Currachs are the iconic small boat of Ireland’s Atlantic coast …
… but they are so much more than that.
Currachs (curach in Irish) are very much a part of Irish life today, particularly on the West coast, and you’ll see them all along the Atlantic coast and the Wild Atlantic Way. The boats that brought some of the earliest settlers to Ireland were made out of animal hides stretched over a woven stick frame.
Exactly nine thousand years later to the very day … maybe… these have evolved a little, but not so much considering. Today’s rowing currachs are normally made using tarred canvas, or sometimes fiberglass like mine, over a wood-strip frame. But just like chicken soup, every region has its own version.
For us, one of the most important things is the beautifully shaped bottom… The round hull, without a keel to grip the water, makes all the difference compared to what most of us are used to. It allows the currach to spin on the spot like a demented puffin … but there are two downsides: rowing in straight lines can take some practice, and they catch the wind.
There is heaps of information on currachs out there … I’ll try to add some links here soon.