O Driscolls: Past and Present
Commodore John J. Kavanagh (Retrd) Irish Naval Service who launched
O Driscolls:Past and Present at the O Driscoll Clan Gathering
2005 at Baltimore and author Éamon Lankford.
O Driscolls at the 2005 O Driscoll Clan Gathering prior to the
launch of O Driscolls:Past and Present.
Book Launch at O Driscoll Clan Gathering, Baltimore, County
Cork, Ireland, 7.30pm, Saturday 25th June, 2005, in Baltimore
The author of this excellently researched and attractively
produced 193 page book is Dr. Éamon Lankford founder / director
of Cape Clear island Museum and Archive. It is beautifully illustrated
with maps, drawings, plans, genealogical charts, 70 B/W and colour
The O Driscolls have, for over 1,500 years, been anchored in
the ancient district of Corcu Lóegde, now known as Carbery, in
West Cork, Ireland. They can boast of their connection to the
early Christian pilgrim, Saint Ciarán, born in Cape Clear island
, who became, the patron saint not alone of Ossory, but also of
From the twelfth century, O Driscolls were confined to an area consisting
of poor land and a long and dangerous coastline, from Castlehaven
to Baltimore and the islands of Sherkin, Heir and Cape Clear.
Here, from their many castles, they established themselves as
great mariners on the south coast , engaging in piracy, feuds,
warfare and controlling some of the richest fishing grounds in
The seventeenth century Fínghin Ó Driscoll, Fineen the Rover, although
famous in song and story, set in train a series of events and
land deals which were to reduce the O Driscolls to poverty and
cause their leaders and many of their descendants to emigrate
to England, Canada, America and Australia. They went as ‘Wild
Geese' to France and Spain and other places where they made a
name for themselves in military, religious, economic, medical,
cultural and political life of many countries. In time, in Ireland,
they adapted to new ways and became merchants, journalists, authors,
poets, educationalists, religious and legal figures.
Also treated is, the tantalizing mystery of who today should
be called 'The O Driscoll', the hereditary chieftain of the clan.
The story of some who form the international family is told in
the chapter titled The O Driscoll Diaspora. Today, there is a
new spirit among O Driscolls worldwide which owes much to the
Annual O Driscoll Clan Gathering which takes place in June each
year at Baltimore and the islands. O Driscolls:Past and Present
tells some of the ever evolving O Driscoll story worldwide. It
makes an ideal present for anyone remotely related to an O Driscoll.
|Available from :
Cape Clear Museum Society,
c/o An t-Aras,
13 Dyke Parade,
Tel. 353 (0)21 4274110.
Bookshops in Cork, Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Caseys of Baltimore
Hotel, Cotters of Baltimore etc.
Price: Euro 15, plus 3 Euro packing and postage to Europe.
26 US Dollars per copy including postage.
Bank drafts in Euro currency will speed dispatch.
ISBN 0 9534898 4 1
1979 Fastnet Race Remembrance at Cape Clear Island
15th August 2004
2004 Cape Clear Island Museum & Archive, County Cork, Ireland
organised a number of events in recognition of the 150 years of
the Commissioners of Irish Lights having built a lighthouse on
the Fastnet Rock which is less than four miles from Cape Clear.
Museum and island Co-operative arranged the erection of a monument
on a hillside where one views both the old disused Cape Clear
Lighthouse with Signal Tower alongside and the Fastnet Lighthouse.
The monument was unveiled on May 23rd by Captain Owen Deignan
of the Commissioners of Irish Lights.
Fastnet Lighthouse Exhibition presented at the island Museum illustrates
the history of the Cape Clear Signal Tower (c. 1805), Cape Clear
Lighthouse (1818-54), the Fastnet Lighthouse of 1854 and that
Fastnet:An Charraig Aonair, by Éamon Lankford, Director of the
island Museum, details the history of the Fastnet Lighthouse and
also covers the tragedy that befell the 1979 Fastnet Race.
From Cape Clear one sees the Fastnet Rock which is the turning
point for the biennial Fastnet Race. Between August 13 to 16th,
1979 the Fastnet Race was torn by a storm that led to the loss
of 15 lives among racing sailors and the sinking of five boats.
anniversary of the most tragic event in yachting history was honoured
on August 15th 2004 by Cape Clear Museum & Archive. Included in
the day's events were the presentation of the 1979 Fastnet Race
Exhibition, unveiling of a Memorial and book launch. At the island
Museum, John P. Bourke, Admiral of RORC unveiled the specially
commissioned Fastnet Race Memorial by Cork sculptor Don Cronin.
The symbolic piece is in limestone and glass. The names of those
who perished are written on glass symbolising that their names
are forever written on the waters around the Fastnet.
John P. Bourke, Admiral of RORC unveiling the Fastnet Memorial,
Dr. Éamon Lankford, Fastnet Remembrance 2004 Director and Commodore
John J. Kavanagh (LE Deirdre, 1979). Ted Crosbie of the
Irish Examiner daily launched the book Fastnet:An Charraig Aonair
by Dr. Éamon Lankford, founder/ director of the Island Museum
& Archive which contains an account of the 1979 Fastnet Race and
the part played in the rescue operations by the Baltimore Lifeboat
and the Irish Naval Service.
