Last year when the boat was lowered onto the beach in Laytown, it was one of those events in life that couldn't be foreseen, especially the warmth and support freely given by the people of Laytown. Even men of wisdom, like the local publican whose words sung so true when he threw out the one liner; “Putting a boat in a puddle, to me, doesn't necessarily constitute a launch!” He was so right and as if when the clouds passed over with rain, the droplets brought to me the realisation that the year ahead would be the busiest I have had for a long, long time. No longer did the diary compose of question marks at the end of every project, but instead, a deluge of answers topped with forced completions to awkward and incomplete ideas. When the boat was finally lifted and returned to the yard in a sunburnt delusion I wished for a smaller project as I had just seen the future..... And in a moment of self-realisation, I knew what we had to do.
The volunteers, who had given so much time and energy, were now onlookers apart from a few who knew answers to problems.
· Sails extended and reinforced eyes
· 4 hides cut into tonguing
· One hide made into coiled lengths of rope for rigging
· 6 tonne bags of oak-bark peeled from the trees in a sawmill and used to tan or stain leather and hide
· Two new shafts carved from elm trees, along with the required leather rigging and two large oak paddles carved and set into the elm shafts with antler nails
· Paddle blades carved and fitted to oars
· False floor bound into place to secure ballast
· New head and feet platted onto tripod mast
· More leather sheets made to secure lee-boards in place
· Irish VHF certificate obtained
· Registration of boat obtained
· Life-rafts serviced
· Seams on the underbelly of boat sealed with lanolin and two bungs set into leather so as to drain the vessel when on land
· A well sewn into to the stern to house an engine for safety when learning how to work the leather sails
So June has come and I can finally can say the back of the project has finally been broken and I feel confident that the boat is worthy of what the Stone Age could have achieved 5,000 years ago. Robert Hennessey wrote a brilliant book recently and discusses how Newgrange was revamped and improved upon a number of times, but the important message that comes through is that the materials that were transported there initially remained the same just put in a different order. Perhaps that's what this currach project has done, by using the same materials available, we imagined the most practical order in which to use them. Only time will tell. We must thank the Heritage Council for their support given this year and a heartfelt thanks to those involved in the creation of proposals and the submissions of applications for various funding programmes. The physical labour is only a shadow of the work that has been done on the computer keyboard over the past number of years.