Famous Symbol Of Ireland To Be Studied In Clare

From: Dunphy Public Relations
Published: Tue Jun 24 2008

One of the best-known symbols of Ireland is to feature as part of a major new project in County Clare.

Familiar to tourists all over the world, the currach and other traditional boats will be studied by the Heritage Section of Clare County Council, in association with the Heritage Council.

The Clare Traditional Currachs and Boats Study will be conducted by Darina Tully, a nationally renowned expert in the areas of maritime collections, as part of the implementation of the Clare Heritage Plan 2008. The study, the first of its kind to ever be conducted in Clare, is expected to be completed by October.

The initiative will establish a catalogue of traditional boats and currachs in Clare, as well as identifying the condition of the boats and establishing a ranking order of vulnerability. It will identify the location of the boats, their ownership, and associated history as well as compiling a photographic record.

The project will also examine the local variations in traditional boat and currach building, associated customs, political, military, economic history and usage and typology, with the ultimate aim of generating increased awareness of the traditional boat and currach heritage of Clare.

The various functions of Clare boats and their impact on the socio-economic and cultural development of Clare will also be researched, including, transportation of goods, towing cattle behind currachs, turf boats, trawlers and tourism ventures.

The history associated with traditional boats and currachs in Clare is significant. It is recorded that in 1602, O'Sullivan Beare, the Irish chieftain, assembled currachs to cross the Shannon to escape from the pursuit of Earl of Thomond. The ‘Handbook of Irish Antiquities’ (1891) and the ‘Lisdoonvarna Handbook’ (1876) both refer strongly to traditional boat and currachs usage.

An illustration of their socio-economic import in Clare history is that five hundred currachs gave employment to over a thousand fishermen along the coast of Clare in the early 20th century.

Speaking at the announcement of the study, Tomás Mac Conmara, Project Manager, stated, "The project comes at time when rapid change has occurred to areas where traditional boats and currachs were once frequently used. The study presents an opportunity to collect valuable information and make this available to the people of Clare."

Mr. Mac Conmara stated that the experience garnered from the successful Clare Farm Machinery study in 2007, would be brought to bear on the boats study.

He continued, "We saw last year how the people of Clare responded to a study that related to the cultural life of the county. Boats and currachs have been central to the social and cultural life of Clare for millennia. Areas such as the Fergus Islands, West Clare or East Clare have developed their own traditions around boating including building, practices and customs. We are keen to gather this information in order to illustrate a complete picture of the diversity and richness of our boating and currach heritage in county Clare".

Richard Collins, founder of the West Clare Currach Club and a member of the recently forms Clare Traditional Currachs and Boats Steering Group commended the Clare Heritage Section for their innovation in developing the project.

"A Steering group has been formed which comprises boat builders, fishermen and marine enthusiasts from across the county that will provide valuable experience to the study. It will also assist in identifying the artefacts in local areas throughout the county where local knowledge is so important. There has been a huge increase in the interest in currachs in Clare over the last number of years and this study will add considerably to that", he commented.

Anyone with information is asked to call Darina Tully on 087-6360777 or email clareboatsurvey@eircom.net.


Notes to Editor:
Mr. Tomas Mac Conmara (087-2764980) is available for interview and further comment.
A high-resolution image of the study’s steering committee is available on request. Please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on 0035386-8534900 or media@dunphypr.com

Mark Dunphy
Dunphy Public Relations
Founded in early 2006, Dunphy Public Relations is a media communications group led by Mark Dunphy from County Clare.
Company: Dunphy Public Relations
Contact Name: Dunphy Public Relations
Contact Email: media@dunphypr.com
Contact Phone: 00353868534900

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