The Kilkee-based West Clare Currach Club has been spreading its wings of late. In fact, the club has just finished building a currach in St John’s Parish Hall in Ballyvaughan. Given its location, the North Clare village has a maritime tradition dating back centuries.
The currach building in Ballyvaughan was part of a year-long training programme in Clare. It resulted in the building of eight currachs around Clare, which helped to spread the building skills and encouraged more people to become interested in the sea faring traditions of the county.
These boats are unique to the West of Ireland. The West Clare Currach Club works co-operatively to promote their own local fishing canoes in the area and they also travel to other regattas and races such as the Great River Race in London and the Ocean to City Race in Cork.
The workshops in Ballyvaughan, like sister workshops around the county, were run over six days and involved up to eight people. James Madigan was the currach-building tutor. He has been building fishing canoes in Clare for many years and learnt the skill from his grandfather, Sino Blunnie.
The West Clare Currach Club is also working on another project, Saol Sionna, to help promote wooden sailing boats on the Shannon Estuary. In the past, there were hundreds of wooden sailing boats carrying turf and other goods all around the Shannon and to Limerick. The club is keen to bring this tradition back and get people back on the water to enjoy the beautiful natural environment that the county has in abundance.