A Drink in Time

By Captain Frank Devaney

My father, the late Thomas Devaney, of Rosses Point, County Sligo, was a much travelled seaman, who survived two ship wrecks. He was a man who enjoyed a pint of stout, and when I was a very young boy, I overheard him say he would continue to do so, even if the devil himself was at the door. At the time I did not know the significance of his remark, but many years later when I heard the following story it became clear to me.

In the autumn of 1917, which was the year before he married, he was having a holiday at home after voyaging to the Far East on a Blue Funnel Line ship.

In Liverpool at this time the Limerick Steamship Company's vessel Aylevarroo was loading general cargo for her home port. Her master, Captain John Tracy, who was a native of Upper Rosses Point, was short of an able bodied seaman and sent a telegram to my father requesting him to join. My father sent a telegram in reply, accepting the job. The ship was due to leave Liverpool the following evening.

Packing his seabag quickly, he reached Sligo town about an hour before the afternoon train to Dublin, which connected with the night steamer to Liverpool, was about to depart.

Walking along Wine Street towards the station, he met an old shipmate, and they decided there was ample time for a couple of pints, so they entered a nearby pub and they began yarning.

When they had imbibed the one for the road, they had another one for the ditch, before saying farewell. When my father got to the railway station he saw the last carriage of the train as it pulled out.

He now had to face his relatives and friends again at the Point, having said goodbye to them in the forenoon. Some shook his hands and mumbled about the curse of drink.

The Aylevarroo sailed the next evening and was torpedoed off the south coast of Ireland with the loss of all hands.