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



The Motorboat Museum

The nice folks of the Classic Motor Boat Association suggested I should link to the Motorboat Museum near Basildon:

There are some stunning exhibits (see El Zonco below), but as a father of kids of ten and twelve, I must say that judging by the website one of the nicest things about the museum is that its staff seem to have given a lot of thought to entertaining children who visit.

El Zonco

A catalogue drops through the door sets me thinking about the summer

The Martham Boatbuilding & Development Catalogue dropped through my letterbox yesterday morning. I always enjoy it – I love the photos of the old-style Broads sailing and motor cruisers they hire, and I also like their keen hire prices! On this occasion, however, I was particularly pleased to see the Martham catalogue, as it performed the small miracle of taking my mind off the pain of an earlier tooth extraction. I was very grateful.

An interesting feature of the Martham yard is that it has a large indoor area that the company makes available for DIY boatbuilding and restoration. They’re happy to offer customers their advice when it’s sought, and they’ve got a sail-loft to boot – very useful if you happen to live in the area:

Another favourite is the Hunter’s Yard catalogue:

Both companies produce catalogues that have better images than the ones they put on their websites. Still, even in the absence of a 1024-pixel wide shot you’ll quickly get the idea: most of these boats have been around for decades, and they have all the old-fashioned style one could ask for. Over time, I’ll put up some of my own photos. In the meantime, take a peek at these images I’ve found around the web:

Nice aerial shots of the Broads:

Some excellent shots of wherries: