The ethos of Meitheal Mara is to get people on the water, especially those who would not otherwise have the chance to do so. Young people on our Bádoireacht programme learn how to row, sail or paddle, and to become comfortable with handling boats. They might even build their own currach, or compete in an international seamanship contest in our flagship, the 38-foot Bantry longboat Fionnbarra.
Meitheal Mara’s workers learn water safety and boat handling skills as part of the regular workshop routine for the River Lee clean-up service and also carry out work for film and television companies.
Our partner organisations Naomhóga Chorcaí, Cork’s currach club, and Cork Dragons, the dragonboat club for breast cancer survivors, work with us to promote Cork’s growing reputation as a leading centre for community boating.
BÁDOIREACHT Youth Programme
Bádoireacht is a unique boat building and rowing service for young people (ages 14 – 18). It has been running successfully since 2002 with an average of 130 young people participating each year. Young people have an opportunity to learn to row currachs, sail and to build their own boats and woodcraft.
In 2008 we added the 38ft Bantry longboat, “Fionnbarra” – Bantry Bay Longboat, to our fleet. Through this project we foster and develop personal and social development. Teamwork and responsibility are integral to what we do. We work with Youth Development Projects, Probation Services, Justice projects, Foróige and many more youth projects.
Fionnbarra Bantry Longboat
The construction of the 38ft./11.6m rowing and sailing craft “Fionnbarra” was completed in 2007.
The aim of this project is to bring people to the water who would not normally get the chance to go afloat.
It’s construction was part-funded by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Cork. It is used in the Bádoireacht programme and it’s administration, maintenance and crew operates on a voluntary basis.
In 2008, the boat and crew travelled to Quebec as part of the citys 400th celebrations.
More recently, ‘Fionnbarra’ was chartered for use in the HBO TV series “Game of Thrones”.
In 2012,’Fionnbarra’ participated in the International Atlantic Challenge event in Bantry Bay, Co Cork.
In 2013 the crew went to Glandore Classic Regatta, and this year they are fundraising to go to a regatta in France.
For more information, see Fionnbarra Boat facebook page.
Naomhóga Chorcaí Currach Club
Naomhóga Chorcai, a river Lee based currach rowing club was founded in 1993 by Meitheal Mara.
The club ethos involves encouraging the sport of rowing, good craic and beagáinín gaeilge (a spoonful of Irish).
There are currently over 200 members who make use of the 16 currachs that the club uses.
Naomhóga Chorcai have a public row each Saturday @ 10.30 am where a fee of €10 covers insurance, training, lifejackets and a trip on the river Lee. Click here to contact.
Meitheal Mara in partnership with ARC House Cancer Support Centre, Health Promotion Dept, HSE South and the Prince Clinic came together in 2013 to form a new dragon boating team in Cork – the Cork Dragons. All project partners involved are committed to the development of the Cork Dragons.
The Cork Dragons have a broad aim of increasing participation rates of physical activity in those who have been diagnosed with or are recovering from Breast Cancer.
The aims of the team include:
- Raising awareness of breast cancer
- Increase opportunities for physical activity and therefore improving health
- Enjoy mutual support from others diagnosed with breast cancer.
Dr. Don McKenzie, a sports medicine physician at the University of British Columbia, Canada, ran a study to test the theory that repetitive upper-body exercise in those treated for breast cancer could cause lymphoedema, a chronic swelling of the arm.
Dr. McKenzie believed that by following a special exercise and dragon boat training program, people could avoid lymphoedema and enjoy active, full lives. The initial group was carefully monitored and no new cases of lymphoedema occurred and none of the existing cases became worse.
This inspired those in the study to form the first breast cancer dragon boat team. The sport has now grown to over 150 breast cancer teams worldwide.