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Dublin Port Encourages Ringsend’s Sense Of Itself As A Historic Maritime Community

29th October 2022
The view eastward over modern Ringsend. At first glance it seems totally tamed, with the formerly anarchic waterfront along the banks of the River Dodder (running left to right across photo foreground) now neatly tidied, while the south bank of the Liffey is kept in order by the dual carriageway accessing the Eastlink Bridge. But a “magic maritime space” has been preserved to provide room for Poolbeg Y&BC with its marina and mooring area, while there’s waterfront access and pontoons for the thriving Stella Maris and St Patrick’s Rowing Club
The view eastward over modern Ringsend. At first glance it seems totally tamed, with the formerly anarchic waterfront along the banks of the River Dodder (running left to right across photo foreground) now neatly tidied, while the south bank of the Liffey is kept in order by the dual carriageway accessing the Eastlink Bridge. But a “magic maritime space” has been preserved to provide room for Poolbeg Y&BC with its marina and mooring area, while there’s waterfront access and pontoons for the thriving Stella Maris and St Patrick’s Rowing Club

When the multi-talented John B Kearney (1879-1967) retired from a distinguished career in Dublin Port in 1944, he re-focused most of his attention on his parallel interest as a yacht designer and builder. It was an enduring passion that went right back to his first own-designed sailing boat, which he’d built in his father’s boatyard in Ringsend in 1897. Yet by the time of his retirement, he was living in Monkstown on the south shore of Dublin Bay, where one of the rooms in his house was re-purposed to be his design office. And above its door, he affixed a small but conspicuous brass plate, inscribed on which it clearly said: “God Chooses Our Relatives. Thank God We Can Choose Our Friends”.

For as Cormac Lowth so clearly reveals in his recent very comprehensive and copiously-illustrated book Ringsend Sailing Trawlers – published by Hal Sisk’s Peggy Bawn Press, with the support of Dublin Port Company – not only was Ringsend for a hundred years and more a hotbed of trawler development and technological innovations in fishing, but its increasingly vigorous maritime community – enlivened by positive interaction between the established Dublin fishermen and the incoming Brixham fleet from Devon – was producing remarkable sea-minded families such as the Murphys, the Bissetts, the Scallans and the Kearneys.

The Dodder “waterfront” at the back of Ringsend’s Thorncastle Street in the 1920s as captured by Harry Kernoff RHA, when the boatyards of families like the Murphys and Kearneys were cheek-by-jowl with rowing cubs The Dodder “waterfront” at the back of Ringsend’s Thorncastle Street in the 1920s as captured by Harry Kernoff RHA, when the boatyards of families like the Murphys and Kearneys were cheek-by-jowl with rowing cubs 

The Kearneys in particular seemed to specialise in strong characters who might have been sent directly from Central Casting to become the Awkward Squad on both sides of the seaward city reaches of the River Liffey. Playwright Brendan Behan was a cousin. Another cousin, Peadar Kearney, was the propagandist and poet who wrote the National Anthem, “The Soldier’s Song”. And John B Kearney himself could be a prickly individual, for in 1923-25 when he and his brother Tom were beavering away together each evening after work at the day job to build one of John’s design masterpieces - the 39ft yawl Mavis - in a corner of Murphy’s Boatyard in Ringsend, they discovered one night that there was no sugar for their ritual 9.30 pm mug of strong tea. Neither would accept the blame. And thereafter each brought his own sugar. But the building of the Mavis was successfully completed without the two Kearney brothers exchanging a further single word.

Despite the expansion of the Ringsend fishing fleet in the late 1800s, their waterfront facilities remained very primitive, and they usually had to lie to moorings off what is now the location of PY&BC Marina. In a time of loosely-defined channels, it was not unknown for fishing boats moored like this to be run down at night by steamships.Despite the expansion of the Ringsend fishing fleet in the late 1800s, their waterfront facilities remained very primitive, and they usually had to lie to moorings off what is now the location of PY&BC Marina. In a time of loosely-defined channels, it was not unknown for fishing boats moored like this to be run down at night by steamships.

