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Displaying items by tag: Currach

An historic race involving the rare Belderrig currach resulted in a victory for Mayo emigrants over the August bank holiday weekend.

Oarsmen with Mayo links from Currachaí na Sceirí, a club based in Skerries north Dublin, secured first place in the hotly contested race against a crew from Belderrig.

As Afloat reported previously, It was the first time since 1953 that what was once a regular challenge had taken place in Belderrig harbour on the north Mayo coast.

The winning Belderrig currach crew from Currachaí na Sceirí -Shane Holland Finbarr O Connor, Dermot Higgins, Anthony Moran  pictured with Kevin O'Sullivan  in the stern..jpgThe winning Belderrig currach crew from Currachaí na Sceirí -Shane Holland Finbarr O Connor, Dermot Higgins, Anthony Moran pictured with Kevin O'Sullivan in the stern

Both crews were rowing the Belderrig design of currach, a five-hander 24-foot-long salmon fishing type of craft once used along that stretch of coastline.

The winning team from Currachaí na Sceirí included Shane Holland, Finbarr O Connor, Dermot Higgins, Anthony Moran and Kevin O'Sullivan in the stern.

The Belderrig crew involved the Madden brothers of Padraig, Paul and Darren, along with Declan Caulfield and Oisín Mc Conamhna in the stern.

The Belderrig crew of the Madden brothers, Padraig, Paul and Darren, with Declan Caulfield and Oisín Mac Conamhna in  the sternThe Belderrig crew of the Madden brothers, Padraig, Paul and Darren, with Declan Caulfield and Oisín Mac Conamhna in the stern

In separate time trials, Dan and Alan Mc Hale from Mayo won first place, with Skerries crews coming second and third.

In 2002, the National Museum of Ireland commissioned skilled boat-builder Pádraig Ó Duinnín and a team from Meitheal Mara in Cork to construct the Belderrig currach in the grounds of the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park in Castlebar.

CnS crew get readyCurrachaí na Sceirí crew get ready Photo: Ann Laurent

Currachaí na sceiriCurrachaí na sceiri in full flight Photo: Ann Laurent

 Belderrig (in foreground) Belderrig (in foreground) Photo: Ann Laurent

Published in Historic Boats
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For those missing the annual Dublin-Mayo clash on the GAA pitch, there is a substitute of sorts on water this weekend.

A friendly clash between the Dublin-based Mayomen of Skerries and the Mayomen of Belderrig in the north of the county takes place on Saturday, July 30th, in Belderrig harbour.

Declan Caulfield, owner of the local Mayo boat, says it will be the first such race in over 50 years.

Belderrig currach oarsmenBelderrig currach oarsmen in action

The crews previously raced against each other in Skerries at the 3 Island Currach Challenge.

The Skerries boat, An Béal Deirg, is a five hander 24 foot salmon fishing type of currach, which there are only a handful of worldwide.

Shane Holland, who is captain of Currachaí na Sceirí, says he is excited about the trip.

Holland says he “always wanted to row the North Mayo coast, given that my father grew up in the Post office in Killala”

“. Our crew consists of two other Mayomen - Tony Moran of Killala, Finbarr O’Connor of Knockmore and my nephew Louis Holland of Halifax, Nova Scotia, along with Kevin O’Sullivan and Dermot Higgins of Skerries,” Holland says.

The Belderrig crew skippered by Declan Caulfield includes Oisín Mc Canamhna of Belderrig, Darren and Paul Madden of Ballycastle, now living in Glasson and Co Cork respectively.

Oisín’s father, Brendán Mc Canamhna, is an expert on the subject of North Mayo currachs, and has written extensively on the subject.

The race will also be closely observed by Noel Campbell of the National Museum of Ireland, custodian of the third existing “Belderrig” which resides in the museum in Turlough Park in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

The race between the two currachs takes place at 12 noon on Saturday, July 30th, in Belderrig harbour, Co Mayo.

Belderrig Killala French oarsmen wearing French coloursBelderrig Killala French oarsmen wearing French colours

Published in Historic Boats
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Rowing a currach across Kerry waters features in one of five TG4 projects to be screened at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh which opens this week.

