The last ferryman at Enniskillen who rowed people across the river to the old workhouse on the site of the present Erne Hospital celebrated his 88th birthday a few weeks ago.

Walking tall and straight, Alfie Robinson can remember several exciting incidents in his long career as boatman, among them the occasion when he was blown away in a fierce storm, and rescuing two people from drowning.

Mr. Robinson, who lives in Derrychara, Enniskillen, with only his Jack Russell terrier ‘Sparkey’ for company, was employed as ferryman from 1932 until the Johnston Bridge linking Cornagrade with the town was built in the late 1950s and the ferry became obsolete. His wife, Kathleen, a Superintendent of the St. John Ambulance Brigade in the Enniskillen area for many years, died on Christmas Day, 1962.

When the workhouse (on the present Erne Hospital site) was fully occupied and the fever hospital beside it in regular use, he would make up to 100 crossings from the jetty at the bottom of Market Street every day.