We currently own four East Coast traditional skiffs and two FISA boats. Our skiffs are heritage clinker built wooden boats which have been used exclusively on the East coast of Ireland from Skerries to Courtown for hobbling for well over a century. Our FISA boats is an Olympic standard 4-seater and one double. These allow our members to row all year round.
We are members of Rowing Ireland as well as the East Coast Rowing Council and take part in racing Regattas each summer held up and down the East Coast. We also have social rowing crews, many of whom take part in long rows and have represented the club on the Liffey, Barrow, Lee, Thames London and Seine Paris.
In the 1700’s skiffs were commonly used on the East Coast of Ireland to pilot and unload/load ships that came into port. Known as Hobblers, or unlicensed pilots, competition was rife amongst crews to be the first to reach the ships. Crews of Hobblers, from Lambay to Wicklow, would row out into Dublin Bay each morning and wait for the sight of a ship. Then the race would begin.
The rules of their competition were simple – the first crew to successfully race out and ‘hook’ a ship, won themselves the right to guide that ship safely into port.
‘Hooking a ship’ meant throwing a boat hook up and over its side. There was fierce rivalry between different teams of Hobblers which often lead to arguments about which crew had hooked the ship first. Depending on the size of the ship being led to berth, records show that the successful Hobblers could earn anywhere from £1.50 to £5.
The Hobblers were a key part of many coastal communities across the city. The tradition was very strong in Ringsend and Dun Laoghaire, where several families had produced generations of successful Hobblers.
By the 1940s, Hobbling had declined as means of employment, left behind by advances in marine technology. However, the tradition did not die out. Crews began to organise weekly races against each other every weekend and the victorious crew was often able to earn a lot more than they would have guiding ships.
Over the years the Hobblers’ races evolved into the sport of East Coast Skiff Rowing, and the tradition has survived into the 21st century.
Today a monument stands in Dun Laoghaire Harbour in testament to the Hobblers and in memory of those lost at sea. These working class heroes knew what it meant to earn a day’s pay!
– George Pocock
The committee’s task is to run the club on behalf of its members. We consist of three executives – Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer as well as regular committee members.
One of the most notable features of Skerries is its stunning coastline. The town is situated on a peninsula that juts out into the Irish Sea, offering breath-taking views of the ocean and surrounding landscape. Visitors and residents alike can enjoy strolling along the beach, exploring the many sea-food restaurants along the harbour, or take a dip in the sea on a warm day.
Skerries is also home to a number of historic landmarks such as the Skerries Mills and the Martello towers. The mills are some of the oldest in Ireland, with the older believed to have been built in the 12th century. The Martello towers were constructed in the early 19th century and were to serve as protection from Napoleonic French armies (in the scenario of an invasion) and as an early warning system for attacks.
Perhaps what truly makes Skerries special, however, is its sense of community. Despite its proximity to Dublin, the town has managed to maintain a small-town feel, with friendly locals and a strong sense of tradition. There are many community events throughout the year, including the Traditional Music Weekend and the Skerries 100 Road Races to name a few.
Overall, Skerries is a truly special place that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply soaking up the local atmosphere, this charming seaside town is well worth a visit.