Today's teenagers may seem like they are only interested in social media or video games, but in Ireland, a
In the tiny island community of Inishbofin, off the coast of Connemara in County Galway, the population of just 175 people is enthused by a
Thanks to a €10,000 grant from the
Under the guidance of a local master craftsman Pat Folan, who was eager to pass on his boat-building knowledge, 11 young islanders aged between 14 and 20 got involved in the project.
The inspiration for the project came from Siobhan Ryan, manager of the Inishbofin Community Service Program.
"I came up with the idea when out walking my dog on the beach," she said. "I saw some broken currachs and thought that the island still needs them. The older people on the island can build currachs, but this is a skill that the younger generation can now benefit from. It was a simple idea and everybody got behind it."
The first currach in a series of four made its maiden voyage during the recent Inishbofin Arts Festival. Each currach created through the project is named after a village on Inishbofin — the first is called Fawnmore.
The remaining three 23-ft. currachs — the next will be named Cloonamore — will have their maiden voyages at the Inishbofin Regatta on Aug. 12-13.
"The boats being launched reflect the hard work of the young people of Inishbofin," Ryan added. "They worked very long hours over weekends and evenings. In addition to the skills of currach-building, they learned other skills, from motivation to working as part of a team and of course essential leadership skills."
The currachs will be available on summer evenings for locals and tourists to use, but as Ryan points out "locals here don't need rowing classes."
"People are really happy with how it all turned out," she adds. "It has been a great experience for myself and all the islanders and for everybody involved and it was a pleasure working with
Now in its seventh year, the
Some of the team from