Blackwater, best known in Wexford this summer as the county’s tidiest village, was thrust into the public spotlight for a different reason as the Coast Guard helicopter and gardaí combed the coastline from early on Monday morning.
The unusual activity was sparked by the trawler the Castlemore running aground off the Wexford coast with a suspected consignment of cocaine.
The State’s emergency services, on water and from the air, searched for debris or cargo, including possible bales of drugs, from the stricken trawler.
One local in Curracloe, on the coast, said he witnessed the busy air traffic as early as 12.30am on Sunday morning.
“From my home in Curracloe I could see a helicopter moving along the coastline, which was unusual for this area at that time of night/morning,” he said.
“It was flying up and down the coastline. It was not until later that morning that I realised what was happening.
One local farmer said gardaí issued an appeal to landowners and walkers not to interfere with parcels or anything suspicious that they might happen upon.
Walkers were asked to look out for any packages “or any other marine debris” that had drifted ashore on local beaches from the trawler 8km off the coast.
On Tuesday afternoon the beach and coastline had returned to normality, with walkers taking advantage of the warm weather.
As the afternoon progressed, efforts were being made by the security services to board the fishing vessel, before the arrival of the approaching Storm Agnes.
On stretches of Wexford’s coastline from Blackwater to Curracloe, gardaí were also on alert for possible groups of youths visiting the area in search of drug packages potentially washing ashore.
Locals were still discussing the unusual activity of Naval Service, Air Corps and gardaí in their area.
‘It was quite an unprecedented day for the village,” said a resident of Blackwater. “Thankfully, it seems as if normality has returned for the present.”