Wicklow Rowing Club

Founded 1956

Co. Wicklow

Club History

      Wicklow Rowing Club was officially formed in 1956 by Fr Hans, A local priest who was aware that the tradition of skiff rowing went back years but there was no formal structure or committe so with the help of the then regatta committee.They  orderd and bought the club's first skiff the St Manntan for over 3000 pounds which was a considerable amount of money then.

    The Wicklow Regatta was first held in 1878 and consisted of Sailing ,Swimming and Rowing races. There was substantial prize money for the winners which could add up to a Months wages for a crew . The first Chair of the Regatta committee was Captain Robert Halpin. A renowned Sea farer who Captained Isombard Kingdom Brunell's ship the Great Eastern and laid the first transatlantic communications cable from Valentia in Kerry to Newfoundland and then to many other parts of the world starting the comminucations revolution that made the world a very small place. 

     Even before the Regattas began, Rowing in wicklow and along the east coast was a way of life that provided for the rowers families. If it was not fishing for a living where a sail could be fixed midship in the skiff it was racing out to the cargo schooners that the lookouts would see on the horizon. The first skiff that reached the schooner got the right to pilot it to the Harbour and inturn the dockers that the skiff belonged to got paid to unload its cargon on the Quayside. As you can imageine there was alot at stake for the first skiff to reach the ships so it was to their advantage to have the fittest rowers and best boats.

      Little has changed over the years in the construction of the skiffs The tradition methods of building have remained constant thanks to a decision in the early 2000s to choose a skiff on the east coast that timber moulds could be taken off so that all future skiffs would be made from these moulds . The designated boat builder Mr Muarice Hunkin and his son Louis .They travelled up and down the east coast clubs looking at their boats to pick the best one to build from and unsurprisingly the agreed that the St Manntan of Wicklow was the one . All boats since 2000 are now built from these moulds. We have just ordered a new one ourselves which we hope to take delivery of in 2024.

To be continued:

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