My Weekend: Lifting 100 boats out of the river over a couple of hours... it can be frantic

Getting the An Ras Mor fleet on to dry land is the aim of Cork musician and ‘one-time’ soccer great Paul Fenton
My Weekend: Lifting 100 boats out of the river over a couple of hours... it can be frantic
Paul Fenton who co-ordinates the Boat Recovery area on Kennedy Quay for Ocean to City, An Rás Mór.

THERE’S a busy weekend head for Paul Fenton, who co-ordinates the Boat Recovery on Kennedy Quay for Ocean to City, An Rás Mór.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I grew up in the Glasheen/ Wilton area of Cork city. I moved to Glanmire in 2008 where I now live. It’s a perfect balance between not quite city living and not quite country living.

For work I am a self- employed Ventilation Contractor and I specialise in Domestic Heat Recovery Ventilation for the new housing market.

I am also the lead singer with one of Cork’s finest rhythm and roots band called Fenton and The Phantoms.

Renowned for rocking up many venues around Cork and beyond such as Henchys, The Bru, The Crane lane, The Roundy and The Woodford to name but a few. We recently returned from playing at the Kilkenny Roots Festival.

This time of year, a lot of my time is taken up with The Ocean to City race which takes place tomorrow, June 1. This is a huge event in which more than 200 boats row from Crosshaven to Roches Point and up the Harbour to the city, finishing at the Boardwalk on Lapps Quay.

Like any event of this nature it requires a large amount of volunteers for it to be successful. For my part I co-ordinate the boat recovery area on Kennedy Quay.

There we crane the boats from the water to the trailers. There are usually about 100 boats to be lifted out so it can be a pretty frantic couple of hours after the race ends. Luckily, when it’s over, The Idle Hour is on hand for comfort and sustenance.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

Hopefully I would be playing a gig somewhere and if not then a quite pint in The Widows in Glanmire helps me unwind after a busy week.

Lie-ins or up with the lark.. which is it for you?

I am up early most days but I do like a lie in on a Sunday.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Being self employed it can do but I try to avoid as much as possible. I think its important to have your weekends for other things.

If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

Barcelona would be my favourite city break. Last year I went to Berlin for the first time and thought it an amazing place and would definitely go back. On my to do list, I would like to go to Valencia and Copenhagen.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

I think we are so lucky in Cork because in 30 minutes you could be in Ballycotton, Kinsale or Crosshaven, all of which are places I like to go to. On a lazy Sunday morning I like to walk along the Marina and have a coffee at the Blackrock market.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

Yes, it’s important to stay in touch. I see a lot of my family and try to meet up with friends as often as possible. I am very lucky with the band that we are all friends, so when we meet up for a gig or practice it’s a very social thing.

Do you get to indulge in any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

Unfortunately, my playing days are long over. I was for many years the player manager of Barry St Germain football team, which represented Tom Barry’s Bar (of Barrack Street) in the Night Owl soccer league.

It was a team packed with talented people, unfortunately none of those talents were football related.

We even had a special corner in the bar called “Sh**e corner” for all post-match analysis. Although we didn’t have any success in our local league, we did manage to win a prestigious international tournament in Toulouse in France.

This of course would put me in a very select group of Cork managers to have European success.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter do you have a signature dish?

Entertain. I like to cook and find it therapeutic. I don’t have any one signature dish as I like variety, but I do like fish. Especially monkfish and prawns. This time of year, if the weather is good, I love to have a barbecue and invite family and friends over.

We have so many places to eat out in Cork - where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

For coffee my go to place was always Italee on Oliver Plunkett Street. Unfortunately, it closed recently. My favourite places to eat out would be The Market Lane, Sakura on MacCurtin Street is a great Japanese restaurant and the Iberian Way on Douglas Street has the best Tapas.

Sunday night comes around too fast.. how do you normally spend it?

Sunday night is usually a quite night watching some TV or some Netflix series. I tend to stay up late to put of Monday morning for as long as possible.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

At 6.45am reality kicks in.


The Cork Harbour Festival is the largest annual event in the harbour and takes place from June 1 to June 9. Festivities begin on the Bank Holiday Saturday with the flagship Ocean to City Race; continue throughout festival week with 70+ events; and finish with SeaFest between June 7 to 9. From sea shanties to storytelling – this year’s festival has something for everyone.

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