Another brother – Jem – was likewise a very talented shipwright, but he sought to build a miniature conglomerate of marine-related businesses, in which profitable night-time salmon fishing in the Liffey was regarded as a Kearney birth-right, regardless of what the regulatory authorities might think. Thus he was known in some circles as “Bad” Kearney, with stories of how he and his team were regularly apprehended in the dark at Islandbridge and Chapelizod - supposedly in search of a stolen net - becoming a staple of the District Court. So perhaps it wasn’t surprising that John B Kearney in retirement wanted to put some physical distance between himself and the many Kearneys and the other colourful clans who dominated community life on both sides of the Liffey.

YOU MAY TAKE THE MAN OUT OF RINGSEND, BUT…..

But while you may take the man out of Ringsend, you can never take Ringsend out of the man. And though the houses backing onto the Dodder waterfront in Thorncastle Street in Ringsend, where Kearneys and Murphys and others had first seen the light of day, were all to disappear in the redevelopments of the early 1950s, many of the families stayed on in the new houses and apartments, with the community remaining largely intact and quietly aware of its special maritime heritage. And as for John B Kearney, he remained so closely in contact with his birthplace that it was he who designed the last sailing yacht to be built in Ringsend, the 35ft Gannet for the Somerville-Large family in 1954.

 John B Kearney at work on his drawing board, aged 83 in 1962. Photo: Tom Hutson John B Kearney at work on his drawing board, aged 83 in 1962. Photo: Tom Hutson

By this time he’d a quiet but definite national reputation as a yacht designer of some international note, and was still happily beavering away at his chosen course in life at the age of 75, with many productive years of yacht design still ahead of him. This was despite having “retired” ten years earlier as Dublin Port’s Superintendent of Engineering.

THE “REAL” HARBOUR ENGINEER

He had started with the port authorities in 1886 as an apprentice shipwright in their highly-regarded boat-building workshop, before going on to fill many key roles in the port’s development. But the fact that he had no university degree meant that he could never be officially acknowledged as the Harbour Engineer. So the position of Superintendent of Engineering may well have been created specifically for him in order to acknowledge his enormous contribution to Dublin Port’s innovation and development.

Yet apart from his boatbuilding tradesman’s accreditations, he did have an official qualification of sorts. Ever since childhood, his core ambition had been to achieve recognition as a yacht designer, and while still very young he had taken and passed a correspondence course in yacht design, with a certificate – duly framed and displayed– to accompany it. This gave him an added perspective to the experience he gained by working in his family’s boatyard on the banks of the River Dodder where it flowed into the River Liffey in the heart of Dublin port.

He also worked while very young in Murphy’s Boatyard nearby on that crazy little waterfront where aspirational rowing clubs rubbed shoulders with make-do-and-mend boatyards out the back of the houses of Thorncastle Street, where John Kearney and many others had been born into a community where maritime awareness and seamanlike instincts were absorbed with your mother’s milk.

This meant that although John B Kearney’s growing selection of yacht designs gradually demonstrated his own signature style, the basis of the hull shapes were still rooted in the Brixham-Ringsend trawler types, vessels so seamanlike in concept and practical in rig that they could continue trawling in heavy weather when other types had long since headed for port.

 The “classic Kearney type” of the 1920s: his 39ft yawl Mavis – built in 1923-1925 and now restored in Maine - seen here winning Skerries Regatta 1928. Yet if specifically asked……… The “classic Kearney type” of the 1920s: his 39ft yawl Mavis – built in 1923-1925 and now restored in Maine - seen here winning Skerries Regatta 1928. Yet if specifically asked………

….John Kearney could create a yacht based directly on the Brixham-Ringsend trawler type, as seen here in the 1924-built Dolphin.….John Kearney could create a yacht based directly on the Brixham-Ringsend trawler type, as seen here in the 1924-built Dolphin.

So although he had already produced several yacht designs of an evolving “Kearney type” by 1924, when a Ringsend sailing enthusiast asked him that year to create a yacht of miniature trawler type, he produced the 28ft clinker-built Dolphin, which exactly fitted the bill.

And this linking of the hard-working seaworthy trawlers of Ringsend with the recreational sailing scene was reinforced by the Ringsend boats frequently using Dun Laoghaire as a harbour of refuge, while they also were keen competitors in regattas specially staged for them by what was then Kingstown Royal Harbour.

