The Real Story Chapter 7 Interlude

The Real Story Chapter Seven

In researching around the web and elsewhere I had overlooked the beginnings of a noteworthy episode that I had forgotten about.

The Limerick Lady Festival.

Dennis Allen’s composition ‘Limerick you’re a Lady’ is the only thing that comes up on the search engines! I managed to contact Shay Kinsella who together with John Loftus, came up with the idea of a festival to rival the Rose of Tralee, to hopefully refresh my memory on this episode of Limericks history. In a brief phone call he mentioned that the Limerick Leader had published a two page article about the event 4 or 5 months ago, indeed another photograph appeared last week of the Big Radio Limerick Studios with Pete Brady and a young fan in Studio One. It became clear very quickly during this phone call that this era is important enough to dedicate a whole chapter to its existence, as there is no real reference on the web about it! There is less than a minute of Mike Murphy hosting the event at the Royal George, what a great disco venue that was!

Now here’s an interesting story….just found this on 14th August 2014


It’s late 1965   Caroline South is struggling against Radio London, whose 266 metre frequency and more powerful transmitter is (Caroline was on 199) giving much better coverage and taking a large share of Caroline’s audience. Plans are hatched for a revamp in format and a new frequency, and a new fifty kilowatt transmitter is ordered from Continental Electronics in Dallas.

Big L Radio Limerick

Carolines TX

Meanwhile thousands of miles away, Rhodesia’s Prime Minister Ian Smith makes a UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence), on the 11th November 1965, withdraws from the Commonwealth and breaks diplomatic relations with London. In the House of Commons, responding to MP’s questions, Prime Minister Harold Wilson (who within two years introduced the Marine Offences Broadcasting Act) states on Friday the 13th November that methods of improving BBC World service coverage to Rhodesia are given the highest priority, and that if necessary, the Government will not hesitate in seeking advice from an organisation known as Radio Caroline. Extra transmission facilities for the BBC are desperately required, but as Marconi in the UK have no suitable transmitters immediately available, the government, under the instruction of Mr Wilson, went abroad to see what could be purchased. On the assembly line in Dallas was Continental Electronics CE 317C serial no 12, on order by “Project Atlanta”, at that time the company which was operating Radio Caroline South. Number 13 was also in an advanced state of construction, and by whatever means, the London Government persuaded the two C.E. Customers for Numbers 12 & 13 to forgo their respective positions in the order list, and allow the British Government to purchase the two transmitters which were then shipped off to Bechuanaland (now Botswana) to broadcast the world service into Rhodesia, number 12 (Caroline’s TX), going into service on 30th December1965. Caroline eventually received Transmitter Number 14, and presumably the other customer received number 15. Within eight weeks of all these switching orders the Mi Amigo (Caroline South), finds itself washed up on the beach at Frinton,

Frinton on sea new Arrival! - Big L Radio Limerick

Frinton on sea new Arrival!

and then taken to Holland for repairs? As soon as CE 317C number 14 arrives from the U.S.A. and taken on board, the Mi Amigo sets sail for her original anchorage off the east coast next to M.V. Galaxy (Radio London), commissioning the TX as she crosses the sea ready for broadcasting the moment she is able to drop anchor.

new rig and TX - Big L Radio Limerick

Caroline’s new rig and TX

As of 2003 the well travelled Continental Electronics 317C Number 12, originally ordered for the Mi Amigo, resides at Orfordness, a mere short nautical mile or two from the resting place of the Mi Amigo, (Sunk in 1980) and is currently for sale, no reasonable offer refused!

More of the same here

Also Worth reading………………………………….Some really interesting pictures.

Anyone out there got a ship?