Raidió na Gaeltachta broadcaster Cian Ó Cíobháin’s campaign to find a mystery Cork fisherman ended in success this week. Photo: Cian Ó Cíobháin/Facebook

Mystery fisherman hooked online

An Irish broadcaster has netted the previously unknown Cork fisherman who inspired legendary English DJ, the late Andrew Weatherall, to get his famous tattoo.

Weatherall had the words ‘Fail we may, sail we must’ tattooed on his arms following an encounter with a young trawlerman in Cork.

Following his death last year, a story about how Weatherall had been driven to a gig in Cork in 2008 by the young fisherman resurfaced.

This prompted Raidió na Gaeltachta broadcaster Cian Ó Cíobháin to cast a net out over social media in an attempt to find the man.

In an interview with Irish music platform Dummy magazine, Weatherall described how he had been collected in Cork by the 21 year old fisherman who had imparted the slogan to him.

During the interview, Weatherall described how the young lad had asked him about the “glamorous world of DJing”.

However, Weatherall was more interested in the man’s experiences at sea. The fisherman told him about a time when he was just 18 years old and was at sea with his father in gale force winds.

His father, the captain, had broken his leg leaving the young man to brave the elements and captain the ship himself.

Weatherall asked him afterwards if there were times when he got up in the morning and just “couldn’t be arsed”, to which the trawlerman replied, “fail we may, sail we must”.

Weatherall went on to use the fisherman’s words as the name for his 2010 solo album’s title track, as well as having the words tattooed on his arms.

The words went on to become famous amongst the DJ’s many fans. Weatherall was considered one of the key DJs in the ‘acid house movement’ in the 1980s and was remixed tracks by the likes of Happy Mondays, New Order, Björk, The Orb, The Future Sound of London, and My Bloody Valentine.

Taking to social media, broadcaster Cian said: “Does anyone know who the Cork fisherman is in this Weatherall story and when it happened? I’m intrigued by how one seemingly throwaway remark has become so iconic. Too all intents and purposes, it practically kickstarted a mini-cult.”

One person on Twitter commented on Cian’s post saying they were “100 per cent sure” they know who the man is, saying that a friend of theirs who is a fisherman in Baltimore had given Weatherall a spin to music and arts festival, Cork X SW, ten years ago.

The identity of the man has since been confirmed as Gerard Sheehy who drove Weatherall to the popular festival in 2008.

According to Cian, Mr Sheehy had no idea who Andrew Weatherall was when he picked him up from Cork Airport and brought him to Casey’s Hotel in Baltimore.

Weatherall died a year ago yesterday (Wednesday) at the age of 56 from a pulmonary embolism.

More from this Topic