RINGSEND/BRIXHAM TRAWLER YACHT AND THE ASGARD GUN-RUNNING

One noted yachtsman who was particularly taken by the trawler type was the Dublin surgeon Sir Thomas Myles, who for several years owned the Chotah, a 48-ton 60ft cutter-rigged Brixham trawler type yacht built in Devon in 1891 by Dewdney. In 1913, Myles followed growing trawler practice by having Chotah fitted with an auxiliary engine – in this case a 4 cyl. Bergius Paraffin Motor made in Glasgow - and thus equipped, he was better suited, in the 1914 Erskine Childers-led gun-running, to transfer Conor O’Brien’s consignment of Mausers from O’Brien’s own engineless Kelpie to the Chotah, and then onwards to their planned landing place at Kilcoole on the Wicklow coast.

“The Sailing Surgeon and Gun-Runner”. Sir Thomas Myles’ 60ft Chotah was a trawler-style cutter-rigged cruising yacht built 1891, and fitted with an auxiliary engine in 1913. This helped significantly in her landing of the Mauser rifles in the 1914 gun-running at the beach in Kilcoole in County Wicklow“The Sailing Surgeon and Gun-Runner”. Sir Thomas Myles’ 60ft Chotah was a trawler-style cutter-rigged cruising yacht built 1891, and fitted with an auxiliary engine in 1913. This helped significantly in her landing of the Mauser rifles in the 1914 gun-running at the beach in Kilcoole in County Wicklow

RINGSEND’S PEAK BOAT-BUILDING YEARS

In his endlessly-fascinating book, Cormac Lowth reckons the peak period of trawler-building in Ringsend itself was from 1860 to 1880, even if the greatest of them all, the mighty St Patrick, was not built by the Murphy family in their yard for their own operation until 1887. But from 1860 to 1880, the pace-setter was Michael Scallan, who somehow found the time to be a master shipwright, trawler operator, active yachtsman, and publican with the ownership of the still-extent Ferryman Inn.

As Cormac drily observes, it was surprising how many of the Ringsend boatbuilders also ran busy taverns. We couldn’t possibly comment on that. But one of the joys of the new book is the insight it gives into the characters who were drawn to the commercial possibilities of the expanding Ringsend fishing industry. And for sheer exoticism, few could match John Robert Barklie, who seems to have been one of those Scotsmen who rose without trace and arrived in 19th Century Dublin as fully-fledged entepreneurs.

“He rose without trace and was identified by his bright spats”. John Barklie (right) was one of several businessmen who tried – with varying levels of success – to cash in on the Ringsend trawler boom. Photo: Courtesy Cormac Lowth“He rose without trace and was identified by his bright spats”. John Barklie (right) was one of several businessmen who tried – with varying levels of success – to cash in on the Ringsend trawler boom. Photo: Courtesy Cormac Lowth

Barklie’s primary notion was literally a dead cert. He quickly grasped that, in an era of high mortality even among the wealthiest and healthiest families, death and mourning made for big business. And nowhere was it bigger than in Dublin in the Victorian era, a time when rich yacht-owners ordered that all the varnished brightwork of their elegant craft be painted matt black for a period of three months when a member of the immediate family passed away.

“THE MOURNING WAREHOUSE”

At a more prosaic level, Barklie made mourning wholesale in Dublin. He either had a wicked sense of humour, or else had no sense of the absurd at all, as he was an undertaker whose most prominent outlet was “Barklie’s Family and General Mourning Warehouse”. Despite being called a warehouse, it was in a prime retail site at 99 Grafton Street in the heart of fashionable Dublin city, and claimed to be “Established for the Exclusive Sale of Every Article Suitable for Family Mourning”.

For those seeking some level of privacy and dignity, he also provided what would now be called a Funeral Home down past a few shop-fronts further along Grafton Street. But as he himself favoured day wear which featured spectacular spats, and hats which verged on the frivolous, the entire enterprise seemed to lack a certain solemnity and seriousness, and thus he may have turned to trawler ownership as an additional enterprise to give him more credibility in the commercial world, and maybe with it some access to the world of Dublin Bay yachting.

