A Love of Yachting

Captain Charles, courtesy of The Inniskillings Museum

Captain Charles Cockburn D’Arcy Irvine, of Castle Irvine, Irvinestown, Co. Fermanagh, was born on 17 July 1863, son of Captain William D’Arcy Irvine and Louisa (nee Cockburn). On 3 May 1881 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and joined the 3rd Battalion (Militia) Inniskilling Fusiliers. He left the regiment on 28 December 1895, having reached the rank of captain. He joined the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry as a captain on its formation in 1903, and the North Irish Horse in July 1908. On 14 November 1908 he was made Honorary Major. He left the regiment in January 1912. D’Arcy Irvine joined the army once more in April 1916, being appointed as a captain in the 20th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, later transferring to the Labour Corps (668th Employment Company). He was released from the army on 15 June 1919 and relinquished his commission on 26 October 1920.

Outside of the military, however, Charles had a keen interesting in yachting. D’Arcy was an original member of the Enniskillen Yacht Club, he was among a number of local businessmen, aristocracy, clergy and other prominent townspeople that pushed for the creation for a local sailing club. He was also amongst a number of other members of the extended and prominent Irvine / D’Arcy-Irvine family which had called Fermanagh and Enniskillen home since the plantation. In 1907 he and Rev. Walter A. Stack placed their initial deposits and took ownership of the Belfast Lough One-Design ‘Fairy Class’ yacht; Snipe No.11. She was a Gunter-Gaff hybrid configuration, carrying fore and main sail of some 300sq ft. The boat featured a jet-black hull with red anti-fouling bellow the water line. D’Arcy held ownership, or at least a ‘part ownership’ of Snipe until his death in 1922. It appears that the family maintained the boat until the Second World War. She sailed right up until the mid-2010s before becoming a total structural failure. Her current future is uncertain as she would require extensive and costly re-construction.

D’Arcy Irvine’s son, Charles William, a captain in the 6th Battalion, the Leinster Regiment, was killed at the Dardanelles in August 1915. D’Arcy himself passed away in Hereford, 1st of June 1922 at the age of 58