Radio documentary traces Donegal connections to terrible trawler tragedy at Dunmore East in 1958

Sole survivor John James Lyons hasn’t talked publicly about the tragedy for 62 years

Radio documentary traces Donegal connections to terrible trawler tragedy at Dunmore East from 1958

A Donegal newspaper clipping from the time

In February 1958, the ‘Jack Buchan’ was only a few hundred yards from Dunmore East harbour in Waterford when a huge wave hit, capsizing the trawler.

Five of the crew were lost, including BBC NI journalist Enda McClafferty’s great uncle Donnchadh from Downings.

(Caption: Photo of the Jack Buchan)

Now Enda has learned that the sole survivor of that accident, washed overboard and rescued before the trawler sank, is still alive and living in Donegal.

(Caption: Enda McClafferty’s great uncle Donnchadh from Downings)

John James Lyons hasn’t talked publicly about the tragedy for 62 years, but has agreed to meet Enda to tell him about the events leading up to the sinking of the Jack Buchan, his dramatic rescue as he clung to a fishing basket, and the great uncle Enda never got the chance to meet.

In Stories in Sound: The Sinking Of The Jack Buchan, Enda also spends time with Donnchadh’s children, still consumed with grief 62 years later, and travels to Dunmore East to meet the men who saw what happened all those years ago – the worst tragedy to hit the harbour for many years, which is still talked about in the village to this day.

(Caption: John James Lyons is the sole survivor of the tragedy) 

The documentary is on Saturday 26 September on BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle at 12pm, and also on BBC Sounds.

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