Bráithreacht na Coiribe

When a small group of anglers who regularly fished the lower lake were arranging a function for themselves in 1953, they decided to form an angling association as well. The objectives of the association were the promotion of good fellowship among anglers, the fostering of improved angling conditions, and the maintenance of free fishing. They called themselves the Brotherhood of the Corrib, or Bráithreacht na Coiribe.

Early meetings were held in the Corrib and Commercial Clubs and in the CYMS hall. Their first annual dinner was in Betty Gallagher’s Scotch House in Salthill. Up to that point the Galway and Lough Corrib Anglers Association held a pike fishing competition every year on the lower lake. It was decided to include trout, pike, and perch on a points system in a new competition, so the first, now famous, “mixed grill” took place in April 1954. The mayor started the competition at Steamer’s Quay in the morning and presented the prizes in the Rockland Hotel that evening. The Hynes Cup was presented for another competition as were the Dreaper and Castrol cups.

Members built a hut at Annagh and another larger one at Annaghdown, and in 1957 they joined the Corrib Federation of Anglers. This group later bought the hatchery at Oughterard which ensured a regular quota of fry for the lower lake. When a drastic reduction of pike was required to give these fry a reasonable chance of survival, a second annual competition was organised for the first Sunday in October each year, the winner receiving the Connacht Tribune Trophy. The Bráithreacht were very much opposed to the “rod” licence — some ended up in court — and also opposed those who fenced off sections of the lake shore, or built on the shore, or polluted the river or lake. They took a leading part in preventing Angliham Quarry being used as the city dump. They have made a major contribution to keeping the lake and the waterways clean over the years.

Our photograph (courtesy of Maeve O’Neill ) was taken in Bárr a’ Chaladh on April 27 1958 after the Mixed Grill competition which featured 139 anglers in 53 boats. Included are Joe O’Grady, who caught the biggest pike, Vinny Griffin, who had the biggest weight of trout, Liam Bailey and Liam O’Reilly, winners of the Hynes Cup, with Messrs John Colleran, Martin Flaherty, and JF Langan.

They are surrounded by (mostly ) youthful enthusiasts including, in no particular order, Tony Lillis, Eugene McCarthy, Peadar O’Dowd, Anthony Griffin, Joe Fox, Eddie Fahy, Pat Cullinane, Mick Byrne, and his daughter (? ), Tommy Killeen, Pat Lynskey, Frank Gallagher,  Mike Crowe, Eugene McGlade, Eileen Naughton, Martin Rabbitte, and Pádraic Connolly.

The Bráithreacht na Coiribe Angling Club will host the Padraig McGrath fly fishing competition on September 6. Pádraig McGrath was a well known angler and businessman who contributed very significantly to the development of Lough Corrib as a wild brown trout fishery. The competition will be fished from Greenfields, Headford, and competitors will fish for trout only.

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