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Fishermen to Research History of Greencastle Fishing Fleet

A team of retired fishermen has begun work on creating a history of the boats that have fished out of Greencastle over the years. The group will be operating out of the Inishowen Maritime Museum, in Greencastle, and will eventually work with museum staff to create a digital archive of information on boats that operated out of Greencastle.

The museum started out to create a list of Greencastle boats several years back but never properly got to grips with it.

“Croi na Farraige” / “Heart of the Sea” is a FLAG funded project set up by Inishowen Community Media Network to record the reminiscences of those involved in seafaring and fishing in Inishowen. A lot of the interviews were filmed in the Maritime Museum so that prompted us to re-start our fishing fleet project. The idea is that this time, it would still be about fishing boats, but done by fishermen.

The original idea had a more sociable aspect, with groups of retired fishermen calling into the museum at specific times for a cup of tea and a chat. It was hoped that this would have sparked memories and information off each other which could have been collated and preserved by the museum.

Unfortunately, anti - Covid precautions caused this social aspect of the project to be paused but team leader, Gerry Gill, is now working with a smaller team, Brendan Gill, Jim Cavanagh and Brian McDonald, to create a list of boats that fished out of the port. This can all be done from their individual homes, with no risk from Covid.

The list will then become the focal point for a more open project as soon as control of the pandemic allows.

The three fishermen have over 150 years’ fishing experience between them and the McDonald family has been building fishing boats since 1750, so we are starting off from a strong base.

The Maritime Museum has had a digital archive management system installed which will be able to help us create a living record which can be updated as new information is found.

Thanks to existing arrangements with the maritime media, the museum has been allowed access to their digital archives and it is hoped to eventually develop these links into a searchable database to form the basis of a history of fishing in Greencastle.

The museum is already the custodian of the Inishowen Maritime Memorial, with accompanying records of fishing tragedies, so it would be nice to create a record of the better days of the Greencastle fishing fleet.

Anyone with information on boats that fished out of Greencastle can contact the museum at greencastlemaritime@outlook.com

The museum is currently closed, due to Covid restrictions, but our voicemail, e-mails, etc are monitored regularly.