The Tinnaberna Fisherman

“Pull up the catch Tom!” said Sean O’Mhurchu. Tom
quickly reeled in the catch. “We got something!” he
shouted, but it wriggled away before he could place a
hand on it. As he caught his breath, a wave washed
over the boat and all the fish they had caught during
the day fell out of the basket and landed in the sea.
Tom looked up at the dark grey sky. It was going to
be a long night.
Back home Siabh Ni’Mhurchu was picking potatoes.
A lot of the potatoes were green and small but Siabh
knew not to mention it to mother. “Mother” asked
Siabh after a few moments of silence. “Yes” she
replied turning around to look at Siabh’s bright blue
eyes. Siabh pushed back her long ginger hair to
reveal a freckly face. “I wanted to ask you if you
knew anything about reading” said Siabh “Um I think
you should get on with your work young lady” she said.
“Oh,” said Siabh. She dreamed of going to school.
Siabh’s hair danced around her shoulders as she
ran after her mother. She was fast for a ten-year-
old. She slowed down as she reached the back door
to her cottage. She pulled her ragged jumper over
her hands and realised it had grown colder. There
were grey clouds appearing in the sky. Then it
started to rain, heavy rain. Her mother opened the
door and Siabh clambered in. Riain her youngest
brother came over to her and gave her a hug. “We
thought you were lost” but the rest of his sentence
was drowned by a flash of light and a sound of
thunder. “Up to bed,” Mother announced strictly.
“The lot of you” she said. Siabh silently ascended the
crooked steps to bed where they all squished in.
Siabh knew she wouldn’t sleep. Nobody dared to
mention father. She opened the back-hatch door and
ran off to the cliff edge.
She remembered that morning waving goodbye to
father. She was standing right here. She could see
the footprints from her old boots. She stood up and
waved trying to imagine she could see father. She
tried to stand on her boot prints but eventually gave
up after toppling over by the strong wind. She wiped
her face as more rain lashed against her. She
remembered that this morning it was such a beautiful
morning and that she could hear the birds chirping as
she waved her father and Tom out to sea until she
could no longer see their figures.
She was determined that father would come home.
Remembering what Tom had once told her she ran
towards the highest sheltered point beside the ring
fort and lit a fire in hope that it would guide Tom and
her father home.
After a while she could no longer keep her eyes
open, she decided to rest for 5 minutes.
She woke with a start, the storm had gone and it
was morning. She could hear voices from inside the
cottage. No one had noticed her departure from
home. She looked out to sea and saw a battered
looking ship come close to land. She strained her
eyes. Siabh rushed down the stone steps to the
beach. The boat approached the shore. Her father
climbed out and saw his daughter rushing towards
him with her arms wide open. She flung herself into
his arms. They were back!
the end
In 1815 18 Tinnaberna Fishermen died off the bank of Wales. Only 1 boat
from the fleet made it home.