#shannonestuary – First won in 1832 by the Knight of Glin, the coveted Rinevella plate has become a much sought after prize amongst the sailing community on the West Coast of Ireland and its pride of place remains at the Co Limerick castle.
Hand crafted from Limerick silver, the plate depicts the many historic elements associated with maritime traditions on the Shannon Estuary and right up the west coast.
The Rinevella Plate which resides on the Dining Room Sideboard at Glin Castle today was won by the then Knight of Glin at the Galway Regatta when the family commissioned the unique piece for a once off regatta.
Given to the then Galway Yacht club as prize for the winner, the winning boat owner staked their claim on the piece as the family sought to increase interest and participation on Irish waterways.
Adrian O'Connell, racing captain at Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland says that the piece and its relevance is steeped in history.
From an archive, Mr O'Connell notes that "On the Shannon Estuary with the Knight of Glin's encouragement the numbers of commercial local sailing trading vessels were growing apace, with the establishment of towns and sea going trade along the Estuary. It soon became an established fact of life during the summer months, that interested groups decided to organise at each small port, regattas for all the types of craft to be found on the Estuary.
Limerick yachts and sailors he said, accounted for almost a quarter of the club's membership and with prizes like the Rinevella Plate up for grabs, interest, like in the mid 1800s, is growing again.
Crewed by Martin MacNamara, Thomas Whelan, Andrew Carey, Charlie Glynn and Diarmuid Whelan, the 2013 winners said they were honoured to take the title amongst stiff competition.
In the modern era, interest in the waterways is experiencing somewhat of a resurgence as more take to the water. Clubs in the region are noting an increase in membership.
Despite only having the plate in their possession for a few short hours, winners leave the West coast club in Kilrush with the honour of adding their names to a long list that is almost 180 years old.
Like many years before, the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland hosted the October series to determine the winner of the priceless Plate cast in Limerick silver and the competition lived up to its history.