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Cormac Lowth of Dublin is a one-man Maritime Institute writes W M Nixon. He has an incredible memory, encyclopaedic knowledge, and an exceptional collection of nautical memorabilia. There’s always something of special interest when one of his missives pings into the in-box. It could be about anything, from promoting the works of the 19th Century marine artist Richard Brydges Beechey, to helping a friend who is trying to put together a monogram about the story of the Dublin Bay 21 Oola. And that would be only for starters.

His breadth of interests extends far beyond the maritime. Tomorrow evening (Thursday 24th May at 6.30pm in Books Upstairs at 17 D’Olier Street in Dublin), he’s launching historian Vincent Ruddy’s new book Monster Agitators: O’Connell’s Repealers in 1843 Ireland.

Now we could, of course, claim a sailing connection there, as Daniel O’Connell - a keen sailing man at home in Derrynane in Kerry - was one of those who met in Dublin on 4th July 1846 to revive the Royal Irish Yacht Club. The choice of American Independence Day for the meeting was more than fortuitous, and its ultimate success can be gauged from the fact that by 1851 the club’s remarkable waterfront clubhouse was well on its way to completion on what was then the Kingstown Harbour waterfront.

But that again is only tangential to the many facets of Irish history and current life on which Cormac focuses his generous attention.

Different again is another of Cormac’s interests, the East Wall Water Sports Centre. It’s hidden away on what is rapidly becoming the tree-lined estuary of the Tolka River before it opens out to become the sailing waters off Clontarf. And on its north shore, there’s a hive of activity in and around boats, with everything from initial construction to active use with crew training and competition. We’ll let Cormac Lowth take up the story:

“East Wall Water Sports Centre, which is based off Alfie Byrne Road, had their latest boat-launch on Saturday, May 19th. This boat is a 'Gandelow', a seven–metre long flat–-bottomed rowing boat, of a type that were much used on the Lower Shannon for fishing (and have been frequently mentioned in Afloat.ie in connection with the Ilen Boat-Building School in Limerick) The Gandelow is rowed by three people, each pulling two oars, and these are held in double wooden thole pins, unlike the traditional rowlocks or 'spurs' of the East Coast.

new gandelow2The new Gandelow at the East Wall Water Sports centre beside the Tolka in Dublin. Photo: Cormac Lowth

gandelows shannon limerick3The Ilen Boat-Building School’s Gandelows in action on the Shannon in Limerick. Photo: W M Nixon

East Wall Water Sports Centre is a community-based club whose aim is to promote rowing, sailing, canoeing, and other water sports among young and old alike. There is also an emphasis on reviving and perpetuating traditional boat-building skills, and this aspect in mainly in the hands of Patsy Whelan, a shipwright and boat-builder who works in the Dublin Port. Patsy in the son of Patsy Senior, one of the last of the traditional wooden boat builders of Ringsend, and he has inherited his father’s wonderful talent and skill in this department. Patsy is passing on many of his skills to the members of the Club, and he is very ably abetted by his two brothers, Martin and Jimmy.

patsy whelan and cam4Patsy Whelan with the Cam, one of the elegant recreational rowing boats which he and his team have added to the East Wall fleet. Photo: Cormac Lowth

As part of their ongoing inclusive policy of working with local civic and sports groups who use the Port and the Bay areas, Dublin Port have given some time off during each week to Patsy to work on certain boat-building and repair projects within the Club. The East Wall group is one of the newest members of the East Coast Rowing Council, and they compete in the skiff rowing regattas. Some of the projects undertaken recently have included building and refurbishment of their double-ended rowing skiffs.

east wall gandelow5Craftsmanship of high quality has gone into the new Gandelow. Photo: Cormac Lowth

There is a great emphasis on rowing in the group, and they have taken the innovative step of having public rowing sessions in their skiffs, where anyone can get a row for a fee of €2. All ages are catered for. Currach building and their use are also a part of the group’s activities, and another recent project was the building of two beautiful new 17 ft. clinker-built rowing boats named Cam and Anne by Patsy and the team.

