On Saturday 18 May 2019, rowers and supporters gathered at Knockninny Quay in preparation for the start of the voyage writes Ken Wilson of Lough Erne Heritage
The V Rev. Fr Gerard Alwill P.P. Derrylin gave us a blessing and encouragement for our onward journey, he passed on apologies for Reverent Alastair Donaldson who was attending the Church of Ireland General Synod.
The Lough Erne Cots left and rowed towards Carrybridge additional rowers join us before leaving for Bellanaleck. On arrival at Bellanaleck we had a very pleasant surprise, Mary welcomed us all with tea/coffee tray bakes and sandwiches which set everyone up for the final leg to Enniskillen. When we arrived at Enniskillen on completion of our first day we were welcomed by rain.
On Sunday 19 May 2019 the rowers left Enniskillen at 8.30am rowing towards Devenish stopping at Trory, where members of Belturbet Rowing Club joined us for the final leg of the voyage to Inishmacsaint. All arrived safely at Inishmacsaint just after noon.
The first recreation of the St Ninnidh voyage since the 6th Century, it may be the start of a pilgrim route on Lough Erne.
I must mention one of the oldest running outboards on Lough Erne, my 1933 Marston Seagull. It was ideal to power our pilot boat which was required on the narrow stretches downstream from Carrybridge on the first day of the St Ninnidh Voyage from Knockninny to Enniskillen. No pilot boat required on Lower Lough Erne, so I "had" to row the 8 miles from Castle Island to Inishmacsaint solo.
Thank you to all who actively took part on this historic voyage. The weather was with us and everyone enjoyed themselves, a great example of team effort by the Lough Erne Heritage members who contributed so much to this event and thanks in no small measure to all the willing volunteers who gave their time and endurance to make this project become the significant event that it is. Well done indeed to all the rowers young and old. Thank you to Michael McPhilips who accompanied Lough Erne Heritage on both days taking stills and moving images documenting the St Ninnidh voyage.
Lough Erne Heritage trustee Liam Boyle came up with the inspirational idea of attempting this voyage and I for one am glad that we as a team made it a reality.
Lough Erne Heritage recreated the St Ninnidh journey as part of the ERNE Programme which has been made possible by a National Lottery Heritage Fund award, thanks to the money raised by National Lottery players.
The Links Across the Lough programme will bring rowers from all areas round the Lough together. This programme is being delivered by Insight Solutions, working in partnership with Lough Erne Heritage, on behalf of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.
The project is supported by the European Union’s Peace IV Programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Brian Osborne Trustee.