Northern Ireland

Currach built by volunteers launched on Lough Erne

Image caption It takes 10 people to row the currach

A traditional wooden and canvas boat built by a community group in Enniskillen has been launched on Lough Erne.

The 33-foot currach took about 12 weeks to build by a group of volunteers with little or no previous experience.

They used traditional techniques to prepare the wood, steam the gunnels, fix ribs, string the boat from bow to stern, and tar the canvas.

The project was inspired by the visit of the Colmcille currach to Lough Erne in 2013 as part of the journey made by the Irish missionary and his followers almost 1,400 years ago.

Olivia Cosgrove, chairperson of Row the Erne, said the project had brought people together from all walks of life to have fun on the water.

"There's an enormous amount of fun and learning in building a traditional craft," she said.

"There's also a great sense of ownership when you get on the water having built the vessel that you're rowing.

"Everybody will sit on that boat and know that they were part of sanding those gunnels, or making those in-fills or working on the bow.

"That gives a person a great sense of pride, it gives the club a great sense of community and gives us a great foundation to move forward."

It takes 10 people to row the currach which will also have two sails.

Image caption The 33-foot currach took about 12 weeks to build by a group of volunteers

Now that the hard work has been completed, Row the Erne want to make regular trips on Lough Erne and other inland waterways in Ireland.

Olivia Cosgrove said: "Our plans are to get out on this boat and row it and really enjoy it and to get as many people involved as we can and to celebrate what the boat is about.

"The boat is about fun and friendship, so let's make new friends through rowing."

The project received funding from the Big Lottery Awards for All scheme, and has also been supported by The Fermanagh Trust and Waterways Ireland.

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