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Displaying items by tag: rowing

It has taken a while for regular success in ocean rowing to come Ireland’s way, but 2022 saw a massive leap forward with Galway Bay’s Karen Weekes and Damien Browne each completing the crossing, Karen east-west in April, and Damien west-east from New York to Galway in October.

However, 2023 was barely two weeks old when another remarkable achievement was added to the tally with Wicklow’s five-strong “Row Hard Or Go Home” team crossing the finish line in Antigua on January 14th, after setting an east-west record from the Canaries of 33 days 12 hours and 38 minutes.

Wicklow is already a noted port for coastal and cross-channel oarsmen, but now a new dimension has been convincingly added by the RHOGH crew of Tom Nolan, Shane Culleton , Derek McMullen, and brothers Diarmuid and Gearoid O Briain, whose success is raising funds for the RNLI and Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice. Buoyed by their achievement, they were well able to give a full-throated rendition of their voyage anthem “The Irish Rover” as they berthed in Nelson’s Dockyard.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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The University of Galway says it is inquiring into a recent incident on the river Corrib where up to ten people were rescued after their rowing craft were swept towards the salmon weir.

The university says no one was injured, but emergency service representatives in Galway have said the incident was potentially very serious as the sport of rowing is exempt from mandatory life jacket use.

A multi-agency group involving the Garda, the RNLI, Galway fire service and Civil Defence has called for a dedicated rescue craft to be stationed on the river upstream of the weir.

Three rowing boats- two with university students and one with secondary school students- were involved in two separate incidents last Saturday morning (Jan 14) on the river, which was in spate after recent heavy rain.

Both incidents occurred between 11 am and 12 noon, with the first being the capsize of an octuple or “eight” rowing craft with students from Coláiste Iognáid or “ Jez” secondary school.

The capsized octuple or “eight” rowing craft Photo: Niall McNelisThe capsized octuple or “eight” rowing craft Photo: Niall McNelis

The capsize occurred up river from the weir and across from their clubhouse. All students were rescued by their club safety launches within minutes and taken ashore.

A more serious incident occurred shortly after that when two rowing craft with University of Galway students were swept towards the salmon weir, where they were caught by pontoons and capsized due to the strength of the river flow.

Ten rowers - none of whom are obliged to wear lifejackets due to the sport’s exemption - had to be taken from the top of the weir by club safety launches in very challenging conditions.

The Irish Coast Guard confirmed that its Valentia Rescue Coordination Centre was alerted through the national 112/999 call answering service at 12:08hrs on January 14. It said it was reported that ten rowers were “possibly in difficulty at the weir”.

The Coastguard was informed that ten rowers were “possibly in difficulty at the weir” Photo: The Coastguard was informed that ten rowers were “possibly in difficulty at the weir” Photo:Niall McNelis

The Galway Fire Service, An Garda Siochana, Coast Guard Helicopter R118 from Sligo, Galway RNLIlLifeboat and Costelloe Bay Coast Guard unit were tasked, it said.

“During the 112/999 call the caller confirmed all boat occupants had been recovered to the club safety boats responding locally,”the Irish Coast Guard said, and rescue units were stood down.

The University of Galway said support boats were on the water at the time the two boats capsized and no-one was injured.

“ All rowers were brought safely from the water to the river bank within minutes,”a spokesman said.

“The university is deeply grateful to other rowing clubs for their support and prompt response. We are also thank the emergency services for their rapid response,”he said.

He confirmed the university is compiling an internal report, has engaged with Rowing Ireland, the national representative body, and is reviewing all safety measures and precautions which are in place for our rowing club and other river users”.

It said it would cooperate fully with any inquiry by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB), and would support any initiatives to improve water safety and rescue services on the Corrib.

The MCIB said it was “aware” of the incident and had not yet decided if there would be an inquiry.

A spokesman for Coláiste Iognáid said that it was satisfied that all safety procedures were followed when its boat capsized, and said all students were fine and parents were informed.

Speaking on behalf of the Galway water users’ multi-agency group, RNLI Galway operations manager Mike Swan said that a dedicated rescue craft above the weir which was on call “24/7” was essential.

There has been no rowing on the Corrib this week, and clubs were meeting last night.

Corrib Rowing and Yachting Club said it supported calls for a dedicated rescue boat, as the nearest service up river is the Corrib-Mask Rescue Service in Lisloughrey, Co Mayo.

“We are calling on Galway city and county councils to act on our concerns immediately before there is a serious tragedy on our city’s waters,”the club said.