When “watching the yachting at Kingstown” was quite the done thing – John Barklie and his wife (left foreground) on a regatta day in Dun Laoghaire. In the days before cosmetic dentistry, very few smiled for the camera. Photo courtesy Cormac LowthWhen “watching the yachting at Kingstown” was quite the done thing – John Barklie and his wife (left foreground) on a regatta day in Dun Laoghaire. In the days before cosmetic dentistry, very few smiled for the camera. Photo courtesy Cormac Lowth

But the only photo we have of John Robert Barklie in anything approaching a yachting setting is of himself in that unmistakable hat sitting with his wife on the East Pier summer crowd watching the yachts go out at some regatta or other. And as for becoming a trawler-owning magnate, the Ringsend fishermen quietly put paid to that in their own way, but you’ll have to read Cormac’s book to find out how.

JOYCEAN SITUATIONS

In reading about the adventures of Barklie and others who came to Dublin on the make in that interesting era, we end up with leading figures who find themselves in situations which could have come straight out of the writings of James Joyce.

And Bryan Dobson of RTE – whose family’s connections with the area give him a direct personal interest in the story – rightly remarked, in his lively and enthusiastic launching of the book in Ringsend’s Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, that if you could re-build the Dublin of 1904 from Joyce’s Ulysses, then you could re-build the Ringsend of 1885 from Cormac’s book.

At the launching of Cormac Lowth’s “Ringsend Sailing Trawlers” in the Poolbeg Y&BC were (left to right) Lar Joye (Port Heritage Director of Dublin Port Company), Bryan Dobson of RTE, Cormac Lowth, and Hal Sisk (Chairman of the Association of Yachting Historians and Director of Peggy Bawn Press).At the launching of Cormac Lowth’s “Ringsend Sailing Trawlers” in the Poolbeg Y&BC were (left to right) Lar Joye (Port Heritage Director of Dublin Port Company), Bryan Dobson of RTE, Cormac Lowth, and Hal Sisk (Chairman of the Association of Yachting Historians and Director of Peggy Bawn Press).

But in the end, while the people and their social and working situations are fascinating and at times heart-breaking, the true stars of the book are the wonderful fishing boats, the people who sailed them, and the versatility of both.

THE DUBLIN BAY PILOT BOATS

For instance, there’s the matter of the Dublin Bay Pilot Boats. As the port’s trade increased, and the size of the ships serving it grew rapidly, it had been generally reckoned by historians that all the guidance needs of the incoming larger ships could not have been met by the crews of hobblers rowing out in their relatively small skiffs to meet the pilot-seeking vessels.

Yet why are we not aware of the Dublin Bay Pilot Cutters as we are aware of the distinctive Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters, or the even more splendid Le Havre Pilot Cutters as represented by the sublime Jolie Brise? The answer is simple. The best Dublin Bay Pilot Cutters were re-purposed cutter-rigged Ringsend Sailing Trawlers, or new trawler-style cutters built to be Pilot Boats in the first place.

The Dublin Bay Pilot Boat Sophia in Dun Laoghaire Harbiur. As the demand grew for all-weather pilot boats for Dublin Bay and Port, it was soon found that the Ringsend trawler type could be readily adapted for the role. Photo courtesy Hal Sisk/Cormac LowthThe Dublin Bay Pilot Boat Sophia in Dun Laoghaire Harbiur. As the demand grew for all-weather pilot boats for Dublin Bay and Port, it was soon found that the Ringsend trawler type could be readily adapted for the role. Photo courtesy Hal Sisk/Cormac Lowth

They were fast, they could keep the sea in almost all weathers, and in order to make them a pilot cutter even if they had been used as a fishing boat, all you had to do was clean the fish hold, put in rudimentary accommodation for pilots, and add a distinctive number or name on the mainsail, which would be kept white instead of the usual tan bark of the fishing boats.

Another question is that surely, with the expansionary nature of recreational sailing in the Golden Era of yachting from 1880 to 1914, the demands of racing big boats at close quarters would have sought to draw on the highly-regarded sailing skills of the Ringsend trawler men?

