The Mary Joseph was the first Kilkeel boat to fish for Prawns. Thomas Greene re-started his family’s connection with the industry when he took a berth aboard this vessel with skipper Tommy Curran

1872 – Present Day

The first recorded member of the Greene family to be at sea was John Greene. Great Great Grandfather of the current generation, he operated the vessels the St Mary N72, the Wanderer N76, and the St Columba. The St Mary was one of the unfortunate vessels to be out fishing on 30th May 1918. That night its skipper Paddy Collins was forced to abandon ship by a German U-Boat captain who sank nine vessels that night, but allowed all the fishermen back to shore.

John’s son Mick was a fisherman who drifted for herring, leaving his vessel at Warrenpoint by Narrow Water Castle during the winter as there was no harbour at that time. Mick was then followed by Grandfather of the current generation John Patrick and his brother Hugh who were also part of the skiff fishing community of Mourne. John Patrick’s son Mick did not fish, and it was for the following generation to re-connect with the fishing industry.

Five brothers all fished, Thomas, Michael, Hugo, Sean and Gabriel. Thomas recently passed away in 2011, and he was the first of the family to re-connect when he joined the Mary Joseph, one of the most famous vessels in Kilkeel which started the prawn industry in the harbour. Sean joined the trade when he got a berth with Gerry Doyle on the Croidte an Duin, going out to Buckie to join her on his first trip which ended up being a voyage to the North Sea. Sean recalls it as a mixture of sea-sickness and home-sickness!

In 1978 four brothers Sean, Michael Hugo and Thomas all became partners in the Coral Strand. This vessel was then joined by the Incentive in 1982. This vessel was bought by Thomas and Sean, and youngest brother Gabriel also joined the crew, having done a short stint with the Radiant Star.

The Coral strand was hit by tragedy when Hugo Greene was drowned in 1985. Michael continued to fish in the vessel until 1993. The Incentive fished right up until 2004. Sean had lost enthusiasm for the job, and there was little optimism at the harbour. His son Conor had joined the crew, but neither saw a good future ahead so the boat was sold in 2004.
In 1991 Gabriel went out on his own and brought a vessel home from Scotland called the Cluaran, and he operated this vessel until 2000. He entered the construction trade after this, and eventually started a café business, called Café Calluna. There is still a link to the industry as seafood is a very strong element of the menu here. Ryan Greene, a son of Hugo is still active in the industry, and fished for a while with Niall Doyle, son of Gerry with whom his uncle Sean first started.