Four of the actors in the film, entitled Tarrac, take to their oars on the Atlantic in what has been described as an “intimate character drama set in the Kerry gaeltacht”.

Directed by Declan Recks, the plot focuses on Aoife Ní Bhraoin, who returns home to help her father, Brendán ‘The Bear’ Ó Briain, recover from a heart attack.

Day to day they get along “just fine”, but a deeper dig explores “so much that has been left unsaid about the loss of Aoife’s mother”, according to the film notes.

The script was written by Eugene O’Brien and the film was produced by Clíona Ní Bhuachalla.

Cast includes Kelly Gough, Lorcan Cranitch, Kate Nic Chonaonaigh, Kate Finegan, Rachel Feeney and Cillian Ó Gairbhí.

The premiere of Tarrac will be screened at Galway’s Town Hall Theatre on Friday, July 8th, at 9pm.

TG4 and Screen Ireland will also host a networking event at the Galway Film Fleadh on Saturday July 9th for producers interested in creating content in the Irish language.

For the full programme, screening times, and tickets see or contact Galway’s Town Hall Theatre box office on 091 569 777.

Published in Maritime TV
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This year’s Liffey City Currach Regatta takes place this coming Saturday 7 May, with crews assembling at St Patrick’s Rowing Club in Ringsend at 10am for registration before the first race at 11.30am.

Racing will continue throughout the afternoon with crews from Dublin, Connemara and Warrenpoint all expected to take part. For more on the event see the Facebook page HERE.

The event comes not long after three currachs were launched on the Liffey in a rare occasion in the capital, as previously reported on

Published in Rowing

Three currachs were successfully launched on the River Liffey yesterday to the sound of traditional music tunes and the boats were blessed in a ceremony at Poolbeg in Dublin city.

As Afloat reported earlier, the boats were launched by the Draíocht na Life rowing group.

Traditional Boats of Ireland Editor Criostoir Mac Cartaigh officiated at the proceedings, saying that it's not every day you see three currachs being launched on the same day, especially in Dublin.

The three currachs are launched at the slipway next to Stella Maris Rowing Club Photo: AfloatThe three currachs are launched at the slipway next to Stella Maris Rowing Club Photo: Afloat

One currach is a racing version, built in Connemara and used on the Liffey.

'Cairde' was recently restored by Micheál Ó Maoilchiaráin from Carna in Conamara who took off the old canvas in favour of fibreglass.

A revamp of a Conamara racer, named 'Cairde', from left to right;  Peter Carey and Tom Jordan Photo: AfloatA revamp of a Conamara racer, named 'Cairde', from left to right;  Peter Carey and Tom Jordan Photo: Afloat

New hardwood and pins alongside a nice new paint job finished off the job.

'Sáile', a two-seater and a three seater, 'Faoileán', were built by Ed Tuthill, a Liffey rower, and both were put together in Clane, Co Kildare.

The three-seater was built during the lockdown.

A two seater currach, named Saile, meaning 'woods salted by the sea' from left to right;  Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Frank Tate Photo: AfloatA two seater currach, named Saile, meaning 'woods salted by the sea' from left to right;  Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Frank Tate Photo: Afloat

Mac Cartaigh praised the skill, passion and bravery of the builders who have contributed a huge amount to currach building and getting people out rowing on the Liffey.

The currachs were blessed by Fr Ivan Tonge from Ringsend.

The Draíocht na Life rowing group was formed around 15 years ago by Liffey currach rower and owner, Dave Kelly.

Tunes were played ashore by Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Frank Tate and Fionn O hAlmhain. 

TG4 were there to capture the event in the stern of Cairde and the launch was aired on Nuacht TG4 at 7 pmAs well as Afloat, TG4 were there to capture the event in the stern of Cairde and the launch was aired on Nuacht TG4 at 7 pm Photo: Afloat

Next Saturday crews from Kerry to Donegal and from Conamara to Warrenpoint will take part in the first currach races of the season in Dublin. 

Currach Launching on the Liffey Photo Gallery 

Published in Historic Boats
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Three currachs will be launched on the River Liffey this Saturday.

Traditional Boats of Ireland Editor Criostoir Mac Cartaigh has been invited to officiate at the launch proceedings.

