SCHOOL: Howth | ADDRESS: Howth, Co. Dublin
Talking of storms is like telling a ghost story, but to be caught at sea is something dreadful to remember. At the time I am going to write about, Ben Eadar could boast of a very large fishing fleet, which consisted of about 30 fishing boats, each boat employing about eight young men, who were all the bravest of the brave, each skipper contending with the other contending with the other, to see who could fish the hardest in the worst kind of weather.
Such was the case in the month of September or October, 1901 or 1902 when the fishing fleet put out to sea to to fish for haddock near the Kish Light-Ship. All the fleet got out to the fishing grounds with a nice breese [sic] of south west wind blowing, but the sky looking very overcast. They let go their small boats with four men in each to start fishing which was customary at the time, when a terrible storm broke out, and the snow began to fall.
The skippers of the big boats remained quite cool, gave orders to the men on board to shorten the canvas so as to make the boats safe during the storm. When they had that done they raced North hoping to pick up their small boats where they had left them. All succeeded in doing so but one the “Maggie” owned by Mr L Rickard and skippered by a Mr John Mc Loughlin.
He searched all around the sea, but search as he might he failed to find his yawl or small boat. When night fell he decided to run for the harbour hoping that when he got there he would find that the four men had been picked up by one of the other boats fishing in the vicinity. But to his horror, when he arrived in the harbour, he found that the yawl and men had not been seen by any of the other boats.
It was heartbreaking to all the fishermen in general, and what could they do. The storm was raging at such a furious pace and the night was so dark, none of them could attempt to put out to sea again, to search for the unfortunate men, and so four more brave sons of the sea were dragged to their doom, and Ben Eadar was left to mourn the loss, of four more brave sons.
“The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0792, Page 21” by Dúchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.