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Displaying items by tag: Currach

A famed adventurer who crossed the Atlantic by currach in a journey inspired by the story of Brendan the Navigator has died at the age of 80, as RTÉ News reports.

Tim Severin set out in 1976 on the epic 7,200km journey in a hand-built currach from Co Kerry, via the Hebrides in Scotland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland to Newfoundland in Canada.

It marked the first of a series of recreations of voyages inspired by legendary events — which included sailing from Oman to China by dhow in the vein of Sinbad, and following the odysseys of Ulysses and Jason and the Argonauts.

But Severin’s connection to Ireland remained as he made his residence in West Cork, where he died peacefully at home.

Published in Historic Boats

A replica of an ancient currach has been set alight in the shadow of Skellig Michael — and all in the name of art.

The arresting image is one of the highlights of Crann, a film directed by Laura Hilliard which will premiere online next Monday 21 December as part of IMRAM, the Irish language library festival.

As RTÉ News reports, the film is inspired by the work of English poet Richard Berengarten — translated into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock — and follows the life cycle of a tree and its relationship to the environment and culture surrounding it, including being crafted into a currach.

Promo for Crann, screening online as part of IMRAM on Monday 21 December

Co Kerry boatbuilder Holger Lonze provided the handiwork for the Boyne currach — Ireland’s only river currach, comprising hazel, cow hide and twine — that features in the film. RTÉ News has much more on the story HERE.

Similar themes are explored in a new documentary that follows the transformation of an oak tree into an Iron Age replica longboat, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

 

Published in Historic Boats
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When Fergus Farrell was paralysed after a workplace accident, he may never have imagined he would watch the sunrise as he plied a currach across Galway Bay.

However, the former rugby player did just that with close friend and extreme sports athlete Damian Browne this week, when the pair completed a 40 km (25-mile) row from the Aran islands into Galway city.

Transatlantic Currach Rowers

As Afloat reported previously, The row – which took place the morning after Galway city was embroiled in controversy over a large student gathering at Spanish Arch – was completed in less than nine hours.

The pair aimed to highlight their bid to set a new Guinness world record in an unsupported row some 4,937km across the Atlantic in two years’ time.

The two men from Renmore and Athenry have been friends and players with Connacht and Galwegians Rugby Football Club since they were young.

Farrell was diagnosed with a serious spinal cord injury after a workplace accident in 2018.

Transatlantic Currach Rowers

After treatment in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, he walked 206 km from the place of his accident to the NRH in late October 2019, and raised €70,000  for the hospital.

Browne successfully rowed across the Atlantic solo in late 2017-early 2018, enduring nine-metre high swells, head lacerations, a complete steering system failure, a capsize in a storm and a near-miss from a cargo ship.

He completed the crossing in 63 days, 6 hours and 25 minutes.

He has completed the six day, 257km-long Marathon des Sables across the Sahara, and has climbed five of the seven summits or highest peaks on each continent, with Everest in his sights for next spring.

The record of 55 days and 13 hours for an Atlantic crossing from New York to the Scilly Isles was set in 1896 by George Harboe and Frank Samuelsen. They had none of the satellite communications and safety equipment available now for such ventures.

Transatlantic Currach Rowers

Some 11 pairs have attempted to break that record but failed, with six of the 11 completing the crossing.

There have been 52 previous attempted crossings in an unsupported row, with 18 successfully making land in some part of Europe.

Browne and Farrell’s transatlantic bid is named Project Empower, and their ocean rowing boat will be built by master builder Justin Adkin of Seasabre, who also constructed Browne’s vessel for his solo crossing.

Website here: http://www.projectempower.ie/

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Two extraordinary men are set to row a currach from the Aran island of Inis Oírr to Galway city this morning to highlight their bid to cross the Atlantic in 2022.

Extreme adventurer and former professional rugby player Damian Browne and his lifelong friend Fergus Farrell aim to set a new Guinness world record in an unsupported row some 4,937km across the Atlantic in two years’ time.

Weather permitting, their 40 km (25-mile) row today (Tues 27th) launches the project’s crowdfunding campaign and symbolises the last leg of their Atlantic traverse.

The two men from Renmore, Galway city, and Athenry, Co Galway respectively have been friends and rugby players with Connacht and Galwegians Rugby Football Club since they were young.

