Howth and its peninsula have been actively interacting with the sea since recorded history began, and instances of Howth children being taken sailing date back at least to the famous visit of Connacht’s sea queen Granuaille to Howth in the 1590s and beyond
On that occasion, the Lord of Howth was absent from the castle, and the fiery woman sailor from Mayo felt that his staff failed in their duties of hospitality. So she took the son and heir away in her sailing ship until an apology was received. All was harmoniously resolved in due course, and ever since then an extra place has been laid for dinner each evening in Howth Castle in order to welcome any unexpected visitor.
These days, Howth is a byword for hospitality, sailing and schools. Yet despite the peninsula being home to many boats, there are still some local children who miss out on the chance of getting to learn about sailing despite many school-aimed courses being run at the clubs.
But now a pilot scheme is being introduced this year by Howth Yacht Club through its sailing & powerboat training brand Quest Howth, introducing a new boats and sailing Bursary Programme. It’s on offer to pupils at the four primary schools in the immediate Howth/Sutton area - the Burrow NS, St. Fintan’s NS, Scoil Mhuire NS and Sutton Park. The bursary is aimed at children between 1st and 3rd class, and it offers one voucher for a one week course in HYC’s successful Cara Na Mara programme.
The voucher can be split between 2 children, which means they pay 50% of the normal course fee - this is to be made at the time of application. Deadline for applications from each school must be received by 31st March and final booking can be made on or before the 15th April.
This bursary is designed to encourage participation in the sport of sailing by a child who otherwise may not have had any previous connections or links to the sailing world, or the opportunity of learning to sail.
The Cara Na Mara programme is a child-focused approach which introduces children to sailing, allowing them to discover, explore and practice the skills and knowledge they need as sailors, while under the leadership and supervision of Irish Sailing qualified instructors. The children are placed in groups of six, under guidance of an instructor and an assistant instructor in a 6:2 ratio.
The children learn to sail in Picos which can accommodate more than one sailor at a time, and allows children to sail with their friends. Elements of the S.T.E.M programme, (Wind and Wave; Tide and Navigation etc) are introduced during the week through hands-on learning, and the courses include a healthy lunch each day of hot food and fruit.
Each school has been asked to nominate a child after informing parents of this opportunity requesting expressions of interest. The exact format can be left to each school, but all applications must be in with Howth Yacht Club by the 31st March each year. The school’s expression of interest or nomination should include why the school feels this child is particularly suitable to avail of the bursary, and must be accompanied by the parent/guardian’s approval to take part in the course.
The nominations can be dropped into the office or emailed to [email protected] .
For further details on the course please see the link below or please call HYC on (01) 8322141 or here. Howth YC is also staging its Sailing Information Evening tonight (Thursday 5th March at 7.30pm), and any parents are welcome to come along and find out more about the Quest Howth Sailing Courses.