John Mackintosh succeeded his Father James and established the firm John Mackintosh & Son. This image shows one of the boat builders Eddie Mc Ateer working on a boat.

1830 – Present Day

In 1875 William Paynter established his boatyard in Kilkeel. H had come from St Ives in Cornwall and introduced a new style of boat known as a ‘Nickey’ which had developed a reputation as an ideal style for a fishing boat. While Paynter only stayed in Kilkeel for eight years, James Mackintosh had served his time as an apprentice and took over the running of the yard from 1883. James would be followed into the trade of boatbuilding by his son John, his Grandson Harry, and his Great-Grandson John who became the fourth and last generation of Mackintosh to build boats in Mourne.

John Mackintosh ran the yard building ‘clinker’ style boats which involved overlapping pieces of timber. The wood was steamed making it more pliable and then bent into the shapes required to form the lines of the boat. The spaces between the timber were filled with a substance called oakum, tarred fibres which ensure the vessel was watertight.

John’s son Harry took over the yard in the 1920’s and introduced carvel type construction, which results in a smooth, continuous line of hull. Harry developed a great reputation as a master boat builder and built many boats that served the Kilkeel Harbour, as well as commissions from further afield. The last vessel he constructed was the ‘Seamew’.

In 1955 an apprentice Bill Quinn took over the boatyard from Harry, and continued the reputation that the yard had earned over the years. There was still a family connection however as Harry’s son John worked in the yard for many years under Bill. The boatyard was a major point of employment at one stage with a staff of over 25 men. As techniques and the needs for boat changed, the boatyard became more of a centre of repair for boats and for installation of new equipment. The spirit of the yard lives on today, with John Kearney, Liam Mc Cartan and Gerry Smyth all keeping the boatbuilding tradition in Mourne alive.