Fishermen Adrift On Lough Neagh


Mid-Ulster Mail – Saturday 2 March 1963

Two County Tyrone fishermen had to spend seven hours adrift on Lough Neagh on Wednesday night in strong winds accompanied by sleet and snow showers when the engine in their 20-foot long boat broke down. The men had been fishing earlier for pollan at the Moats, an area in the north-east of the lough.

Patrick Joseph Quinn (40) of Annaghmore, Coagh, and his brother Marcus (27) of Clunto-richardson, Coagh, were suffering from extreme exposure when their boat drifted ashore near Ardmore Point in County Armagh at 2.00am on Thursday morning.

There were fears for their safety when they were last seen, in difficulties, two miles off the Ardboe shore at 7.00pm on Wednesday evening. Other fishermen could not put out to search for them owing to the unfavourable weather conditions. It is understood that their boat drifted south in the strong wind and eventually came ashore on the County Armagh shore of the lough.After being reunited with his wife and six children on Thursday afternoon, Patrick Joseph Quinn described his ordeal to a Mail reporter. He said that, owing to the high waves, they had almost given up hope of ever reaching the shore – “All we could do was sit and pray and hope for the best. It snowed on us continually for two hours and we were almost blinded by it. We were nearly dead from exposure when we saw land.”

Pictured: Pat Joe Quinn with his mother Nellie

The narrative was taken up by his brother Marcus, who resides with his mother and sister. Marcus related that after wading ashore they spotted a light in a house half-a-mile away. The house was occupied by the Park family who gave them tea and food. Added Marcus – “It was the most welcome cup of tea I have ever had in my life.”

The brothers stated that, owing to the strong wind and high waves, they realised shortly after seven o’clock on Wednesday evening that they would not be able to bring their boat into the Ardboe shore. They therefore headed for the south shore for shelter but lost their bearings in the snow. They were afraid of their boat striking a rock and them being thrown into the water.

Pat Joe Quinn of 8, Tír na nÓg Cottages, Annaghmore (1923-77)

Marcus Quinn of Clunto-richardson (1935-74)

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