A well known and loved Bantry landmark, commemorating local fishermen who lost their lives, has been restored to its former glory.
The replica 19th century fishing boat has been a draw to the town for years, but Michael Healy of the Bantry Tidy Town group said, ‘the elements had taken their toll.’
‘The boat has been in place for many years and some people, locals and visitors alike, are not aware of the connection between it and Bantry,’ he told The Southern Star.
‘The local young men were John O’Sullivan, Timothy O’Sullivan, Michael O’Sullivan, Maurice Abbott and Timothy O’Shea who left Direeney Harbour, Adrigole, for a day of fishing on Friday October 11th 1895, but never returned that night.’
The next morning Peter Downey of Whiddy Island spotted the boat grounded close to where the Bantry Airstrip is today. On board they found the bodies of John O’Sullivan and Michael O’Sullivan. However, the bodies of the three other men, Timothy O’Shea, Maurice Abbott and Timothy O’Sullivan were never recovered.
‘We were delighted when the Craft Shop on the Glengarriff Road sponsored the restoration and Brian Donovan took over the task of bringing the boat back to its former glory,’ Michael said.
The restoration of the memorial to the fishermen has always been an important project for the volunteers at Bantry Tidy Town.
‘Last year was the 125th anniversary of the tragic event and with the help of Cork County Council, the Heritage Council and the descendants of the young men, many of whom still live locally, a series of plaques where dedicated in Adrigole and Bantry and we are delighted now that we have been able to restore the boat as well,’ Michael said.
‘This is an important monument for Bantry and we want to thank Brian Donovan and the Craft Shop for all their kind sup-port,’ Michael added.