'It is the business of yachts to discover Islands' from Voyage and Discovery Sailor, mountaineer, writer, architect, Irish nationalist, defender of Britain: Conor O'Brien cannot be defined by one profession or activity. His life was animated by a ...
spirit of adventure, habitual practicality and passionate cultivation of skill. In 1925 Conor made history by becoming Ireland's first sailing circumnavigator, after sailing around the world in his small yacht, Saoirse. Others had circumnavigated the world in small boats but Conor was the first to sail south of the three capes. He climbed mountains with Mallory and Young, and Robert Graves. He helped found the Arts Club in pre-War Dublin, mixing with figures such as Countess Markievicz, William Orpen, Lady Gregory and W. B. Yeats, and he joined the Irish Volunteers. In 1914, together with Erskine Childers, he shipped guns to Ireland in his first boat, Kelpie, yet he served in the Royal Naval Reserve during the First World War. He worked for the fisheries in the newly-independent Ireland, sought election to the Senate, and sailed the Irish coast in Kelpie and Saoirse. After marriage to Kitty Clausen, a painter, in 1927, he spent time sailing around the Mediterranean. His family lived in Limerick where he spent much of his later life on Foynes Island in the Shannon Estuary. He died in 1952. Using the photographic archive of Gary MacMahon, and O'Brien's drawings, writings and letters, this biography records O'Brien's eventful life, capturing the drama, dangers and joys of his many adventures.
Number of pages: 200
Date of publication: 01/03/2009
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