ON LOUGH ERNE
following pieces have been contributed by Michael Clarke, keen
yachtsman on Lough Erne.
In 1818 a number of Fermanagh gentlemen set up 'The Subscribers to
the Boat races on Lough Erne for the encouragement of Fast Sailing
Boats and the Improvement of the Navigation of the Lake'. There is
a subsequent and continued history of yacht racing that makes
today's Lough Erne Yacht Club the oldest yacht racing club in
Ireland. It involved various Big House families, who owned the
yachts, and other families, many were employees at the Big Houses,
who built the yachts and crewed in them.
House yacht owners included the following: Saundersons of Castle
Saunderson; the Crichtons of Crom Castle, Tippings of Rosferry,
Irvines of Rockport, Folliot-Bartons of Waterfoot, the Massey-Beresfords, and the Richardsons of Rossfad. Boat building
families, usually also carpenters, included Maguires at Bellisle,
Craigs at Crom, Goodwins, and Johnstons, some of whom lived on
Lower Lake islands. Ternans on Owl Island, Lower Lake and
Cathcarts of the Upper Lake were famous rowing families, as were
many who lived on Boa Island, Ireland's largest inland island.
Charlie McCabe built numerous racing yachts for the lakes and the
sea in Enniskillen in the late 1800s.
is a very common name in present day Fermanagh. It is a long shot,
but the Rod Johnstone who built the first of the famous
international J/24 keelboats in Connecticut in 1977 believes that
his ancestors came from the north of Ireland.
I ask folk on the list seeking out family histories to look out
for the yachting connection. Especially in the early 1800s when
Fermanagh's population was three times that of today, there was a
substantial and active fleet, likewise in the late 1800s.
21 Jun 1999
Bud Crookes, wartime member 422 Squadron, Royal Canadian Airforce,
came back to what was RAF Kiladeas last week for the first time in
nearly 60 years, and he reckons he has now solved the
mystery of why 422 Squadron carried the nickname 'The Flying
Bud Crookes was
chosen by his returning comrades to join Lough Erne Yacht Club's
Commodore, Jorgen Pedersen, to unveil a memorial stone to 131 OTU
during a reception at LEYC last week, where a party of returning
Canadian and other members of 422 Squadron were greeted by LEYC
members and other local folk, including Fermanagh Flying Boat
is the oldest yacht racing club in Ireland and it was around in
the 1940s when he and others in his Sunderland Flying Boat crew
were brought together and trained to work as a team in the war
against German submarines at 131 OTU. This major Operational
Training Unit was based at RAF Kiladeas, which today is the site
occupied by Lough Erne Yacht Club.
is sure that there was also a connection between Club and Squadron
in those early days. The Kiladeas base itself was built by
Americans, whose commanding officer lived at Rossfad House, home
of the then LEYC Secretary Henry Richardson and his wife, Phyllis,
who was one of the most successful competitive sailors in the
history of LEYC. Today the artefacts of war are all put to
peaceful and pleasurable use. As the 422 Squadron guests strolled
in the sunset, they saw, where war planes once floated, a fleet of
J/24 keelboats finish a race in the bay, spinnakers set, go to
moorings that used blocks made for wartime flying boats and crews
land from dinghies at a slipway first built for Catalina Flying
boats. Peace has fully replaced War.
4 Jun 2000
by Michael Clarke, Fermanagh