The aspiration is to continue weaving boyne currachs from the ground up, by weaving in the traditional method that defines how earthen vessels are made, and from here, all other aspects of the craft may be scrutinised and altered if necessary to produce a lighter well-balanced craft able to comfortably carry two people on its seat while paddling.
Twenty years of baskets boat making has given ample opportunity to tweak and perfect many of the skills attributed to making such a craft, while all the time trying to improve on the basket’s longevity or to increase the leather’s durability, so as to last out another season before having to be striped apart and remade.
The group has always made efforts, by way of experimental archaeology, to expand towards the sea with the traditionally woven currachs and have more recently built a fleet of naomhógs to travel and meet with other like-minded currach communities where currachs.
Claidhbh is currently experimenting with a 36ft woven leather currach, sewn and lashed with rawhide with sails made from 420 velum deer skins prepared and sewn together over a period of a year. Sea trials over the past few years have been used to relearn the tradition of quarter rudders on such boats along with bipod and tripod masts.
Our projected plan, as a group, is to hold a National Boyne Currach Regatta upriver at Trim, where young people can participate in workshops within their schools to weave their own currachs and to then compete in the event.
It is also our hope to develop a programme for use in schools at primary and secondary level to foster a connection with this heritage.