At one stage there were currachs being fished out of every access point on the Clare coast. The remains of currach stands and abandoned slipways can still be seen all along the Clare coast.
In the 70’s/80’s there were still some currachs fishing out of Kilrush and Kilkee in summer months but their use was dying out. Boats were evolving using fiberglass hulls and were being used to get out to half deckers moored in deeper water.
In 1991 we started to gather the last fishing boats around at Kilrush, Kilkee, Carrigaholt and run an annual regatta in Kilkee. This enabled us to keep the boats in use and get everyone on the water. For those of us who spend a lot of time on the sea it was the highlight of the year. Six races were held including the Championship of Clare. Most were in memory of older fishermen and friends who had drowned at sea.
Over the decade the canoes got older and the crews got greyer.
We realised we needed to rekindle the building skills in the area as well as give younger people the opportunity to get out and row. We needed to build our local currach and pass on the subtle skills associated with handling it. There is also the language associated with the boats, the names of reefs in Irish and the history of the men and the times they lived.
Leader RRD funded a training programme and over 2 years we build 6 boats which are now made available to Regatta groups along the Clare Coastline.
As a club we work cooperatively to promote safe use of the boats for a new generation of people who don’t have to depend on them for a living.
They help us keep in contact with our history and our environment in a very real way. They have helped connect the people all along the coast of Clare who shares an interest in all things salty. We enjoy traveling to new places and rowing our boats.
While regattas are competitive by their nature we have a race for everyone and there is an important social aspect to what we do. Longer rows give an opportunity for rowers who are interested in enjoying the scenery as much as the row.