Meitheal Mara Bádóireacht’s successful summer of fun

Meitheal Mara Bádóireacht’s successful summer of fun
Youth participants in Meitheal Mara's Summer Rowing Camp with volunteers

MEITHEAL Mara’s Bádóireacht youth programme has enjoyed its third successful summer in Cork.

Kyle O’Connor, Celine Dennehy & Zhelea Hassan enjoying the quiet waters.
Kyle O’Connor, Celine Dennehy & Zhelea Hassan enjoying the quiet waters.

The programme aims to get young people, who normally would not get the opportunity, to participate in water activities. Bádóireacht Summer Rowing Camp took 20 young people out onto Cork’s waterways to develop their currach rowing skills.

The young sailors came from local youth organisations such as Foróige, Mayfield Neighbourhood Youth Programme and Cork Life Centre. Over half of this year’s Bádóireacht participants live in Direct Provision.

The crews took part in a row through the city channels, a picnic row to Glanmire along the Glashaboy River, a rowing treasure hunt and a regatta.

Clare Hayden, Manager of the Bádóireacht Youth Programme said that the young people that take part in the rowing programmes are from very diverse backgrounds.

“By coming together as a crew in a currach they need to learn how to work together and to communicate with each other to keep their boat on course. There is huge satisfaction and self-confidence to be gained in safely steering a boat through the channels of the city,” she said.

“The weather on a number of days of the Camp was quite challenging. The crews had to overcome wind and rain – in particular during their regatta races. It is a testament to this fantastic bunch of young people that they did this with good humour and great team spirit throughout.”

Volunteers from Naomhóga Chorcaí currach club join forces with participants
Volunteers from Naomhóga Chorcaí currach club join forces with participants

“For us in Meitheal Mara it is very important that all of our young rowers have an equal opportunity to take part in activities such as the Summer Rowing Camp. With that in mind we ensure that we are able to provide transport, lunches and wet weather gear for all of our participants. If we can take care of these elements of the Camp it leaves the young people free to focus on, and enjoy, their rowing.”

Cathy Buchanan, general manager said that it was important for kids in Direct Provision to have an outlet. “They get exercise, get to see and enjoy the city, and they also get to experience traditional Irish culture, the currach is a traditional boat of Ireland.”

Cathy also said that there was a real comradeship among the participants by the end of the summer. “They are so lively and comfortable with each other now.”

In 2018 the Bádóireacht youth programme won a European Sports Inclusion Award from the European Commission for its work in getting disadvantaged and marginalised young people active and on the water.

This year Market Lane Restaurant came on board to sponsor and support the camp.

The youths will continue to practice their rowing skills in the coming months, and Meitheal Mara hope that many of the participants of the camp will also compete in the long-distance Ocean to City Race next June.

The Bádóireacht programme and rowing camp are organised by Meitheal Mara, the community boatyard, training centre and charity located in the heart of Cork City.

Bádóireacht is a unique boat building and rowing service for young people aged 12 – 18. It has been running successfully since 2002 with an average of 130 individuals participating each year. Young people have an opportunity to learn to row currachs, sail and to build their own boats and woodcraft.

Abdul Mateen Durrani, Carlos Gomez & Abdul Rafay getting off to a flying start.Sofya Abashko, Zhelea Hassan & Janis Gomez at the start line

Abdul Mateen Durrani, Carlos Gomez & Abdul Rafay getting off to a flying start.
Abdul Mateen Durrani, Carlos Gomez & Abdul Rafay getting off to a flying start.

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