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The Barrel of Rum

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The Barrel of Rum

Floating Barrel
From the Story, A Barrel of Rum

A Barrel of  Rum

A true story from Cape Clear Island collected and penned by Keanu Affleck Keogh then aged 11 for

Stories of the Revolution
Stories of the Revolution

the Stories of the Revolution project, published by Skibbereen Heritage Center.

It was a mild mid November afternoon on Cape, the date was the 19th November 1919, a big black bulky lump was spotted, east of the Castle. A light wind was growing from the west. it as heading towards the point ( which is north of the Bird House). A number of men, young and old had spotted it,word soon spread around the island, party tonight on Cape as a barrel of Rum had been spotted.

A Group of Young Friends

Young Michael Cadogan ( 18 years old) had to round up all his friends, Hugh Daly, John Leonard, Patrick Mulloy and his cousin, Michael Bill Cadogan. They headed for The Harbour. The boys jumped on board Michael Cadogan’s Father’s, John Cadogan’s ,new motor yawl, The Roving Swan. One of the Lads said “Michael, you should tell your Father that you are taking his yawl”. “No”, said Michael “We will be back before he knows it”.

Explosion at sea
From the Story ‘A Barrel of Rum’.

A Fierce Explosion

Three men had already left the Harbour in a small rowing boat ( 2 rowing and 1 steering). The boys left the Harbour at full speed, and it flew past the rowing boat. As it raced towards the lump, one of the boys was at the top of the boat, “STOP”, he shouted but it was too late. The yawl brushed against it. The moment it did , it exploded.

A Sea mine
From the Story, A Barrel of Rum, a sea mine

It was a mine

What was it ?. Only a World War 1 sea mine. Such was the creak of the sound of the explosion, a pall of smoke that was blacker than tar rose from it, the sky and the sea was jet-black, so dark, nothing could be seen for a few minutes. The smoke cleared.

Everyone to the rescue

The rowing boat had survived, three men on board. There was no sign of The Roving Swan. Kipping had been made of it, the people that were watching from The Point raced to their own boats to help look for any survivors. Michael B Cadogan, was found alive, east by Oileán Éanna, a good distance away. He had landed on nets which kept him floating. He was badly injured but he lived. The other four were not so lucky, only one body was found and brought ashore; the other three bodies were lost in the sea, forever.

A sad and sorrowful evening

When Michael’s father, John Cadogan got to the Harbour, he was told his son was dead and his boat with him. This was a sad and sorrowful evening on Cape Clear.