Thursday 20 June 2019

Historic day as Bray Rowing Club gets set to launch its new boat

May 25 will be a red letter day in the history of Bray Rowing Club as it unveils its new boat.

The 25ft wooden skiff, built by the very experienced Terry Keogh, will be officially named and launched at 3 p.m. that Saturday at Bray Seafront.

Earlier this year, the club sought expressions of interest in naming the boat from would-be sponsors and were contacted by the Tobin family from Bray.

The family asked that the boat be named the 'Tommy Tobin Congress' as a tribute to their late father. Tommy ran a boat named the Congress around the cove in Bray for tourists at a cost of two shillings and sixpence during the 1950s and 1960s.

The idea was a hit and club members were delighted to preserve a little piece of Bray's history as well as pay tribute to a man who was passionate about the sea and was an active member of both the rowing club and fishing club.

The boat will be named at the launch on May 25.

The club will also host an open day on May 25 and would love if anyone interested in taking up the sport of rowing would come along to say hello.

Bray Rowing Club is one of the oldest sporting clubs in the town, having first been established in 1935. While an upsurge in interest in recent years has seen the club go from strength to strength, it has also brought its problems.

The club is currently operating out of a one-room boathouse on the seafront, which has fallen into a state of disrepair and does not have any changing facilities. The existing premises has significant limitations and doesn't meet the needs of a club with rapidly growing membership. The club also needs room to to store four large hand-crafted wooden boats. Meanwhile changes in levels on the beach and lack of access to a slipway cause significant hardship and potential damage to the boats structure.

Club members are lobbying local councillors for improved facilities and beach access.

The club is currently devising a five-year strategy which will reflect the healthy Ireland framework 2013-2025 to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Ireland. The club plans to increase the membership and the opportunities for pleasure and competitive rowing over the next number of years in the Bray area and a new premises/facility would enhance this capacity immensely.

Bray Rowing Club would like to thank the people of Bray and especially the staff and customers of O Sullivan's Bar, Castle Street, for their support in raising the necessary funds for the maintenance and upkeep of its boats and clubhouse.

The club participates in an active east coast regatta schedule throughout the summer months and club members Mick O Toole, Sean Redmond and Gary Walsh recently took part in the Celtic Challenge. This, the world's longest ocean rowing race from Arklow to Wales, was completed in a record time of 16 hours and 31 minutes, raising funds for St Vincent's hospital Cancer ward in the process.

Bray People