Today's teenagers may seem like they are only interested in social media or video games, but in Ireland, a Coca-Cola community project is showing that youngsters are also keen to learn traditional skills, passed down through generations.

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 Coca-Cola funded project to involve young islanders in the ancient craft of wooden boat-building.

Thanks to a €10,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund, the Inishbofin Community Project will help young people on the island develop their life skills. This included learning the age-old craft of building currachs — traditional wooden-framed boats that have been made in this part of Ireland for centuries.

Ireland Thank You Fund Boat 2

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 Coca-Cola and their team on this."

Ireland Thank You Fund Boat 1

Now in its seventh year, the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund was set up in 2011 to mark the 125th anniversary of The Coca-Cola Company. The fund rewards grants to worthy projects that inspire and support young people across Ireland and Northern Ireland, This year, an additional €100,000 will be awarded through the Fund to worthy projects.

Some of the team from Coca-Cola Ireland, including Ronan Farren, director of public affairs and communications, traveled to Inishbofin for the launch of the first vessel. The story was enthuisatically picked up by the Irish media, including a story in the Irish Times.

The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is currently looking for projects from nonprofit organizations with new ideas. The big theme this year is "Working with communities in Ireland and Northern Ireland to inspire and support young people".