Launching at noon from the slipway beside the Stella Maris Rowing Club in Ringsend, a 'few tunes' will accompany the launch, according to organiser and Liffey Currach rower Dave Kelly. 

One currach is a racing version, built in Connemara, used on the Liffey then sold on to a Dublin crew where a revamp took place. The old canvas was taken off in favour of fibreglass, new hardwood and pins fitted and a nice new paint job.

The other two, a two-seater and a three-seater, were built by Ed Tuthill, a Liffey rower, and both built in Clane Co. Kildare.  The three-seater was built during the lockdown.

Two of the Liffey Currachs sitting nicely on their river mooring at Ringsend(Above and below) Two of the Liffey Currachs sitting nicely on their river mooring at Ringsend

Two of the Liffey Currachs sitting nicely on their river mooring at Ringsend

Meanwhile, Producer/ Director Pat Larkin at Misery Hill Films has put together a fantastic piece entitled 'Draoicht na Life' (below) on currach rowing on the River Liffey that features onboard action - plus some sea shanties - of currachs going under several of the capital's low air draft bridges at high tide!

Published in Historic Boats
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Currachs take to the water in Barcelona, Spain this Sunday to mark Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations.

The 11th annual Mediterranean Currach regatta is a festival of Irish heritage and culture, run by the Iomramh Cultural Association and the Irish in Barcelona.

Festival founder, artist and currach maker Mark Redden, said crews rowing from the Barcelona club will compete with currach rowers coming from Ireland and North America.

The regatta, which starts at 10 am on Sunday, March 13th, will take place at Espigó de la Mar Bella, near Base Nàutica Municipal de Barcelona.

Currach regatta Barcelona

An Irish culture “showcase runs from 11 am to 6 pm on the same day at CEM Mar Bella outdoor space

“Throughout the day there will be a range of kids' activities: we have joined forces with Anellides, Oceanogami, Plàstic Preciós and Biook, four educational organisations that work tirelessly to save our seas and will offer activities for the young,” Redden says.

“ Koala Art for Kids will do a creativity and art workshop, and for the youngest in the family Mammaproof will provide a playground,” he says.

“ Los Stompers, Nuala Irish Dancers, The Boozan Dukes, Lemon Twist and Aires Celtes will set the rhythm of the day. Irish Dawn Meats burgers and Guinness will keep us all going for the day! “

"The currach is a potent symbol of sustainability. Where the most is made from the minimum and a seafaring craft is made in the most ecologically considerate way possible with locally available crude materials,” Redden says.

“This connection that Iomramh has with a century-old sport that takes place at sea has led us to want to take care of it more than ever at a time when the need to react to the amount of plastic waste dumped in it over the years has become clear,”he says.

“Join us for a joyous day on the coast of Barcelona featuring currach races, Irish music,” Redden says.

Admission is free, and the main sponsor of the event is construction company Kingspan.

“This collaboration between Kingspan and Iomramh has been promoting society's environmental awareness for three years now,” he adds.

More information here

Published in Historic Boats
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St Stephen’s Day saw the inaugural launch of traditional Currach craft on the Owenabue River at Carrigaline in Cork Harbour.

Members of Naomhoga Corcaigh rowed from Wesley across to the Otter which is atop the plinth in the centre of the town opposite the Gaelic Bar.

It is hoped to make this an annual St Stephen's Day Event and ties in with wider community plans to turn Carrigaline into a beacon for watersports enthusiasts

Government funding is to be sought to drive the project to fruition.

An initial plan drawn up by municipal district council officials, with the help of a blueway expert, was presented to councillors last May which looked at the possible landing and launching sites for the project along the Owenabue river and estuary.

The plan focused on locations such as Carrigaline Community Park, the two bridges close to it, the town's former abattoir site as well as the Drakes Pool/Rabbit Island area.

Naomhoga Corcaigh members in Carrigaline for the inaugural Currach launch Photo: Brendan Nash

Fine Gael councillor Liam O'Connor, who was the first person to suggest the idea of developing facilities in Carrigaline, welcomed the initial report.

