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Ringsend Sailing Trawlers: Cormac Lowth's New Book is Launched at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club

15th October 2022
The Ringsend sailing trawler 'Irene'
The Ringsend sailing trawler 'Irene' Credit: Cormac Lowth

“Broken hoops on the shore; at the land a maze of dark cunning nets; farther away chalk scrawled backdoors and on the higher beach a drying line with two crucified shirts. Ringsend: wigwams of brown steersman and master mariners. Human shells...”

Stephen Daedalus’s observation as he walks along the shoreline towards Ringsend in Ulysses was not the first time that James Joyce wrote about the Dublin city coastal village.

The “wigwams”, in this case, were Ringsend sailing trawlers or “smacks”. The fleet, which fished for most of the 19th century and into the early 20th century off the Irish east coast, is the subject of a new book by Cormac F Lowth, entitled Ringsend Sailing Trawlers – With Some History of Boatbuilding in Ringsend.

Ringsend sailing trawler 'Sea King' entering Kingstown Harbour (Cormac Lowth)Ringsend sailing trawler 'Sea King' entering Kingstown Harbour (painting by Cormac Lowth)

Lowth, a retired builder, has held a lifelong interest in the sea and maritime history. He served as a merchant seaman on cargo ships, he has been a scuba diver for much of his life, and was a member of the crew of the Galway hooker, Naomh Crónán, when it was based at Poolbeg Yacht Club in Ringsend.

Cormac Lowth, author of Ringsend Sailing TrawlersCormac Lowth, author of Ringsend Sailing Trawlers

He is a member of the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association, the Maritime Institute of Ireland and the Dun Laoghaire Borough Historical Society. He has written extensively on maritime history, on diving and marine-related subjects, and he is also an artist. The book’s cover, which he painted, is of the Kincora, the last sailing trawler to be built in Ringsend.

'Kincora', the last sailing trawler to be built in Ringsend (Cormac Lowth).JPG'Kincora', the last sailing trawler to be built in Ringsend (painting by Cormac Lowth)

Lowth spoke to Wavelengths about his new book, which has a foreword by Afloat's Winkie Nixon and was launched in Poolbeg Yacht Club. You can listen below.

Lowth spoke to Wavelengths about his new book, which has a foreword by Afloat's Winkie Nixon and was launched in Poolbeg Yacht Club

Ringsend Sailing Trawlers: With Some History of Boatbuilding in Ringsend by Cormac F Lowth is published by Peggy Bawn Press, with support from the Dublin Port Company, at €27Ringsend Sailing Trawlers: With Some History of Boatbuilding in Ringsend by Cormac F Lowth is published by Peggy Bawn Press, with support from the Dublin Port Company, at €27

The limited edition of 500 will be available in bookshops and online or by contacting Cormac Lowth at email address [email protected]

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

Email The Author

Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

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Weekly dispatches from the Irish coast with journalist Lorna Siggins, talking to people in the maritime sphere. Topics range from marine science and research to renewable energy, fishing, aquaculture, archaeology, history, music and more...

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