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Pat Lawless Solo Circumnavigator


Lancelot Adams Sr, Farmer,  born Ireland 1786, died 27th March 1846. He and his wife had six children Elizabath being one of them.

 Samuel Adams, father of Elizabeth, who Married Sergeant Daniel McNeice in Quebec.

Martha Adams Mazey, mother of Elizabeth Adams, Quebec.

Ellen Nell Mc Neice, Loughgill, Annaghmore, Armagh, mother of Daniel McNeice.

Fort Ricasoli, Malta, where Daniel McNeice, Elizabeth Adams and their children lived in the 1870’s.

Elizabeth Adams, Canadian born 1840 and died Limerick 20th July 1912.

Daniel Mc Neice, born Armagh, died Limerick.

Posthumous portrait of Elizabeth McNeice Wallace married to Aladerman Daniel Mc Neice, Grandmother of Pat.

Peter and Catherine Lawless, Dublin, parents of James Peter Lawless, Pats grandparents

Burial place of Lieutenant James Peter Lawless, Pembroke Military Graveyard, Malta.

Helena “Nell” Lawless, nee Mc Neice, Mother of Peter, Pat and Betty. Lived to 96 years.

Pat as a baby.

 Pat with his brother Peter in Liverpool.

Pat growing up in dalkey- Ireland his first home here.

Pat with his brother, mother and father

Pat with his father.

Vico road, Dalkey - where Pat first lived in Ireland.

 Pat’s rule exercise book for school.

 Pat’s rule exercise book for school.

“He who does not advance loses ground”.

“Bad beginning had ever bad endings”.

“Embark not your all in one venture”.

Pat in Fenit, Kerry, 1936.

Pat in Fenit, Kerry, 1936.

Pat dressed up going out at a young age.

Pat and three others in the Killaloe regatta, June 1946.

Pat playing pool at a young age.

Irish Rover 1941.

Pat having his first drink at a young age

Pat and his sister Betty on the Irish Rover in 1944

Pat and Jack Saint.

Pat and Nancy after getting married in Askeaton, Limerick.

Pat, Nancy and their son Pat Lawless Junior.

Pat, Peter and other employees outside Roches Street factory.

Pat and Nancy after getting married in Askeaton, Limerick.

Pat and Nancy after getting married in Askeaton, Limerick.

Pat and Nancy.

John McNeice and Ellen “Nell” McNeice were farmers from Loughgall, Annaghmore, County Armagh. They had a son Daniel MacNeice. Daniel McNiece, aged 19, enlisted at Portsmouth for Royal Artillery on the 28th January 1856. Number 1166. He served in Quebec in 1856 and Malta from 1867 to 1873. He retired on the 24th January 1877 after serving for a period of 21 years.

Daniel married Elizabeth Margaret Adams on the 17th April 1865 in St Patrick's Church, Quebec Canada. Elizabeth Adams father was Samuel C Adams and her mother was Martha Mazey from Quebec (a native Indian).

Daniel and Elizabeth lived at number 8 and 17, Emmett Place, Limerick and then moved to number 7, Harbour View, South Circular Road, Limerick.

They had six children together, John Samuel McNeice (born 11 January 1867 in Quebec), Daniel McNeice (born 23 March 1869 in Fort Ricasoli, Malta), Martha Eleanor “Nell” McNeice (born 13 March 1871 in Malta who lived to be to 96), Arthur Francis McNeice (born 1872 in Malta), Elizabeth Margaret McNeice (born 11 June 1876 in Limerick) and their youngest Emma McNeice (born 16 September 1880 in Limerick).

Daniel McNeice married Elizabeth "Lizzy" Wallace and they had five children, John, Joseph, Michael, Arthur and Helena “Nell".

Helena (Nell) McNeice, from Limerick, married James Peter (JP) Lawless, who was from Dublin. JP and Nell got married on the 27th November 1922 in St Joseph's Church, O’Connell Avenue, Limerick. JP and Nell moved to Liverpool as JP secured a job working on the financial side of the construction of Liverpool Cathedral. They had three children together Peter, Patrick “Pat” and Elizabeth "Betty" and they were all born in Liverpool. Pat Lawless was born in Liverpool on the 17th March 1926.

When the construction of the Cathedral ceased at the outbreak of WWII they moved back to Ireland when Pat was 9 and lived in Vico Road, Dalkey. The back garden of the house stretched down to the sea where Pat played as a child. JP then joined the Army and became a Lieutenant.  

