Carrick on Shannon Rowing Club
The Tour Rowing Capital of Ireland and Home of the 2003 Irish Sprint Championships

 

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The London Irish Rowing Club was the brain child (or was it a brain storm!) of some exiled Carrick men over a Sunday morning drink in a Hammersmith pub in 1959. We approached the Hammersmith Division of the Amateur Rowing Association, who were very helpful but told us it would take at least a year to get on the river, but with a typical Irish obstinacy and disregard for laws and convention, we had an eight rowing on the Thames in six weeks.

We raised money in every conceivable way and purchased two second hand eights and very shortly two boats of brawny Irishmen could be seen on the Tideway. I stayed with the club for three years, two of them as Captain but I lost touch when I had to leave London. While those years did not produce any major successes, they were not without those moments. One of those was when the more conservative clubs on the Tideway saw their bar being taken over by about twenty thirsty Irish men. This was a whole new experience for them. As I said, Carrick men were to the forefront but as well, I can recall people from Galway, Athlone, Clonmel, Limerick, Cappoquin, Trinity and UCD. Some of the Carrick people involved were Noel O'Driscoll, Jim Cummins, Joe Regan, Cathal Gilroy, John Corrigan, Eamon Reynolds, Tony Keane and the late Liam Lynch, who designed our coat of arms and indeed it was during this spell with the club that he started singing and as some of you may know he went on to be a very good singer. Out of that session began the group 'The Dragoons', who were very successful for several years in the Dublin area but they travelled widely throughout Ireland as well, on the pub/club scene. His brother Pat also rowed with us.

The coat of arms depicts the cross of St. George on the top left quarter, the Irish harp on a green background on the right top quarter and three bands (in green!) of waves (symbolising water) on the lower half. It has the club name underneath and the top of crossed oars protrude at it's upper end. The London Irish Rowing Club is no more. It 'died' in the sixties, mainly through shifting population, Ireland's economic recovery was starting and the Irish were going home, while others were going further afield for work. It did however provide me and many others with happy memories of days gone by, when the company and companionship of a fellow townsman in a strange country was very welcome. And, it provided us with recreation - of a type we were used to at home.