Saturday, April 8, 2023

Letter to Granny Part 2 - Tory Island


Tory Island lighthouse (Photograph The State Library of South Australia)

Following on the first post in this series, regarding Fanad lighthouse, this "letter to Granny" in the Weekly Irish Times 24th January 1905 won second prize in the Letter of the Week competition.

The powerful light that Shawn refers to is, I believe, the same optic that went to Mew Island and from there to the waterfront on Belfast's maritime mile.
However, Shawn, for some reason, did not give his real name. Luckily (for us), Granny mentioned that he was really Master Jack Watson aged 11, of Loop Head lighthouse. 
Jack was the son of James Watson (Service number 77) a Corkman born in Castletownbere to a coastguard. He had married in 1889 while living at Weaver's Point just across the Cork Harbour entrance from Roche's Point. James had served on Eeragh on the Aran Islands, the Old Head of Kinsale, Galley Head and Eeragh again. And presumably, Tory and Loop Head.
James' wife (Jane) died in 1915 at the Baily, Howth and James remarried in 1919 while living in Buncrana.

The sting in the tale is that James Watson did not have an 11 year old son called Shawn or Jack or John or James. He did however have an 11 year old son called Gilbert.
Which explains a lot.

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