VOTERS at the Tinnahinch polling both in Graiguenamanagh may have spotted a group of Welsh boat builders floating down the river Barrow last week in Canadian style Dorys.
The 12 Welsh boat builders were part of a maritime heritage exchange programme called the Rising Tide project, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales INTERREG 4a Programme.
The boat buillders came from the Mitec School of Boat building and Marine Engineering in Pembrokeshire to Graiguenamanagh to build two boats, from scratch, in three days and then float them on the river Barrow. Beverly Richards one of the three members of staff who accompanied the student boat builders was full of praise for Graiguenamanagh. “Graiguenamanagh has been wonderful the pubs have been putting Welsh flags in the windows to make us feel at home. Some of the students have never been out of Wales before and they’ve really enjoyed it.”
An expert boat builder and lecturer in Mitec School of Boat Building, Colin Evans, who was guiding the students from in their final project, to build and float two Canadian style “Dorys” described the finished projects as “fast and dirty.” Mr Evans said “We’re only making them in 3 days so it was fast and dirty but its all fun and they float.”
The two handmade boats, will be donated to the Graiguenamanagh Sea Scouts and the students from Pembrokeshire will return again in May for a similar project.
The goal of the project according to the CEO of the Kilkenny Leader Project, Declan Rice, was to promote maritime heritage and culture with a view to creating a new tourism product.
Earlier this year Kilkenny Leader began developing fishing and racing cot projects in effort to conserve local boat building designs and develop local skills in boat construction.
The cot building Projects are running in Graiguenamanagh, Thomastown and Kilmacow with 70 participants and three cot designs being developed from sleek racing cots, built on designs from between built 1905-1912 to more work man like fishing cots.
The Welsh trainees joined the cot builders to construct the two dory boats over three days. The finished boats with a parade through town and a launch on the River Barrow. After the Dorys were put through their paces by the trainees, Sean Reidy, CEO JFK Trust, made presentations to all of the visitors. The participating communities in Kilkenny will get an opportunity to make a return visit and contribute to the construction of the Welsh Tenby Lugger, with further exchanges expected on land and water later in the year.