Communities Integration Rowing Programme
In July and August, Meitheal Mara ran a rowing programme for young people living in Direct Provision together with young people from the Neighbourhood Youth Programme and St. Joseph’s Foroige group in Mayfield. This programme was funded by the Department of Justice and Equality through their Integration Funds Unit.
In total 28 young people took part in the rowing sessions over a six-week period. The group experienced rain and strong winds on the water some days but they did not let this deter them, instead working hard to control and steer the Dunfanaghy currachs in the unfavourable conditions. All the participants were presented with certificates of completion at the end of the programme in August and many of them immediately signed up to the Inaugural Bádóireacht Rowing Camp to continue developing their rowing skills.
Inaugural Bádóireacht Rowing Camp
In a ‘last hurrah’ before the inevitable return to school, twenty-one young people from all over Cork took part in Meitheal Mara’s Inaugural Bádóireacht Rowing Camp. For young people that had already completed a rowing course with Meitheal Mara this Camp gave them the opportunity to develop their skills, to try out different types of currachs and to learn about different aspects of currach rowing.
The Camp was strongly supported by Naomhóga Chorcaí, the city’s currach club, with many members of the club volunteering their time to work with the young people and to provide training over the four days.
Activities included exploring Lough Mahon by boat, picnic lunches in Blackrock, an introduction to currach racing and treasure-hunting on the River Lee. The Camp culminated in a currach regatta on the last day when the young rowers really had the chance to demonstrate their new skills. The races were hotly contested in all categories: Lads Race, Lassies Race and Óg agus Aosta. Special mention should be made of Leah O’Leary who won the trophy for Best Blisters on the day!
The Rowing Camp was incredibly popular with all of the participants. Many of them have developed a real enthusiasm for currach rowing and no doubt will soon be signing up to become members of Naomhóga Chorcaí.
Bádóireacht says goodbye to Mirjam
The end of the summer signalled the end of our intern Mirjam’s time with us. Mirjam spent five months in Cork in 2016 and during that time became an avid currach rower. This summer she returned to Cork to complete an internship with Meitheal Mara’s Bádóireacht programme. During her time with us, she helped to pass on her passion for currach rowing to our youth groups. She also helped with boat-building groups in the workshop, developed new materials for our TY programme, helped to deliver the Bádóireacht Rowing Camp and even got stuck into our regular River Clean-ups (phew!). She’s now returning to college in Germany for a rest! Best of luck Mirjam and we hope to see you back on the water on the River Lee again soon.
Back to School!
Just like the teachers and students, Meitheal Mara finds themselves going Back to School this week. Meitheal Mara will be delivering a course on ‘Currachs; their Heritage and History’ to Transition Year students in Coláiste Daibhéid for the third year running. The course sees the students learning about the importance of currachs to Irish coastal communities, building a model currach, completing a research project on currachs and taking to the water to try their hand at currach rowing themselves.
This unique course has been incredibly popular with the students over the past two years and we look forward to working with the current Transition Year students of Coláiste Daibhéid in the coming months.