The Tragic Ending of The Irish Boat Pilgrims’ Journey
We returned from our Camino de Santiago trip on June 5th. Early on the morning of June 10th I receive a message from JohnnieWalker Santiago that tragedy had struck our Irish Boat Pilgrims. Their boat had overturned off the northwest coast of Spain near the river Minho. Ironically close to where we had spent our 5 days on the island of Arousa. Although they all made it to shore, Danny Sheehy was dead. It is suspected that he suffered a heart attack.
He was a well known Irish poet from County Kerry, and I had the honor of hearing him recite a poem during our lunch in Santiago just 2 weeks prior. If you read that post, you will remember that I mentioned regretting not having recorded his recitation.
We assisted them in getting their currach on a trailer and said goodbye to them as they headed up to A Coruña to continue their voyage by sea. We had no idea the fate that would befall them. Danny had “imithe ar shlí na fírinne’ – gone the way of truth. An Irish way of saying that you have died.
According to the news reports, the four men were approaching the river mouth in their naomhóg (currach) boat the Naomh Gobnait when the incident occurred. All four stayed with the upturned boat, which then swept them up on a beach. The naomhóg sustained severe damage to its stern.
Their story started in 2015 when they set sail from Dublin making their way to Brittany and then to Spain. It was a traditional pilgrimage by sea. They brought their boat into Santiago and completed their pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James.
This short documentary recounts their epic journey by sea to Spain.
Danny was an award-winning author of Irish poetry and a strong advocate of the Irish language. He is survived by his wife Maire and their three adult children.