He maintained the ideal site to create permanent facilities for the project, such as toilets, changing rooms etc, was in the Drakes Pool/Rabbit Island area. However, he added that additional parking space would have to be created there to facilitate it.

“It's great that the council has expressed an appetite for this. We should look for this (government) funding for a feasibility study to kick-start this project,” Mr O'Connor told the Irish Examiner in May.

Naomhoga Corcaigh's ethos is to provide access to the River Lee and to encourage the sport of traditional Irish rowing with a bit of craic and beagáinín Gaeilge (a little of the Irish language)!​

Published in Cork Harbour
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The artists’ exhibition of 21 currachs used as canvases which ran over the summer on the Aran island of Inis Oírr transfers into NUI Galway for Culture Night.

Irish international sculptor John Behan RHA, Tuam-based visual artist Jennifer Cunningham, Mayo-based Ger Sweeney, and Sadia Shoaib, who has been living in direct provision for the past six years, are among those who were given currachs to use as canvases.

Inis Oírr arts centre artistic director Dara McGee painted his own interpretation - entitled Under A Mackerel Sky – which also forms part of the exhibition, hosted by Áras Éanna.

NUI Galway and Áras Éanna will open the exhibition on Friday morning (Sept 17th) in the university’s quadrangle in partnership with Galway Music Residency, ConTempo Quartet.

The quartet will perform a specially selected suite of classical and contemporary music connected to the ocean, composed by Alec Roth, Claude Debussy and Katharina Baker.

The work of Kathleen FureyThe work of Kathleen Furey

NUI Galway drama students will also take part in the event, reciting a selection of poetry by Máirtín Ó Direáin.

A new partnership between NUI Galway and Áras Éanna will also be announced, with the aim of working to promote the islands and the west as places of culture, learning and research.

The university says it has established a new fund to support staff and students who wish to travel to Inis Oírr and use the facilities at Áras Éanna as part of their studies.

Published in Island News
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The symbiotic relationship between the Aran Islands and the centuries-old fishing currach is explored in a new installation at the country’s westernmost arts centre, Áras Éanna on Inis Oírr.

The commissioned artists include John Behan RHA, one of Ireland’s most acclaimed sculptors. Behan is no stranger to the exhibition’s theme, having previously created a seven metre-long bronze ship, titled ‘Arrival’, for the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Sadia Shoaib, a Pakistani artist and asylum seeker, has also contributed to the outdoor exhibition, Curacha, which marks 21 years of Áras Éanna.

The work of Kathleen FureyThe work of Kathleen Furey Photo: Cormac Coyne

Shoaib researched the Aran Islands for her piece, and says she was inspired by the traditional woven stitch of the islands and its butterflies for her "Mandala style" depiction of a spiritual journey through layers.

Connemara artist Kathleen Furey depicted a Harry Clarke stained glass window painting of St Gobnait from the Honan Chapel in Co Cork on her currach, which is on view at Inis Oírr church.

Dara McGee, the centre’s artistic director since 2017, commissioned 21 six-foot currachs as canvases for 22 artists in total as part of the anniversary project.

“We had to do something outdoors for the 21st anniversary because of Covid-19,” McGee explained.

“Currachs are made of timber and canvas covered in tar, and canvas is one of the materials that has been used by artists for painting on,” he said.

The fleet of traditional craft were built by Tom Meskell, Eugene Finnegan, and Carmel Balfe McGee,

McGee, who is himself an artist, set designer and painter, said the participants were given “free rein”, and each currach “reflects the artist’s own personality and style”.

Pat Quinn's work for the Curracha exhibition Photo: Colm CoynePat Quinn's work for the Curracha exhibition Photo: Cormac Coyne

He paid tribute to the artists that he contacted from “Donegal to Kerry” for their enthusiasm.

The completed installations form an outdoor art trail on the island to comply with Covid-19 guidelines, while seven of them are displayed in Áras Éanna. The exhibition will continue until September.

Once a weaving factory, the building housing Áras Éanna lay derelict for some time before Mick Mulcahy, an artist, spent time there in the 1990s.

The state helped to finance the refurbishment of the centre, owned by Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Gaeltacht development agency.

Read The Times here

Published in Historic Boats
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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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