Published in Rowing
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Ocean rowing has come up before in our Sailor of the Month listings. But it’s an understandably rare feat, and noted former rugby player Damian Browne’s huge achievement of rowing from New York to Galway is put into deeper perspective by knowing that his shipmate at the start of the voyage had to be air-lifted off at an early stage owing to illness. Thus Damian made his way solo across a notably obtuse ocean in what was essentially a two-man boat, resulting in a time scale which is difficult to grasp.

He departed on June 14th and reached Ireland on October 4th, by which time the ocean swell and the Atlantic winds were already well into the beginnings of their winter routines.

 

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Extreme adventurer Damian Browne rowed into Galway Bay after his transatlantic crossing and is due into Galway docks from 10.30 am on Tuesday.

The former Connacht rugby player will have become one of a handful to have rowed both ways across the Atlantic when he berths after 112 days at sea.

Browne rowed east-west solo from San Sebastian to Antigua in 2018. This year’s west-east crossing was to have been completed with his close friend Fergus Farrell after the pair left New York in mid June for Galway.

However , Farrell had to be evacuated at sea after 13 days, when his oxygen levels dropped to 86 per cent and he was at risk of blood clots.

Transatlantic oarsman Damian Browne passing a crowded Inis Meain pier last evening. Liam O'Brien of the Co Clare Doolin ferry company provided an escort for Browne in his RIB Photo: Paddy CroweTransatlantic oarsman Damian Browne passing a crowded Inis Meain pier last evening. Liam O'Brien of the Co Clare Doolin ferry company provided an escort for Browne in his RIB Photo: Paddy Crowe

Farrell, who survived a traumatic spinal injury in 2018 and  learned to walk again, said his online medical support took just 30 seconds to inform him his row was “finished”.

Video by Michael Gill

The pair were attempting to set a new Guinness world record in their purpose-built Seasabre 6.2m craft.

Entitled Project Empower, the row continued by Browne is raising funds for  four charities: National Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Ability West, Madra and Galway Simon Community.

Browne survived a number of capsizes and has been living on cold food after losing vital equipment in storms.

He  could have  made his landfall in Kerry, as his first sight of Ireland was of the Irish south-west coast  last Thursday.

Instead, he  has been transiting north along the Irish Atlantic seaboard to ensure his first landfall is in his native city.

Challenging conditions forced him to deploy his para-anchor, with south-westerly winds sweeping him up to Foul Sound between the Aran islands of  Inis Meáín and Inis Oírr  last  evening (mon) where a crowd of islanders greeted him from shore and a large bonfire was lit on Inis Oírr.

Weather permitting, a flotilla of vessels will accompany him in on his last leg into Galway docks early this morning.

“"When I started out on this project some three-and-a-half years ago, the final destination was clear from the start; Galway. Home,”Browne said in a statement from his boat, Cushlamachree, yesterday.

A welcoming bonfire for transatlantic oarsman Damian Browne lit on Monday evening on Inis Oírr Photo: Paddy CroweA welcoming bonfire for transatlantic oarsman Damian Browne lit on Monday evening on Inis Oírr Photo: Paddy Crowe

“The great hope with this was to give the next generation of kids in the west and throughout the country a real image, and touchable action to emulate, and hopefully inspire them to dream big and work hard in whatever avenue of life they decide to explore,” he said.

 “After 112 days of stresses, strains and doubts only an endeavour like attempting to row 3000 miles across the unforgiving North Atlantic can elicit, I’m incredibly excited to close out this beautiful project in my hometown, surrounded by my family, friends and supporters; making my dream a reality,”he said.

It is anticipated that he will be greeted in Galway docks by his partner Rozelle, baby daughter Elodie, parents Mary and Joe Browne and siblings Andrew and Gillian and their families, along with Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan and supporters including Fergus Farrell and MacDara Hosty.

A golf buggy has been provided to drive him around the docks to meet wellwishers, before he is taken to the Harbour Hotel for a private reception.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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English firefighter Paul Hopkins (55) had recovered from a brain haemorrhage and entrepreneur Phil Pugh (65) was renowned for undertaking extreme physical challenges in honour of his son when they rowed into Antigua in a fourth-hand wooden rowing boat in February 2020.

The pair, who undertook the transatlantic challenge on a tight budget, had no family there to greet them after 70 days at sea.

