This renowned seafaring family from Rosses Point can be traced back to Seaman Martin Devaney who was born around 1820. He married Helen Reddy and their son, Thomas Devaney, was born in 1847.  He married a local girl, Catherine Bruen.

Francis Devaney (1867-1939), the eldest of three sons born to Thomas and Catherine, went to sea at an early age. He served as the Second Mate on large four masted barques in the foreign trade before embarking on a long and distinguished career in the employment of the Sligo Steam Navigation Company, commanding its vessels on the Sligo to Liverpool route for over forty years. He was Master of the SS Sligo before taking over the SS Liverpool in 1892. He had a lucky escape from death when the Liverpool struck a mine off the Isle of Man in 1916. In 1921 he retired as Master of the SS Carrickfergus to take up the position of Sligo Harbour Master at an annual salary of 200. Captain Francis Devaney retained this post until his death in 1939.

Five sons of Captain Francis Devaney attained a similar rank in the Merchant Navy:

Patrick had been Master with the Greenore Ferries for some time before his death in 1978, at the age of 54.

James served as 2nd Officer with the Harrison Line of Liverpool before obtaining his Master’s Certificate. He then sailed as Chief Officer with Irish Shipping. He died prematurely while holidaying in his native Sligo in August, 1977.

Michael, of Melrose Lodge and Oyster Ireland, had been at sea for thirty years and at the time of his death was Master of the MV Texaco Whitegate. He was accidently drowned crossing from the Point to the Island in February, 1970.

John had been Master with the B & I Line for some time before being promoted to Superintendent of the Company. He served in that capacity for over twenty years and took early retirement more than a decade ago.

Stephen Vincent served on many ships world-wide before being appointed Master with the Stephenson Clarke Company of London. In 1984 he was appointed Harbour Master of Sligo, a post also held by his late father. He is now retired.

Thomas Devaney (1871-1945), one of three sons of Thomas, Sen. And his wife Catherine Bruen. He was a crew member of the Sligo schooner, Eleanor, which foundered in the Firth of Clyde in 1890. He subsequently survived the wreck of the SS Eldorado in Hudson Bay in 1903. In 1917 he experienced another lucky escape. The Aylevaroo of Limerick, which he was about to join, sailed without him and on the voyage was lost with all hands. He then joined the Sligo Steam Navigation Company and sailed on the steamers Carrickfergus, Tartar and Kirkcaldy. He married Rose Kilgallon of Lily Cottage in 1918. They had a daughter, Mary, who still lives in Rosses Point, and two sons, Francis and Thomas.

Francis Devaney went to sea in 1937 at the age of sixteen on the Lairdsdale as an Ordinary Seaman and was promoted to AB the following year. When the vessel ceased trading to Sligo in 1939, he joined the Finnish tramp steamer Brita and voyaged on her to South America where the last grain cargo for Sligo was loaded. In 1947. Frank Devaney, together with two other young seamen from Rosses Point, Blannie Thomas and Tommy Joe Gillen, joined the SS Stanleigh of London and Workington. In March of that year the vessel was sunk by aerial bombarbment. Devaney and Thomas were among the six survivors, but Gillen was lost with nineteen other crew members. In 1947 Frank Devaney joined the B & I Line as 2nd Mate. He retired from the company in 1982, having spent 22 years as Master in the Cross-Channel trade, mostly on passenger vessels. At the time of his early retirement, after 45 years at sea, he was Senior Master of the MV Connaught.

Thomas Devaney, Frank’s younger brother, went to sea in 1945, aged nineteen, with Robinson’s of Glasgow and later took to deep sea sailing with the Shaw Saville Line, the Anchor Line and Moss Hutchinsons. In the early ‘fifties he returned to the coastal trade and obtained a Mate’s Certificate. He then joined the Ulster Drover, previously known as the Lairdsdale and before that the Sligo, as 2nd Mate, before transferring to the B & I Line section of Coast Lines. He was subsequently promoted to Master and, before his retirement in 1986, to Commodore, the last Captain to hold such and honour in the Company.

Maureen Devaney is Captain Thomas Devaney’s daughter. She was the first woman to become an Officer Cadet with Ocean Fleets. She obtained her 1st Mate’s Certificate and sailed with the Blue Funnel Line to Africa and the Far East. Later, she worked with the Customs and the Coastguard Service in Britain. She now lectures in Nautical Studies.

... back