OWEN BISSETT, RINGSEND’S TOP YACHT RACING ACE

The answer is of course yes. But as they were regarded as paid hands in the very stratified social world of the time, only the top skippers achieved general name recognition. And of Ringsend’s galaxy of successful racing stars, the superstar was Owen Bissett.

The trawler Greyhound was owned and worked in winter by Owen Bissett of Ringsend, but often in summer he was away in the more lucrative position as a leading big yacht racing skipper, and it may well be that because of this, Greyhound is settimg a high quality white jib instead of the usual tanned sail. Photo: Courtesy Cormac LowthThe trawler Greyhound was owned and worked in winter by Owen Bissett of Ringsend, but often in summer he was away in the more lucrative position as a leading big yacht racing skipper, and it may well be that because of this, Greyhound is settimg a high quality white jib instead of the usual tanned sail. Photo: Courtesy Cormac Lowth

In the summer, he was the man to have on board if you wished to win in your big yacht. And in the winter he was owner-skipper of the handsome trawler ketch Greyhound, which in Cormac’s book is shown – unusually – as setting a white jib while all the other sails are tanned. The likely explanation is that the quality jib came off one of the yachts that Bissett raced, where the sails would be changed annually, an extravagant approach which would definitely not be replicated in the tightly-financed trawler business.

WHAT HAPPENED?

The hugely-significant Ringsend sailing trawler industry declined very quickly after 1914. Its demise was speeded by World War I, the rapid expansion of steam trawler fleets at larger purpose-built fishing ports, and the weakening of commercial cross-channel links with the establishment of the Irish Free State.

Thus we all owe a debt of gratitude to Cormac Lowth for his comprehensive book – in truth, there’s the makings of three books here – and to Peggy Bawn Press who, with the talents of Gary Mac Mahon of Copper Reed Studio in Limerick to draw on for the production challenge, and the support of Dublin Port to keep the show on the road, have given us all something attractively tangible to study. It helps us to grasp why it is so important to encourage Ringsend’s continuing sense of its maritime self, a cherished part of the greater project of maintaining Dublin’s role as a living, breathing, working city-port, with all the natural dignity which that brings with it.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

The great sailing trawlers may have gone as working boats, but some – such as the Leader in Carlingford Lough - live on as sail training ships. And meanwhile, the talents of the best sailing families come down through the generations.

Ross McDonald of Howth, for instance, current Champion of Champions in the International 1720s and other classes, is a direct descendant of Owen Bissett. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

International 1720 European Champions (and Boat of the Week) with Atara at Cork Week are (left to right) Aoife English, Paddy Good, Killian Collins, Robbie English and Ross McDonald. Ross McDonald is a direct descendant of Ringsend sailing superstar Oen Bissett. Photo: Rick TomlinsonInternational 1720 European Champions (and Boat of the Week) with Atara at Cork Week are (left to right) Aoife English, Paddy Good, Killian Collins, Robbie English and Ross McDonald. Ross McDonald is a direct descendant of Ringsend sailing superstar Oen Bissett. Photo: Rick Tomlinson

As for the great Ringsend maritime names of Murphy and Kearney, they did not go gently into the night of anonymity. The great days of fishing may have been over, but as Dublin port’s ship berthing development progressed, the innovative Joe Murphy – who somehow still managed to look like a film star even when jammed into the brutal confines of a heavy diving suit – was there in the front line of development. And when the famous Diving Bell was threatened with scrapping, he played a key role in ensuring it was preserved as something of exceptional interest.

It takes real style to continue to look like a matinee idol when jammed into a traditional diving outfit, but Joe Murphy of the famous Ringsend boatbuilding and fishing family could carry it off. He was also instrumental in preserving Dublin Port’s historic Diving Bell, and he drew the lines and construction plans for the Clondalkin-built Galway Hooker Naomh Cronan.It takes real style to continue to look like a matinee idol when jammed into a traditional diving outfit, but Joe Murphy of the famous Ringsend boatbuilding and fishing family could carry it off. He was also instrumental in preserving Dublin Port’s historic Diving Bell, and he drew the lines and construction plans for the Clondalkin-built Galway Hooker Naomh Cronan.

