Corrib Connect


Boat Building on the Corrib

Boat building on the Corrib dates back at least 4,500 years. This is evidenced by the finding of Trevor Northage during his survey work on the Corrib of a 4500 year old vessel referred to as The Annaghkeen Boat due to its location. The vessel it approximately 40 feet long with a beam of 3.5 feet and its age has been revealed by radio carbon dating. The vessel is constructed from a single piece of oak. A large number of other wrecks have been discovered by Trevor during his work on the Corrib. These include

A 37 ft log boat 3500 years old (The Kilbeg 1 boat)

An iron age vessel 2400 years old (Les Island 5)

A 28 ft iron age logboat (Rabbit Island boat)

A Viking boat (The Carrowmoreknock Boat)

A Victorian yacht,

The wreck of the boat involved in the Annaghdown tragedy sunk on 4th Sept 1828 (An Caislean Nua)

A steamer sunk near Maam Bridge

And many others - Click here for further details.

We are indebted to Trevor for unearthing the rich marine archaeology of Lough Corrib.

For a scientific report of these findings, see ‘Logboats of Lough Corrib’ published in Current Archaeology in July 2014.

Cargo carrying sail and rowing boats

The Caislean Nua is about 35 ft long and must be presumed to be typical of the cargo carrying boats of its time. It would have been propelled by both sail and oars. It is likely that these boats were built on the shores of the Corrib as at that time it would have been impossible to transport them significant distances. Unfourtunately, little is known about these boats.

I have neard of many references to ‘sack boats’. Again these were relatively large vessels capable of carrying a variety of cargo, grain, turf and livestock. There is a picture of such a boat moored at the pier in Inchagoill on page 211 of ‘Reflection on Lough Corrib’ (M. Semple). This boat had a single large dipping lug sail. Pat McCambridge tells me of bringing livestock on one of these boats from Inishmacatreer to the fair in Oughterard. After months of fruitless searhing, Zara Brady has provided me with a picture of a sack boat under full sail and hard on the wind off Portacarron. Picture dates from ca. 1937.

The Corrib Boat

The traditional Corrib fishing boat was 18-19 ft long of clinker construction, copper rivited and had eight or nine boards (planks). Ribs were oak with larch planks. The originals had a fine stern well suited to rowing. However the onset of powerful outboatd motors resulted in boats with wide sterns not particularly well suited to rowing.

A derivative of this was what was known to us as the Baurisheen punt. This was about 15 ft long of very narrow beam, very fine stern and easily rowed. It was a one-man boat and was used for spring fishing i.e. Trolling using minnows. The Baurisheen men used to troll from Oughterard right up to Cornamona and down again in February and March using three lines. They did not use reels, just a line attached to a pole with a small bell attached to indicate a ‘strike’. Many of these were built by Tommy Mallon who credits Paddy McGauley for assisting him it its design and construction.