Skip to main content


Something quite different from NAUTICAL LOG this time.  My mother always had a camera with her when we went anywhere.  It was a "box" Brownie Kodak camera and she had been taking photos since childhood.  Going through some of them to build an album NAUTICAL LOG came across a rather unique photo of one of Ireland's wandering workmen a "spailpín  fánach" in our Gaelic language.

Life in Ireland when my mother was growing up was quite difficult and not made any easier by the rather vicious laws imposed by the British Administration.  The life of an itinerant farm worker into the 20th. Century was particularly harsh.  Hard physical work, low wages and maltreatment by landowners (not always the British ones unfortunately) had to be endured.  Even the word from Gaelic "spailpín" means a low person or one of poor character.  Both men and women could be found wandering the countryside looking for work and carrying a collection of tools with them to do it.

They were most often people who had been evicted by the British Laws from their farmhouses and labourers cottages which viciously were then torn down to the four walls and can still be seen in parts of Ireland today.

The eviction battering ram used to destroy the home
One such man finally gave it up and went to France to join the French Army most likely the French Foreign Legion.  There is a poem in Gaelic and English at  **(** which tells his sad tale.

While the quality of the photograph is not very good please remember it is around 100 years old.  NAUTICAL LOG would be very interested to hear from you if you have any similar information.  Please contact  me at

**  It appears this link is not working.  If you do a general Google® search under "spailpin fanach" you can get in to the irishpage website.

Count D. Peter Boucher, Kt. SMOM


Popular posts from this blog


A popular U.S.-based cruise ship style
A popular European ferry style

Several times during the year NAUTICAL LOG has had visitors searching for lifejacket instructions. With two just over Christmas we decided to publish something for everybody to see and read.
Choose a Coast Guard approved life-jacket and make sure it is undamaged. Make sure life-jackets are readily accessible, never locked away. Check the fit, there are adult, child and infant sizes, the correct one MUST be used. Choose bright colour life-jackets so as to be seen easily by Search and Rescue (SAR).Put your life-jacket ON BEFORE you leave the berth. Make sure you have a light and whistle attached AND they BOTH WORK.
Good Watch


It sometimes happens that one is going to write a Post on a subject when lo and behold there is already an excellent one.  Such is the case today; so rather than repeat everything let me refer you to the source of that Post

At present we are experiencing Perigean Spring Tides which occur when the Moon is at perigee on its oval path that is the closest point to Earth.  One of the principal results are higher than usual Spring Tides as against the Neap Tides.

Should you be interested in the full explanation of this phenomenon then you might like to reference "Old Salt Blog" which has an excellent explanation of this event and uses all the correct terms - quite unlike our Media here in South Florida.

Good Watch.


This month saw the commissioning into the Irish Naval Service of a new Class of Irish Naval vessel more of the Frigate size than the previously Corvette size.  However they are all classed as Patrol vessels, the new vessel is LÉ Samuel Beckett P61.NAUTICAL LOG wishes her well and a successful service.

The older vessels saw unbelievable service and value for money the first being commissioned in 1979 and continued through the '80's and 90's into the 21st. Century.  During those years in addition to patrolling the stormy seas around the rugged Irish coast they made passages across the Western Ocean to the United States and Canada, south to South America as far as Argentina, and east to Asia as far as Korea.  Such passages are really remarkable for such small vessels and show the competence of Irish seafarers who as Naval Officers and Merchant Marine Officers train together.

Good Watch.