In a bungalow at the end of the Mill Road, Corbally, directley across
from St. Thomas's Island, there William (Nay) Lysaght (1918-1992) lived the greater part of his life. Being familiar with
many of the old Abbey fishermen, who liked to visit the scenes of their former labours, he often went boating with them in
the brocaun. Besides, his uncle, Arthur Lysaght who used to have a hut nearby was a veritable encyclopedia on the Abbey fishermen,
and Nay listened attentitively to him. thus he became an expert on these fishermen, and what is more, all this information
which he gathered over the years, he wrote down.
He also made a very realistic and accurate model of the fishermen
as they fished with their net "down". In its glass surround it is worth seeing, as it illustrates in a way no description
can, their method of catching the elusive salmon. It is on display in a Museum room attached to St. Mary's Roman Catholic
Church, Athlunkard Street.
|The Abbey Fishermen - A Short History. (Out of Print)
In 1964 William Lysaght published a book "The Abbey Fishermen - A Short History" The author tells the history of the snap net fishermen of the Abbey area of Limerick
who found themselves deprived of a livelihood with the installation of the hydro-electric scheme at Ardnacrusha in the late
first published in 1964 by the Treaty Press 6/9 Georges Quay, Limerick. Second Printing 1999 by Shamrock Stamps, Gerald Griffin Street. Limerick.
A NOSTALGIC LOOK BACK
It is 10 a.m. on a cold morning in March in the 1840's. The crews
of two brocauns have just finished fishing at Tarnacreeba near the Metal Bridge. The men are cold and hungry, but what matter,
its only a short run home to the Abbey and 7 or 8 beamy salmon lie on the bottom of one of the brocauns. Home now for a few
hours sleep and net repairs.
It's evening, they must face once more the long journey back to Doonass
the topmost innure. The river is in spate, so it's poles out at Amor for the hard push through the Queen's Gap at Corbally
and on to Drahur and Smithaun up by Poulahera to Cragrack by paddle, then the poles are out again for the long haul through
Drominbeg, Tannyvour, the Dam, Bunabha, Lurriga, Geentass, Barnaluinge and now they must start to work downstream again.
|ABBEY FISHERMEN IN THEIR BROCAUNS
|PHOTO TAKEN AT DOONALAUN NEAR ST. THOMAS'S ISLAND
This photograph according to William Lysaght's knowledge is the only
extant photograph of a pair of brocauns with the net spread in the act of fishing.
Notice that the two paddlemen are facing and paddling downstream,
thus dragging the net after the brocauns which are proceeding downstream, stern first. The netmen in the bows of the brocauns
have their backs to the paddlemen, these were the positions for fishing. When going upstream with the nets in the brocauns
the men faced around.