|An Bád Inbhear Mór
The 25 members of Arklow Men’s Sheds Group made waves recently as they kept their hometown’s long and proud tradition of boat building alive with the launch of their 20ft timber dory.
Named ‘An Bád Inbhear Mór’, the rowing boat took 13 weeks to build at a workshop in Croghan Industrial Estate with timber sourced from the ‘TSV Asgard II’ supply.
The Arklow Boat Project, captured the imagination of the entire community and 16 men from the local Men’s Sheds Group, ranging in age from 30 to 60, participated in the project. According to Katy Hughes of Arklow CDP, the project has played a huge role in getting the men’s group up and running in the community.
“This project has brought about a great sense of hope and pride not only to the men involved, but to the whole town. The boat was paraded through the centre of the town with a pipe band on the day of its launch and there was a great buzz. There was such great excitement when it finally took to water and it did exactly what it was supposed to do,” said Ms Hughes.
‘An Bád Inbhear Mór’ has since been donated to Arklow Sea Scouts. The Sheds group also continues to put their boat building skills to great use having built dinghies and canoes in recent weeks.
The training involved was conducted under Goal 2 of the Local and Community Development Programme which seeks to increase access to formal and informal educational, recreational and cultural activities and resources.
Ms Hughes told ‘Changing Ireland’ that many groups contributed to the success of the project including Arklow Pipe Band, Arklow Sea Scouts, Arklow Women’s Club, the Harbour Bar and other local businesses.
Arklow has a long and proud tradition of boat building, most notably for building timber boats such as Francis Chichester’s ‘Gypsy Moth III’ and the ‘TSV Asgard II’ from which timber was sourced for the making of ‘An Bád Inbhear Mór’.
The men’s boat project was coordinated by Arklow CDP which is part of County Wicklow Partnership and received funding from the Department of Social Protection and County Wicklow VEC Community Education.