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The Fishmonger Who Talked to the Queen (... and other stories)

On this edition, the man who made international news when he told Queen Elizabeth that a monkfish has a face like a “mother-in-law” talks about what it is like to sell fish. Pat O’Connell calls for more public education about the fishing industry and says that all sections of it need to be working together for its future, which is not helped, he says, by politicians who fail to stand-up for it against European regulations. The Islands’ Federation says that offshore islanders have just as much rights to travel facilities as any citizen of the mainland; Birdwatch Ireland warns about the future of the seas and Fisheries Ireland encourages youngsters to go angling. A wide-ranging and interesting edition of the maritime programme, THIS ISLAND NATION, presented by Tom MacSweeney.

The Convict Transporation Ships to Australia


The convict ships transported 165,000 prisoners to Australia in the 80 years between 1788 and 1868. They were mostly men, but 25,566 women were also transported, though not all were prisoners. Some went voluntarily. The last convict ship, the Hougoumont, docked in the port city of Fremantle in Western Australia on January 9, 1869 – ending the era of transportation. It had been at sea for 89 days on a 14,000-nautical-mile voyage. Amongst the prisoners were 68 Fenians.

Fred Rea, owner and Publisher of the Irish Scene magazine in Western Australia and one of the organisers of the first 10-day Irish festival in Australia, held to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the ending of transportation, tells the story of these ships in a riveting account and asks why there was no commemoration of the historic date in Ireland.




The Coast Guard system of organisation has a fundamental problem with the core of its establishment – the interaction of management at the top with the local coastal volunteers. That has been stated to me in a variety of communications in the past month, by Email, phone and letter.

“This is at the core of what you have been writing about…” I have been told and also: “There is a hierarchial system, based on a disciplinarian type of approach.”

Read more in the February edition of the MARINE TIMES.



I have been writing about them for my new weekly column in the Cork EVENING ECHO, having seen a new memorial which has appeared on the riverside in Cork Harbour. It is not immediately visible from the roadway or footpath, amongst its screen of trees and bushes close to the cross-river ferry which carries traffic across the Lee to the Great Island at Carrigaloe and onto Cobh.

It is an interesting work by Sculptor Mick Wilkins of a young, bare-footed woman, holding a boat in her right-hand, looking upriver towards where the famous Sirius, commanded by local man, Captain Richard Roberts, left on the fourth of April, 1838, having taken on fuel and supplies for a voyage that would make TransAtlantic history as the first steamship voyage to America.

The inscription is: “In memory of those who emigrated from this shore.”

It was erected by SECAD, the South East Cork Area Development partnership; Cork County Council and the Glenbrook Amenity Association. I noticed it walking along the riverfront where the memorial garden to the history-making Sirius is close to the new monument. Discovering it brought to mind other Cork maritime memorials about which there is not a lot of public knowledge.

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