The curraghs of Ireland

Here are some hugely informative chapters from an old book by James Hornell describing the curraghs of Ireland. It’s a most impressive piece of work, and covers rowing and sailing curraghs, coracles and a kind of long paddling curragh variant I wasn’t previously aware of. If you want to get into curragh building, this book must represent the very large majority of what you’ll need to know.

I’d love to hear from curragh and coracle builders and to be able to publish photos reports and the rest, by the way – if this is you please let me know at

Check the extract from J M Synge – it’s the kind of thing that needs to be read out loud with all the family gathered around.

Finally, there are some great contemporary curragh photos at


5 thoughts on “The curraghs of Ireland”

  1. Dear Gavin,

    You have done a great service for those interested in attempting to build a curragh by posting Hornell's desings!!! Thank you so much.

  2. Hello, Gavin Atkin…are you still building boats? I’d like to have a conversation about building a paddling curragh. ANy Interest?

    1. Haven’t built one for some time – since we moved house I haven’t had easy access to a suitable space.

      Are you thinking about the currach in the YouTube?


  3. Hi Gavin. Im one of the last in co. Clare on irelands West coast still fishing commercially from a currach. I also build them. Iv tweaked traditional design to suit todays fishermen. At present im building 2 for locals and 1 for east coast

    1. Ger –

      Your email address does not seem to work – at least, I can’t reply.

      Thanks very much for your comment at

      Any time you’d like to share some photographs of a launch with the world,
      or explain why and how you build these boats, or talk about their
      development, write to me and I’ll be delighted to put your stories up!


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