Meitheal Mara is also actively involved in celebrating Ireland’s rich maritime heritage and in promoting and fostering maritime culture and activities locally and overseas.

A gentle pace of travel is encouraged in our CORKUMNAVIGATION guide for those who want to paddle the Lee right around Cork. We support the annual Rebel RAID for small boats and are partners in the proposed Cork Harbour Blueway.

Members of our staff and Board are often consulted for their expertise and take part in documentaries, research projects and publications, including the Traditional Boats of Ireland and Glorious Galway books.

As well as inspiration, getting people and boats afloat requires good development planning and physical infrastructure. Meitheal Mara has a long history of advocacy, particularly for improving access to the water, based on submissions to local authorities, policy papers, research seminars and consultations.

Programmes & initiatives:


The River Lee splits into two channels, forming the central island of Cork city. Meitheal Mara’s CORKUMNAVIGATION Guide contains advice on how to get under the city’s 29 bridges and over its 8 weirs at various stages of the tide and thus circumnavigate the city – CORKUMNAVIGATION!

The guide includes a labelled map with information on access points, hazards and significant landmarks along the way. The back of the guide contains images of and information about almost all the bridges and weirs to be negotiated. Those bridges marked by a grey box are particularly low and cannot be passed at certain tides. Likewise, some weirs cannot be crossed until a certain tide height has been reached. Using a tide table (available from chandleries and online) and the Rule of Twelfths you can calculate the rate of tidal rise and fall.

CORKUMNAVIGATION is a Meitheal Mara project, sponsored by Cork City Council and the River Lee Hotel. Fieldwork for the project was conducted in 2010 by the Cork Centre for Architectural Education, UCC and CIT, and sponsored by the Heritage Council. The guide was designed by Alan Macilwraith, and includes notes on history and heritage from the late Cían Ó Sé.

The 2016 CORKUMNAVIGATION guide was launched on March 8h 2016 and is available from Meitheal Mara’s offices for €2.

  • Down the Lee and up the Sabhrann”: These wonderful notes on the history and heritage of the river were written by the late Cian Ó Sé: Addendum to the CORKUMNAVIGATION Guide.
  • CORKUMNAVIGATION Facebook Group: Join the CORKUMNAVIGATION Facebook group if you’d like to connect with fellow river users, organise ”CORKUMNAVIGATIONS” and share your experiences on this beautiful city centre water trail.

CORKUMNAVIGATION Tours & Trips: Meitheal Mara offers guided CORKUMNAVIGATION tours & trips at various times throughout the year. Please contact us for group and individual enquiries. Note – CORKUMNAVIGATION is tide dependent so enquire well in advance of your date.

River Lee Clean-up

Meitheal Mara continues to maintain the River Lee in the condition in which it was left by the Big River Clean-up of 2007.
This service is provided on a partnership basis, with support from Cork City Council and Mainport Holdings.

Consultancy, Boat & Crew Charters

Meitheal Mara offers maritime consultancy, management and boat & crew charters to organisations and individuals.

Sample Clients include:
• Craft & crew charter for HBO’s series ‘Game of Thrones’
• Craft & crew charter for Cork Community Artlink
• TG4’s ‘Muintir na Mara’ series
• Maritime consultancy and management services for Red Bull currach racing.

EU Boat Programme

Meitheal Mara is one of four partners in EU Boat, a Leonardo da Vinci learning partnership funded under the EU Lifelong Learning Programme.

These partnerships allow similar organisations from across Europe to share good practice, discuss problems and compare solutions on particular topics.

EU Boat has brought together four organisations from four European countries that share one major commonality: the boat.

  • The boat as a method of transportation; connecting people both physically and figuratively.
  • The boat as a witness of the past and as part of the local heritage.
  • The boat as a witness of the past and as part of the local heritageThe boat as a way of gaining new skills and social competences.
  • The boat as a way of gaining new skills and social competences.
  • The boat as a symbol of mobility and a vector of cultural and tourism activities.

The four organisations: Albaola (based in Pasaia in the Basque Region of Spain), Les Chantiers Tramasset (Le Tourne, France), Meitheal Mara (Cork, Ireland), and Euclides (Brussels, Belgium) are each engaged in the boat-building process. The EU Boat project is a two year project which will see representatives from each organisation travel to Cork, Brussels, Pasaia and Le Tourne between 2013 and 2015 to take part in 3-day project sessions; providing them with an opportunity to exchange experiences from their shared sector, to cooperate in the identification and development of best practice, to develop tools for the dissemination of this information and consequently to safeguard the sustainability of the sector.

The specific topics to be explored over the course of the EU Boat project included:

  • The use of boats and the sea as a means of increasing self-esteem and confidence amongst disadvantaged or marginalised people, thereby bringing about social inclusion
  • The exchange of know-how regarding professional training programmes in boatbuilding and boat carpentryBoat restoration and sailing as a way of developing sustainable cultural and tourism activities
  • Transmitting the traditional know-how as well as the professional training experience
  • The development of a sustainable ‘Economic Model’ for organisations engaged in cultural and industrial heritage projects

An introductory meeting of the project partners was held in Cork in September 2013. In April 2014 Meitheal Mara hosted a project meeting in Cork.View photos of this meeting here.

EU Boat in the Media:

  • RTE Radio 1 Seascapes 04/04/2014
  • Cork Evening Echo 02/04/2014
  • Cork Independent 03/04/2014
  • The Cork News 11/04/2014
  • Phil Prendergast Twitter
  • Inshore Ireland

Gradam Meitheal Mara Award Ceremony

Gradam Meitheal Mara is presented to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the maritime field over an extended period of time. Recipients have included: Paddy Barry, Hal Sisk, Joe Gavin and Tom McSweeney.

Heritage & Cultural Research and Publications

Meitheal Mara is actively involved in heritage & cultural research & publications and has an extensive archive and research library which provides opportunities for students of maritime Irish history and culture.

Since its formation, Meitheal Mara has continuously contributed to many audio & visual documentaries and publications including:

  • 2008: Glorious Galway – hookers, currachs, lake and river boats.
    Galway County Council & The Heritage Council Highly-illustrated, 182 page, bilingual book presents the exciting story of the rich and vibrant boating heritage of County Galway. This publication is currently out of print.
    The Heritage Council Production of a map/chart and navigational notes for assistance to those wishing to experience the natural, physical, maritime and built environment of Cork city from the bifurcated channel of the River Lee. In conjunction with Cork School of Architecture.
  • 2010: Slips & Steps of Cork City.
    The Heritage Council Survey, map and assess the slips, steps and access points of an identified area along the River Lee in the centre of Cork City.
  • 2010: Traditional Boats of Ireland.
    Traditional Boats of Ireland Contribution to the national study and publication of ‘Traditional Boats of Ireland’. The project was the result of a combined effort by Irish people passionate about the rich diversity of boat types throughout the country.

Meitheal Mara Men’s Shed

Every Thursday evening between 5-9pm the Meitheal Mara Men’s Shed comes together in our boatyard. The group works on various projects, including the building of currachs and various types of woodwork.

A Men’s Shed is any community-based, non-commercial organisation which is open to all men where the primary activity is the provision of a safe, friendly and inclusive environment where the men are able to gather and/or work on meaningful projects at their own pace, in their own time and in the company of other men and where the primary objective is to advance the health and well- being of the participating men. Men’s sheds may look like a shed in your back yard yet they innovatively share some characteristics of both community education and health promotion projects. (Source:

For more information, please contact the office and ask for Pat O’Sullivan.

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