Phil Pugh and Paul Hopkins before (above) and after their voyage Photos: Atlantic CampaignsPhil Pugh (below) and Paul Hopkins (above) before and after their voyage Photos: Atlantic Campaigns

Phil Pugh and Paul Hopkins before (above) and after their voyage Photos: Atlantic Campaigns

However, Irish-born author and former television director Niamh McAnally and her husband Gary Krieger were there on their yacht, Freed Spirit, and the result is a compelling book which records how two “disparate alpha males” learned to work together by focussing on solutions rather than problems during a life-changing high-seas voyage.

Paul and Phil arriving in Antigua. Photo by Niamh McAnallyPaul and Phil arriving in Antigua. Photo by Niamh McAnally

McAnally and Krieger spoke to Wavelengths about how the book came about. You can listen to the podcast here and details of the book are below.

Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua. L to R Gary Krieger (author's husband) Phil Pugh, Niamh McAnally (author) Paul Hopkins taken before dinner onboard Gary and Niamh's sailboat home, Freed Spirit. Three hours later the idea for this book was bornNelson's Dockyard, Antigua. L to R Gary Krieger (author's husband) Phil Pugh, Niamh McAnally (author) Paul Hopkins taken before dinner onboard Gary and Niamh's sailboat home, Freed Spirit. Three hours later the idea for this book was born

Flares Up: A Storm Bigger than the Atlantic by Niamh McAnallyFlares Up: A Storm Bigger than the Atlantic by Niamh McAnally

Flares Up: A Story Bigger than the Atlantic by Niamh McAnally with a foreword by Jeremy Irons ( Pitch Publishing £14.99) is available in print and on audiobook form, and more details are on McAnally’s website 

A video of Jeremy Irons speaking at the Dublin launch of Niamh McAnally's book FLARES UP is below.

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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Two more medals are coming home to Ireland from the Rowing World Championship in the Czech Republic, with a Gold for the Lightweight Men's double and a Bronze for the Lightweight Women's Double.

Tight racing had two crews racing in the B Finals today finish in second position, narrowly missing out on the win as they both finished less than a second behind the winning crews.

Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy retain world title

Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy have done it again, winning gold and retaining their World Championship title. Ireland were the slowest boat off the start, crossing the first 500m in last position. All six boats were within just a second of each other, so nothing separated them. The crew from Ireland were not in this position long, as the other crews began to settle into the race, Paul and Fintan held their speed, coming through all of the boats and crossing the halfway point in first position. Once they got ahead they were gone, continuing to move further away from the rest of the field. The Italian double put up a strong fight but would have to settle for the silver medals because it was Ireland taking home the gold.

Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy (left) at the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech RepublicPaul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy (left) at the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech Republic

Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey take bronze 

Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey celebrate bronze medals at the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech Republic Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey celebrate bronze medals at the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech Republic

Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey had an incredible race and crossed the finish line in third position to take the bronze medals. The UCCRC rowers went off the start at rate 56, quickly settling into third position. Throughout the race, Ireland went toe to toe with the French double, who won silver at the Tokyo Olympics. Coming to the last 500m, Ireland was in fourth position, just .17 of a second behind France. Winding up the rate into the 40s for the last quarter, Margaret and Aoife had done enough to secure the bronze medal.

The Women's Four of Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe and Aifric Keogh finished sixth in the A Final. Not getting off to the best of starts, Ireland had to push it on that bit harder to make their way through the crews ahead. This became more difficult as the race went on as the crews ahead continued to push on. For now, Ireland are ranked sixth in the world, with much more to come.

The Women's Pair of Tara Hanlon (UCCRC) and Natalie Long (Lee Valley RC) finished in second position behind the Czech crew in their B Fina this morning. Finishing the first quarter of the race in fourth position, Ireland continued to build throughout the race, passing the pairs from Spain and Australia. In an impressive sprint, Ireland were able to gain over two second on the leading crew, reducing the gap to just .55 of a second.

John Kearney, Ross Corrigan, Nathan Timoney and Jack Dorney were painfully close to first place in the Men's Four B Final. Like the Women's Pair, an incredible finish from the crew from Ireland allowed them to gain two and a half seconds on Germany, the leading crew. Finishing just 0.08 of a second behind them, Ireland will have to take eight in the world.

The Para Mixed Double of Steven McGowen and Katie O'Brien finished fifth in their A Final. Next year when looking ahead to Paralympic qualifications, they will need to make it into the top eight crews to get a ticket to Paris in 2024. Coming fifth in the world for a reasonably fresh crew, is most definitely a step in the right direction.

