Last Sunday at Dangan, the 122nd consecutive Annual Rowing Regatta was held. Rowing is one of the most successful sports in Galway, and has a long and interesting history (see Maurice Semple's "Reflections on Lough Corrib"), which goes back to the mid 19th century.
The oldest competitive rowing club is Corrib Rowing and Yachting Club, which was founded in 1864. It was followed by Commercial Boat which formed in 1875. Having two clubs on the river meant keen competition, and happily, this has persisted ever since. Other clubs were formed, some lasting longer than others. At various times, the colours of Royal Galway Yacht Club, The Athletic Rowing Club, St. Patrick's Rowing Club, and Emmett's Boat Club have graced the river. Today, it is the colours of NUIG, Galway Rowing Club and Tribesmen Rowing club which ensure that the competition remains keen.
Nowhere is this more evident than in schools rowing, where the rivalry between those two outstanding nurseries of rowing talent, The Jez and The Bish, guarantee that the sport will always thrive.
You might think that elephants have long memories, but they are as nothing compared to oarsmen, who seem to be able to remember almost every stroke of every race they were in, no matter how long ago. Take for instance, the Jez crew in our photograph today. They were the first Galway crew to win "The Anderson", a magnificent trophy which Dental Surgeon, Walter Anderson had presented to Galway Regatta Committee. Limerick C.B.S. won it in 1954, and the bookies at The Iodine enclosure made them strong favourites to retain it the following year, quoting them at even money. The Jez, on the other hand were being quoted at five to one, but they put in a terrific performance, and won by three quarters of a length.
The crew are, left to right, Tommy Hynes (5), Andy Healy (7), Tommy Grealy (6), Paddy Doyle (3), Walter Macken (stroke), Charlie Garavan (4), Padraic O'Carra (2) and Liam Geraghty (bow). The cox, Billy Rooney, is seated in front. They got together last weekend for a special re-union, and were guests of honour at the Regatta.
If any of you are going to Dublin in the near future, you should try and make time to visit the National Photographic Archive in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar. They are hosting an exhibition of old photographs entitled "Regeneration, The West of Ireland, 1892 - 1914." These are images from the Congested Districts Board, and also from a Conemara Album which the archive acquired last year - photographs of the people of Conemara fishing, building piers, gathering turf, children at school, etc Highly recommended.