Graignamanagh Rowing Club celebrated its 10th anniversary with an open day and club dinner on December 10.
Ten years ago the Graignamanagh Regatta committee built a boathouse to develop watersports on the Barrow and soon after a rowing club was established under the watchful eye of current club captain Brian Roberts, who had many years of rowing experience in clubs in Dublin and Australia.
Rowing and rowing clubs are a complex proposition and it is amazing to see how far this club has come in a few short years. Significant milestones included lottery funding for a fleet of modern racing boats, and the provision of a purpose-built rowing slip for launching of boats which was provided by Waterways Ireland.
In 2004 the club recorded its first major win at the prestigious Trinity Regatta in Dublin and that led to a redoubling of effort and commitment. 2006 and 2007 were lean years, but since 2008 the club has come roaring back and now there are 40 people rowing regularly, the fleet has expanded to 15 boats, and training is increased in intensity.
The result has been better quality and more competitive crews, men and women, and at all age groups. Graignamanagh attends several regattas each year and now expects to win categories at every event it attends.
On December 10 the club celebrated all this success with an open day and club dinner. The open day centred on an exhibition of photographs and club memorabilia explaining the formation and development of the club and the characters involved. Several past members from the early years were in attendance and proud to see photos of their original crews featured on the walls. Tea and cakes were served to all and a very sociable afternoon was there for all to enjoy.
Later in the afternoon the whole fleet took to the water in club colours to get a group photo on the water from the Graignamanagh Bridge. With light fading and a strong flow on the river we still managed to assemble all crews in a tight formation on the river for some great shots. After dark 60 members, past members and guests attended a club dinner to mark the 10th anniversary in the new scout hall directly behind the boathouse. A great evening was had by all and continued into the wee hours.
Many tales of great wins, close misses and epic battles were recounted. Some people swayed by the nostalgia even promised to come back and help with the coaching – just what the current committee was hoping to hear. The future looks bright for Graignamanagh rowing.