Ireland Results

LM2x A Final - Gold
LW2x A Final - Bronze
PR2 Mix2x A Final - 5th
W4- A Final - 6th
M4- B Final - 2nd
W2- B Final - 2nd

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Katie O'Brien is the 2022 PR2 W1x World Rowing Champion! The first day of the finals in the Czech Republic has got off to a good start, with a gold medal in Ireland's pocket already.

O'Brien showed fierce strength from her very first stroke, nudging her bow ahead of the other scullers. She was the fastest moving boat throughout the race, increasing her lead with each quarter. Up against the previous World Champion, Katherine Ross from Australia, Katie knew that it would be no easy feat. Katie finished in a time of 9:25.23, ten seconds ahead of Australia in second place.

Katie O'Brien (centre) wears the gold medal after and defeating PR2 W1x defending champion Katherine Ross from AustraliaKatie O'Brien (centre) wears the gold medal after and defeating PR2 W1x defending champion Katherine Ross from Australia

This is the first time that Katie has beaten Ross.

It's straight back into focus now for Katie as she heads into the PR2 Mixed Double A Final tomorrow afternoon with Steven McGowan.

Zoe Hyde (Killorglin RC) and Sanita Puspure (Old Collegians) returned to the water today for the A/B Semi of the Women's Double. After a quick start, the double form Ireland were the first to reach the 500m mark, staying bow ball to bow ball with Laila Youssifou and Roos de Jong of the Netherlands, right up to the halfway point. The Dutch crew began to pull away creating a length's lead on Ireland, but Zoe and Sanita stepped it up another gear in the final quarter of the race, to finish less than a second and a half behind them. They race again this Sunday in their A Final.

Lydia Heaphy (Skibbereen RC) finished in third place in the Lightweight Women's Scull B Final, ranking her ninth in the world. Crossing the first marker in fifth place, Lydia pushed on through the race finding speed and moving through the rowers from Spain and the USA to take that third position.

Hugh Moore finished up his World Championships with a third place in the D Final of the Lightweight Men's Scull. Similar to Lydia's race, Hugh started behind and gradually came through his competitors, to take third position. Off the start, the Finnish and Tunisian scullers were ahead but by the 1500m mark, Moore had moved ahead. He finished behind Lukasz Sawicki from Poland and Oscar Peterson from Denmark.

Ireland Results
PR2 W1x A Final - Gold
W2x A/B Semi 2nd -> A Final
LW1x B Final - 3rd
LM1x D Final - 3rd

Saturday Schedule (IST)

10:48am - W2- B Final
11:28am - M4- B Final
12:05pm - PR2 Mix2x A Final
1:07pm - LW2x A Final
1:23pm - LM2x A Final
1:39pm - W4- A Final

Published in Rowing
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Today has been the busiest day yet for Ireland, with 11 crews racing at the World Rowing Championships in the Czech Republic.

There are now five crews into the A Finals, where they will race for the medals over the next few days. In addition, there are three crews headed to the B Finals, three crews to the C Finals and one in the D Final. Sanita and Zoe hit the water tomorrow for the A/B Semi of the Women's Double, so hopefully, Ireland will have another crew in the mix for the medals after that.

The Para Mixed Double of Katie O'Brien and Steven McGowen were first up to qualify for their A Final this morning. The Uzbekistan Double of Feruza Buriboeva and Otabek Kuchkorov completed the first 500m at lightning pace, with a split of 2:01.79. As they broke away from the crews, it was Katie and Steven who reeled them in through the 1000m mark and left the remaining crews behind. The Galway duo secured their place in the A Final finishing just 4 seconds behind Uzbekistan.

Lydia Heaphy in the Lightweight Women's Scull, and the Women's Pair of Tara Hanlon and Natalie Long progressed into the B Finals of their respective events. Lydia finished sixth in her Semi, a result that does not fully capture the talent that this Skibbereen sculler has. Tara and Natalie, who were part of the Women's Fours that won Bronze at World Cup II and Silver at Europeans, placed fifth in their Semi putting them through to the B Final on Saturday. The top three crews, Romania, the Netherlands and Croatia progressed to the A Final.

Women's Pair of Tara Hanlon and Natalie LongWomen's Pair of Tara Hanlon and Natalie Long

Both the Men's and Women's Lightweight Doubles are into the A Finals on Saturday, after impressive performances in their Semis. Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey sat in third place behind Great Britain and Greece through the halfway point, but it was during the third quarter of the race that their strength really stood to them, as the Greek double began to fade away and they continued to gain speed. In the end they finished just 3.48 seconds behind Imogen Grant and Emily Craig of GB.

