Archive for the 'Cabin Boys' Category

On Being Sent a Bum Steer


‘Tis mighty strange and portentous tidings I bring ye today. For, while we have been out to sea this last month and more, the seas were so becalmed that I did believe that I would have naught to tell in the taverns on our return to port.

All changed on our very first night in port. We had sailed in, as is our habit, under cover of an overcast night sky, keeping the Black Jack hidden even from the light of the moon.

The first mate was sent ashore, to confirm that the bumbling but deadly fleet of Admiral Sodot of the Royal Navy had not captured the port. ‘Twas close to midnight when the Cabin Boy did knock on my Cabin Door to tell me that the Watch needed me above decks. I had been a-soaking my wooden teeth in brandy, to kill the worms. But I had to cram my mouth with them as I went, for I knew that if the Mate had returned with fell news we would have to weigh anchor at once.

But above decks, the Mate wasn’t to be seen. Instead, walking up the gangplank was a long-horned steer. Pirates are masters of the sea, but less sure of the Landlubber ways of livestock. I approached with cutlass drawn, my eyes carefully watching the points of those horns for any sign of treachery.

It was the Cabin Boy who first saw the writing. Branded across the side of the the cow-



That final piece carried on around onto the far side of the cow.

The steer is even now cooking in pieces below decks and the men are looking forward to a change from hard tack and rum and lime mixers. But I am troubled this night.


Rough Night in Ron’s

Y’earr, tis a right ol’ state I’m in, as you join me in me Sloop a few leagues south o’ Villahermosa. Though I consider meself as tough an old sea dog as ever went a’sail, I were lucky to escape with me life from a run-in in Ron’s tavern in Tortuga, home port of the dread pirate Major Twenty.

It all started well, mind. I arrived into Ron’s with me lusty crew in tow, and encountered the dread Major Twenty a-suppin’ at a pot of that filthy black Irish beer he insists on drinkin’. I bade a hello to him and his first mate Stinking Pete. I ordered a tot o’ rum and settled in to listen to the Major tell one o’ his interminable tales. “What class o’ shaggy dog story is this?” asked one o’ me crew. “Whisht”, I bade him, “The Major’s tales are hit and miss, but you never know when he might come up with a funny one”

Alas, it seems this was one of his off-days. “Oh noes”, I groaned, “he’s a-holdin’ forth about the ills of society” I usually don’t bother listenin’ when he’s in this kind o’ mood, but so full was the tavern with reprobates o’ the seas, that it seemed as if the whole o’ the piratesphere was in there listenin to ‘im. Hangin’ on his every word they were too, and remarking “Legend”, even when the old dog wasn’t being all that funny. T’is the same in piracy; if you get a reputation for fearsomeness, the lubbers will be afear’t of ye, even when you’re not being very scary.

“Padophiles are scum. Someone should just come out and say that. I fucking hate them” he said, to a great roar of approval from the hearties o’ the piratesphere. “arr Twenty, you legend”, said one o’ his cronies, “tis a true thing you say, and a brave one. T’is the terribly edgy and controversial buccaneer you are”. “I don’t give a fuck, I’ll say anything, for I am the dread pirate, Major Twenty”, he replied. “I also hate people who murder their wives” “Bad parents are also not good!” said another, to a huge roar of approval, and another, “that feller who locked his kids in the basement in Austria is a bad sort too, an’ I don’t care if it’s not Piratically Correct to say so.”

I groaned, for it seemed that there would be no entertainment in Ron’s for us tonight. This went on for some time, with the company each denouncing bad things, then slappin’ each other on the back for havin the balls to point out the bleedin’ obvious. I was about to head out to a wenchin’ house when I heard a sharp few words from Buck the ‘lubber that stuck in me craw. Buck is one o’ Twenty’s cronies, though there are many who say he’s more like an imitator, but with a smaller crew and no doubloons. Certainly, ’tis true that he lacks any o’ the wit of the Major. Maybe t’was the rum, but me blood was up from a hearin‘ some o’ what Buck had to say. I stopped an turned on me heel, for the true pirate crew is open to all races and creeds. We care not from where you hail, or to whom you pray, so long as you are the scum of the earth and devoid of any scruple or shame. “Aye Buck, if that is your real name” I said, “t’is the fearless pirate y’are when me dozen romany crewmen aren’t in the place. But they’re stout men and true, damn me if I don’t swear ‘pon’t.”

Then, as suddenly as he’d come bravely forth from the crowed, the ‘lubber was back amongst them, and never have I seen such a pitiful sight. “Freedom o’ speech! Freedom o’ speech!” he kept a-parroting, like a, er, parrot. “Aye” said I “the laws of the sea guarantees us both that we can say what we like. So stop squealing like a such a blasted child, just because a True Pirate doesn’t like what ye say!”. But I don’t think he was listenin’, for he kep a sayin’ “Freedom o’ speech, I’ll a-say what I like, you can’t stop me!” even though I never tried to stop him. “What’s wrong with giving offense?” he finally said, and I honestly think he didn’t know the answer, for as I’ve said, his cargo bay isn’t exactly overstuffed with wits.

