Rowing traditions join forces

It's been a phenomenal year for Kerry and its clubs on the coastal rowing front, and it seems fitting that the year will come to something of an historic conclusion this Sunday.

Cromane Beach will be the venue from 12pm to 3pm as, for the first time ever, six different types of boat design will be brought together for an on-land display, an unprecedented celebration of rowing: the South and Mid Kerry Four Oar; West Kerry Currachs; Celtic One Design; the Seine Boat; the Gig; and the Killarney Sixes.

All of the county's TDs and Councillors have been invited to proceedings, and Minister of State for Transport, Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin is set to attend.

The event itself will be in aid of Valentia RNLI, and Irish Coastal Rowing Federation PRO Mary B Teahan was understandably excited at the prospect of Sunday's fare, which will bring so many different boat types, characters synonymous with rowing, and traditions together.

"It is a huge opportunity for the clubs to promote their club, showcasing their rowers [and] their silverware," she said. "We are indeed blessed we have a great line-up of clubs in Kerry Coastal who have all been invited to attend, namely Fossa, Commericals, Workmen, Flesk Valley, Templenoe, Sneem, Caherdaniel, Valentia, Sive, Cahirciveen, Cromane, Callinafercy and Fenit, as well as the clubs of West Kerry."

"There is a huge respect between all codes of rowing, and this is an event to look at these boats up close and the history and stories behind them.

"This has never been done before as most of the regattas clash on the same days during the summer months, so we don't get a chance to support each others events. But this event is one that all can attend as there is no regatta on next Sunday."

Among the day's festivities also will be rowing machine competitions for age groups ranging from under 12, boys and girls, up to seniors, men and women.

Family entertainment will be easy to find, while six-member mixed tug-of-war teams, three men and three women, will compete against each other, another fun addition to proceedings.

"We are a huge coastal rowing county," Mary said. "We are all very proud of our tradition of rowing, and all are doing their best to keep the boats and regattas going on the water, and this is an ideal opportunity to show case that.

"This event is also an opportunity for those past and present involved in rowing to come together, exchange stories, and appreciate great races and regattas. And also, indeed, appreciate what we have right now in the youthful ranks, where coastal rowing is on a high. It is also an opportunity for those who have never been up close to a rowing boat to come and view and take in what is so special about our sport.

"The tradition, commitment, and passion is so very a much part of our sport of Coastal Rowing."