My Grandad- A Gillie Life

A Gillie

 My grandfather worked on the Salmon Weir River all his life. He was a gillie and his job was to look after the river.

The river was privately owned by the Ashworth family. On April 23 1937 my granddad was at work when he asked if he could go fishing. The manager at the time was Colonel Cross, no Irishman at the time was allowed to fish on the river, but on this occasion he agreed.

So when Tom finished work he got his rod and went on the river and started to fish. He was there for a little while, so legend has it, before there was a tug on his line, he could barely hold it, and he had to call some friends that were (coincidentally), on the bank to help him. It took them four hours to land this mighty monster.

The fish was 43 pounds in weight 4 feet in length and 27 inches in girth. The Ashworth’s were called to see the fish, it was so big. In fact it was the biggest fish ever caught on the river. Even though my grandfather caught it was not his, so it was decided to give to Queen’s University. It is still there in the Zoological Department in now called National University of Ireland (NUIG) you can see it there in a glass case today.

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