Many of the skiffs of the various East Coast Rowing Clubs were built in times past by Patsy Whelan Senior in Ringsend, and there was a strong sense of links to the past and the future, and indeed to the special boats of the Shannon Estuary too, as the new Gandelow took to the water and glided along, swift, graceful and beautiful, guided by the skillful rowing of a mixed team of the ladies and gentlemen of the East Wall Club.”

Published in Dublin Port
Tagged under

#marinetourism – Ireland's south coast provides an almost infinite variety of harbours, natural havens, and extensive areas of interesting sailing water. These cater for boat enthusiasts of all kinds, with craft of every type. So how does the welcome for visitors shape up? W M Nixon contrasts the different hospitality styles of four attractive ports.

The word on the grapevine that the Ballydehob Old Boat festival had taken place arrived with an intriguing photo from Anthony O'Leary. It had been noted in the interview with him immediately after he had led the team in Ireland's Commodore Cup Victory, that while he was trying to unwind for a while, it's not really in the O'Leary makeup to relax, and soon his mind was busy with new ideas of nautical interest.

Nevertheless he was cruising gently in early August down towards West Cork in the family's handsome big Nelson powercruiser Irish Mist, a fast and able vessel which his father Archie and mates like Mick Ahern once took right round Ireland in a settled springtime spell of weather, just to be in Dublin to watch Cork Con play rugby in some major championship at Lansdowne Road.

As it turned out, this year Irish Mist was getting down west ultimately to be in Baltimore for the 1720 Nationals in late August, which O'Leary duly won. But from time to time, he flashed back some photos of interesting boats met along the way, and one which really rang the bell was a little Ette Class clinker-built gunter-rigged sloop sailing in Castlehaven.

The Ette class originated way way back, when two keen dinghy cruising types sailed their little dinghy into Castlehaven, and the Castletownshend locals in the South Cork Sailing Club were so taken by the boat that they commissioned the waterfront boatbuilders, the O'Mahony brothers, to build some sister ships as the basis of a class.

All the new boats' names ended in "ette". And the class survived for many years, though at times the Ettes were hanging on by a thread. But recently it has had a fresh lease of life with new examples of what is now a classic dinghy being built by Lui Ferreira of Ballydehob, who last came through this parish when, in 2012, he put the first teak deck on a vintage Howth 17, the syndicate-owned Deilginis.

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Perfection of summer – an Ette class in her home waters of Castlehaven. Photo: Anthony O'Leary

ballydehob3_1.jpgRui Ferreira, builder in Ballydehob of the Ette Class, also put this teak deck on the 107-year-old Howth 17 Deilginis in 2012. Photo: W M Nixon

A Howth 17 looks well no matter how you photo her. But an Ette is a quirky little thing which can sometimes look odd from the wrong angle. Yet in a flash of inspiration, the Captain of the Commodore's Cup team took up his iPhone as an Ette came bustling down Castlehaven on fine sunny morning, and we got what I reckon to be one of the best photos of an Ette under way ever obtained – plus it gets the very essence of summer in Castlehaven.

The next O'Leary snap some days later was just briefly titled: "The Ballydehob Old Boat Festival, Irish Mist in archway second left". What was going on here? We'd heard vague stories about a very relaxed assembling of boat at high water at the drying quay at Ballydehob, but the O'Leary photo hinted at serious numbers and a high level of organization.

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The teaser photo – first intimations of this year's Ballydehob Gathering of the Boats, with the O'Leary family's motor-cruiser Irish Mist (framed in the second arch from left) joining an eclectic group of 74 boats for a couple of hours at top of the tide. Photo; Anthony O'Leary

ballydehob5_1.jpgThis is most people's image of Ballydehob, crowded and very rural, with Mount Gabriel beyond. Only the more observant will notice the tidal river in the foreground. Photo: W M Nixon

To begin with, most casual visitors would scarcely think of Ballydehob as a seaport at all. Rather, it's the very essence of rural West Cork, a crowded little village where "laid-back" is the default mode, and it has been so for some time. It reached something of an apotheosis when Annie Barry (she's one of the Fergusons of Gubbeen Cheese) was running her wonderful Annie's restaurant on one side of the winding main street, and the Levis sisters Julia and Nell, feisty little ladies of mature years, were running Levis's pub across the way.

