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.

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.

Programmes & initiatives:

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. Its construction was part-funded by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Cork. It is used in the Bádoireacht programme and its administration, maintenance and crew operate on a voluntary basis with the back up of Meitheal Mara workshop.

In 2008, the boat and crew travelled to Quebec as part of the city’s 400th celebrations. Since then the ‘Fionnbarra’  has attended or competed in;

  • 2009 Lough Neagh Regatta
  • 2011 Milfordhaven, Wales
  • 2012 International Atlantic Challenge, Bantry
  • 2013 Semaine du Golfe, Morbihan, Brittany
  • 2013 Glandore Classic Regatta
  • 2014 Defi Jeunes Morbihan, Brittany

It was also chartered for use in the HBO TV series “Game of Thrones”.

In the summer of 2018 we hosted a French youth crew with their Bantry Boat “Audouce” and explored Cork with them. Links have been forged there and it is hoped for the Fionnbarra crew to visit them in the near future.

For some of our youth crew it has been just a beginning and they have gone on to gain sailing experience with Sail Training Ireland, spending weeks at sea.

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 has a public row most Saturdays at 10.30 am where a fee of €10 covers insurance, training, lifejackets and a trip on the river Lee.

Click here to contact.

Cork Dragons

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.

For further information on our programmes please click on the links below: