Ireland's first Irish-speaking rowing club will be launched on Saturday when Cumann Rámhaíochta Choláiste na Coiribe will be inaugurated by Mayor Padraig Conneely.
Students, parents, teachers and coaches of Coláiste na Coiribe will witness Mayor Conneely launch their rowing club and take part in the blessing of their first boat at 2pm at the Tribesmen rowing club. This will be attended by local councillors and dignitaries from the Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board, and Coláiste Na Coiribe.
The club was set up in 2011 by teacher Michael Ó Marcacháin, an ex oarsman of the Jes and NUIG. With the aid of his sister Rebecca, coaches Mike and Luke Goonan, Orla McGarry, Philip Winters, Ger Ó Mathúna and past pupil Áine Máire Ní Ghibiliún, they started out with just 12 first year students. They were kindly given the use of the Tribesmen rowing club facilities and training boats to learn the ropes. The coaches have all received training with Rowing Ireland and there are currently 36 pupils enrolled in the club.
The parents and coaches set up an active committee to help fund raise and get the club established. Cake sales, bag packing, cash for clobber and many more fundraising initiatives have been held in order to raise the much need funds to buy equipment for the club.
The Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board has been very supportive in aiding them to purchase their first boat — a coxed four which will be aptly named Fuínneamh Na Coiribe (energy of the Corrib ).
The club maintains the school’s ethos and conducts all activities lán-Ghaeilge, and therefore is the only Irish- speaking rowing club in the country. To celebrate this, the club was given a personal invatition by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise Ó Muirí, to attend a special tour of the Mansion House in May of last year.
The Lord Mayor, an ex oarsman of NUIG, rowed with the students on the Liffey at Island Bridge.
The club has been fortunate to build a support network with the existing rowing clubs in Galway, particularly the Tribesmen Rowing Club without whom it would not be possible.