Julia and Nan were splendid folk of considerable standing, and it's said the pair of them were once squired to the West Cork Hunt Ball in Skibbereen by Jeremy Irons of Kilcoe Castle a few miles along the coast. As for the setup in Ballydehob, space was so limited in the restaurant that, having checked out your booking, you simply took up station in leisurely style across the street in the pub with Annie's menus and an aperitif or two, then Annie would come across the road and discuss your order, and a delightful evening would continue late into the night.

Alas, for some year now Annie's has been closed, though everyone lives in hope of somebody re-opening it. And in the pub, the old ladies have passed on. But now it's run by a great-nephew, and very successfully too. We got ourselves in there late on a velvet July evening this year to find the place was heaving with youth and beauty and high fashion in casual style - achingly trendy it has become.

It could have been a traditional local in any of the world's fashionable holiday areas except for one thing. A ball of fur, a terrier of some kind, emerged from among people's legs and barked its head off at me. I assumed it was because I carried a whiff of our own little Jack Russell. But the blushing girl owner told me with a big smile that her little dog must have thought I was a priest. Only along Ireland's south coast, near some former or still surviving Protestant enclave, would you have heard that particular excuse.

ballydehob6_1.jpgThe old dock at Ballydehob is well able to receive a very varied fleet, seen here from the old railway viaduct Photo: Miriam Jones

Just along the river from these scenes of hospitality and minor mayhem, immediately below the mighty railway viaduct which seems to be so disproportionate for the long-gone needs of the little West Cork Railway, there's Ballydehob Harbour. Time was when it was key to the place's economy, and it was in the late 1930s, only a year or so before World War II, that the Brooklands, the last surviving sail-only coasting schooner to deliver cargoes to West Cork, made her way up the winding estuary at the head of Roaringwater Bay (it's named for the Roaringwater River, much of the bay behind Carbery's Hundred Isles is well sheltered), to anchor just off the quay, as she was too deep to berth alongside.

The Brooklands was owned and skippered by Tom Creenan of Ballinacurra in the inner northeast reaches of Cork Harbour, but it was from Birkenhead or Goole on the Mersey that she'd bring her welcome cargoes of coal, a challenging passage at the best of times. At Ballydehob, while smaller cargo-carriers could get alongside the old quay, the Brooklands discharged her cargo into the multi-functional barge-type vessel known the Sandboat.

She was used by her owners, the Levis family, for just about everything, but primarily for going out among the islands towards high water, running up on a clean beach, then laboriously shovelling sand into the hold until the tide returned and the Sandboat could be floated off and piloted back to the quay where her eventually very useful cargo would be shovelled ashore to become builders' supplies.

The Sandboat was Queen of the Fleet at Ballydehob, and she played such a central role in the Levis family's life that Old Boat Festival organiser Cormac Levis's brother calls his pub in Ballydehob the Sandboat.

As for how Cormac himelf first got the notion for the Ballydehob Gathering of the Boats, he has been a tower of strength in the Traditional Boat movement, particularly in West Cork but also throughout Ireland, for many years. And with others following his example in restoring or even building new sailing lobster boats to traditional design, he suggested that getting together at Ballydehob during the little town's time-honoured summer festival around August 15th might hit the spot. And for the first one in 2004 –making this year's the tenth anniversary - they assembled nine boats, which was considered pretty good going.

