Liam Shanahan Snr was widely known in the sailing community as a determined offshore racing and cruising owner-skipper and a pillar of the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, both as a longtime Club Trustee and a racing and sea-going achiever. He and his family regularly added to the club’s annual haul of significant trophies won locally, nationally and internationally. And he did this through sailing skills started while working abroad, and then honed in Dublin Bay racing, ISORA competition, and offshore majors such as the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle and Round Ireland races.
He was the personification of success achieved through shrewd career choices, a willingness to travel to further his work objectives, an ability to work very hard indeed, and a determination that – in time – he and his growing family’s remarkable life would be firmly Ireland-centric.
He was representative of the best of modern Ireland, as he was of that generation of specialised qualifications which had to accept that a period working internationally – and working with exceptional concentration wherever he found himself with a project in hand – would be required in order to fulfill his longterm ambition of living comfortably beside Dublin Bay in a permanent family home, and running his own high-powered international business from a South Dublin office complex.
Consequently, for those of us who didn’t get to know him until he started to make his mark on the ISORA scene in the 1970s, there was inevitably a slight sense of the lone wolf about Liam. It was a very positive thing, but there was this inescapable awareness of a canny and determined eye on the distant horizon, and a willingness to take unorthodox action…