Cookies on The Southern Star website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the The Southern Star website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
How does The Southern Star use cookies?
Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
We don’t sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
Hide Message
  • News

Books recalls story of poet and Cape Clear islander

Friday, 23rd December, 2016 9:34pm
Books recalls story of poet and Cape Clear islander

Eamon Lankford

THE truly remarkable story and writings of Cape Clear Island-born fisherman, poet and patriot John K Cotter are featured in a new book.

O Charraig Aonair go Droichead Doinneach (From Fastnet Sound to Blackwater Bridge) has been compiled and edited by Eamon Lankford.

Not widely known, perhaps, is that the man at the helm of the fishing boat Gabriel, the first vessel to literally link up with the Asgard on its arrival into Howth in July 1914 with a shipment of arms – which were later to used in the Easter Rising and other incidents – was Cotter, who was accompanied by fellow islander Carey Con Cadogan.

Cotter’s crucial role in this historic event can best be appreciated in extracts of his written submission in 1961 to the Bureau of Military History in Dublin, which are featured in an appendix in the new book.

Born in 1878 at The Glen, Cotter spent half his life on the Gaeltacht isle as a fisherman.

When the fishing industry began to go into rapid decline, he and his wife Ellen (Nolan) and their seven children sailed in the Gabriel for a new life at Blackwater Bridge, Kenmare in 1920.

In Kerry, they had two more children and opened a post office and shop. 

Cotter died in 1968.

It was in Kerry that Cotter composed most of his poems, in Irish and English. 

Subjects included boats, fishing and sailing, island landscape, dancing and other pastimes, the Irish language, love, youth and old age. 

Many familiar names and landmarks from Cape Clear and other places that he loved and enjoyed are mentioned in the new book.

It also includes detailed research by Eamon Lankford, who got access to manuscripts and memoirs from family, friends and admirers, mostly from Cape Clear. Cotter’s late son Gabriel was also a major contributor and the book is dedicated to him. 

There are illustrations by Cork College of Art and Design students Michaela Collins (who also did the cover) and Alannah Matthews.