The Corrib Club, one hundred and fifty years

The Corrib Club was founded in July 1864, 150 years ago this month. Unfortunately the minutes of the club for that year and 1865 are nowhere to be found, but the late Maurice Semple, having access to minutes for most other years, produced a book entitled A Century of Minutes, the Story of the Corrib Club 1864-1966, from which we publish extracts today.

The club was known originally as The Corrib Rowing Club. Rowing and yachting were very popular in the club up to World War I, after which rowing became spasmodic and the sailing did not appear to have been widely enjoyed. Competitive rowing began on the Corrib when the club was formed. It opened at Woodquay for a short time, then transferred to land beside the weir and remained there until 1903 when it opened in its present premises. Until 1875, when the Commercial Club opened its doors, competition was confined to Corrib Club members, who held ‘badge races’ every Thursday. These helped to excite interest in rowing. The course for these races was from the black buoy opposite the Steamers Quay to the ‘Iodine Works’ and back, three buoys being moored at the upper end. The racing boats were classified as pair-oared, four-oared, sculls, gigs, and skiffs. Sometimes these badge races were held at Salthill.

In earlier years, cargoes were brought from Galway to Cong in small sailing boats. The development of steam navigation on Lough Corrib began in 1860 and required a navigation channel not alone on the river, but through the lake also. This channel enabled club members to row and sail freely, as many islets on the river had been removed and dumped on Jordan’s Island.

In 1875, Henry Cloherty was fined 2/6 for bathing in the middle of the day.

In 1880, the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Jute factory next door, and the club sent him an invitation to become an honorary member, an invitation he was pleased to accept.

After sites at Woodquay, the field at the Fever Hospital, the field at University Road, etc, were examined, Mr Persse presented the present site in 1903. The following year the sum of £4-6-9 was passed for the purchase of fireworks for the opening of the new clubhouse (on July 23 ), also 12 iron spittoons were purchased.

In 1905 a motion was passed that a sum of £6-6-0 be paid for the purchase of the two guns from the Renmore Battery for the ornamentation of the grounds. The concrete base for the guns cost £6-15-0.

In 1912 ladies were admitted as members. In June 1916 the president reported that there was no audit of account for that year as the secretary, John P Faller, had been interned by the British. There were no minutes as the club was closed and occupied by British forces. In 1936, the club senior eight won the Leander Trophy at Cork Regatta, the first time a Galway crew achieved this.

In 1956 it was ruled that a male club member could take a lady friend into a club boat, but a lady member could not take a male friend into a club boat.

CYRC is currently gathering material relating to the club so if you have any old photographs, documents, or memorabilia, please contact Noel Dalton, captain of the club, at the clubhouse. It must be one of the oldest such clubs in the country so many congratulations to Corrib on reaching its sesquicentenary.

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