I’d had about enough, and reached for me sword sayin’ “I’m as free as you Buck – free to call you a whey-faced poltroon and a cabin-boy in pirates clothin’!” I was sure I had the crowd on me side, for ‘tis bad form in pirate circles to be seen whingin’ like a baby the way Buck was. You take your licks and get on with it, here in the Piratesphere. I was wrong. The mob were turnin’ nasty, and they chased me out the door o’ Ron’s and down to the harbour, where I was lucky to get away with me hide. Back in the Tavern, the Major was the only one not to have joined the mob. He was behind the bar, stealin’ as many bottles of rum as he could carry back to his boat.

The Threat of the Libertasians

A cruel hand we have had of it here at t’Irish Pirate Review betimes. We were becalmed in the Doldrums, a foul part of the ocean where the fell wind abandoned its loyalist adherants. We drifted for days in the most feared latitudes upon the waves. So desperate for progress that we had to throw overboard all our booty, every scrap of weight, to give a chance of picking up the slightest breeze.

T’were a dark moment, but we even had to force our horses, fine Arabian Stallions all, to meet a watery grave in Davy Jones’ Locker.

We lost three crew before getting into port- two to the scurvy when the lime juice ran out and one who we keelhauled when he was found drunk on another man’s rum ration.

But even a voyage like that was as nothing to the shock I recieved when I first perused the news-sheets back in port. Sipping a lime juice and rum (through a straw due to the scurvy taking all me teeth) I see that the Treaty, signed by the Great Landlubber Powers in the Port o’Lisbon has drawn out of the rotton wood planking as foul a bunch o’Landlubbers as ever has been gathered.

While the full Pirate analysis of this Treaty must wait for a deeper treatment, ’tis important to say early on that the threat posed by these self-styled Libertasians to the Pirateist project should not be underestimated. While others may argue that it is the major elected factions of the Landlubber classes we ought to focus upon, and not worry too much about the vanity projects of merchants and financiers, I call NAY!

For alone amongst the Landlubbers, the Libertasians recognise that their true enemy is the Pirate. While we sail on, forgotten and ignored by the larger factions, Libertasians recognise the challenge we pose to their beliefs, ideas and way of life.

To defeat us, they have stolen our garments. They speak of free-trade (something every smuggler is wedded to). They wish to see Ireland placed above all the Landlubber Powers. Well, is that not the great goal of the Irish Pirating Project?

But be warned, Libertasians are Landlubbers through and true. They have all their own teeth and shun the smack of the salty brine in their beards. Indeed, many of them don’t even have beards.

Libertasians may look to the unwary eye like a combination of buffoons and scamps unfit to be pressganged as cabin boys. But ’tis behind that facade of absurdity that their great plan hides. What that plan may be we can but speculate pointlessly and at great length.

We shall return to the Treaty of Lisbon at a later moon. For now, we just urge all Pirates to be ‘ware!

Yo Ho Ho!

Every Captain for Himself!

Ship Ahoy!

‘Tis often said the life o’ a pirate cap’n is a lonely and perplexin’ calling. Sure as saltwater and shiver’d timbers there’s the joy of the treasure-lust and the pleasure of pillaging dubloons from the broken hulls of the boats of the land lubbin’ merchants. The antics of the Dread Pirate Johnny Depp *pthooh* have tainted those pleasures for me however. Recently, when the wind was howlin’ in the yard arm, and the seas are high and whippin’ around the gun’al, l’il Tim our plucky cabin boy looked up at me with his hopeful eyes and asks “Cap’n, we’ll ride this storm out won’t we? We’ll make the shelter of Tortuga ‘fore long?”

I felt as gutted as a catfish a landlubber’s sea legs, for ’twas looking dicey for me ship, the Gangrenous Gull, as the crew were a scurvy lot but short handed with it. Even the tall pirates were short handed. ‘Twas difficult to steer a straight course while trying to compell boarders and get our pirate booty from the hold of the merchant ships. ‘Twas harder still for ship’s cook to fire cannon shot from our 12 pounders on the starb’d side while cooking the grub up in the galley. In me heart I sensed mutiny was not far off.

When we reached the locality of Tortuga and dropped anchor, I gave thought to forming a confederation with the other piratical bucanneers in these here parts. Sure as cuttlefish and canaries it seemed that an alliance under a shared flag was the only way we could properly counter the evil of New Pirates and the various Landlubbin’ confederacies that New Piracy was dipping its wick in. Some form of alliance where we could bring the most vicious and cut throat and skillful of our respective crews together on one boat to wreak havoc on the Main, while the less skilled spent time a-practicin’ their pirating on smaller ships. Yes indeed, this was what I thought was needed. The Confederation of Unified Pirates, Pillagers And Traitrous Evaders of Authority… CUPPATEA.

