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New–Built Shannon Gandelow Joins Varied Traditional Fleet of East Wall Water Sports Centre

23rd May 2018
Queen of the Fleet – the East Wall racing skiff An Tulcha Queen of the Fleet – the East Wall racing skiff An Tulcha Credit: Cormac Lowth

Cormac Lowth of Dublin is a one-man Maritime Institute writes W M Nixon. He has an incredible memory, encyclopaedic knowledge, and an exceptional collection of nautical memorabilia. There’s always something of special interest when one of his missives pings into the in-box. It could be about anything, from promoting the works of the 19th Century marine artist Richard Brydges Beechey, to helping a friend who is trying to put together a monogram about the story of the Dublin Bay 21 Oola. And that would be only for starters.

His breadth of interests extends far beyond the maritime. Tomorrow evening (Thursday 24th May at 6.30pm in Books Upstairs at 17 D’Olier Street in Dublin), he’s launching historian Vincent Ruddy’s new book Monster Agitators: O’Connell’s Repealers in 1843 Ireland.

Now we could, of course, claim a sailing connection there, as Daniel O’Connell - a keen sailing man at home in Derrynane in Kerry - was one of those who met in Dublin on 4th July 1846 to revive the Royal Irish Yacht Club. The choice of American Independence Day for the meeting was more than fortuitous, and its ultimate success can be gauged from the fact that by 1851 the club’s remarkable waterfront clubhouse was well on its way to completion on what was then the Kingstown Harbour waterfront.

But that again is only tangential to the many facets of Irish history and current life on which Cormac focuses his generous attention.

Different again is another of Cormac’s interests, the East Wall Water Sports Centre. It’s hidden away on what is rapidly becoming the tree-lined estuary of the Tolka River before it opens out to become the sailing waters off Clontarf. And on its north shore, there’s a hive of activity in and around boats, with everything from initial construction to active use with crew training and competition. We’ll let Cormac Lowth take up the story:

“East Wall Water Sports Centre, which is based off Alfie Byrne Road, had their latest boat-launch on Saturday, May 19th. This boat is a 'Gandelow', a seven–metre long flat–-bottomed rowing boat, of a type that were much used on the Lower Shannon for fishing (and have been frequently mentioned in in connection with the Ilen Boat-Building School in Limerick) The Gandelow is rowed by three people, each pulling two oars, and these are held in double wooden thole pins, unlike the traditional rowlocks or 'spurs' of the East Coast.

new gandelow2The new Gandelow at the East Wall Water Sports centre beside the Tolka in Dublin. Photo: Cormac Lowth

gandelows shannon limerick3The Ilen Boat-Building School’s Gandelows in action on the Shannon in Limerick. Photo: W M Nixon

East Wall Water Sports Centre is a community-based club whose aim is to promote rowing, sailing, canoeing, and other water sports among young and old alike. There is also an emphasis on reviving and perpetuating traditional boat-building skills, and this aspect in mainly in the hands of Patsy Whelan, a shipwright and boat-builder who works in the Dublin Port. Patsy in the son of Patsy Senior, one of the last of the traditional wooden boat builders of Ringsend, and he has inherited his father’s wonderful talent and skill in this department. Patsy is passing on many of his skills to the members of the Club, and he is very ably abetted by his two brothers, Martin and Jimmy.

patsy whelan and cam4Patsy Whelan with the Cam, one of the elegant recreational rowing boats which he and his team have added to the East Wall fleet. Photo: Cormac Lowth

As part of their ongoing inclusive policy of working with local civic and sports groups who use the Port and the Bay areas, Dublin Port have given some time off during each week to Patsy to work on certain boat-building and repair projects within the Club. The East Wall group is one of the newest members of the East Coast Rowing Council, and they compete in the skiff rowing regattas. Some of the projects undertaken recently have included building and refurbishment of their double-ended rowing skiffs.

east wall gandelow5Craftsmanship of high quality has gone into the new Gandelow. Photo: Cormac Lowth

There is a great emphasis on rowing in the group, and they have taken the innovative step of having public rowing sessions in their skiffs, where anyone can get a row for a fee of €2. All ages are catered for. Currach building and their use are also a part of the group’s activities, and another recent project was the building of two beautiful new 17 ft. clinker-built rowing boats named Cam and Anne by Patsy and the team.

Many of the skiffs of the various East Coast Rowing Clubs were built in times past by Patsy Whelan Senior in Ringsend, and there was a strong sense of links to the past and the future, and indeed to the special boats of the Shannon Estuary too, as the new Gandelow took to the water and glided along, swift, graceful and beautiful, guided by the skillful rowing of a mixed team of the ladies and gentlemen of the East Wall Club.”

Published in Dublin Port Team

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About Dublin Port 

Dublin Port is Ireland’s largest and busiest port with approximately 17,000 vessel movements per year. As well as being the country’s largest port, Dublin Port has the highest rate of growth and, in the seven years to 2019, total cargo volumes grew by 36.1%.

The vision of Dublin Port Company is to have the required capacity to service the needs of its customers and the wider economy safely, efficiently and sustainably. Dublin Port will integrate with the City by enhancing the natural and built environments. The Port is being developed in line with Masterplan 2040.

Dublin Port Company is currently investing about €277 million on its Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR), which is due to be complete by 2021. The redevelopment will improve the port's capacity for large ships by deepening and lengthening 3km of its 7km of berths. The ABR is part of a €1bn capital programme up to 2028, which will also include initial work on the Dublin Port’s MP2 Project - a major capital development project proposal for works within the existing port lands in the northeastern part of the port.

