A TRADITIONAL Irish currach built by people living in Direct Provision in Cork will be launched on the river Lee today.
In July, Meitheal Mara in Crosses Green began a new boat-building programme with a group of people living in direct provision.
The group of prospective boat-builders came from all over the world and brought with them a broad range of skills and experience.
While some of them had prior experience of working with their hands, having previously worked in engineering and in construction, for others this was their first time doing anything of this nature.
Séamus O’Brien, Meitheal Mara’s workshop manager, described the group as “mad keen to learn”.
He admits that at the beginning he wasn’t sure of how well the project would work. “Normally groups come to the workshop with their own project worker, someone to recruit and motivate the participants. In this case we had to go to the accommodation centres ourselves to try to spread the word about the project.”
While this meant a good deal of additional work for the Meitheal Mara staff, Séamus is satisfied that all of this work paid off. “The project was a lovely experience. We all gained a lot from it.”
Their boat a Dunfanaghy-style currach was and ready to be launched in recent days.
On one of their last sessions in the workshop the group sat down together to try to choose a name for their boat. There were lots of different suggestions in a lot of different languages but in the end the boat-builders decided that an Irish name for their traditional Irish boat was most fitting and so ‘Bád Chorcaí’ (Cork Boat) was selected.
The currach was launched at Lapps Quay pontoon this afternoon.
The boat was joined on the water by Meitheal Mara’s fleet of Dunfanaghy currachs so that the boat-builders, their families and all of their supporters have a chance to experience currach rowing.