Tragedy as Galway hooker sailor drowned

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Crinniu na mbad.jpg

HEROIC EFFORTS by the crew of a Galway hooker to save two brothers whose boat had capsized were praised by a priest at the funeral of a renowned Connemara sailor yesterday.

Fr Peadar Ó Conghaile told hundreds of mourners, who filled not just the church but also the grounds of St Mary's Church in Carna, that the four crewmen should get medals for bravery.

Seán Mac Donncha (67), known locally as Johnny Sheáin Jeaic, lost his life in the accident on Saturday morning as he and his younger brother Josie, went to take their traditional Galway hooker McHugh from Kinvara in the south of the bay to a regatta in Rossaveal. The boat capsized shortly after leaving Kinvara.

Mourners were yesterday told how the crew of Bláth na hÓige , which also left from Kinvara, came to their aid. The four men, Gearóid Ó Cualáin, Máirtín Ó Conghaile, Aonghus Ó Cualáin and Máirtín Ó Ceoinín, managed to rescue Josie but they were unable to save his brother.

"These men, especially Gearóid Ó Cualáin, risked their lives to save others," said Fr Ó Conghaile. The Carna parish priest said that, as in so many other coastal villages, loss at sea was all too frequent. Hundreds of mourners brought the small south Connemara village to a standstill.

St Mary's was packed from early morning and the mourners extended out on to the main road in the village.

They had travelled from the three nearby Aran Islands, Inishbofin and other offshore islands, as well as coastal communities from Cork to Donegal. Others had travelled from the United States where wider family members reside.

"We are all too familiar with loss at sea in these parts, yet there was enormous shock when the news came through on Saturday morning," Fr Ó Conghaile said.

"Johnny was a man who was renowned and respected as a man of the sea, a lover of the Irish language and Irish culture, and a great singer. He is an enormous loss to the community."

Mr Mac Donncha, from Ard West, Carna, is survived by his wife Barbara, daughters Kathy, Maureen, Roisín and Fiona, and son Seán. He was buried in Moyrus cemetery outside Carna.

Recent Entries

Celebrating Tim Robinson
By Richard MarshI've always loved maps.  I can't think about travelling or a new place without a map, not always…
Cottage
"The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. . . ."
Photo: Leonard DoyleExtract: JOHN JEREMIAH SULLIVAN New York Times Published: February 10, 2012 He was blind in one eye and…
Separated at Birth, the Burren and the Aran Islands
The Burren, a rocky wilderness in western Ireland, is a region of ancient magic and infinite strangeness The cliffs…
Stones of Aran, a NY Review of books "masterpiece"
Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage (New York Review Books Classics) by Tim Robinson">Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage (New York Review Books…
Inis Meáin, through the peephole, 1973
Inis Meáin, Aran Islands, Ireland. 1973 from Brendan F. on Vimeo.A short film on life in Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) in…
Inis Meáin, Aran Islands, Ireland 1973
Aileen's is the perfect wave
LORNA SIGGINS, Marine Correspondent The Irish TimesIT IS a magnet for surfers, a nightmare for rescue agencies, and now it…
At last the west awakes to broadband
Dún Aonghasa on Inis Mór in the Aran Islands. The islands have already been covered by the National Broadband Scheme,…
Turning Green With Literacy...Why should we celebrate the Irish?
Op-Ed Contributor"Well, the heart's a wonder," says Pegeen Mike in John Millington Synge's comedy "The Playboy of the Western World."…
How Many "Greats" in Obama's Irish Grandfather?
President Barack Obama walks with Ireland's Prime Minister Brian Cowen and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., after a…
St. Patrick's Day With the Irish and the Jews
Above, Mick Maloney's new album recreates music from the nearly forgotten era of collaboration between Jewish and Irish songwriters in pre-World War…