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Close-up on Cormac Levis's lobster boat, which led the way for the first gathering of traditional craft at Ballydehob in 2004. Photo: Brian Marten

From it, they learnt that, for the future, while the aspiration would of course be for quiet and easy-going organization under a light hand, underneath it all there'd have to be efficiency, always with an eye on the clock. Although the tidal window is more than two hours for most boats, they've successfully accommodated modern yachts up to two metres draft without anyone being left behind stuck on the mud. But with limited manoeuvring space in both the harbour area and the channel, once the witching hour of high water is upon the fleet, it's time to start thinking about an orderly departure after two solid hours and more of good crack, mighty barbecues, and much interest in an examination of other people's traditional and classic boats.

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Even among the sister-ships of the lobster fleet, many individual variants in hull lines and rig are apparent. Photo: Brian Marten

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Just to add to the variety and colour, the Ilen Trust from Limerick brought their much-travelled Shannon Gandelows (right) to Ballydehob. Their stylish pennants are a legacy of heir successful visit to Venice at the end of April this year. Photo: Gary MacMahon

So the crucial thing is to select the ideal Saturday nearest to August 15th with a good big tide in mid-afternoon. As the Boat Gathering is such a force in its own right, they can range quite extensively on either side of August 15th, and to date the earliest has been August 8th, while the latest was August 21st.

This year's was Saturday August 9th, and while there may have been rain later in the day despite West Cork having much more sunshine in August than almost any other part of the country, no-body now remembers the rain as they recall the sheer fun and sense of community of what has been described by Tiernan Roe, another of the quality boat-builders of Ballydehob, as the "shortest bestest Boat Festival in the World".

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Yet another creation of the active Ballydehob boat-building scene. This is an attractive little Cape Henry 21 cutter lunched in June by Tiernan Roe of Roe Boats. Photo: Tiernan Roe

For this year, it attracted 75 boats, though admittedly last year's record entry of 50 boats was greatly enhanced by this year's decision by the Drascome Lugger Association to combine Ballydehob in their 2014 cruise-in-company in West Cork, thereby adding 27 boats at a stroke.

But even with 27 boats of one class, the variety across the fleet as a whole was remarkable. So how do they assemble such a disparate fleet of boats with obviously highly-individual skippers, in such a quietly efficient way? For you'll never see or hear the Ballydehob Gathering of the Boats being publicly advertised all that much beforehand.

The method is perfectly simple. Everyone with an interest will know it is likely to be coming up on the agenda. So a month and more beforehand, Cormac will text them with the final date on a need-to-know basis. It works, and it sets the tone of quiet consideration for others and their boats in a very special festival in which some quiet sponsorship by CH Marine and West Cork-based German traditional boat fan Thomas Drewes sees that all participants get mementoes including cherished T-shirts (definitely not for general release), while barbecue facilities keep the good humour buzzing until everyone departs in style for their anchorage for the night, for although most boats hope to be berthed in Ballydehob on the big day more two hours hours before high water, once the ebb has started the channel has become much less forgiving about any pilotage errors.

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They're all here, as neatly berthed as you could please, but getting them away as the ebb starts requires good seamanship and boat-handling skills. Photo: Miriam Jones

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Ballydehob's central position in a hugely varied and welcoming crusing coast is emphasized by the number of other harbour chartlets indicated in this plan of the prime cruising area of West Cork. Plan Courtesy Irish Cruising Club

It's good to see a locally-focussed event like this now coming of age with a very healthy turnout. Eastward along the south coast, last weekend saw another event which will surely grow in stature and numbers, the second staging of Y2V Cruise-in-Company on the River Blackwater up the estuary from East Cork to West Waterford, as a flotilla of ten boats - eight GP14s, a Mermaid and a Feva – sailed up-river from Youghal to Villierstown.

It has been promoted by Youghal schoolboy GP 14 skipper Adrian Lee, and last year the inaugural tiny flotilla managed most of the sailable river by going to the bridge at Cappoquin before returning downriver to Villierstown. This year it achieved deserved support from the GP 14 class, with the furthest road-trailed from sea level being incoming Irish GP 14 Association President Stephen Boyle from Sutton DC, while the furthest-travelled in terms of elevation above sea level were the Blessington group, who came down from the Wicklow Hills with their Geeps and included Richard Street and kids (see again this blog on 26th July), and a brand new Duffin boat belonging to Simon Culley and Libby Tierney.

