Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Currach

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
Tagged under

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
Tagged under

The currach, with its primitive design of wooden frame and waterproof skin, is the best known of all the Irish boats. By the mid-twentieth century this once common boat was noticeably disappearing from our shores, and rarer still were the currach builders who held a knowledge passed down from generation to generation. In 1968, the National Museum of Ireland recognised the threat to the traditional currach and given the Museum’s role in preserving heritage objects for the benefit of the Irish people, began the process of having one commissioned for the national collection.

When asked by the then Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Dr AT Lucas, the renowned Irish folklorist Ciaráin Bairéad identified Michael Conneely for the job - a carpenter and farmer who learned the craft from his own father, who was mostly self-taught. Michael Conneely was best known locally as Mikey, but he was also known as Mac Johnny Tom Andie (son of Johnny Tom Andie), Mikey an t-siúinéira (Mikey of the carpenter, as his father was a carpenter) and he signed his name Michael Conneely (John). He made currachs for people on the other two Aran Islands as well as the mainland and had the craft well-honed.

Michael Conneely made currachs for people on the other two Aran Islands as well as the mainland and had the craft well-honedMichael Conneely made currachs for people on the other two Aran Islands as well as the mainland and had the craft well-honed

The finished 19 and a half feet, three-man currach complete with mast and sail, over two hundred photographs and video footage documenting the build, along with details logged in the NMI team’s notes and correspondence, have left us with a significant and complete record of the vanishing skill of traditional Irish currach building.

The unique footage, following Michael Conneely carefully and craftfully through the step-by-step building process, is now available to view on the National Museum of Ireland’s website for the first time in an online exhibition called Making a currach – Michael Conneely.

Currach builder Michael ConneelyCurrach builder Michael Conneely

Broken down into nine parts on www.museum.ie , the video documents the process from preparing and fitting the 29 oak ribs that cross under the seats and preparing and nailing 20 laths lengthways, to measuring and fitting the canvas skin, which was then coated inside and out with tar to make it waterproof. Despite the fact that people on the islands didn’t ‘get the sail’ at the time, he also fitted a mast and sail at the request of the Museum, made from calico, a type of unbleached cotton that is lighter than canvas.

Despite the fact that people on the islands didn’t ‘get the sail’ at the time, he also fitted a mast and sail at the request of the Museum, made from calico, a type of unbleached cotton that is lighter than canvasDespite the fact that people on the islands didn’t ‘get the sail’ at the time, he also fitted a mast and sail at the request of the Museum, made from calico, a type of unbleached cotton that is lighter than canvas

Lynn Scarff, Director of the National Museum of Ireland, said; “What is commonplace today, is the history of tomorrow and an important part of the National Museum of Ireland’s remit is take an active and ongoing role in ensuring that our traditions and culture are preserved for future generations. The detailed documentation undertaken of Michael Conneely’s creative process in 1968 is a fine example of this, and our national collection is richer today as a result of his talent, and the foresight of my predecessors at the Museum in capturing it for conservation.

Noel Campbell, curator at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, said, “Mikey Conneely was a well-respected currach builder who received orders for his dependable currachs from the Aran Islands and the coastal communities of counties Galway and Clare. We are very fortunate that over fifty years ago Dr Lucas, curator John O’Sullivan and photographer Brendan Doyle saw the importance of recording one the west coast’s currach building masters. The Mikey Conneely recordings and other boat related material from the NMI’s Archive are currently being researched as part of the development of a new gallery at Turlough Park which will focus on traditional boats of the west coast. The National Museum of Ireland - Country Life has begun a new programme of fieldwork and outreach along our Atlantic coast to further document traditional boats and building techniques. The findings will add to our Archive and greatly inform our future work and exhibits.”

Michael Conneely's currach is on permanent display in the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar’.Michael Conneely's currach is on permanent display in the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar’.

In Making a Currach – Michael Conneely, Michael’s daughter Máire Conneely recalls the excitement from the week the Museum visited their home on Inisheer; “The currach was being made on the sand outside the house, so we children were able to keep an eye on all the work. We were surprised they were so interested in the work, they were writing down every word that my father said. Of course, pictures were being taken of the work. My mother had a job chasing us away, telling us not to be getting under their feet!”

The Irish Folklife collection of the National Museum of Ireland amounts to over 37,000 objects. The collection contains over thirty traditional Irish boats, 19 of which are currachs. Michael Conneely's currach is on permanent display in the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar’.

More here

Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

 An Irish currach made entirely from recycled and salvaged material is to be launched by artist and boatbuilder Mark Redden in Barcelona, Spain on St Patrick’s Day.

As The Times Ireland reports today, “Saoirse” has been built over the past year by Redden as part of a project to investigate the level of plastic pollution in fish.

Redden has modelled this vessel on the Connemara version while using only materials which were recycled or salvaged.

The award-winning artist has built many currachs since he trained with Jackie Mons of Oughterard, Co Galway.

He also worked with Meitheal Mara, the community boatyard and training project in Cork city, while studying at the Crawford College of Art and Design. 

Saoirse” has been built over the past year by Redden as part of a project to investigate the level of plastic pollution in fish

After he moved to Barcelona in Spain, Redden jointly founded the cultural association, Iomramh (which translates from the Irish as “rowing” or “sea voyage”) in the Catalan capital.

The association has hosted a Mediterranean currach regatta on St Patrick’s Day since 2008, but this had to be suspended due to Covid-19.

Redden says he used his time over the past 12 months to forge links between business, science and the art of boatbuilding to create a project aimed at reducing the volume of waste plastic in oceans.

He is also collaborating with a Welsh-based company TrimTabs, founded by Irish scientist Alvin Orbaek White, and scientists from the Energy Safety Research Institute in Swansea University on efforts to convert “fished-up” plastic into high-end carbon electrical conduit.

Read The Times here

Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

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
Tagged under

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
Tagged under

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
Tagged under

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
Tagged under

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 RNLI Lifeboats
Page 1 of 4

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating