• April 19, 2021

The Irish Skipper here reports on the decline in the indigenous fishing community of Magheroarty, North Donegal and the tough life of those manning the few boats still working. The remaining boats keep alive a tradition that’s in the blood. There is a video clip at the link below and the full two part documentary can be accessed on TG4 player. (The audio is in Irish but there are English subtitles):https://theskipper.ie/tg4-documentary-features-the-few…/

“Because of government restrictions on fishing for salmon, and on the issuing of new fishing licences, very few boats now operate out of Machaire Rabhartaigh. The O’ Brien family owns all three of the remaining full time boats, fishing for crab behind Toraigh Island, and off towards the Scottish coast. It’s tough, unrelenting work, involving lifting, clearing, baiting and re-setting up to 3000 pots on a single trip that lasts between 36 and 48 hours. There’s little time for chat, and not a lot of time for breaks or for sleep, as the pots are hauled in and returned, often in difficult conditions.“Two of the boats, owned by John O’Brien and his son Colm, fish commercially for crab, staying out for up to two days at a time in all but the most difficult of weather conditions.

“The third boat belongs to Peadar Coll. He fishes closer ashore as government restrictions on fishing make it almost impossible for small scale boats to earn a living from this most traditional of livelihoods. While the decline in the number of boats fishing locally is impossible to deny, what’s harder to shake is what’s ‘in the blood’, the generational instinct to fish in the Atlantic, whatever the circumstances”

Irish Skipper full link:


TG4 Player link – full two part documentary:


Bernard Moffatt

Assistant General Secretary Celtic League (18th April 2021)

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