Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Quakers setting out on the water again...


Well, on the Sixteenth Day of the First Month, I return to what I once did many years ago and for many years. For eleven years of more, I built and raced ( and fished ) Irish Currachs. These boats, an unbroken tradition in Ireland for at least 2,800 are now becoming rarer and rarer in Ireland. Remarkably, the other day, I got an email from New London. They want some. I put them in touch with Monty O'Leary, who taught me to build them. He is coming to America and together we are going to build a bunch of them to race again.
There is a lot of interest in my home meeting and my Quarter in starting up Quaker teems for the racing, and so it looks like, among the boats we are building will be two boats for New York, the George Fox and the Margaret Fell.
More on this soon. North Eastern Quaker meetings interested in joining the project by having us build ye a boat... we estimate the cost at $3,000 per, and I would come and teach the art of rowing them to ye. It is an art, as the boats are very light with a strong weather helm, but can be used in very heavy ocean swells.
Above is a modle of a six oar Kerry Currach or Naomhog (pron. Nave - ohg ). We are building eight oar Naomhogs, 26 foot long, 5 foot beem, aprox. 160 lbs.
I'm simply... chuffed.


At 12:01 PM, Blogger Larry said...

Hey, this is exciting news, Lor. Wish I could do that. I used to use a pirogue (Cajun style), with a two inch draft for navigating the marshes. I tried to sail it once: it went fine down wind, but that was about it.

At 5:45 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Same with currachs, you sail them using the oars as lea boards, but they don't point much at all, a dipping lug sail... lot's of fun coming about, droping the sail - run it out over the bow and up the other side of the mast and up... you generaly put the new guy on the halyard, as it often picks up a gallon of water to dump on the head of the lad on the halyard...

At 2:05 PM, Blogger jez said...

A few months ago I had dinner with a lovely guy in Rowhedge, Essex, UK, called Fabian who is a boat builder, with Quaker origins. He used to be editor of my magazine about 30 years before me, which is how i got to be going to see him. He is a wooden boat builder, not using designs as old as you do.

Is it a Quaker/plain living thing for you to work with currachs or is it incidental?

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Oh my... I had never thought of it. I suppose they are connected. I always felt a human should be able to live anywhere more than make a living. After photographing the war in occupied Ireland, I felt a longing to make my life more than make a living. Genie and I harvested a lot of our food from the sea, on the west coast of Ireland, and I made money busking with me pipes... simply living, if not living simple.

I was rather happy to know you could drop me anywhere on earth where there is water, and with a pen knife, I could replicate my civilization.

But, yes, the building of simple boats, and getting folks to get their hands on their lives and literally pull together, is a strong part of my plain witness.


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