Two years ago, Farrell became paralysed after a workplace accident and was diagnosed with a serious spinal cord injury.

After treatment in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, he walked 206 km from the place of his accident to the NRH.

Farrell raised 70,000 euro in his “Toughest Trek” for the hospital in late October, 2019.

Browne has completed the six day, 257km-long Marathon des Sables across the Sahara Desert - also known as “The Toughest Footrace on Earth” - and successfully rowed across the Atlantic solo in late 2017-early 2018.

One of just 60 people to complete the crossing alone, he endured nine-metre high swells, deep lacerations on his head, and a complete steering system failure. His boat capsized in a storm and was almost destroyed by an oncoming cargo ship.

He had lost 28 kilos when he completed the crossing in 63 days, 6 hours and 25 minutes. Browne is also multi-time Irish indoor rowing champion and currently holds the all-time records for the 500m and 1000m distances.

To date, he has raised over €100,000 for Irish and African based charities through his extreme adventures and is a founder and leader of Freezbrury, an international group challenge held annually every February .

He has also climbed five of the seven summits or highest peaks on each continent, and aims to tackle Everest in April/May 2021.

The record for an Atlantic crossing from New York to the Scilly isles still stands since set by George Harboe and Frank Samuelsen in 1896 - taking 55 days and 13 hours.

They had no water makers or satellite phones, GPS, emergency position indicating radio beacons ( EPIRBs) or even a life raft on board, Browne and Farrell note.

Some 11 pairs have attempted to better it, but failed, with six of the 11 completing the crossing.

There have been 52 previous attempted crossings in an unsupported row, with 18 successfully making land in some part of Europe.

Browne and Farrell have initiated Project Empower, which they describe as a “24-month studied endeavour in human empowerment”.

Their ocean rowing boat will be built by master builder Justin Adkin of Seasabre, who also constructed Browne’s vessel for his transatlantic row. The craft will be a “classic design”.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Musician Glen Hansard has paid tribute to west Kerry poet, farmer and sailor Danny Sheehy with a new video marking the third anniversary of his death.

Film-maker Dónal Ó Céilleachair, who recorded The Camino Voyage documenting Sheehy’s currach trip with the fellow crew from Ireland to northern Spain, has participated with Hansard in the video release.

Sheehy, an award-winning writer, died in June 2017 when the currach, Naomh Gobnait, was caught by a wave close to the Minho river estuary on the Spanish-Portuguese border. He was just 66 years of age.

Hansard said he wrote the piece, entitled Good Life of Song while staying at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris.

“It’s a tribute to the life of bards and troubadours on their lifelong march through the towns and village of the world, singing and drinking, expressing the sorrows and joys of the age as they court darkness and light with equal knowing,” Hansard has said.

Hansard described it as a “song of gratitude for the gift of singing”.

“I raise it here to the memory of our boat captain, Danny Sheehy,” he said.

Ó Ceilleachair said that “in the face of all the challenges of the present moment, sometimes it is good to pause and give gratitude for the things we do have”.

“With gratitude to your contagious, magnetic, inspiring presence, Danny – Bail ó Dhia ort,” he added, marking the video release with Hansard.

Hansard signed up as crew for the final stage of the three-summer currach voyage from Ireland to northern Spain which was completed in late June 2016.

Sheehy and his close friend, west Kerry musician and oarsman Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, decided to continue to navigate the Galician and Portuguese coasts in 2017, along with musician Liam Ó Maonlaí of the Hothouse Flowers and Co Cork boatbuilder Padraig Ua Duinnín.

The crew stayed with the upturned craft after its capsize, but Sheehy was taken ill on reaching shore and did not survive.

Better-known in his native Kerry as Domhnall Mac Síthigh, Sheehy won Oireachtas awards for his poetry and storytelling and was a broadcaster on Raidió na Gaeltachta and RTÉ Radio.

He had previously circumnavigated Ireland in a naomhóg with Ger Ó Ciobháin in 1975 and also rowed to Iona in Scotland, while also undertaking several sailing voyages west and north.

Published in Historic Boats
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Skerries RNLI launched to the rescue of a man and two teenagers in the water after their currach capsized off the north Co Dublin town yesterday evening (Saturday 21 September).

