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Fitting farewell for Danny, a man of the sea

November 13th, 2021 11:40 PM

By Jackie Keogh

The Norvic carrying the coffin of one of Skibbereen Rowing Club’s founder members, Danny Murphy (inset, right), on the Ilen River surrounded by club members. (Main photo: Anne Minihane)

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‘DAD made himself available to everybody,’ Patrick Murphy the chief executive of the Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation said in a tribute to his father, Danny.

‘It was,’ he said, ‘his defining characteristic and it’s possibly why so many people came out in Covid times to show their appreciation of the man, as he was taken to his final resting place.’

Danny (79) of Heir Island and Skibbereen was the master of the Norvic, an angling boat that operated all around the Carbery isles. He was also the ship’s master for the Boy Colm, a ferry vessel that took thousands of people on the journey from Cunnamore to Heir Island, Sherkin and Baltimore.

His other route was between Colla Pier in Schull and Long Island. But geography isn’t the only reason Danny was so well known and liked.

He was a founder and dedicated member of Skibbereen Rowing Club. He was also a member of the local islands’ association and numerous fishermen’s organisations.

Danny’s own final journey on Friday afternoon from Old Court to Cunnamore was marked in majestic fashion.

From Old Court to the mid-point of the Ilen River, the Norvic was out front, with club rowers, including Olympian Fintan McCarthy, elegantly escorting it on its port and starboard sides.

A flotilla of other boats – including ferry and whale watchers -– took over and brought Danny to Turk Head, where they were joined by almost 30 fishing and aquaculture vessels.

Historically, Danny was a member of the crew on board the Donemark, the tug that was on call during the Betelgeuse disaster in January 1979.

Following that, Danny diversified and became involved in aquaculture in Roaringwater Bay, an industry that led to the creation of 100 jobs in the region. Patrick, one of Danny’s six children, described him as unique.

‘He was,’ he said, ‘sociable, helpful, kind, hardworking, a family man, and a good friend and neighbour.’

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