As for seniority, the classic of the class was a 60-year-old beautifully-restored Bell Woodworking GP 14 owned and skippered by 16-year-old Jack Nolan, another of that group of Youghal youngsters who are taking local dinghy sailing forward with gusto, while further variety was provided by Norman Lee of Greystones, his crew including the inevitable family pooches which are such a part of the GP 14 scene.

The sailing was mixed – as Norman said, in a river the wind will always be ahead some time, and though we think of the secret Blackwater Estuary as being fairly straight, in fact there are some quite significant curves. It took about four-and-a-half hours to sail up, and a brisker four hours to return on Sunday morning's ebb.

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The secret waterway – the Blackwater Estuary from Youghal up to Cappoquin and almost to Lismore is one of Ireland's least-sailed rivers

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Villierstown's new clubhouse, open only three weeks, was ready and willing to make welcome the crews who had sailed up from Youghal. Photo: Norman Lee

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The new facility, Villierstown's "floating pier"
(right), was originally the in-harbour pontoon at Dungarvan SC. Photo: Norman Lee

At Villierstown, the new clubhouse of the Villierstown Boating & Activites Cub had been open only three short weeks, but they've made good use of a sports council grant, and it well fulfills a multi-purpose role, including providing the hospitality needed by sailing campers, with Paul Virtue and his wife Caroline organising a fine feast in the clubhouse on the Saturday night, and an enormous breakfast on Sunday to send them on their way downriver to round out an event which has future annual success written all over it.

One of the reasons it all went so well was that the slightly cogglesome little plastic floating jetty, along which the sailors of Villierstown used to access their small boats, has been replaced by a proper pontoon which the club acquired when Dungarvan SC eastward along the coast up-graded their in-harbour pontoon. In fact, Dungarvan support for the development of Blackwater sailing didn't stop there, as one of the fleet in the Y2V was a vintage Dungarvan-based Mermaid in which owner Eugene Burke has cruised the entire south coast between Ballycotton and Kilmore Quay.

The boat is Akita, Mermaid No. 85, and she has certainly been around, as she was built in the Barkyard in Skerries in 1953 by Joe and Matt Boylan. The Barkyard was originally the place where the Skerries-based coasting schooners and fishing boats had their sails preserved against rot by tanning with bark, but in the 1950s the now redundant premises were used to build some of the eventually enormous fleet of Skerries Mermaids through a boat-building class run by the colourful Jem Kearney.

The Fingal region around Skerries and Rush continues to be the great heartland of the Mermaids, with some very racy boats built in the old mill at Rogerstown recently, but despite the modern challenge, this year's Mermaid Week at Rush saw the champion emerge in the form of Jonathan O'Rourke of the National YC with his vintage boat, one of the few Mermaid sailors still in Dun Laoghaire.

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The welcoming port. Despite its tidal limitations, Dungarvan lays on the welcome in a big way. This shows a visiting fleet at the original pontoon, which has now been moved to Villierstown. Photo Kevin Dwyer, courtesy Irish Cruising Club

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Dungarvan SC's new in-harbour pontoon has much improved the alongside berthing space, but unfortunately the local Council wouldn't permit dredging to improve access.......Photo: Donal Walsh

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....and thus the reality for most boats in the Inner Harbour is a drying berth.......... Photo: W M Nixon

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....but if you've access to local knowledge, there is a deep pool just below the bridge........Photo: Donal Walsh

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.....and here the Northwest Passage transiting 44ft steel gaff yawl Young Larry is visiting in comfort and style. Photo: Donal Walsh

Meanwhile in Dungarvan the club's hopes of doing a bit of dredging to improve access to their extended in-harbour pontoon was stymied when the council said they wouldn't permit any salt-contaminated sludge being brought up onto the quay. But despite its tidl limitations, it's a hugely hospitable place, and if you do take the ground at the pontoon, it's mostly soft and forgiving mud which enables you to sit in relative comfort. Certainly some very substantial cruising boat have overnighted here to enjoy the fine pubs both on the waterfront waterfront and in the town, while culinary standards are set by Paul Flynn's famous restaurant The Tannery just round the corner.