But then me parrot, Malvolio, piped up that I’d clear forgot that a ship can only have one cap’n and that in an alliance like that I’d soon have to be watching astern for devious malcontents eager to have away with me. As sure as herring and heartbreak such scurvy knaves a-plenty can be found in the company of Pirate Cap’ns. ‘Tis a minimum requirement for the job.

Malvolio reminded me of the great upheaval that occured in years past when the Cap’n and crew of the Yellow Rose persuaded the proud pirateers of the Red Flower to sail under common flag. That was in the days when the Dread Pirate BarbdeRossa was at the helm of the Yellow Rose (long before he decided to become all mercantile and respectable as a landlubber). Indeed Malvolio was right, for ’twas with the ruthlessness and cunning of BarbdeRossa and his firstmate, the Bald Architect (the blacksheep son of a proud merchant family was he) that the crew of the Yellow Rose eventually seized control of the Red Flower and began to sail it on a new course and the evil creed of New Piracy.

He was right o’ course was me parrot. Such a plan would result in in-fightin’ and backstabbin’ as each Cap’n tried to be the Cap’n del tutti Cap’ns as they say in Mediterranian parts. Either that or such an enterprise would inevitably drift towards the scurvy horror of New Piracy and abandon all our traditions of Teak chests buried 10 paces south of a crewman’s body and general piratical pillaging and nautical naughtiness.

So I shot Malvolio and swore off the run ration for a day to banish the humors from me that cause me to think crazy; Timmy the Cabin Boy enjoyed the ‘chicken’ dinner that our scurvy Cook made him.

arrrrh… ’tis a ruthless life as a Pirate Cap’n. But Malvolio knew too much.

Full Sail Ahead!

Pirates dot ie – Insane in the Mainsail

Splice the Mizzen ye scurvy dogs!

All true buccaneers of the Main will know that the good ship Pirates dot ie, which sails under the terrible black flag of Capatin Cochranebeard, lately came under withering fire from the cannon of a landlubber Mano’war. Cochranebeard is as salty a dog as any man-jack of the Main and ’twas perhaps no great shame that he put out as much sail as his masts would hold and made for the New World like a wench for a dubloon of Spanish Gold. No great shame, aya, but no show of master seamanship neither.

Perhaps, It is not for us to fight another pirate’s private war against the landlubbers. Well, perhaps… And some villainous landlubbers might even hold that pirates knows next to nothing about maritime tactics and the subtle doctrines of Naval combat. They might point to pirates being somewhat intemperate in their engagements. They might speak of a tendency to go in with all guns blazing, the wheel on the foc’sle spinning wildly in the hands of a 13 year-old cabin boy. Well, what of’t? Do we not often carry the day? After a fashion? In our own minds? And what is more important to a pirate than the life of the mind, the imagination running free; the great adventure on the high seas of the brain?!

So, I feel perfectly at liberty to hold that by first engaging with the enemy on the enemy’s terms and then by erratically cutting out for the New World, Captain Cochranebeard has ruined piracy for all pirates forever. It is to be doubted that piracy in Ireland will ever recover from this blow. Piracy was only starting to recover from the baleful effects of Johnny Depp and the New Piracy, only just beginning to shake off the deadening hand of the armchair pirates. But look at it now. It is as tattered as the grapeshot-blasted Jolly Rodger on Cochranebeard’s mast.

I mean, would you argue for the self-regulation of piracy after this?!

I didn’t think so.

Glug, glug, ye one-eyed, parrot-loving bastards!

1916-1922: Piracy’s Greatest Error

Ahoy Shipmates!

Every Old Salt knows that Ireland’s pirates have been the least successful of all the nations of the sea. And every Pirate knows how this came to be so- the great swell o’ events of 1916-1922 did sweep aside the normal tide of history wherein Pirate and Landlubber are locked in an eternal struggle.

Now, as those long years of insignificance are drawn to a close, not least by the actions of the Irish Pirate Review, it be important to know where it did go wrong for Ireland’s privateers. Mayhap, a repeat of errors will be avoided like a well-mapped reef.

Pirates had long dominated the Irish Parliamentary Party. It was said to be Isaac Butt who introduced the one gold hooped earring to the court of the Landlubber queen, Victoria. Parnell himself could spit chewing baccy further than any man in Westmminster. By 1912 nobody would have guessed that the long rule of the cutless and the lash, loved by all, was about to end.