A few years later, while JP was stationed abroad Pat’s mother, brother Peter, and sister Betty then moved to number 7 Harbour View, South Circular Road in Limerick when pat was 14. They lived with Pat’s grandfather, Alderman Daniel McNeice.

Daniel was the secretary to the Limerick Harbour Commissioners and took Pat down to the docks with him when he was working. Pat loved spending time with Daniel down by the river Shannon and grew a love for the water.

At the age of 15 Pat commenced a carpentry apprenticeship with Guineas Furniture Factory in Roches St, Limerick.

At the age of 15, Pat joined the Limerick Boat Club to row.

He eventually passed a sailing test and obtained a ticket to sail the clubs 17' half decked sloop, which lead to his life-long love of the water.

At the age of 16, Pat bought his first boat, a 16’ sloop and started off sailing it up and down the Shannon, in Lough Derg and the coast of Ireland. At that time Pat was an apprentice cabinet-maker.

In 1944, Pat was 18 years old, JP died in Malta.

Pat completed his apprenticeship as a cabinet-maker, in Guineas Furniture Factory and shortly after this the Guineas Furniture Factory closed down. Pat and his brother Peter, set up Lawless Brothers Furniture Manufacturers in the back of their house in Harbour View.

When Lawless Brothers Furniture Manufacturers grew in size they moved to a factory in Roches Street, Limerick. This factory caught fire and they then moved down to the Dock Road in Limerick.

In 1953 Pat and Hanora Christina (Nancy) Collins got married Askeaton Church, County Limerick. They had six children together (Jim, Pat, Dan, John, Helen and Peter).

Pat and Peter were in business in the Dock Road until they ceased trading in 1974. After this Pat set up a workshop on his own in Ardnacrusha, County Clare. As he was operating a sole trader business this allowed him to spend more time sailing in Lough Derg and on the Shannon.

In 1986 at the age of 60, he solo sailed across the Atlantic to Newport, Rhode Island in a twenty eight foot yacht “Iniscealtra”. Pat was given a civic reception by Limerick City Council after his transatlantic voyages which stated that Limerick City Council appreciates “The courage and bravery of Mr. Pat Lawless in successfully completing a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by boat in 1986” and acknowledges “That his achievement is of significant importance and a source of pride to the Citizens of Limerick”. Iniscealtra Sailing Club, Limerick Boat Club and Foynes Yacht Club also made Pat an honorary member.

The following year, in 1987, at the age of 61 he sailed from Newport back to Limerick.

Two years later, 1989, at the age of 62, he said to his wife Nancy “will you come to O’Driscoll’s (pub) I have something to ask you”, she replied “you can take me to O Driscoll’s, you always wanted to sail the world, you have my blessing”.

 It was always his dream to solo sail around the world. On his first attempt, sponsored by the Limerick Leader, family and friends, he was rescued 1,200 miles west of Capetown by a Norwegian freight ship, having suffered storm damage, and suffered the loss of his Iniscealtra.

The following year, 1990, at the age of 63 having secured sponsorship from Tony O’Mara and others, in a thirty two foot yacht “Loon” he set off on a second attempt, which was abandoned in Brazil after storm damage.

Pat had the boat shipped back to Ireland the following year and attempted to sail around the world for a third time at the age of 67 in 1993 with sponsorship from John Hunt and many others.

Three years and three days later at the age of seventy, on the 23rd July of 1996, Pat successfully sailed back to Limerick having lived and fulfilled his life-long dream.

He subsequently wrote a book of around 350 pages based on his sea journals. However he was unable to secure a publisher. Several years later a publisher wanted to publish the book however the book couldn’t be found unfortunately.  

Pat thoroughly enjoyed the rest of his life back on land with his family and friends until he passed away in his sleep on the 20th of August 2010 at the age of 84. His funeral was held in St Joseph's Church, O’Connell Avenue, Limerick and he is buried in Dunquin, County Kerry overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

We spent the past 5 years looking for the book with no success. Now Pat’s sea journals, camcorder recordings at sea, photographs, interviews, newspaper articles and correspondence etc. are being placed on this website to give the public access to the voyages and mind of quite an intrepid sailor. We hope this website could help us find the book and also that the website will serve as a memory to his achievements.

Pat is currently survived by Nancy, their six children, thirteen grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

"Pat and his favourite daughter on her wedding day