Nevertheless if you absolutely won't let your boat dry out, leading Dungarvan cruising man Donal Walsh (he has just returned from an epic round Ireland and Britain clockwise cruise with his Moody 31 Lady Kate) well knows the deep pool across the harbour close under the bridge, and he saw to it that his brother-in-law Andrew Wilkes and sister Maire Breathnaith found a secure berth there for their hefty 44ft steel-built gaff yawl Young Larry, a boat in which they transited the Northwest Passage, but she looks well at home in Dungarvan with its fine tradition of first class locally-based trading schooners.

In moving along the south coast, we find that when possible, they'll lay out the welcome mat big-time in Ballydehob, Youghal, Villierstown and Dungarvan, despite the fact that all four places are restricted in what they can do by the exigencies of tide.

So how are things working out in Dunmore East, the one port which has the potential to be one of the most welcoming and accessible all-tide sailing and fishing ports along the entire south coast?

Despite this potential, the under-development of its facilities, fuelled by a sometimes poisonous attitude between fishermen and other harbour users, has provided recreational visitors with often unpleasant memories. In trying to understand why this might be so, we have to understand how Dunmore East came to get its pretty little harbour. When it was built in the first half of the 19th Century, it was not – as is commonly supposed – built for the benefit of fishermen. The horrible fact is that fishermen came so far down the pecking order that they just had to make do for themselves as best they could.

The handsome new pier at Dunmore East, designed by Alexander Nimmo who is best known for developing Tobermory in Scotland and many places in Galway including Roundstone, was constructed exclusively for the use of the new fast sailing cross-channel packet boats serving the top people of Waterford in their trading and communication with Britain, while the unfortunate local fishermen were forced to keep their boats in the limited shelter of The Cove to the north of it, and haul them on the exposed beaches at The Strand and Councillors Strand.

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Dunmore East's substantial pier was new-built originally to provide a port for cross-channel sailing Packet Boats, serving Waterford ten miles up the road. When this was its primary function, any local fishermen were banished to the poorly-sheltered coves to the north, with their boats being hauled up on the exposed beaches beyond. Plan courtesy Irish Cruising Club

Soon, however, steam driven packet boats were able to go conveniently all the way up to Waterford, and Dunmore East was redundant as a packet-boat harbour. But it was only with reluctance that fishing boat were allowed to start using it, as the Royal Navy would have been keeping an eye on its possibilities for their own occasional use.

Yet down the years, the idea has developed that Dunmore East was always primarily a fishing harbour, and to a lesser extent the same attitude prevailed at Howth on the east coast, where the new harbour functioned as the Packet Boat station for Dublin only between 1817 and 1826, when the developing new asylum harbour at Dun Laoghaire became the selected port for the Royal Mail's new paddle steamers serving the cross-channel route. Yet the silted harbour at Howth was only allowed to become a "fishing station" in the 1850s.

The legacy of all this, in Dunmore East at any rate, is that there still seems to be a suspicion among the fishing community that their tenure is only temporary, that the powers-that-be would move them out if they see a better use for the place. How else can we explain the negative and almost paranoid attitude of the fishing spokesmen every time a suggestion for a much-needed marina at Dunmore East is put forward?

With all this in mind, I made a quick visit to Dunmore East in mid-August while on other business in the southeast, in the hope of seeing if a much-trumpeted €4 million dredging scheme was now in progress in the harbour, and also to see how an equally celebrated new Visitors Pontoon along the East Pier was working out.

The photos speak for themselves. There wasn't any sign of a dredger, though doubtless that will turn up in due course. Yet as for the 40 metre pontoon, it's not a leisure-boat-friendly neat little piece of work at all, but is quite a massive and brutal steel box structure more suited to rugged fishing boats, who were showing their approval by using it so totally that the only leisure visitor was a German motor-cruiser which had managed to squeeze in at one end.

