Family Sail Around the World to Sligo

Sligo Weekender, Tuesday, May 25th 2004

A MAN and his two young daughters have sailed half-way around the world in search of their Sligo roots.

Charles, Daphne and Charlene Kavanagh from Mignan, French Quebec, landed in Rosses Point at the weekend after a 15,000 mile voyage across the ocean.

The Kavanaghs took their twenty-eight-foot single-decker yacht, the Carrick, over storm-tossed seas to find the place from where his ancestor, Patrick Kavanagh, sailed in 1847.

Mr Kavanagh and his wife, Sara McDonald, sailed from Sligo Harbour on a famine ship called the Carrick. Last week, 157 years later, Charles Kavanagh completed the same trip-in reverse, also on the Carrick. The historic trip took ten months and he was accompanied by his daughters Daphne(23) and Charlene(17). He plans to return to Quebec in September.

The trip took Charles via Greenland, Iceland the Faroe Islands, the Shetland Islands, the Mediterranean until he reached the west coast of Ireland. Charles and his two daughters endured mountainous seas, and icebergs on their voyage of hope.

“It was a dream that I had to find the place from where my people first came to French Quebec on a famine ship all those years ago. I wanted to show that you don’t have to be rich to make those dreams come through. It was a very emotional trip for me and my daughters and we did it in the smallest boat ever to under-take such a trip and with a very young crew. There were times when I thought we might not make it like when our boat capsized off the coast of Portugal and we lost our rudder”.

But the memory of his ancestors and where they came from was a
great inspiration to him.

“I would like to find out more about my ancestor Patrick Kavanagh and will be staying in Sligo until Thursday.

There are many people of Irish descent in French Quebec and Charles’ ancestor shares the name with one of Ireland’s greatest poets.

Anyone who wishes to make contact with the Kavanaghs and their remarkable story can do so at

Meanwhile a yacht sank off Oyster Island at Rosses Point last Wednesday. Only the mast of the 40foot ‘Diva’ was visible after the incident. Sligo yacht club declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the ‘Diva’.