And Joe Murphy’s boat-creation talents stayed with him to the end. When it was decided by the Clondalkin Community Group more than twenty years to build the big Galway Hooker Naomh Cronan as an Irish language project, it was to Joe Murphy that they turned for line and constructional drawings, and the skill and success of his efforts can be seen in the authenticity of the Naomh Cronan, now based in Galway City.

As for the Kearneys, well, boat-builder Jem Kearney – now with his yard at the East Wall - continued on his merry way as someone who availed of every opportunity for enjoyment, his way and style of life totally at variance with the popular conception of the 1950s as a drab time of economic gloom and inevitable emigration.

A family thing. Playboy boatbuilder and salmon fisherman Jem Kearney testing the limits of the bona fide traveller regulations at the Boot Inn with Cormac Lowth’s Granny Nora (left) and Great Aunt Eileen (right). Photo: Courtesy Cormac LowthA family thing. Playboy boatbuilder and salmon fisherman Jem Kearney testing the limits of the bona fide traveller regulations at the Boot Inn with Cormac Lowth’s Granny Nora (left) and Great Aunt Eileen (right). Photo: Courtesy Cormac Lowth

And his brother John quietly got on with designing, with his yachts now built in Malahide Shipyard, while the 17ft Mermaid - which he’d originally designed in 1932 – became the largest class in Ireland in the 1950s and early ’60s.

Yet it was after he’d turned 80 that the greatest challenge arrived on his design board in Monkstown. Perry Greer, an engineering polymath who headed up the large Unidare industrial conglomerate, had for several years been the owner of the successful 16-ton Kearney-designed yawl Ann Gail. But his dream was of something larger, and somehow in the early 1960s he brought together the special but highly individual and sometimes spiky talents of designer John Kearney of Ringsend and boatbuilder Jack Tyrrell of Arklow to create the 54ft 29-ton yawl Helen of Howth, which was launched in 1963 when John B Kearney was 84.

The sparks might fly – Jack Tyrrell and John Kearney at one of their weekly Saturday morning meetings in Arklow during the construction of Helen of Howth in 1962. Photo: Perry GreerThe sparks might fly – Jack Tyrrell and John Kearney at one of their weekly Saturday morning meetings in Arklow during the construction of Helen of Howth in 1962. Photo: Perry Greer

Helen of Howth – as created by a Ringsend boy at the age of 83. Not shown in these plans is a centreboard for improved windward performance, but she could make to windward without using it.Helen of Howth – as created by a Ringsend boy at the age of 83. Not shown in these plans is a centreboard for improved windward performance, but she could make to windward without using it.

The quality of the plans of Helen as drawn by this very focused octogenarian tell us much of the man. And with her sea kindliness and effortless yet comfortable speed, she had all the most attractive characteristics of the best Ringsend sailing trawlers. She was one of the most comfortable boats I’ve ever sailed on, though over the years her racing competitiveness was blunted by the fact that Perry Greer could never resist adding items – sometime heavy ones – which augmented this comfort, such that she became a home-from-home of so much welcoming warmth that on one round Ireland cruise with many stops, her owner-skipper never went ashore at all, as he could enjoy all the scenery from the comfort of his beloved boat, while the food was better than anything else available in the neighbourhood, as he was an ace cook.

Helen of Howth was renowned for her seakindliness and easy speed, but her racing competitiveness was blunted by owner Perry Greer’s tendency to add new creature comforts each year – so much so, in fact that the boot-top had to be raised every few years.Helen of Howth was renowned for her seakindliness and easy speed, but her racing competitiveness was blunted by owner Perry Greer’s tendency to add new creature comforts each year – so much so, in fact that the boot-top had to be raised every few years.

Yet while Helen of Howth is believed to be no longer with us, the spirit of Ringsend lives on with vigour. And Cormac Lowth’s Ringsend Sailing Trawlers gives us a new insight into a very special community, and an area which provides a living accessibility to times past, adding extra meaning to the widely-shared determination to make the very best of Dublin as a true city port.

Ringsend Sailing Trawlers

By Cormac Lowth
Published by Peggy Bawn Press
€27
[email protected]

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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