Just after 5pm, Dublin Coast Guard picked up a Mayday transmission from the 14ft currach. Skerries RNLI says that at first the location was unclear.

But several 999 calls from concerned onlookers confirmed that it was near the port lateral marker, known locally as the Perch Mark, just off the headland in Skerries.

The volunteer RNLI crew launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Louis Simson to the stricken vessel, which could be seen from the lifeboat station.

Arriving on scene at the same time as the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116, the crew learned that Skerries Sailing Club’s tender had also picked up the Mayday and, together with another local angling boat, had taken the man and teenagers from the water.

The casualties were then transferred to the lifeboat and brought ashore and to dry off and warm up. Dublin Fire Brigade paramedics attended to give first aid before a HSE ambulance arrived and gave the trio a full checkover.

Meanwhile, Skerries RNLI reports that the capsized currach was returned to the beach and the oars and other items lost overboard were recovered.

“Accidents can happen at sea at any time,” said Skerries RNLI press officer Gerry Canning. “Everyone on board was wearing a lifejacket, and they had a waterproof VHF to raise the alarm, which is really encouraging to see.

“This was a great team effort across multiple different emergency services with everyone playing their part. We’d also like to commend the young man driving the boat for Skerries Sailing Club and the local angling boat for their swift actions.”

Published in Rescue

On what type of boat did the original settlers of Ireland arrive?

They probably came over 10,000 years ago and began populating the coastal regions.

Could they have come on some type of sailing currach?

The Currach Association of Ireland has been discussing the historic aspects of Ireland’s most iconic boat as they focus on ensuring its protection and preservation for the future. From the paintings of Robert O’Flaherty’s classic film ‘Man of Aran’ through photographs and films, the currach identifies maritime ‘Irishness’ in a way few other symbols achieve.

EXPERIMENTING WITH A SAILING CURRACH VERSION ON THE BOYNEExperimenting with a Sailing Currach version on the River Boyne

“People assume that because they are iconic, with the imagery they have, that the currachs will always be there, but will they, if nothing is done to ensure their future?” That is the focus of the Association.

"Could the original settlers to Ireland have come on some type of sailing currach, 10,000 years ago?"

There is a passion amongst those who love currachs which is uplifting to experience.

They are proud of their boats and the Irish maritime history and culture they resonate. Martin O’Donoghue is one of the leaders who outlines how and why it was founded on my Podcast this week and that it is particularly interested to hear where currachs are used.

CURRACH ASSOCIATION OF IRELAND PRESERVING CURRACHSThe Currach Association of Ireland are preserving Currachs

I was fascinated to hear Claidhigh O’Gibne talk about the research and development of the Boyne sailing currach, made from traditional skin-on-frame. That reminded me of interviewing Tim Severin on television many years ago when he was recreating St.Brendan’s leather boat journey across the Atlantic.

“We are people of the sea, it is our heritage. We must know about our history and skin boats are that history. It is important for young people to understand our history and culture of the sea.” Claidhigh said. He talked about the making of leather sails, the challenge of handling them on a boat and getting that boat to sail.

“The public view is of black boats that all seem alike, but few boats are as varied. There’s enough interest and activity related to currachs going on around the entire island of Ireland, but we have to be certain of preserving their iconic culture and history,” says Martin O’Donoghue on behalf of the Currach Association.

LISTEN TO HIM ON THE PODCAST BELOW

Published in Historic Boats
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Traditional Irish currachs will compete in a Spanish rowing race next week and the crews also hope to will visit the Galician Naomhog exhibition dedicated to the memory of the late poet Danny Sheehy.

Naomhoga Chorcaigh is taking six currachs to Santander next week for a trial version of “Navigatio Santander” – a 22-km rowing race being developed in the fashion of Cork’s Ocean to City Event in Spain.

After the race, the boats will be taken to Vigo where the group that includes Drascombe and traditional boat sailor Jack O'Keefe will visit the Naomhog exhibition reported by Afloat here.

If the weather allows – the currachs will be rowed from Vigo to A Guarda to participate in the 14th Encontro de Embarcationes de Galicia. More here.

As Afloat readers will know, A Guarda is where Danny Sheehy was lost – and the Cork crew intend to pay their respects.

