A GREAT day of naomhóg racing and a welcome break from the summer's pervasive rain brought the regatta season to a close on Sunday as crews from An LeithTriúigh, the Maharees, Dingle, Clarecastle and Doonbeg battled it out at the
annual Brandon Regatta.
Since its revival in 1981 by Mary Murphy, Brandon Regatta has become firmly established as one of the highlights of the year in the Cloghane-Brandon area and, true to form, a large group of spectators, many returning to their native parish from far afield, turned out en-masse on Brandon Pier to witness the action.
A fine day greeted competitors and spectators as the naomhóg races got underway with races for crews aged from under-14s to seniors. It all took place under the watchful eye of Nial Hanley from the Maharees who was on safety boat duty and, if there was ever going to be a need to carry out a rescue, there was plently of help on hand thanks to the Fenit Lifeboat which was a welcome added attraction on the day. It was a special day for the Brandon based Leith-Triúigh club who have been rebuilding their ranks in recent times. Their under-14 team competed for the first time on Sunday and came second in their race, which bodes well for the future of naomhóg racing in An LeighTriuigh. The club's rejuvenation has been bolstered in no small way by the addition of a new canoe, built earlier this year by a master of the craft, Micheal Leahy of the Maharees. There is a resurgent local interest in naomhog racing and while Brandon is between two big clubs in Dingle and the Maharees they are working towards building up the club over the next year.
The day wasn't all about the activities on the sea though. There's no better place for socialising than Brandon and a large crowd settled in for the day at Brandon Pier where a pig was roasting on a spit outside Murphy's pub to provide sustenance for the gathering. Meanwhile, Elsie Moore was keeping committee members nourished with a steady supply of homemade sandwiches, which were gratefully received and rapidly devoured.
No sooner was everyone fed and watered than the heavens finally opened, scattering the crowd. It was a damp end to the day, but regatta committees throughout West Kerry are considering themselves lucky to have managed to complete an entire season of regattas without a single postponement despite the bad weather over the last few months.