Tributes to fallen friends
Kinsale may now be one of Ireland’s top tourism hubs, but memorials to Lusitania and to all fishermen who have lost their lives at sea show that Kinsale remains a fishing village at heart.
January 2007 was a deeply tragic month for the Irish fishing industry.
On January 10 came the sinking of the Pere Charles vessel off Hook Head, and then, less than 12 hours later, in the early hours of January 11, the sinking of the Honeydew II off Ram Head near Ardmore, Co Waterford.
On board the Pere Charles were Tom Hennessy (32), his uncle, Pat Hennessy ( 48), Billy O’Connor ( 50); Pat Coady ( 27) and Ukrainian national Andriy Dyrin (32).
Skipper and father- ofthree Ger Bohan ( 39) from Kinsale and Polish crew member Tomas Yagla ( 32) died in the Honeydew II sinking — the trawler had left its fishing grounds to help with the search for the Pere Charles.
The sinkings made national and international headlines, and were the catalyst for the formation of a small committee in the town of Kinsale,
Eamonn O’Neill, chairman of the Lost At Sea Memorial Committee recalls how the two sinkings inspired local people to begin a campaign to erect a large memorial to fishermen lost at sea from the port of Kinsale.
The town already had a memorial dating back to a donation to the harbour commissioners, back in the 1980s, by fisherman, Jimmy Hurley, of an anchor that he had found in his nets. The anchor was erected on the town’s small pier, opposite Acton’s Hotel, to the memory of those lost at sea.
Following the twin tragedies of the Pere Charles and the Honeydew 11 in early 2007, a dedicated Lost At Sea Memorial Committee was formed in Kinsale.
Their objective — to plan for the erection of a special memorial dedicated to the memories of the many fishermen lost at sea over the generations.
Recalls O’Neill said: “We decided to bring local architect Robert Jacobs on board, and asked him to come up with a design.
“He came up with the idea of a replica model of a Kinsale hooker. We had that made by local shipwright Ray O’Callaghan and had it encased in copper.”
John O’Mahony of Little Island, he recalls, created a separate piece, in the shape of a sail, which was erected behind the sculpture of the hooker.
The memorial cost in the region of about € 5,000, but the committee wasn’t finished — it’s currently hard at work on the third and final phase of the project, which is expected to be installed sometime before the autumn. This will be a touch-screen device, located at the memorial, containing information about those lost at sea from the port of Kinsale.
“It will act as a kind of database from which information could be downloaded remotely — and also accessed by members of the public at the memorial itself,” Eamonn explains
“We are currently fundraising for this,” he says, adding that it is expected to cost in the region of about € 8,000, a large portion of which has already been raised: “We are now nearly three- quarters of the way there and we hope to have it in place by the autumn of this year.”
The digital device is perfect for what they are planning he says: “We were looking for something which could provide the story and the details of those lost — such as the time, the vessel’s location, and even photographs. The digital route allows us endless scope for providing information right across the spectrum about those lost at sea.”
A special committee will oversee the data, which will have to be collected and authenticated before being gradually added to the database and continuously updated.
“The idea behind this digital element is to honour and to commemorate those lost at sea from this port,” says Eamonn, who also adds that the committee is currently appealing for donations.
Anyone who wants to contribute — either financially or in technically, in terms of design — should contact Eamonn O’Neill or John O’Mahony, care of the Harbour Office, Kinsale.
Eamon O’Neill, John O’Mahony, Rob Jacob, designer of the memorial boat, and Albert O’Neill at the Lost at Sea Memorial.
Joseph Bohan, son of Ger Bohan, attending the recent Sea Sunday Remembrance in Kinsale harbour, with Rev Peter Ruthford and John O’Mahony skipper of the Seán Mair.
Mary Bohan (left), wife of Ger Bohan, with her family and Annetta Jaglar, the wife of crewman Tomas Jagla and her family at the memorial service at Kinsale in June 2007 for the two men who lost their lives at sea.
Uniformed personnel from a selection of organisations departing St Multose Church, Kinsale, after an ecumenical service to mark Sea Sunday commemorations of those lost at sea.
Honeydew II skipper Ger Bohan, who died responding to calls to help those on board the ‘Pere Charles ‘in 2007.
Naval personnel stand to attention for the Sea Sunday ceremonies at Kinsale which remembered all those lost at sea.