But as this pontoon is on the wrong side of the harbour for ease of access to the Sailing Club on the west side, and the welcoming facilities in the village above it, any pedestrian boat visitor – the vast majority of incoming leisure boaters, in other words – has a long trek through the sometimes crowded and malodourous delights of a fishing port before they can access any amenities. So not surprisingly the German boat had its inflatable tender moored outside it for quick and easy movement across the harbour, and along to the beaches if wished, a situation which inevitably precluded any other newly-arrived boat from rafting up alongside

So for any cruising boat coming in from sea, often with the challenge of Hook Head just recently put astern, it wasn't a welcoming setup. In fact, it was downright hostile. While we were there, an ordinary sailing cruiser with happy folk aboard came motoring from the eastward to round the end of the pier after stowing their sails, but their hopes of a convenient and enjoyable visit to Dunmore East were soon dashed. No welcoming RIB came out from the sailing club to direct them to a vacant mooring, as there probably wasn't one. And as for the pontoon, "unwelcoming" is inadequate. It clearly didn't want anything to do with them. You could see their spirits wilting as they headed out, faced with the long haul up to the marina in Waterford City. The current visitor berthing situation in Dunmore East is at the very least a sad business, so where does it go from here?

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Dunmore East in mid-August. No sign of any dredging, and the "Visitors Pontoon" under the lighthouse on the East Pier is packed out with fishing boats.......Photo: W M Nixon

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........and just one visiting German motor cruiser which was protected against any rafting up by its tender on the outer side. Photo: W M Nixon

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The new pontoon is an industrial standard piece of kit......Photo: W M Nixon

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....and understandably very popular with active fishing boats. Photo: W M Nixon

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But for visiting sailing boats newly arrived in port.......Photo: W M Nixon

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....it's soon clear that there isn't really a welcoming berth for them.....Photo: W M Nixon

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....and they head out to sea again, visibly disappointed by their Dunmore East welcome. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

#gandelow – Fresh from their millenial victory at the Clontarf replay on April 23rd 2014, the Munstermen in their Viking Gandelows move on this week to Venice where they plan to take the city by storm.

Aided by gallant oarsmen and gallies from within the Adriatic city, and having cleared the pearly waters from the oppressive presence of the monster cruiser ships, the Limerick squadron plans to sweep the waters of the lagoon.

Led by the Mayor of Limerick, Kathleen Leddin, this Limerick raid on the Pearl of the Adriatic hopes to bring home, among other treasures, the secrets of how best and most profitably to ply the shallow waters of estuary and lagoon and how most beautifully to engage with the deep waters of the seas beyond.

Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

#gandelow–  Traditional Gandelow rowing boat teams from Limerick challenge Dublin again On the afternoon of Wednesday 23rd April 2014, Gandelow rowing teams from Limerick, where the title of Ireland's Capital City of Culture seems to have gone to people's heads, are launching another attack on Dublin by land, river and sea in their elegant Viking boats called Gandelows.

They seem to do this sort of thing with a periodicity of a thousand years. The last time they tried it, they rather carelessly lost their king, Brian Boru. This time, they are challenging the men of Dublin to a race from Poolbeg up to the mooring of the Jeanie Johnston, which they plan to board, there to share a feast with Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan. This race should end, with victory they say, at around 3.30 pm.

If the Men of Munster lose, they vow to return in a thousand years time, better prepared.

At 4.30pm will commence a seaborne raid on Clontarf Yacht Club, then swinging South again to Poolbeg, and, so, hopefully, returning home.

We do not think Ganelow Teams will be seen again on the Liffey for some time, for they are expected to make an onslaught on Venice in the first days of May, where the withdrawal of the great cruise ships has opened an opportunity which they hope to seize.

