Last Sunday, a sunny Graiguenamanagh saw great activity on the water with a variety of locally constructed traditional boats and a large gathering of cotmen, boatmen, boat builders and tourism providers from the South East. Graiguenamanagh Boat Club played host to the launch of three local projects.
Declan Rice, CEO Kilkenny Leader Partnership spoke of the organisation’s partnership with the JFK Trust under Sean Reidy, New Ross Town Council and Pembrokeshire College’s Marine Technology and Boat Building Centre in the Ireland/ Wales project – the Rising Tide. The aims of the project are to deliver training programmes, promote social inclusion, raise awareness of maritime heritage and culture, to create new opportunities for economic regeneration in communities and to support the development of community festivals and events. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales INTERREG 4a Programme. Tom McDonald, Kilkenny Leader Partnership coordinates the Irish - Welsh exchange, when the Welsh students visit and build traditional dorys in a mere 3 days! Local boat builders and the New Ross Sea Scouts put the finishing touches to the boats, which were put through their paces on Sunday by the attendees. The design was very well received and considered to be a good option appropriate to the River Barrow. The Sea Scouts were also rowing ‘Michael’, the Dunbrody’s Ship’s Boat, designed by local Shipwright, Tony McLoughlin and also constructed by Pembrokeshire College students under a previous INTERREG programme.
Tom McDonald then launched a new Activity Tourism Training Program, which will be delivered in the New Ross & Graiguenamanagh area over 6 months, commencing in May. The program will introduce: Basic boat building skills, Trail and Hill walking, Eco Tourism, Organising a group activity, Occupational first aid, Career development and business planning and relevant work experience opportunities. Anyone interested can contact Tom at 086-8544869 or Alex Kelly at 086-1070631.
Labour TD, Ann Phelan, launched the locally constructed Barrow Cots, the lines of which were taken from the Forristal Cot, at the Ferry Mountgarrett Bridge. In September 2010, Martin Rafter, Kilkenny Leader Partnership initiated four community cot building projects in Graiguenamanagh, Thomastown and Kilmacow. The project has supported more than 70 participants and involved the drawing of full-scale loftings, development of templates and the construction of both racing and fishing cots under the guidance of Shipwrights Michael Kennedy and Tommy Hannon. Project coordinator, Alex Kelly, praised the support of local people like Michael Doran, who made large premises available for the duration of the project. Ted Duff from the Graiguenamanagh Boat Club spoke of the old regattas, records of which are hanging in the Boat Club and the tradition of which is kept alive by the annual Graiguenamanagh regatta.
Sundays’ event was attended by trainees from the Nore, Suir and Barrow cot projects, Richard Grant of FAS’ Viking Long Boat project, Peter Walsh, South East Netsmen, boat builders, marine heritage historians, fishermen, regatta boatmen and local marine enterprises and tourism operators.