The famine-era emigrant who became the greatest showman

Extraordinary Emigrants: Captain Paul Boyton was known as ‘the Fearless Frogman’ for his daredevil feats

Captain Paul Boyton the Fearless Frogman

Captain Paul Boyton the Fearless Frogman

“I began my voyages on October 1874. Sailing from New York on the Queen of the National Line, Captain Bragg in command, my object was to jump overboard when we were two hundred and fifty miles from the American shore.”

So began the first of countless journeys undertaken by Paul Boyton, a famine-era emigrant from Rathangan, Co Kildare who would become one of the greatest showmen of his time. Known as "the Fearless Frogman" he conducted daredevil feats in open water while enveloped in a vulcanised rubber suit. This suit allowed him to float on the water and he could propel himself with the use of an oar. Convinced the device could save hundreds of lives if its existence was more widely known, he conducted a series of high-profile stunts in the hopes of attracting media attention.

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