THE LATE MIKE O’BRIEN, SAILOR AND FISHERMAN, OF GRATTAN STREET, made a special request last November that a model of the famous schooner ‘Kathleen and May’, which he had in his living room, be entrusted to the local Youghal Credit Union after his passing.
Mike was then ninety years of age and not in the best of health. Sadly he passed away two months later – the following January 2012. His family and a few good friends then set about granting his wish. It was agreed with the Credit Union that they would accept the entrustment and display the model in a public place on their premises.
So on Monday evening May 28th, in the presence of a large gathering of friends, sailors and fisherman, the large model in a glass case was handed over by Mike’s brothers, Justin and Jacky at the Credit Union premises.
The Chairperson, Mary O’Brien told of how the committee were delighted to house the iconic model and the awareness of our maritime history that it would bring to all viewing it. Then Mary Cotter, a niece of Mike, mentioned the happiness that the event brought to the O’Brien family as they saw Mike’s wish reach fruition. Frank Mills paid tribute to the late Mike and told of how he had come into possession of the model.
About thirty years ago, it was made in Gloucester by Tommy Jewel, owner and captain of the vessel, before being sent over the Irish Sea in a yacht to Youghal where it was presented to Mike. Mike and Captain Jewel had sailed in it together in the 1950s and 60s.
Mike Hackett then spoke on behalf of all Mike’s other friends present in paying tribute by mentioning how helpful Mike had been where the research of maritime history was concerned. He was most knowledgeable and experienced, and a lot of the recorded history of the port of Youghal is thanks to him.
In selecting the Credit Union building, he was very wise: it is located on the quayside; within a hundred-yards of the tourist office; just across the road from Mike’s house; and has tremendous business and footfall so that many many people will see it every day.
And lastly: as Queen Elizabeth of England celebrated the 60th anniversary of her corination, she is to sail down the Thames in the royal yacht escorted by forty-seven tall-ships – and the ‘Kathleen and May’ will be one of them. Then the schooner will be bound for Liverpool where she will join the other famous schooner ‘De Wadden’ at the Maritime Museum on Merseyside.
Click on the short video below to see the ‘Kathleen & May’ on her centenary visit To Youghal back in July 2008 – Film: Kieran McCarthy and Michael Hussey
Pictured below are family and friends of the late Mike O’Brien at the presentation on Monday evening May 28th 2012 at Youghal Credit Union