Dublin Port has also recently secured planning approval for the development of the next phase of its inland port near Dublin Airport. The latest stage of the inland port will include a site with the capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructures such as an ESB substation, an office building and gantry crane.

Dublin Port Company recently submitted a planning application for a €320 million project that aims to provide significant additional capacity at the facility within the port in order to cope with increases in trade up to 2040. The scheme will see a new roll-on/roll-off jetty built to handle ferries of up to 240 metres in length, as well as the redevelopment of an oil berth into a deep-water container berth.

Dublin Port FAQ

Dublin was little more than a monastic settlement until the Norse invasion in the 8th and 9th centuries when they selected the Liffey Estuary as their point of entry to the country as it provided relatively easy access to the central plains of Ireland. Trading with England and Europe followed which required port facilities, so the development of Dublin Port is inextricably linked to the development of Dublin City, so it is fair to say the origins of the Port go back over one thousand years. As a result, the modern organisation Dublin Port has a long and remarkable history, dating back over 300 years from 1707.

The original Port of Dublin was situated upriver, a few miles from its current location near the modern Civic Offices at Wood Quay and close to Christchurch Cathedral. The Port remained close to that area until the new Custom House opened in the 1790s. In medieval times Dublin shipped cattle hides to Britain and the continent, and the returning ships carried wine, pottery and other goods.

510 acres. The modern Dublin Port is located either side of the River Liffey, out to its mouth. On the north side of the river, the central part (205 hectares or 510 acres) of the Port lies at the end of East Wall and North Wall, from Alexandra Quay.

Dublin Port Company is a State-owned commercial company responsible for operating and developing Dublin Port.

Dublin Port Company is a self-financing, and profitable private limited company wholly-owned by the State, whose business is to manage Dublin Port, Ireland's premier Port. Established as a corporate entity in 1997, Dublin Port Company is responsible for the management, control, operation and development of the Port.

Captain William Bligh (of Mutiny of the Bounty fame) was a visitor to Dublin in 1800, and his visit to the capital had a lasting effect on the Port. Bligh's study of the currents in Dublin Bay provided the basis for the construction of the North Wall. This undertaking led to the growth of Bull Island to its present size.

Yes. Dublin Port is the largest freight and passenger port in Ireland. It handles almost 50% of all trade in the Republic of Ireland.

All cargo handling activities being carried out by private sector companies operating in intensely competitive markets within the Port. Dublin Port Company provides world-class facilities, services, accommodation and lands in the harbour for ships, goods and passengers.

Eamonn O'Reilly is the Dublin Port Chief Executive.

Capt. Michael McKenna is the Dublin Port Harbour Master

In 2019, 1,949,229 people came through the Port.

In 2019, there were 158 cruise liner visits.

In 2019, 9.4 million gross tonnes of exports were handled by Dublin Port.

In 2019, there were 7,898 ship arrivals.

In 2019, there was a gross tonnage of 38.1 million.

In 2019, there were 559,506 tourist vehicles.

There were 98,897 lorries in 2019

Boats can navigate the River Liffey into Dublin by using the navigational guidelines. Find the guidelines on this page here.

VHF channel 12. Commercial vessels using Dublin Port or Dun Laoghaire Port typically have a qualified pilot or certified master with proven local knowledge on board. They "listen out" on VHF channel 12 when in Dublin Port's jurisdiction.

A Dublin Bay webcam showing the south of the Bay at Dun Laoghaire and a distant view of Dublin Port Shipping is here
Dublin Port is creating a distributed museum on its lands in Dublin City.
 A Liffey Tolka Project cycle and pedestrian way is the key to link the elements of this distributed museum together.  The distributed museum starts at the Diving Bell and, over the course of 6.3km, will give Dubliners a real sense of the City, the Port and the Bay.  For visitors, it will be a unique eye-opening stroll and vista through and alongside one of Europe’s busiest ports:  Diving Bell along Sir John Rogerson’s Quay over the Samuel Beckett Bridge, past the Scherzer Bridge and down the North Wall Quay campshire to Berth 18 - 1.2 km.   Liffey Tolka Project - Tree-lined pedestrian and cycle route between the River Liffey and the Tolka Estuary - 1.4 km with a 300-metre spur along Alexandra Road to The Pumphouse (to be completed by Q1 2021) and another 200 metres to The Flour Mill.   Tolka Estuary Greenway - Construction of Phase 1 (1.9 km) starts in December 2020 and will be completed by Spring 2022.  Phase 2 (1.3 km) will be delivered within the following five years.  The Pumphouse is a heritage zone being created as part of the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project.  The first phase of 1.6 acres will be completed in early 2021 and will include historical port equipment and buildings and a large open space for exhibitions and performances.  It will be expanded in a subsequent phase to incorporate the Victorian Graving Dock No. 1 which will be excavated and revealed. 
 The largest component of the distributed museum will be The Flour Mill.  This involves the redevelopment of the former Odlums Flour Mill on Alexandra Road based on a masterplan completed by Grafton Architects to provide a mix of port operational uses, a National Maritime Archive, two 300 seat performance venues, working and studio spaces for artists and exhibition spaces.   The Flour Mill will be developed in stages over the remaining twenty years of Masterplan 2040 alongside major port infrastructure projects.

Source: Dublin Port Company ©Afloat 2020. 

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