Foyle Rowing Club
The Foyle Rowing Club, Moville was set up in 2006 with the aim of preserving the Foyle Punt as a rowing boat. The club acquired and restored three punts and commissioned two new boats which were built in the traditional way by MacDonalds Boatbuilders. As the club grew, it looked to promote links with other clubs and participated in regattas locally and further afield. By 2010 the club had 96 members, ranging in age from 10 to 65, and had become a vibrant and active community voluntary group.
It had been a long held aspiration of some club members to row from Scotland to Moville. This required coastal rowing boats capable of withstanding the conditions of the North Channel and in 2010, the club bought the first of its two Celtic Longboats. In July 2011 the club organised the inaugural Colmcille Challenge, and after months of determined training, two teams from the clubs, male and female, rowed the 44 miles from Port Ellen in Islay, to Greencastle. Two teams from Islay also took part, and all finished the arduous challenge, one which many seafarers doubted could be done.
In 2012, the club entered a mixed team in the Celtic Challenge, the longest rowing race in the world. The course across the Irish Sea from Arklow to Aberystwyth is 90 miles and in very tough conditions, only 11 of the 23 starters finished the race. Foyle Rowing Club finished in third place, the first mixed team and the first Irish team home. While the Club has had great success in these and other challenges, there is a strong emphasis in the club on the social aspects of rowing, the camaraderie and the bringing together of many social strands in the community. It caters for the competitive and the social rower, of all age groups and all abilities, and as well as organising regattas and open days, it has regular social outings, including barbeques, and recently, a model yacht building class!
Foyle Rowing Club is a voluntary group that has built on its maritime tradition, embraced the present, and will hopefully continue into the future as an inclusive and involved local group.
Further information, see website below.