DISASTERS: Riders to the Sea

To the people of the isles and headlands of the west coast of Ireland, where giant Atlantic combers thunder at the base of eroded cliffs, the ocean is an enemy. Many a fisherman has come back to port wrapped "in the half of a red sail, and the water dripping out of it."

In Galway black-shawled women last week knelt on the grey cobblestones telling their beads. The men stood by in silence, their weathered faces turned to the driving rain, as the black-and-red-hulled French trawler, Jules Verne, steamed slowly into harbor, its...