The Swiss Lightweight Men's Double put up a fight against Paul and Fintan, leading the crew from Ireland to the 1000m and then putting in a big push through the second half of the race, but there was no stopping the boys from West Cork. Continuing to pull away from the Swiss, Ireland finished in first place in a time of 6:24.41. With another win under their belt, they head into the A Final on Saturday afternoon.

The Women's Four of Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe and Aifric Keogh did not disappoint. The crew from Ireland finished second in their Semi putting them through to the A Final, and are the second fastest boat going into it. They held second place from start to finish, holding off the Chinese crew who put down a strong start, and gained a second on the GB crew in the final 500m.

The Women's Four of Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe and Aifric KeoghThe Women's Four of Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe and Aifric Keogh

John Kearney, Ross Corrigan, Nathan Timoney and Jack Dorney missed out on the Men's Four A Final by half a length. In a gutsy race, the crew from Ireland went out hard, not allowing the leading crews to move further than their bow. Holding third position through the majority of the race, it was the Swiss Four's last push in the final 500m that just bumped them out of the qualifying position.

Later in the afternoon, four crews from Ireland raced the C/D Semi Finals. Both Alison Bergin in the Women's Scull, and Phil Doyle and Konan Pazzaia in the Men's Double won their Semi's and go into the C Finals on Sunday. In the Men's Scull, Brian Colsh came second by a bow ball to the Chinese sculler who had an incredible final 500m sprint, bringing him from sixth to first. Brian goes into the C Final with the third fastest time.

Hugh Moore was unfortunate in his C/D Semi finishing in fourth position just 0.24 of a second behind third place. Hugh's time of 7:26.52 was the fourth fastest from the C/D Semis, but his fourth place finish means he will have to race the D Final tomorrow morning.

The first day of finals starts tomorrow and all races will be live streamed on the World Rowing Website HERE

Ireland Results
PR2 Mix2x Repechage 2nd -> A Final
LW1x A/B Semi 6th -> B Final
W2- A/B Semi 5th -> B Final
LW2x A/B Semi 2nd -> A Final
LM2x A/B Semi 1st -> A Final
W4- A/B Semi 2nd -> A Final
M4- A/B Semi 4th -> B Final
LM1x C/D Semi 4th -> D Final
M1x C/D Semi 2nd -> C Final
W1x C/D Semi 1st -> C Final
M2x C/D Semi 1st -> C Final

Friday Schedule (IST)
9:15am - LM1x D Final
9:41am - LW1x B Final
11:16am - W2x A/B Semi
12:18am - PR2 W1x A Final

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Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy, the Gold medallists at the European Championships 2022, lead thirteen crews who will race for Ireland in the Senior World Rowing Championships held in Racice, Czech Republic this month.

Racing will begin on Sunday 18th September and finish on Sunday 25th September.

The Ireland Rowing Team, as announced by Rowing Ireland, under High Performance Director Antonio Maurogiovanni is below. 

While provisional entries were entered last week, crew selection is still ongoing and entries below may have slight changes prior to racing.

Ireland Rowing Team for World Championships in Racice, Czech Republic

Para Mixed Double - Stephen McGowen and Katie O'BrienPara Mixed Double - Stephen McGowen and Katie O'Brien

Para Team
Conor Moloney - Para National Coach

PR2 W1x
Katie O'Brien (Galway RC)
PR2 Mix2x
Katie O’Brien (Galway RC)
Steven McGowen (Galway RC)

Lightweight Men's Double - Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'DonovanLightweight Men's Double - Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan

Lightweight Team
Dominic Casey - Head Coach

LM1x
Hugh Moore (QUBBC)
LM2x
Paul O’Donovan (UCC RC)
Fintan McCarthy (Skibbereen RC)
LW1x
Lydia Heaphy (Skibbereen RC)
LW2x
Margaret Cremen (UCC RC)
Aoife Casey (UCC RC)

Women's Double - Sanita Puspure and Zoe HydeWomen's Double - Sanita Puspure and Zoe Hyde

