|Faithlegg School House on the Old Road closed 1961|
One of the boys who participated was Martin Mahon. Martin was a gentle soul who as long as I could remember lived in the Rookery, Cheekpoint. He wrote about Occupations in the village and stated that he wanted to follow his father into the fishing trade. This he did as well as going to sea. Martin liked nothing better than a pint, a smoke and telling a few yarns.
|Martin and Bridgid Power stepping it out at a Dinner Dance 1980’s
Photo courtesy of Bridgid Power
Martin never married and died on October 8th 1999. He is buried at the top of Faithlegg Graveyard. The following is what he had to write about the fishing.
“25th Sept 1937
Faithlegg National School (Boys)
one also. The men sometimes make their
own nets but most of them buy them now.
The salmon season opens in February and ends on the fifteenth of
ready. The first thing they have to do
is to oil the nets and put them out to dry.
When the nets are dry they get some rope and rope them with twine. Before they rope the nets to put corks on the
rope about a fathom apart. When the nets
are roped they put some leads on them and then they are ready for fishing.
sometimes. Every day during the season
Mr Power and Mr Doherty go to town with any fish the fishermen catch. The fishermen say that when the wind is to
the south is the best time to get fish over on the bank when the tide is coming
in. When a fish goes into the nets the
fishermen leave go the end of the nets and pull to where the fish is lashing
and getting the gaff ready catch the part of the nets where the fish is and
sticking the gaff in the fish they pull him in and kill him.
wait for their turn to set their nets.
One place is “The Rock” and another is Buttermilk Castle. There are two boundaries and if they go
outside them they will be summoned. One
is from Duncannon Head to Drumdowney point and if you were seen outside that
boundary you would be summoned. The fishermen also say that when the water is
clear it’s not a good time to get a salmon, because the fish can see the nets
and turn away or swim out around them.”
How much life and the Salmon fishing has changed in that time. Driftnetting for Salmon was suspended in Ireland in 2006. It has yet to re-open.
Many thanks to Jim Doherty for passing on this story originally to me, and to Catherine Connolly who posted the links to both accounts on the Cheekpoint Coolbunnia/Faithlegg Facebook page.