Published in Dublin Bay
Tagged under
17th September 2013

Gandelow Races for Limerick City

#gandelow – This year, the Ilen School Gandelow Races will be held on Saturday 21st September 2013 at 5.00pm, off Clancy Strand, at full tide over the Curragour Falls, between Sarsfield and Thomond Bridges, Limerick, Ireland's Midland Seaport.

The Gandelows have been built by the ILEN Wooden Boat Building School.

The competing crews are already converging from Coonagh, Clarecastle, Barrack Lane Boat Club, Killadysert and Newtown Clarina, for a fearsome tussle for prizes of silver and gold.

Further information: 086 2640479

Published in Historic Boats
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#gandelow – The Ilen School Gandelow Races on Sunday October 28th are shaping up to be another exciting river sporting event. The races, which can be watched from the river banks, will be started from Howley's Quay adjacent to Clohessy's Bar.

This unique traditional boat sporting event has attracted 10 teams from Limerick City and County as well as County Clare. With such strong teams we can expect to see more great racing this October Weekend. The first race will start at 2.00 pm. Prize money and trophies for first and second place.

Published in Rowing
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Renowned US based educator, boatbuilding expert Lance Lee  will deliver a lecture as part of this weekend's Gandelow races event on the river Shannon in Limerick on Saturday.

The event is a celebration of historic Limerick City and Shannon estuary river ways. It also celebrates the building of five Gandelows, river boats which were once an integral part of the economic life of the City.

Founder of 'The Apprenticeshop' and 'Atlantic Challenge' Lee has been at the forefront of the movement to merge boats with experiential education for over 30 years. Drawing inspiration from educator Kurt Hahn and author Joseph Conrad, Lance's educational model uses boatbuilding and seamanship as a medium to teach self-reliance, competence and ultimately service to the community.

The public lecture starts at noon on Saturday in the City & Harris Suite, Strand Hotel, O'Callaghan Strand, Limerick.

Published in Inland Waterways
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#GANDELOW – Traditional Gandelow rowing races will be held on the river Shannon in Limerick City on Saturday, May 19th 2012. The day will begin with a reception and presentation of boats, followed by public talks and racing.

The event is a celebration of historic Limerick City and Shannon estuary river ways. It also celebrates the building of five Gandelows, river boats which were once an integral part of the economic life of the City. Though naval in style, Gandelows continue to contribute richly to the architectural mix that makes up the built City.

It is also a celebration of the work of the ILEN Wooden Boat Building School who, in collaboration with river folk and community groups, have come together to build five boats and stage a cultural and educational river event.

The programme is as follows:

Morning Programme, Venue Strand Hotel:

10.30am – Reception and presentation of Limerick city's new fleet of Gandelows

11.00am – Public Lectures in the City & Harris Suite, Strand Hotel

11.15am – Lecture by Anthony Keane OSB – 'They sailed to the sea in ships',

Anthony Keane is a Benedictine Monk & Forester. He has been a monk of Glenstal Abbey for more than thirty years and is also a founding director of the AK Ilen Company as well as a Gandelow Races organiser.

12.00pm – Lecture by Lance Lee USA – Wooden Boatbuilding & Community Education

Lance Lee, founder of several incarnations of The Apprenticeshop Maine USA, of Atlantic Challenge International, and of the Tremolino! Project, has worked on numerous boatbuilding projects with hundreds of students and boatbuilders – all over the world.

His journey in wooden boatbuilding education began in 1968 and when many men would be winding down, Lance Lee continues to embrace new challenges. One of his recent projects, was working with boatbuilder Brady Gow to build a smaller version ofTremolino, the lateen-rigged balancelle (a Mediterranean workboat) used by Joseph Conrad to run guns for the royalist cause between Marseilles and Catalonia in the late 1800s. This should prove to be a most stimulating and inspiring lecture.

1.00pm – Lunch break

Afternoon Programme, Racing between Sarsfiled Bridge and Shannon Bridge

2.30pm – Launch of boats

3.00pm – First of three races commences

4.30pm – Prize giving and closing address

For more information please call Mobile 086 2640479 or email: [email protected]

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About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

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