James ‘Cobbler’ Maginnis was well known for his netmending around the harbour. He fished with his two sons in the ‘Melita’ before he retired.

1874 – Present Day

There was a time in Kilkeel Harbour when the boats were not so plentiful, Salmon ran in the river which ran behind the dock walls, and young Kilkeel lads swam in the Harbour during the summer. This is the childhood Frank Maginnis remembers. His Maginnis family is one well established as a family of seafarers. Right back to his Great-Grandfather, Maginnis men have been well known as seamen.
James ‘Jimpsey’ Maginnis was James Maginnis the second. He was known for his exploits in the schooner the ‘Alpha’ which developed a reputation for being faster than some steamships. Jimpsey worked for Joseph Fishers & Sons of Newry after the era of sailing ships passed, working on vessels such as the Poplar.

James’ son also called James was always known as ‘The Cobbler’ even though he was a fisherman for all his life. The ‘Cobbler’ was renowned for his net mending skills and fished with various skippers around Kilkeel, as well as spending some time on Fishers boats with his father, and on the Mourne Crew of the coaster ‘Arrivain’ which was captained by Archie Teggarty.

James finished his days fishing with his two sons Frank and John. They bought the Melita together in 1971 just as Kilkeel Harbour was closing for its extension. James fished with his two sons until 1975. Frank and John formed a successful partnership and enjoyed one of the most prosperous periods of fishing in Kilkeel. They fished in the Melita for 31 years until they decommissioned the boat in 2002, ending for now over 130 years of family involvement in the sea.