THE oldest Seine boat of its type worldwide, The Roving Swan, will take pride of place at the Ballinskelligs Welcome Home Festival which kicks off on Friday, July 19, and runs until July 28.
Featuring the very best in music, dance and culture, the festival is an ambitious mix of talks, photo exhibitions, fun days and fairs, as well as more than a fair share of music and dancing each evening. It all centres around the re-launch of The Roving Swan which was built in 1947 and is the sole surviving Irish working seine boat of its type.
"The Roving Swan was originally owned by Connie O'Shea, Dungeagan, Ballinskelligs and built in his backyard by John 'Partner' Galvin," local man Des Cronin states.
"It's made from various woods including oak, elm and white deal and last fished as a rowing boat in Ballinskelligs Bay in 1969 but thankfully it was carefully stored by its present owner, Connie's grandson Neilie O'Shea, in the watchhouse at Ballinskelligs Pier," Des adds.
Thanks to the local Men's Shed project, the boat was worked on extensively and has been made seaworthy again and on Thursday, July 25 it will be on display at Ballinskelligs Beach, followed by a parade by Valentia Pipe Band from the beach to Cable O'Leary's, festival sponsors, where there will be a cheese and wine reception and slide show of the history of the boat.
At 8pm, Minister for Arts Heritage and The Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan will officially launch the boat followed by a gala buffet and special guest performance by singer Katie McMahon.
Further details of the much anticipated festival can be found on Facebook. It all kicks off at the community hall with the book launch of 'Tobar an Duchais' at 8pm on Friday, July 19.