The Christ Church, Culmore, Muff and Saint Peter’s (CCCMSP) group of parishes marked Saint Columba’s Day, on Friday 9th June, by launching their newly-built currach on the River Foyle. The launch, from the jetty of Londonderry Marina, was the highpoint of a day of activities on the feast of the city’s patron, which culminated in a Service of Confirmation for children at Holy Trinity Church in Culmore.
The 16-foot currach was built by clergy and parishioners of CCCMSP, in partnership with trainees and volunteers from the ‘4 R’s Recycling Project’ – a social enterprise initiative set up by the Resource Centre, Derry. The project was completed under the expert guidance of master boat-builder Donal Mac Polin from the Traditional Boats of Ireland Co-operative. The team used a combination of hazel, spruce and pine to form the frame of the boat, before covering its hull with ballistic nylon fabric sealed with pitch.
Two intrepid crew members – parishioner Linda Hughes and Deacon Rev Bob Wray – rowed the craft the four miles from the Foyle Marina to Culmore Point, where it was met by students from Thornhill College and pupils from Culmore Primary School. The latter – like Holy Trinity Church – is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The new Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, was also at Culmore to greet the two rowers.
The Pastoral Director of CCCMSP, Rev Katie McAteer, carried a cross wreathed in oak leaves as a procession of schoolchildren escorted the boat as far as Culmore P.S. The currach was then transported onwards to Holy Trinity Church.
Rev McAteer, said the team were considering including the currach in the Foyle Maritime Festival which takes place next month.