Heavyweight Women's Team
Giuseppe De Vita - Head Coach

Leah O'Regan - National Coach

W1x
Alison Bergin (Fermoy RC)
W2x
Zoe Hyde (Killorglin RC)
Sanita Puspure (Old Collegians)
W2-
Natalie Long (Lee Valley RC)
Tara Hanlon (UCC RC)
W4-
Emily Hegarty (UCC RC)
Fiona Murtagh (NUIG BC)
Eimear Lambe (Old Collegians)
Aifric Keogh (DULBC)

Heavyweight Men's Team
Fran Keane - Head Coach

Nicolo Maurogiovanni - National Coach

M1x
Brian Colsh (NUIG BC)
M2x
Phil Doyle (Belfast BC)
Konan Pazzaia (QUBBC)
M4-
John Kearney (UCC RC)
Ross Corrigan (QUBBC)
Nathan Timoney (QUBBC)
Jack Dorney (Shandon BC)

Team Manager
Michael O'Rourke

Team Physiotherapist
Heather O'Brien

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On Sunday 14th August, Inver Colpa Rowing Club hosted their first ever HER Outdoors event in conjunction with the Louth Local Sports Partnership.

Co-ordinated by Sport Ireland, HER Outdoors Week took place from 8th-14th August 2022 and aimed to celebrate and encourage more females to get out and enjoy the benefits of being in the outdoors while bringing visibility to the opportunities for females to get involved in outdoor physical activity.

The first ever HER Outdoors Week was held in August 2021 and it was a huge success. With over 250 events taking place nationwide and nearly 5,000 females active across 7 days, Sport Ireland wanted to build on this for the 2022 campaign.

The week was be an opportunity for all females to escape to the outdoors and try something new. Along with other events in Louth such as hiking, paddleboarding, kayaking and outdoor yoga, 8 women signed up to test out their rowing skills on the River Boyne with Inver Colpa Rowing Club on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning.

Club PRO Sarah McCann noted about the event; “Those who took part had a great morning and given the technical nature of rowing, did really well! There’s so much to think about with timing, rhythm and technique, so a huge well done to all!”.

Helping out on the day as coxes were Glenda Carter and Martin Murphy, while Shirley Byrne, Fiona Kelly, Hannah Woods and Sarah McCann were the club’s female rowers who accompanied the HER Outdoors participants. Thanks also to Tom Scanlon, the club’s Health & Safety Office for taking care of everyone on the day and to the Boyne Fisherman’s River Rescue for giving the participants a tour of their facilities.

The club are currently in training for two upcoming races – Row the Rock in Skerries and the Islandmagee Challenge in Antrim - along with looking forward to the future when it hopes to welcome in new members and continue to grow.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Naval Visits focuses on forthcoming courtesy visits by foreign navies from our nearest neighbours, to navies from European Union and perhaps even those navies from far-flung distant shores.

In covering these Naval Visits, the range of nationality arising from these vessels can also be broad in terms of the variety of ships docking in our ports.

The list of naval ship types is long and they perform many tasks. These naval ships can include coastal patrol vessels, mine-sweepers, mine-hunters, frigates, destroyers, amphibious dock-landing vessels, helicopter-carriers, submarine support ships and the rarer sighting of submarines.

When Naval Visits are made, it is those that are open to the public to come on board, provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate up close and personal, what these look like and what they can do and a chance to discuss with the crew.

It can make even more interesting for visitors when a flotilla arrives, particularly comprising an international fleet, adding to the sense of curiosity and adding a greater mix to the type of vessels boarded.

All of this makes Naval Visits a fascinating and intriguing insight into the role of navies from abroad, as they spend time in our ports, mostly for a weekend-long call, having completed exercises at sea.

These naval exercises can involve joint co-operation between other naval fleets off Ireland, in the approaches of the Atlantic, and way offshore of the coasts of western European countries.

In certain circumstances, Naval Visits involve vessels which are making repositioning voyages over long distances between continents, having completed a tour of duty in zones of conflict.

Joint naval fleet exercises bring an increased integration of navies within Europe and beyond. These exercises improve greater co-operation at EU level but also internationally, not just on a political front, but these exercises enable shared training skills in carrying out naval skills and also knowledge.

Naval Visits are also reciprocal, in that the Irish Naval Service, has over the decades, visited major gatherings overseas, while also carrying out specific operations on many fronts.

Ireland can, therefore, be represented through these ships that also act as floating ambassadorial platforms, supporting our national interests.

These interests are not exclusively political in terms of foreign policy, through humanitarian commitments, but are also to assist existing trade and tourism links and also develop further.

Equally important is our relationship with the Irish diaspora, and to share this sense of identity with the rest of the World.