Present at the opening of the 1979 Fastnet Race Exhibition
was the Deputy Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Jim Daly, Lt.
Cdr Nial Manning of the Irish Naval vesel LE Emer and officers,
Capt. Harry McLarnan of the Granuaile, vessel of the Commissioners
of Irish Lights, Baltimore Lifeboat under Cox Kieran Cotter who
was a member of the crew who rescued the crew of Regardless and
Marionette during the Fastnet storm of 1979. Also present was
Commodore John J. Kavanagh who was Lt. Cdr. of the naval vessel
LE Deirdre which located some 17 yachts during the 1979 storm
and guided rescue services to their location.
On behalf of the island Museum Terence C. Johnson, Chairman
of RNLI (Ireland) presented citations to Christy Collins, Cox
of the 1979 Baltimore Lifeboat, Kieran Cotter, present Cox, Capt.
Neil Manning of LE Emer, Commodore John J. Kavanagh (retired)
and Peter Whipp of the 1979 Fastnet Race yacht Magic who along
with Neil Kenefick a member of the 1979 crew of Golden Apple of
the Sun have helped to establish 'The Fastnet Race Remembrance
Collection' as part of the Cape Clear Island Archive. Volume I,
contains a collection of newspaper accounts of the 1979 Fatsnet
Race while Vol. 2 will contain material submitted by relatives
and friends of those who perished in the 1979 race and participants
in the race of that year.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club, organisers of the biennial Fastnet
Race gave the twenty fifth anniversary Fastnet Remembrance Ceremony
undertaking wholehearted support and a plaque presented by RORC
is mounted in the island Museum. Ted Turner presented the Museum
with a copy of a painting of Tenacious winner of the Fastnet Race
1979 and a number of others presented charts and photographs of
yachts which participated in the 1979 race. A considerable number
of accounts of the 1979 Fastnet Race have also been received.
During the day's event at Cape Clear a number of participants
in the 1979 race were interviewed by television networks, radio
stations, press and the Museum's recording team. It is hoped to
have much of this material available in the Island Archive.
John O'Donnell, SC, sailed Sundowner in the 1979 race along
with his father Barry and Nicholas and in 2004 on the occasion
of the 25th anniversary of the tragedy of 1979 John wrote a poem
called The Wave. Nicholas O'Donnell read the poem to a hushed
audience at the Museum and this was followed by the fine singing
of Rory Allen of Ballymaloe of 'The Fastnet Race'. The ballad
was penned by Kathryn, daughter of Donie O'Sullivan, Secretary
of the Ballycotton Lifeboat during the 'Fastnet storm' of 1979.
of of the 1979 Fastnet Race Remembrance on 15th August 2004 was
a very moving Remembrance Ceremony at 5.30pm conducted from the
deck of the Irish Naval vessel, L. E. Emer under Lt. Cdr Neil
Manning positioned at sea off Cape Clear and in view of the Fastnet.
The vessel of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, Granuaile, under
Capt. Harry McLarnan, stood by, and the Baltimore Lifeboat with
its full crew, Courtmacsherry Lifeboat, island ferries and yachts
from Schull, Baltimore and Cork were alongside the naval vessel.
Some forty participants in the 1979 race from both Ireland and
Britain travelled in the boats which took part in the 'Parade
of Boats' from North Harbour.
Over 400 people observed the ceremony from boats at sea . A
wreath of wild flowers from the island was placed on the ocean
by Kieran Cotter, Cox of the Baltimore Lifeboat. As each of the
names of those who perished were called by Neil Kenefick of Golden
Apple of the Sun, the ship's bell was rung. This was followed
by a period of silence as the wreath bearing the names of the
fifteen sailors who were lost floated on the water towards the
Fastnet Rock. A Prayer Service conducted in both Irish and English
by the island curate Fr. Peter Queely and the Rev. Bruce Hayes,
Skibbereen followed. Dr. Éamon Lankford read a message from the
President of Ireland addressed to the bereaved families and the
rescue services of Britain and Ireland. The assembled officers
and crew of the naval vessel gave a salute as the ship's bell
was rung once more and a naval piper played the haunting tune
'Going Home' over the waters of the Fastnet.
The names of the fifteen sailors who lost their lives in the
1979 Fastnet Race have been inscribed in stone both at Cape Clear
island's North Harbour and in the Memorial at the island Museum.
We thank all who have visited our beautiful island and we warmly
invite you to return.
The work of the museum is entirely voluntary and people wishing
to be associated with the 1979 Fastnet Race Remembrance are invited
| Dr. Eamon Lankford,
Cape Clear Museum & Archive,
c/o An tAras,
13 Dyke Parade,
|Tel: 353 21 4274110. e-mail:email@example.com
Others please copy and we invite links
10th May 2004
This photo by Frank Miller of the Irish Times won the Photograph
of the Year Award 2003. It also won Photographer of the Year Award
for Frank Miller. It is titled: 'Dr. Éamon Lankford,
Naming Places at Cape Clear'.
The photo appeared in an Irish Times feature article, March
2003 about the work of Éamon Lankford and the Cork and Kerry Place
Names Survey of which he is founder/director. He is also founder/director
of the Cape Clear Museum & Archive. The Award winning photo is
presented here courtesy of The Irish Times.