#Canoeing: On Easter Monday 1960, eight boats took part in a race on the river Liffey organised to coincide with the first Dublin Boat Show at nearby Busáras.
From that modest start evolved the Liffey Descent - a marathon canoe race of around 17 miles that celebrates its 60th anniversary on September 14th., 2019.
As part of the celebrations, veteran Liffey Descent competitor, Iain Maclean has written a comprehensive history of this unique event, detailing the changes down the years, the financial crises, the dramas behind the scenes and the big names who have come a cropper on the giant weirs of the Liffey.
An invaluable part of the book is a meticulously researched record of every medal won in each category down the years. More than 30,000 paddlers from 17 counties and four continents had take part in this great race down the years.
On Saturday, August 31st, the pioneers of this great race will assemble for the official launch of “The Liffey Descent – 60 Years of Ireland’s Toughest Canoe Challenge” in Dublin’s City Hall (7pm-8.30pm).
Those attending will include Audrey Lawrence, one of the first female winners of the race, and Roger Green, who also competed in those early days, along with multiple “Liffey” winners like Tony Maher, Tom Egan, Martin Bosher, Carmel Vekins, Mick Feeney, Gerry Collins, Derek Martin, Martin Bosher, Howard Watkins, Ian Pringle, Mick and Breda Keating, Eileen Murphy, and Malcolm Banks, who competes at masters level internationally and who at the age of 56, won his class in the race last year.
Also attending will be current Irish international canoeists, among them Jenny Egan, many times winner at the Liffey Descent both in a single boat and a double, Barry Watkins, the current K1 champion, and up and coming star Ronan Foley.