hunt. On Sunday we have the wee folk storytellers who will be telling us the story of Matthew Quirk, one of the Mull of Galloway Smugglers and the pickles he gets himself into when he “Meets a Mermaid”. The children from Drummore School have been involved in the writing of this story and their imaginations have created some wonderful, unexpected characters. Story time begins at 11am, 1pm or 2.30pm in the mermaids shelter by the lighthouse. Come along dressed as a smuggler or mermaid and join in the fun!

Smugglers Flyer – download here.

You can keep in touch with all our plans for the Mull of Galloway Smugglers weekend on Facebook and if you would like further information or would like to reserve tickets for the talks please email us.

The lighthouse will be open all weekend for you to climb the 115 steps to the top and you can find out even more about the Mull of Galloway Smugglers by visiting the lighthouse exhibition and reading the new information panels and books.

You can find holiday accommodation on our website with a wide range of B and B’s, guests houses and holiday cottages available for the Smugglers weekend or to stay a little longer.

Meet a Mermaid at the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse