1927 Drowning Tragedy:  Inishkea and Lacken

One of the memorials in Fallmore graveyard (No. 192) lists the names of the ten fishermen from the Inishkea islands who drowned in the 1927 tragedy.

28th October 1927 was a fine clear day and the sea around County Mayo was eerily calm. 

Deceived by the calm seas, 30 curraghs from Inishkea, each with 2 fishermen, ignored the warnings of rapidly falling barometer pressure, and rowed into the dark evening.  Sensing an imminent storm, 24 of the curraghs headed back home.  The violent storm struck suddenly and 10 of the 12 men in the remaining 6 curraghs were drowned, including 14 year old Terry Reilly and his father.

In this one terrible storm, 10 fishermen from Inishkea and 9 from Lacken drowned, while in Galway 9 were lost in Bofin and 26 died in Cleggan Bay.

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             The Inishkea Memorial at Fallmore

Irish                                         English Translation
Sean O Muineachin                    John Meenaghan
Sean O Manachain                     John Monaghan
Micheal O Manachain                 Michael Monaghan
Micheal O Cathain                       Michael Keane
Sean O Raghallaigh                   John Reilly
Toirdealbhach O Raghallaigh  Terry Reilly
Martin O Muineachin                   Martin Meenaghan
Sean Mag Fhionnachtaigh        John McGinty
Liam O Raghallaigh                   William Reilly
Sean O Maolfhabhail                 John Lavelle
Sean O Raghallaigh                  John Reilly *
Micheal O Maolfhabhail             Michael Lavelle *

Inscription:  "Erected by exiles from Ireland in Denver Colorado USA.  In memory of the fishermen from Inishkea who were drowned on 28 October 1927.  May God grant eternal peace to their souls."

*Drowned some years later, their names were added to the headstone.

Description of the tragedy from "Within the Mullet" by Rita Nolan, 1998 (book)
Rita Nolan died in 2006 and is buried in Emlybeg Cemetery

Thanks to Phil Meenaghan from Australia for providing some of the information and for the translations.
Lacken Memorial
Photo from Mayo Historical
and Archaeological Society
On the afternoon of Friday 28th October 1927, between 5.00 and 5.30p.m., nine boats set out from Lacken pier to fish for herring in Lacken Bay. The boats were about 25’ long. As the herring fishing was exceptionally good the week before, no boat was any further than 1000 yards from the shore when a sudden storm blew up from the southwest.

The sky got very dark. Crewmembers were just about able to see each other but they couldn’t hear each other shouting from the roar of the gale. They just rowed in the direction that they thought the pier was in as the spray from the sea stung their eyes.

Two boats made it to the pier. Five boats were washed in on Lacken strand and their crews made it ashore. The two remaining boats were blown towards the
cliffs on the east side of the bay. Seven crew members from one boat scrambled ashore but the eighth, Anthony Kearney, aged 27, was lost.

The ‘Rose of Rathlacken’ was also smashed against the rocks and the eight crewmembers were lost. They were: Thomas Lynott (52), Thomas Goldrick (46), Michael Goldrick (22), Pat Goldrick (19), Anthony Goldrick (19), Pat Kearney (50), Anthony Coolican (21), and Martin Kearney (30).

By 9.00pm the sea was once again calm.

On Saturday, 29th October, 1927 the body of Anthony Kearney was recovered. On Sunday a coat identified as that worn by Thomas Lynott, a muffler recognized as Pat Kearney’s and two fishermen’s aprons came ashore. Later that evening nets were washed on to the strand.  All they contained was some herring heads and dogfish.

None of the remaining bodies were ever recovered.

        This account is courtesy of Carol Whelan, Lacken
           Drowning Tragedy Commemoration Committee.
                 Inishkea Memorial at Fallmore
              photo of courtesy of Brian MacSuibhne

Lacken drownings (link 1)

Lacken drownings (link 2)

Lacken Drowning commemoration 2007