Currach Challenge Supports Men's Cancer Action
Amateur rowing team calls all yachtsmen for support by sailing across the Irish Sea for Men's Cancer Action
Author: Eugene Garrihy Posted on: 1/6/05 Print Version

On or around the 23rd June 2005 Eugene Garrihy from Doolin Co Clare and a team of amateur rowers will attempt to row a traditional 3 man Aran Island fishing Currach across the treacherous tidal waters of the Irish sea.

These men are not fazed by tests of endurance as many of them have trained and completed a few 26.5 mile marathons over the last few years on behalf of Charities. They have been training on Dublin Bay over the past few months and can be seen between Skerries and Howth during the week and at weekends.

Their chosen Charities on this occasion are the Irish Cancer Society and Dublin 15 Hospice Project.

The Team
Eugene GarrihyDoolin and Castleknock
Thomas Mc DonnellDunboyne and Castleknock
John WallaceDublin and Castleknock
Jim RingSkerries and Castleknock
Declan O SullivanAllihies and Castleknock
Sean CullinanDoolin and Dublin
Adrian ShanahanKilkenny and Dublin
David BlakeCo Clare And Celbridge
Paul CollinsTipperary and Dublin TODAY FM

The Challenge
The Irish sea is notorious for its strong and unpredictable tidal currents and has left the most experienced of sailors and navigators scratching their heads wondering how they misjudged their course and missed their target by miles.

As the humble little currach, built by the skilful Peader (beag) Seoige from Inis Oirr Aran Islands on the western seaboard, attempts to cross the Irish sea for the first time in its history, I'm sure that same Irish sea is rubbing its hands and thinking to itself "I'LL have you for tea".

Well, this humble little Currach, the Aoibhin Marie, has built up a powerful and workmanlike relationship with its team of rowers over the past few months, and we are confident she will ferry this group of rowers safely from Wales to Ireland. We estimate it will take somewhere between 18 and 22 hours, but is very much dependent on weather.

The Currach
The small Currach has a big history as a fishing boat, a ferry boat (cargo and passengers) and has come to the rescue of many down through the years. It has been a vital and essential tool in the lives of Islanders off the west Coast of Ireland over the centuries.

It was built by the very Skilful Peader (Beag) Seoige Inis Oirr Aran Islands and is made from three basic materials; WOOD, CANVAS and TAR.

1) Wood Ribs, Gunnels, Transom, Bow, lathes, Oars and Pegs.
2) Canvas Skin fixed with copper nails to ribs.
3) Tar coating poured on to outer surface of canvas.

Some of the team has been rowing a little for the past year, firstly in Blessington lakes, then on the Liffey. Three Months ago Ben Dunne kindly sponsored membership for the team in Westpoint Fitness Centre and the lads have been working out there since then. Now that the evenings are longer we are rowing out of Skerries and Howth during the week and at weekends.

On Sunday 1st May we took part in the Tuskar Row from Rosslare to Wexford town and on to Ferrycarrig, a distance of 18 miles in 3 hours 50 min. On the 4th June we are taking part in the Ocean to City race, from Crosshaven to Roches Point and back to City Hall in Cork City centre, a distance of 15 Nautical miles. From that weekend on, we will be training 4 times a week over longer distances until Sat 18 June.

Support Boats
Doolin Coast and Cliff rescue team (6.7 meter RIB)
Owen Kirk (30 foot yacht)

Safety at Sea
As this challenge is potentially quite hazardous safety is our top priority. To this end we never go to sea without the assistance of a 6.8 meter RIB, propelled by two 60 horsepower engines.

Life jackets are always worn and members of our team has life saving qualifications. The RIB is equipped with VHF radio, Flares, Paddles and Anchor.

During our Irish sea attempt members of the Doolin Coast and Cliff Rescue Team will man the RIB and Owen Kirk will be along with his 30ft yacht as backup.

Main Sponsors
Land Rover Ireland
Today FM and Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show
Ben Dunne Westpoint Fitness Centre

Irish Cancer Society
Dublin 15 Hospice Project

The Irish Cancer Society and the Dublin 15 Hospice Project are the teams chosen recipients of all funds raised from the Irish Sea Currach Challenge.

With Land Rover Ireland Sponsoring an advertising campaign for Men's Cancer Awareness Week to the value of 20,000 Euro and Today FM increasing the value to 30,000 Euro, the Currach Challenge Charity aspect got off to a flying start.

In addition the rowing team have arranged an all Ireland Golf Classic at the fantastic new PGA National at Palmerstown House on Friday June 3rd. The team hopes to raise in excess of 60,000 euro on the day.

Other fundraisers are being planned at the moment.

Eugene Garrihy

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