Published in Historic Boats

When west Kerry poet, farmer and sailor Danny Sheehy lost his life during the last stages of a “camino by sea” off the Spanish coast two years ago, his fellow oarsmen were so heartbroken they could barely think about the boat that had saved them writes Lorna Siggins.

There is also a tradition that if a currach or naomhóg loses crew to the elements, it does not launch again.

However, the naomhóg Naomh Gobnait is now being restored by Sheehy’s fellow seafarers, with the support of a Galician cultural association in northern Spain.

As Afloat reported in 2017, the 66-year-old award-winning writer had rowed and sailed the Naomh Gobnait on the Camino na Sáile. The three-summer voyage from Ireland to northern Spain completed in late June 2016 was documented by film-maker Dónal Ó Céilleachair.

"There is also a tradition that if a currach or naomhóg loses crew to the elements, it does not launch again"

Some of the crew then decided to continue to navigate the Galician and Portuguese coasts during the summer of 2017, but the boat capsized when caught by a wave close to the Minho river estuary on the Spanish-Portuguese border.

Currach GobnaitLiam Holden (in foreground), and Breandán Moriarty are among crew of the Camino by Sea voyage now repairing the vessel in Spain, and it will be put on display in either Vigo or in Santiago de Compostella

Musician Liam Ó Maonlaí of the Hothouse Flowers, west Kerry musician and oarsman Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich and Co Cork boatbuilder Padraig Ua Duinnín stayed with the upturned craft, along with Sheehy, but he was taken ill and did not survive.

Ó Beaglaoich, who has recently returned from Vigo where the reconstruction is taking place, said that at first everyone had wanted to burn the naomhóg.

Gobnait CurrachAn exhibition about the reconstruction of Naomh Gobnait has also been put together with the support of Buxa, the Galician association of industrial heritage, the Museum of the Sea in Galicia and Galician Television

“I pleaded for the naomhóg to be saved, as it saved all our lives and it brought Danny back to shore,” he said. “And it came to shore itself in perfect condition. It won’t go back to sea, but it will be a symbol of Irish-Galician links.”

Artist Liam Holden, who built the original craft and is now working on the rebuild with Ó Duinnín, said the boat had been badly damaged from Sheehy’s seat up. However, it is hoped to have most of the repair work completed this week (June 18).

“It is like an emotional healing to see it coming together again,” Ó Beaglaoich said.

“At the time of the capsize, the boat looked like how I felt, but now it looks like how I am feeling now.”

“The naomhóg has Danny written all over it,” he said.

Better-known in his native Kerry as Domhnall Mac Síthigh, Sheehy won Oireachtas awards for his poetry and storytelling and was a broadcaster on Raidió na Gaeltachta and RTÉ Radio.

Sheehy had previously circumnavigated Ireland in a naomhóg with Ger Ó Ciobháin in 1975 and also rowed to Iona in Scotland, while also undertaking several sailing voyages west and north.

An exhibition about the reconstruction of Naomh Gobnait has also been put together with the support of Buxa, the Galician association of industrial heritage, the Museum of the Sea in Galicia and Galician Television.

“The boat is fated to become the symbol of the Santiago pilgrimage by sea, consolidating at the same time the historical relationships between Ireland and Galicia,” the exhibition records.

It also marks the essential sea and shore support provided to the Camino crew of Sheehy, Ó Beaglaoich, Holden, Breandán Moriarty and musician Glen Hansard.

Ó Beaglaoich said that while the plan was to display Naomh Gobnait in Vigo, he would also love to see it exhibited at the Irish College in Santiago de Compostela, which educated hundreds of Irish clerical students from 1605 after the flight of the earls and the later imposition of Penal Laws.

Published in Historic Boats
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Currachs are important to preserving the maritime history and culture of an island nation a seminar about these iconic boats was told in Cork Harbour today reports Tom MacSweeney. The seminar on the antiquity and sustainability of currachs was part of the Seafest maritime festival in the city.

Martin O'Donoghue of the Currach Association said that currachs had become part of leisure boating interest which had increased their popularity but there is also a huge educational and cultural aspect which is important to keeping the maritime importance of an island nation to the attention of the present generation.

There are speakers and people attending from around the country and from Norway.

Currach LectureThe Cork seminar on the antiquity and sustainability of currachs was part of Seafest

Published in Maritime Festivals
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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

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At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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