Archie Orr had a variety of experience at sea, pictured here is the ‘Trevelan’ of the Hain Shipping Line with whom Archie completed a four year apprenticeship. When his father passed away however he would return to Mourne and to fishing.

1936 – Present Day

The Orr family are not a typical Mourne Seafaring family. Such is the depth of maritime Heritage here, three generations involvement means they still comes under the classification of ‘newcomers’! Archibald Wesley Orr was the first of his line to go fishing, or indeed to go to sea. Before him, his Mother’s McKee family were Maritime Blue blood, with years of involvement. The McKees had been merchants, Merchant Seamen and fishermen. It was through this line that Archie became involved with the sea.

His father Robert John Orr was not a man of the sea, but an electrician and was happy to see him get a berth with a skipper who had a good reputation – Howard Forsythe. He knew his son would not be coming home empty handed at the end of a week.

After a few years fishing Archie decided a career in the Merchant Navy might hold more opportunity, so he enlisted and signed an Apprentice’s Indenture with the Hain Steamship Company. Archie would eventually come back to fishing in Kilkeel, as his Father had died and he was needed at home.

His sons had no uncertainty about what they wanted to do, and have launched themselves into the fishing industry where they are now one of the busiest and most successful families in Kilkeel. They own and operate several prawn boats that fish from Kilkeel, while their main enterprise is the latest vessel to be called ‘Havilah’, a 49 metre trawler.

Already the next generation has stepped forward to write their names in this new chapter of Kilkeel’s maritime history, a story which is being written every day. Ian’s son Gary has become the first of the next generation to take a berth on the vessel ‘Havilah’, a name the family has made their own. Who knows how far the Orr family will go in fishing from here, but for now they are not thinking about anything else.