As all the contempary portraits show, a combination of privateers, pirates and adventurers made up most of those in the GPO. It was said there were more peg-legs in the post office than anywhere else. A tradition which continues to this day. The only reason none of the fearsome captains signed the proclamation was the difficulty of holding pens with hooks for hands.

But those portraits were altered after the Pirates and their ilk withdrew from the field of battle. Knowing that the fight against the Great Landlubber Power of Britain was but a prelude to the final struggle for the soul of Old Ireland’s waves, the pirate captains of the day allowed the country’s landlubbers a chance to decide who would represent their kind in the final duel to the death.

Of course, we now know this was a terrible mistake. Without a strong, assertive Pirate presence, backed up by the threat of piliage at cutless point, people fell into abject Landlubberism. The figures speak for themselves;

1914; 7,653 cabin boys press-ganged
1923; 4 cabin boys press-ganged

It’s a shameful litany when you realise that at the same time across Europe the waves were crammed to the spray with the greatest buccaneering surge the world has ever seen. In France, by 1918 production of peg-legs topped 7 million, and hook hands werre so common that a popular song of the day referred to the problem, familiar to every true Pirate of getting caught in your own button hole.

Y’arr, but those were great days for all Pirates- eveywhere but Ireland. Here ne’re a port did ring to the lusty sounds of the sea shanty, for nigh… Well, to this day.

A future article will set out the many failings and capitulations of self-styled Pirate captains in the intervening years.

‘Till the morrow or our shared doom in Davy Jones’ locker, I bid thee well.

Yo! Ho! Ho!

Pirates v Landlubbers; An analysis of class in Ireland

Arr, Me Hearties,

If I tell ‘ee that most chroniclers hold that the Republic be a landlubber economy, you will laugh the joyless, sardonic laugh of the true sea dog. They writes in the ledgers of their counting houses that the citizens is all landlubbers with a pirate rump that exists on the margins. But even with a patch over one eye, true pirates can see better than the landlubbers with their two good ‘uns that the past fifteen years have resulted in a mere pseudo expansion of the landlubber classes.

Aye, the landlubbers claim to ‘ave more treasure. But, mark it well shipmates, they would rather spend their dubloons and pieces of eight on fabergé eggs and the infernal pottery of Josiah Wedgewood than bury it on a sun-kissed Caribbean islet in a good teak chest, 15 paces from the skeleton of a dead shipmate, or fritter it away on rum and wenches in a Barbary tavern. And they calls this “the good times”!? Worst of all, armchair pirates and the landlubbing acolytes of Johnny Depp and the New Piracy have internalised this false analysis. They pander to the delusions of the ‘new landlubbers’ but forget that, in essence, nothing has changed.

Analysis, y\'arr.

Breaking down the population by occupation, we see the following:


Sea-Dogs – 1,000,000

Ships Cooks – 25,000

Parrots – 1,500,000

Cabin Boys – 10,000

Plank-makers – 80,000

Captains – 10,000

People with Beards – 700,000

Wenches – 1,500,000

Tavern-owners – 20,000

Ships-surgeons – 1,990

Buccaneers – 150,000

Privateers – 65,000

Shanty-singers – 250

Chandlers – 3,000

TOTAL – Way more than the Landlubbers


Footmen – 1,450

Innkeepers – 500

Highwaymen – 27

Judges – 136

Horses – 10,000

David McWilliams – 1

The Spanish – 5,000

Farmers – 6,000

Schoolboys – 3,900

Ladies – 357

Potters – 200

TOTAL – Way less than the Pirates.

The analysis of the Irish Pirate Review shows that by any objective yardarm, most of these so-called ‘new landlubbers’ are actually engaged in traditional pirate occupations or in occupations which, though new, align their interests firmly with those of piracy, buccaneering and privateering off the Spanish Main.

While there be talk – y’arr, treacherous talk – of landlubber aspirations, of farming, of sending good lads to school instead of pressing them as cabin boys, ‘tis but a façade of change. P’tooh. True sea dogs know that the tyrant landlubbers will never give up their hold on Spanish gold even as they dupe armchair pirates, Johnny Depp and the so-called ‘new landlubbers’ into slavish obeisance to their land-bound ways.

These so-called ‘new landlubbers’ must ask themselves if, for all their new fangled a-doings and transpirings, they have seen even a single dubloon of Spanish gold! Nay, nay and, thrice, nay! There is only one path to the Spanish Gold and it is through the unabashed embrace of salty piracy.

Our analysis shows that the greater part of this island population is pirates whether they know it or not and whether they like it or not. Soon, we shall be all at sea, and at sea the landlubbers must be made to walk the plank. The ‘new’ landlubbers must choose. Is it to be the plank or women, rum and Spanish Gold on the Barbary Main?!

Shiver me timbers!

Photo Credit

Arrh! The Photo above be available for us to be using though Creative Commons by missy_1074 from Flickr. We thankee!
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