A radio documentary exploring how a chance meeting between Andrew Weatherall and a County Cork fisherman led to the legendary producer adopting ‘Fail We May, Sail We Must’ as his personal mantra, is set to be broadcast on Irish radio next week.

Produced by Paul McDermott, the documentary, which will be broadcast on UCC 98.3FM at 5pm on 17 February (and will also be available on podcast platforms), will explore the chance encounter in 2008 between Weatherall and Gerard Sheehy, and how the phrase in question – which Weatherall tattooed on his arms – has become in turn an inspiration for thousands of others.

On the first anniversary of Weatherall’s death, in 2021, an effort by DJ and broadcaster Cian Ó Cíobháin to try to track down the anonymous fisherman credited with the inspiration for the phrase led to a community of music fans, West Cork inhabitants, the Irish fishing community and local and national media getting behind the search.

Eventually Sheehy, the captain of a trawler from Baltimore in Co. Cork, came forward – a discovery that made headlines both nationally and internationally.

A snippet from McDermott’s 45-minute documentary can be heard below.

Featuring recollections from people who worked with Weatherall in Ireland over the years, the documentary also details how the phrase has encouraged others creatively and philosophically and has seeped into popular culture – inspiring everything from tattoos, art prints, t-shirts, graffiti to memes and murals.

It features contributions from Gerard Sheehy (fisherman); Cian Ó Cíobháin (DJ and Broadcaster); Greg Dowling (DJ and producer); Stevie G (DJ and Broadcaster); Joe Kelly (music promoter); Tristan Orpen Lynch (manager of 90s Irish dance act Bumble); Jack Collins (designer of a Fail We May print); Janet Keating (who was inspired to get a Fail We May tattoo), and many others.

Further information can be found at paulmcdermott.ie.

PS – It’s not the only Andrew Weatherall broadcast going live next week – Dublin’s The Sugar Club is set to premiere Sail We Must on 16 February, presented by The Tenth Man. Details below.

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