Recently there has been publicity locally for the intrepid Donegal man Henry O’Donnell, who is attempting to swim round Ireland for charity. His accompanying boat, the Tor Dearg (below), has been in Bangor marina and also in Donaghadee harbour.

This reminded me of the venture of a Bangor boatman, Tom McMahon, who attempted to row round Ireland in the 1890s.

At that time Bangor like all seaside towns contained seafaring families: Scott, McMahon, Ferguson, Burns, Skimin and others. Many of them lived in the aptly named Fisher’s Hill, now Victoria Road. (As far as I know one descendant of such families is employed in the marina, and that is all.)

The North Down Herald reported McMahon’s adventure. He seems to have updated those ack home by telegram or letter (a telegram would be almost as efficient as an email nowadays!) At first progress seems to follow what might be imagined … some days more than others, depending on weather, tides and his strength. He follows a clockwise course.